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Thursday, October 31, 2002

Some months ago I sat and signed a lot of letters from the CBLDF to various people, mostly people in comics, asking for help -- donations of money or time or artwork. The first person to respond suggested we auction off the panties of hot female cartoonists. The second person was Jim Lee, who came up with a number of great suggestions for ways that he and Wildstorm could help the Fund. Check out NEWSARAMA: CBLDF AUCTIONS OFF JIM LEE for details.

At the DreamHaven mass-signing last night I saw (and signed) my first copy of the new CONJUNCTIONS. Gahan Wilson cover and illustrations and a stunning line-up of writers. There's an article about it here at USATODAY.com - Straub finds 'Fabulists' group of ghost writers. (My story is "October in the Chair", which was a sort of a test run for some of the themes in The Graveyard Book, the next childrens' novel.)

In the same edition of USA Today is an article on Tori Amos, and her new CD "Scarlet's Walk", which is just out and is very wonderful.

Lots of strange noises and images over at the Biting Dog Press Website. They still have some copies of the "Snow, Glass, Apples" book for sale on the website at the original price. This is the radio play, with the George Walker illustrations and the black and red printing. There are 250 of them, signed by me, George and Jack Zipes (who wrote the introduction) and they are $100 each (which is $50 less than the price at which they're showing up in bookseller catalogues, according to bookfinder.com). (Posted as a public service by someone who doesn't actually see any money from this -- it all went into making the books as art objects.)

A couple of weeks ago the Christian Science Monitor published an odd article about "grown-up" authors writing for kids. Patronising in every way it could be. Still, they've now reviewed Coraline, and made a point of saying it wasn't meant to be in that weird wrong-end-of-the-stick article.


...

World Fantasy Con is now underway, but I think my convention may start tomorrow morning (Friday), which will allow me to take Maddy trick or treating tonight. I've got a full schedule tomorrow -- two readings on Friday, and three panels (two back to back) on Saturday. Sunday morning's the Punch and Judy show (something that originated in this blogger), followed in the afternoon by the banquet and the Awards.

Wednesday, October 30, 2002

The journal problem was, it turns out, mostly at our end, after changing the server, Julia the webmistress tells me. We're fixing the archives problem, which is blogger's not ours. And this just in....

So, meant to let you know about this when we spoke earlier...

It seems the ghouls are wreaking havoc on us a day early for Halloween, and there are some problems with the message board right now. Basically, it isn't working as we speak. Would you mind terribly letting people know this in the journal, so they don't worry too much?

We've been assured that the problem is being addressed round the clock, and should be resolved soon. The message board people at InfoPop are being busy little bees to allow all our users to interact again!

Cheers,
Julia

Book Magazine did and article about The Scariest Characters and Books for Halloween Reading and a lot of people wrote to let me know that Coraline is their scariest book for Young Adults. Hurray. Also Hurrah.

So blogger's back up after a few days down and I've only lost two posts, as far as I can see, which is a start (one a reply to queries about Dave McKean's films, from Dave, who's here, and one a heads up on the DreamHaven signing tonight, which is now a bit late).

A man just came and fixed my Dell. New memory, which fixed some of the problem, and a new motherboard, which fixed the rest of it. Gradually, one by one, the things in life go back to normal.

Tonight, I take part in the mass signing at DreamHaven Books, along with Dave McKean, Jonathan Carroll and about a hundred other people. Then it's World Fantasy to Sunday...

"Where's Neil" is posting again -- it turns out nothing that I've put up since Spetember has posted -- although right now it looks a little odd.

Monday, October 28, 2002

http://www.datlow.com/gallery/friends/wc02/wc2kpics/
neil_gaiman_and_china_mieville.jpg
is from the pre-Hugo party and is from Ellen Datlow's site, and makes me glad that this journal doesn't have a caption competition. No, it really doesn't.

Which reminds me: my favourite recent quote was from http://www.sfgate.com news site A former porn star who admitted profiting from insider information she received from a Wall Street executive was sentenced Wednesday to three months in prison.

"I did a lot of wrong things, but I'm an adventurous Aries and a Canadian," Kathryn Gannon, who appeared as Marylin Star in several adult films, said outside federal court. "I'm going to go to jail with my head up high, and I'm going to be the captain of my cell block."

So, I replied to the automatically generated Keyboard problem letter, explaining, in detail, what was going on.

I got a reply back from someone at Dell helpfully telling me to "use a paperclip or similar device to press and hold the reset button for 5 seconds". This was a very odd email to get as there is no reset button of any kind on a Latitude C400, with or without a paperclip.

At this point I decided that I would brave the Dell phone lines -- something that I've in the past sacrificed whole working days to. However, fairly fast I got a human who, when I told him my service tag number, suddenly realised that I had signed up for their "Gold" care, and put me through to someone who could "actually help me". I told the new guy what was going on, he got me to describe exactly what happened when I turned on the power button, told me that the memory had gone on the blink, and that he'd send someone to come and repair it on Wednesday. I shall report back.

