“It probably all started almost twenty years ago, when I wrote a book called The Day I Swapped My Dad for Two Goldfish. It’s about a boy who swaps his dad for two goldfish. It is quite funny.
This is what the dad does in the book: He is swapped for things; he does not notice he has been swapped for things; he reads his newspaper. At one point, near the climax of the book, he eats a carrot. It’s not really a positive portrayal of fatherhood, is it?
And people have been giving that book to each other as Father’s Day gifts ever since.
I have felt guilty. As a father. As a human being. People were reading my book, and learning from it that fathers were oblivious, newspaper-reading, occasionally carrot-eating lumps of distraction.
I resolved to do something about it. I would write a book in which a father did all of the sorts of exciting things that fathers actually do, in teh real world.
In this case, he would go and get the milk for his children’s breakfast cereal.
Also, he should do the other things that go along with going out to get the milk. Things like escaping from globby green aliens, being made to walk the plank in teh eigheenth century by pirates, being rescued by a time-travelling prefessorial stegosaurus in a hot-air balloon, being nearly sacrificed to a Volcano God, being attacked by Wumpires, and, of course, saving the world.”
Neil Gaiman, in the preface to his new book Fortunately, the Milk, out in September