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Saturday, November 24, 2001

And talking about strange Amazon.com things...

I sometimes have a fantasy that, if I leave a small bowl of milk, or a tiny puddle of the 1955 Strathisla, out for the elves, they'll write books for me while I sleep. The trouble with this daydream is that I lose the fun bits of writing something, that moment where it all comes together and something is hitting the paper that simply wasn't there a minute before. The good side to the elves writing the books for me is that I get a little more sleep and some extra books written.

I'm starting to wonder if that fantasy hasn't come true. Checking in on Amazon.co.uk I see that one of my most popular books is CORDELIA. People are obviously preordering lots of copies of CORDELIA, mostly, I suspect, because you can't get it anywhere else but through Amazon.co.uk. Now, I do like Amazon.co.uk -- yesterday brought me a copy of M. John Harrison's new short story collection and a Jonathan Creek video, both from Amazon.co.uk. But I can't help suspecting they've done some kind of deal with the elves, seeing that I never wrote a book called CORDELIA.

It's a perfectly good title. Gene Wolfe once wrote a book called THE CASTLE OF THE OTTER based on a typo for a book of his in Locus Magazine (his real book was called The Citadel of the Autarch), and CORDELIA is every bit as good a non-existent title as THE CASTLE OF THE OTTER. Maybe one day I shall write a book called CORDELIA. (Not yet, though. The next children's book to be written will probably be THE GRAVEYARD BOOK -- and seeing that Coraline took about 10 years to get written, I'd not start preordering it yet, if I were you.)

But just as I was getting my hopes up on the elves front, I checked, and found that the ISBN -- 0380977788 -- which Amazon.co.uk has given to Cordelia is the same one that Barnes and Noble dot com has for the US edition of CORALINE (although they say it's out of print). (Powells doesn't have it at all. Booksense doesn't have it. Alphabetstreet.co.uk not only have it up as Cordelia but say that it will be shipping out in two-three days. Fatbrain.com have it up as Coraline and shipping next year... Clever fatbrain.)

And I wonder if this means that all the people who have preordered Cordelia will wind up getting a very expensive copy of the US version of Coraline...

The local weather forecast: it'll rain for the next few days until it finally starts snowing.

And I'm reading Terry's THE AMAZING MAURICE AND HIS EDUCATED RODENTS to Maddy at night. Tried doing Maurice as Bilko to start out with, but he seems to have settled down as David Jason as Del Boy.


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