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Tuesday, April 16, 2002

I shall, on consideration, omit last night�s adventures (the short version: it was a very long drive for a sushi dinner that wound up consisting of half a pack of peanut M&Ms and a can of Red Bull), and refer you to International Horror Guild Award-Winning author Ms. Caitlin Keirnan�s online journal for details. If she�s written them. http://www.caitlin-r-kiernan.com/journal.html is the place to go and look.

Went to a studio in Chicago this morning and recorded the voice links for a documentary on Douglas Adams. Mostly I did it as me, but every now and again I�d go �how would Peter Jones have done it?� and say it like that.

Peter Jones was the voice of the Book in the audio versions of The Hitchhiker�s Guide to the Galaxy. Also, he played the Prime Minister convinced he was Superman in the original TV version of Whoops! Apocalypse. (There was a film made with the same title but with all the funny bits left out.) I told Andrew Marshall, one of the writers (and one of the inspirations for Marvin, the Paranoid Android), this, many years ago, and he sent me a photo of Peter Jones, Geoffrey Palmer and the other actors playing the members of the British Cabinet, all convinced they were (and costumed as) Superman, Green Lantern, Hawkman, and, if memory serves, The Flash. The photo, alas, vanished when I crossed the Atlantic, many years ago.

Got home, after my plane was cancelled thanks to the cargo door being stuck, to find that while I was at World Horror Con, something truly horrific had happened at my house. Er, ladybirds. Well, not really ladybirds, which many Americans call ladybugs, but some kind of beetle that looks almost exactly like a ladybird. They crept into the house in the autumn and hid in cracks. Today was the first day of summer, with temperatures in the 90s. (Five days ago there was snow on the ground and it was the end of winter. Spring seems to have been omitted this year, and will probably finally turn up in July where it will turn out to have been put under some newspapers, or to have slipped behind a chair, and been forgotten about.) The ladybirds-which-aren�t have decided that hot weather means that they should immediately breed in record numbers without bothering about going outside, so they creep everywhere, making otherwise normal surfaces move and writhe like something in a Ramsey Campbell short story, and they dive bomb people who are trying to write their journal entries. Also if you flick them off your pillow, they emit an extremely unpleasant smell and you have to stop typing and go and wash your hands.

How was World Horror Con? Actually, it was really fun (except for the outside signings, which were too far away, and it seemed to me that there wasn�t much point in doing two signings outside the con and only one inside the con � nobody at the convention seemed quite sure what the etiquette was for getting things signed, as, apart from the mass signing on the Friday night, there were no con-signings scheduled. There was another mass signing in an outside bookstore on the Sunday evening, but no-one had mentioned it to me ahead of time, so I didn�t put it up in this journal, so we didn�t get hundreds of people coming out for it, which was a good thing as I was really pretty tired by the end of the convention, and was doing it on adrenaline and luck.) I bought an alien rabbit in the art auction. And the people were so cool � just getting together with Gene and Rosemary Wolfe, with Gahan Wilson and Peter Straub, with Cait and her assistant Jennifer, with Kelly Link and Ed Bryant and I could keep typing names and names and names, but the point is that these are good people and they have really cool stuff to say, and they make me laugh.

The best bits of the con for me were interviewing Gene Wolfe, co-hosting the IHG Awards with Gahan Wilson, and performing in a radio play adaptation of the Gene Wolfe story �The Tree is My Hat�.

Stopped off at DreamHaven on my way home, signed a pile of copies of The Walking Tour of the Shambles, and some Dream Trades and Harlequin Valentines for Greg Ketter. We talked a little more about the dedicated Gaiman site they�re going to be putting together, and I got quite excited at the idea of putting together a bunch of recommendations for all the people who want to know what kind of authors or books for children I�d suggest, or SF authors, or poets...

American Gods should be out in paperback in a week or so.

And, according to Locus, Damon Knight is dead. I only met him once, with Kate Wilhelm in New Orleans, but we were on GEnie together, and as I was growing up I read what Damon wrote, edited and criticised. On GEnie, I was always conscious that this was Damon Knight, and if he was crusty and persinickety, then he'd earned the right to be crusty and persnickety, and he was astonishingly perceptive as well. He sent me a copy of his novel, Humpty Dumpty, in ms. form, to offer any input, and I never sent back any input because I couldn't think of anything to say.

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