Do stories grow? Pretty obviously — anybody who has ever heard a joke being passed on from one person to another knows that they can grow, they can change. Can stories reproduce? Well, yes. Not spontaneously, obviously — they tend to need people as vectors. We are the media in which they reproduce; we are their petri dishes… Stories grow, sometimes they shrink. And they reproduce — they inspire other stories. And, of course, if they do not change, stories die.
The prolific writer Neil Gaiman is as listenable as he is readable, whether he’s reading his own books or giving talks. Here the author of the classic Sandman comics, Stardust, Neverwhere and most recently The Ocean at the End of the Lane, suggests stories are a life-form obeying the same rules of genesis, reproduction, and propagation that organic matter does. He does so in his characteristically humorous, intellectually informed and engaging manner.