The tenth anniversary edition of American Gods is Gaiman's "preferred text" version of the book. In the foreword, he claims to have restored about 12,000 words that were edited out of the original for various reasons.

I assume that many of those edits are scattered across the book in small parts, but were there any significant scenes that were edited out completely and then restored?

I'm not so much interested in "cosmetic" changes, especially the various errata and such. Things that add some flavor to a scene but don't really change it or the story is more detail than I'm interested it. As a benchmark, the "Shadow meets Jesus" scene included as a bonus appendix is roughly two pages long, that's the kind of thing I'm looking for. Some place where at least 1/2 a page of continuous text was removed, such that an entire event/conversation/etc was removed from the story.

  • 1
    +1000 for asking this - I've been wondering myself ever since I read the preface! Couldn't find anything online either. Wait, Shadow meets who?! Commented May 14, 2017 at 20:42
  • @Gallifreyan - I find it interesting how we've gone about this in different ways. You've asked the author directly whereas I've acquired both versions and am using Calibre to physically compare them .
    – Valorum
    Commented May 14, 2017 at 21:22
  • Nitpick - the "preferred text" existed before the tenth anniversary, though the tenth anniversary edition carries more fixes and edits (but nothing new). Commented May 14, 2017 at 21:34
  • @Gallifreyan - I'm at a loss how to do this justice. There are a lot of primarily cosmetic changes just in the first chapter
    – Valorum
    Commented May 14, 2017 at 22:09
  • 3
    @Valorum shrug I hired Neil Gaiman to do the job for me. Commented May 14, 2017 at 22:10

1 Answer 1


Based on a quick comparison the vast majority of the changes appear to be cosmetic, adding internal dialogue, clarifying the personality and feelings of various characters. The longest additions are barely more than a paragraph in length and seem to have little bearing on the overall plotline.

For example, in the first chapter we have the addition of

“Damn right. Gallows humor. Best kind there is—bang, the worst has happened. You get a few days for it to sink in, then you’re riding the cart on your way to do the dance on nothing.”

removal of

even when you’ve been taken off the board...

Shadow was originally left with

two quarters, a penny, and a nickel

Addition of

She [Laura] got kind of mad at me when I was arrested.

Addition of

“You’ll be back. I can see it in your eyes. You’re a fuckup, Shadow. Now, if I had my way, none of you assholes would ever get out. We’d drop you in the hole and forget you.”
Oubliettes, thought Shadow, and he said nothing. It was a survival thing: he didn’t answer back, didn’t say anything about job security for prison guards, debate the nature of repentance, rehabilitation, or rates of recidivism. He didn’t say anything funny or clever, and, to be on the safe side, when he was talking to a prison official, whenever possible, he didn’t say anything at all. Speak when you’re spoken to. Do your own time. Get out. Get home. Have a long hot bath. Tell Laura you love her. Rebuild a life.

addition of

The warden said this with no joy, as if he were intoning a death sentence..

addition of

Shadow showed her his driver’s license. Then he assured her that no one had given him a bomb to take onto the plane, and she, in return, gave him a printed boarding pass. Then he passed through the metal detector while his bag went through the X-ray machine.

addition of

The people had the glazed, beaten look you only see in airports and prisons. If Hell is other people, thought Shadow, then Purgatory is airports.

addition of

Then he explained his problem to the gate attendant (calmly, quietly, politely) and she sent him to a passenger assistance desk, where Shadow explained that he was on his way home after a long absence and his wife had just been killed in a road accident, and that it was vitally important that he went home now. He said nothing about prison.

addition of

to the Budget car rental desk, the only one open,


As far as major changes are concerned the only thing of any note appears to be an 800 word appendix in which a fictional Shadow (one more fictional than the one in the rest of the book, obviously) meets Jesus and discusses the nature of worship.

Beyond that there's little more than a 1000 word interview with the author where he answers (briefly) questions like "What’s your favorite coin trick?" and "Did you enjoy making up the con tricks in American Gods?".

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    on an interesting side note: one of those additions (speaking to the airport desk attendant) was something I immediately picked out as "wrong" in the TV show; do we know which version of the script the show was based on? Maybe that could be it's own question...
    – KutuluMike
    Commented May 14, 2017 at 23:46
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    @KutuluMike - I gather the script and screenplay (for the first few episodes) were written by Bryan Fuller & Michael Green and will be based on the 10th Anniversary text along with the author's own screenplays and notes. They've said that they hope that Gaiman will write at least one episode himself.
    – Valorum
    Commented May 14, 2017 at 23:48

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