Adult Fairytales

On the eve of the film's UK release, Neil Gaiman muses on how he came to write Stardust.

I immensely enjoyed Stardust, both as a book and as a movie—Gaiman wisely let Matthew Vaughn and Jane Goldman make some drastic changes so that it worked as a movie, which is an entirely different critter from a novel.

Call me smitten if you must, but I find Gaiman good company, no matter which medium he works in.

"The book came out, first in illustrated and then in unillustrated form. There seemed to be a general consensus that it was the most inconsequential of my novels. Fantasy fans, for example, wanted it to be an epic, which it took enormous pleasure in not being. Shortly after it was published, I wound up defending it to a journalist who had loved my previous novel, Neverwhere, particularly its social allegories. He had turned Stardust upside down and shaken it, looking for social allegories, and found absolutely nothing of any good purpose.

"'What's it for?' he had asked, which is not a question you expect to be asked when you write fiction for a living.

"'It's a fairytale,' I told him.

"'It's like an ice cream. It's to make you feel happy when you finish it.'"