Hello Neil,
I was under the impression that Dreamhaven was going to do one more
run of Angels and Visitations this fall, but I have not heard anything
about it, even on your Neil Gaiman Store. I was looking forward to
getting a copy at a reasonable price, don't need one of the $120.00 1st
printings. Do you know if this last printing is really going to happen?
Thanks! Dave G


It will happen, honest. DreamHaven were hoping to bring it out for World Fantasy Con, but they were stretched to their limit (being a bookstore and not a publisher) bringing out the Fantasycon program Book and a book called Shelf Life to celebrate their 20th anniversary. So the 10th anniversary Angels and Visitations will come out in 2003 (which is better than 2002 from a 10th anniversary point of view, the original having been published in 1993, although admittedly worse from a trying to buy a copy in 2002 point of view).

...

Note for those in Minneapolis who aren't going to the World Fantasy Convention:
on the DreamHaven site, over at http://www.dreamhavenbooks.com you'll see lists of the signings they'll be hosting over the next eight days. An amazing assortment of authors and events. (I'll probably be at the one on Wednesday night.)

...

The computer saga. So far, today has brought a computer-generated e-mail from Dell letting me know that their artificial intelligence unit has scanned my problem report (the computer is completely dead) and it suspects that I may be having keyboard problems. It offers several solutions to a sticky or problematic keyboard and hopes that I am now happy. If that doesn't solve my problems I should reply again. I've replied again.

Several of you have suggested I switch to a Mac. Although, on reflection, many of the Macs I have known in my life have demonstrated a capacity to go wrong in strange and interesting ways that PCs are still struggling for.

Personally I am much more inclined to switch to a pen and paper. I would no longer be emailable, people would have to write me actual letters. I wouldn't even post this journal for you to read any longer. Instead, people would come round to your house in the morning and recite it to you, with appropriate and meaningful gestures, and to the delight of your neighbours.

Sunday, October 27, 2002

Went to Chicago on Friday afternoon. Went to Andersen's Bookshop. Pulled out fairly new and quite expensive Dell Notebook computer to read assembled crowd a poem called "Crazy Hair". Computer did nothing. (Computer has done nothing whatsoever since.) Did a Q and A, then signed for a long time for many people.

The next day I read Coraline for the Chicago Humanities Festival. Started reading around 4.00pm, went to 5:30ish. Then signed for 45 minutes for kids and adults who were leaving early. Then read the rest of the book, finished around 8:20pm, then signed for everyone else there, the line ended around 10.00pm ish, and then went back to hotel, kind of tired.

Came home this morning.

Probably won't do another public reading of Coraline all the way through, but if I do, I don't think there will be any signings on either side of it, or during.

I don't think I'm particularly hard on computers... but it's time to get another one repaired.

Friday, October 25, 2002

Did you know that there's already a little image from Wolves in the Walls up here? COLONYMEDIA

I didn't, no. But that's the cover, here shown very small -- you can't really even see the yellow wolf-eyes staring out through the hole in the wall.

Hi. I'm a student teacher on my first practice teaching assignment. I used your essay on where ideas come from in a lesson for Grade 7s and Grade 8s a few days ago. It sort of came up, because last week, I had another author come to the school, and the most common question from the kids was "Where do you get your ideas from?" Actually, it was more like, "Where did you get your idea for [book X] from." He was quite game about the issue, and mostly gave straight answers. But I thought the class might appreciate a different perspective.

I also got the second last page of Sandman #50. I blanked out the captions, and asked the kids to tell me who the characters were, and fill out the captions. It was a good way to think about character and characterization. I think the best answer was that the city in the bottle was a carving made out of cheese by a race of intelligent ants. I also hope the educational license ends up providing you with some money, somehow.

I wish I had time to do a short story, but what I did sure was a lot of fun Thanks for the great essay, and the great work. And, err, this isn't really a question, is it?


Not even a little bit, but it was still interesting.

Okay... so, this evening, Friday, is a small reading and a signing at Andersens Bookshop in Naperville, Il (Chicago). Tomorrow is the COMPLETE CORALINE READING for the Chicago Humanities Festival. Go down a post or two and phone the number, or just come down and get a ticket on the door.

Thursday, October 24, 2002

An article from the The Globe and Mail on boys and their toys, and now I'm trying to remember which pen I showed Christopher on the American Gods tour....

Lots of Q's being FA'd on what I think of fanfiction -- which I answered here back in April. April the 8th 2002. I found out by searching the site (clicking SEARCH over on the top left) and entering "fanfiction". GMZoe, moderator of the forums and all-around helpful person is I believe doing some kind of index to all the stuff on this site that people actually want to know. In the meantime, it's always a good idea if you think you're asking something I might have been asked before to go and have a look around before answering. Try searching for key words. Look at the FAQ page, look at the FAQ blog (which is much longer) and look at the journal...

Dreamworks have produced a film entitled Paradise Falls that tells the tale of a fallen angel having to solve the murder of another angel in order to save paradise from desrtuction. The film was (apparently) completed in 1999 but never released. The plot shares similarities with your own Murder Mysteries, so I was wondering if perhaps the reason for the film never coming out was due to some legal altercations between yourself and Dreamworks.

