Bestselling novelist Neil Gaiman is in disbelief that a New Mexico school district is seriously considering a permanent ban on his fantasy novel "Neverwhere." Last night, Gaiman posted a picture of the passage that an Alamogordo High School parent reported as "inappropriate content":
The parent who wants NEVERWHERE banned, wants it banned for this scene, and this scene alone. A scene too R-Rated for the parent to even describe on TV.
I’m posting it for anyone who is thinking that Neverwhere must be PRETTY HOT STUFF. This is your half-page of raunch.
For those of you going “whoa, I bet it gets even hotter after this…” it doesn’t. That was it. Some drunken adulterous jumper-fumbling and three fucks by two people on a bench we will never meet again. And then on with Richard’s story…
The novel has been removed from Alamogordo Public Schools, and may face a permanent ban, said Superintendent George Straface last week. In an Op-Ed in the Alamogordo Daily News, however, Alamagordo High School English teacher Pam Thorp called the ban "narrow-minded":
It is true that there is some sexual innuendo and a few expletives, but the heart of the novel revolves around a sub-world, a London Below, that exists without the knowledge, or acknowledgement, of London Above (the city of London proper). Through an accidental discovery of this world by the novel's protagonist and his subsequent journey into that world, Gaiman crafts a dark, magical experience that is both engaging and thought provoking on many levels, challenging the reader to question his or her own perspective and purpose in society. This dialogue with self and others is the force that drives the discussion and analysis of any literature of merit -- and Gaiman's novel is certainly that.