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Monday, February 18, 2002

Home again.

Spent half a day doing the mail -- waiting for me were an astonishing assortment of things, including a Japanese edition of Shadows over Innsmouth, a French Good Omens and a French magazine called Elegy, an English Mass Market Paperback of American Gods (complete with an "As good as Stephen King or your money back" sticker), the manuscript of the first of the Carla Jablonski Books of Magic novels for my feedback and perusal, the US galleys of Coraline, a Spanish edition of Sandman: The Doll's House and Midnight Days. A letter from a concerned Hungarian-American fan who felt I'd failed to grasp, in American Gods, that "Isten" meant "God" and was thus the Judeo-Christian God (which is perfectly true these days, but has not always been true, which is why he's in there with the rest of the gods on the side of Lookout Mountain -- http://www2.4dcomm.com/millenia/myths.htm may be of use to the puzzled, or not).

Also waiting for me was a Sampo DVE-611 DVD player. I saved a short file to a CD-R, put it into the DVD player, which read it and reset itself very happily to Region Zero, thus, at one stroke, voiding the warranty, allowing me to watch British DVDs, and probably setting the FBI on my trail.

Boskone was lovely -- a good convention organised by good people with some excellent panels, and hundreds of extremely nice people. I signed for as many of them as I could, but strongly suspect that I left as many disappointed as I signed for.

Terry Pratchett's portrait of me in the Boskone booklet was funny and didn't make me cringe once.

Adventures in the Dream Trade, a collection of stuff and nonsense by yours truly, consisting of many articles and introductions, the AMERICAN GODS period of this weblog, some poems and songs, and some uncollected story oddments, was published by NESFA Press, to go along with the convention. The 300 signed and numbered copies sold out immediately, as did most of the unnumbered copies. Check in at http://www.nesfa.org/press/Books/Gaiman.html if you want a copy before they are all gone. (Andy Richards from http://www.coldtonnage.com/ was one of the dealers there from the UK for those of you in blighty needing a copy.)

My favourite moment of the con was sitting in a Japanese restaurant between Robert Sheckley and Joe Haldeman, having an intense and delightful conversation about writing. (I listened a lot, for there are people beside whom I am but a grasshopper, and Joe Haldeman and Bob Sheckley are two of those people.) Thanks, I suspect, to Brian Aldiss's eloquent championing over the years, much of Sheckley was in print, available, and critically regarded in the UK while I was growing up, although I still had to find a lot of his stories in long-out-of-print US collections of the kind you could only buy in grubby secondhand bookshops where the selling of second hand books and comics was a badly-kept-up front for the trade in barely legal pornography, and inky-nosed boys in school uniforms got very dirty looks from the men in old raincoats at the back of the shop. I hung onto my Sheckley short story collections until the late 80s, when a TV producer who shall remain anonymous (but was actually writer-presenter Chris Langham) borrowed them to research a TV series adapting classic funny SF, and never gave them back.

So I think someone should reprint all those classic Sheckley short stories to save me smearing ink on my nose and heading back to Plus Books in Streatham. Which probably isn't there any more anyway.

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