Most people have marveled at the fiction of Kelly Link and Neil Gaiman at some point. But it's often hard to describe what makes both their work so terrifically great. Over in Barnes & Noble's The Speculator, writer Paul Di Filippo really pinpoints why they are both so indispensible.
About Link, Di Filippo says:
Link's work embodies that famous line from Emily Dickinson: "Tell all the truth but tell it slant." Her dedication to the oblique trajectory delivers meaty and sometimes caustic verities in a manner worthy of her genius for invention.
And about Gaiman, he adds:
Neil Gaiman has reached a masterful stage in his writing where he deserves his own adjective, which could be extended to younger writers following in his wake: Gaimanesque. His work, while variegated, exhibits a unity of vision, voice, and tone that is unmistakable. A Gaiman story finds magic in the mundane and familiar touchstones in the outré. It displays a core of poignant emotion — usually heartbreak or disappointment or wonder — that is never allowed to blossom into unrestrained floridity or feverishness but is displayed and examined at arm's length with a kind of quintessential British remove and dignity, often manifested in wry humor. The writer favors solid linear narratives built on a good hook and an intriguing conceit but with plentiful "snake hands," to employ John Crowley's term for interesting detours. His tales affirm the importance of art while refusing to value esthetics above the sensual basics of "merely" living.