I am a huge fan of his writing. I love his comics, his novels, his blog. However. I don’t think I like the books he likes. Off the top of my head, the only novels I have ever picked up, simply on a recommendation by him, are Susanna Clarke‘s Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell and Gene Wolfe‘s The Wizard Knight, boith of which failed to thrill me. I found them both obtuse and boring. Jonathan Strange was full of long chapters where nothing happens; The Wizard Knight spends far too much time using conversations as expository text. Conversations that often take place in dialect. Wolfe also spends too much time jumping around in time.
Artistic they both may be, but enjoyable they are not. They spend too much time being clever in the manner in which they tell the story, and not enough time actually telling it. This is where Neil differs. Like the late, great P.G. Wodehouse, his use of language is parsimonious and his timing perfect.