Rock City begins as an ornamental garden on a mountainside: its visitors walk a path that takes them through rocks, over rocks, between rocks. They throw corn into a deer enclosure, cross a hanging bridge and peer out through a-quarter-a-throw binoculars at a view that promises them seven states on the rare sunny days when the air is perfectly clear. And from there, like a drop into some strange hell, the path takes the visitors millions upon millions of them every year, down into caverns, where the stare at black-lit dolls arranged into nursery-rhyme and fairy-tale dioramas. When they leave, they leave bemused, uncertain of why they came, of what they have seen, of whether they had a good time or not.
I don’t have a lot to say about Rock City, really, but this description from Chapter Seventeen struck me as interesting, specifically in the contrast with House on the Rock. HOTR feels very magical and charming and otherworldly, whereas the language Gaiman uses to describe Rock City is so mundane and matter-of-fact, like it’s a bit of a disappointment, like the reality of it doesn’t quite live up to what was promised.