Someone sent me a script of this a few years ago -- it certainly looked as if it had been written by someone who had also read "Murder Mysteries", but who knows? Anyway, I never heard anything more about it actually being made. My friend Mark Romanek was attached to direct it briefly, I think.

A good way of finding out if something exists or not is to check the international movie data base at www.imdb.com (there are a few unreliable things on there -- I just looked at my entry and it lists me as the writer of the English version of AVALON, which I'm not, and it lists a 1997 film version of Signal to Noise directed by a "Boris Le Bouffe" that never actually existed). It lists 3 things called Paradise Falls, and none of them are set in Heaven.

So the way things are looking, I'll be going to the UK for a few weeks in late November to make "A Short Film About John Bolton". Had a transatlantic conversation yesterday with my producer and his team which was really fun. Time to start thinking seriously about casting.

Not just doing this to escape from the midwestern weather, which has turned unseasonably cold and horrid in October for first time since 1993, when the World Fantasy Convention was also held in Minneapolis over hallowe'en, and it rained and snowed, was bitterly cold and unpleasant. It took 9 years to get the World Fantasy Con back to Minneapolis, after a number of Hallowe'ens in the unseasonable 70s, and now the world's finest fantasy writers and artists and editors will converge here and grumble about the weather again.

I'm finishing the latest polish on the Fermata script, about to write the third part of 1602, and, of course, off to Chicago for the Humanities Festival. If there's anyone out there who wishes they could have been at the Coraline reading in Berkeley, this is the second complete Coraline reading for an audience. All the pre-ordering tickets have gone -- but this really doesn't mean that the tickets have sold out. I've learned from the last two Humanities Festivals that tickets are kept back, and are available at the door, after the pre-orders have gone. http://www.chfestival.org/november/index.cfm?GetSpeakerID=654&pg=6 tells you that

Tickets for this event are no longer available for advance ordering. If you wish to attend, tickets will be sold at the site 30 minutes prior to the event for $6 (cash only), based on availability. Call the CHF Ticket Office at (312) 494-9509 to inquire about status.


You don't have to be or have a child to come. It's listed for ages 10 and above because it's LONG. 4pm to 8 pm, with a half hour break in the middle. There may be one, possibly two more readings of Coraline in the future, possibly when it comes out in paperback, and then I'll be done.

I think Nick Lowe's essay (which is interesting to me mostly for the powerful anger of the prose) breaks down when he acknowledges that Tolkien's ring comes ultimately from traditional sources, don't you? Because then you start thinking about it and realize that everything he describes is something that storytellers have been doing for millenia, and there's a reason that things last so long. He could just as well sneer at Homer (Poseidon in the Odyssey being a perfect example of a Universal Plot Generator) as all those silly sci-fi authors. The real reason those authors are bad cannot be because of their plots, when those plots are basically the same as hundreds of very good books. I can't see why he wasted his time getting so angry about this anyway--there sure are plenty of wonderful plotless books out there for him to enjoy.
On a completely other note I just want to say I'm very pleased that McSweeney's and Neil Gaiman, two literary things that I like, have gotten together Two years ago I don't think I would have believed it could happen.


I think the Lowe article is a funny polemic, and a fine warning against laziness in plotting. Not sure it's of much use beyond that, nor that it was meant to be.

Hullo Neil,

I am a Spanish reader of you (sorry for the bad writing, then). I just read the things that the American Attorney General, John Ashcroft, wrote about "Coraline" and another children's books and I have to say, as a foreigner-latin-european, that I love your sense of humor, you anglos.

Because that's a joke, doesn't it?

DOESN'T IT??

--Valent�n


It certainly does. That was not John Ashcroft.

Hi Neil,
With your name mentioned again in "Carbon" on Tori's new album, some people think that "To Venus and Back" was the only album in which you were not mentioned. And though I understand that she didn't mention your name, I found that the lyrics to her song "Concertina" reflect the story you told in DreamHunters. The note to you in the back of the CD booklet also references Dreamhunters. Am I totally off the mark here? Or is there a connection between song and story?
Just Curious.
Kathryn


I think you may be reaching for something that isn't there. On To Venus and Back I was in a song called Zero Point , which never made it onto the CD and was too long to be a B side, and back then there wasn't a Scarlet's Web for the Tombigbees to go to. (Scarlet's Web is the online place Tori's made for the CD which contains lots of background material in addition to several songs that were recorded for Scarlet's Walk but which didn't make it onto the album. I think you'll need a Scarlet's Walk CD to access it.)

You might want to remind your readers that their local library *might* have Victoria Walker's books... I thought your description sounded interesting, and not having $300 to spare, searched online and found The Winter of Enchantment after a short search. It's worth a try, at least! Jennifer

Good idea. It's amazing what you can get through an interlibrary loan.

Hi Neil,

You've been awfully quiet on the whole subject of online comics, aside from the cute little McCloud Clan anecdotes. Now that serializer.net has just opened (and of course, the established moderntales.com & all it's other sister sites), I was wondering what your thoughts are in regards to publishing on the web? And if we might be seeing any online comic work from you in the near future?

Obviously, online stuff at the moment will never pay as well as the publishers of traditional graphic novels do now, but having a "big" name (in addition to a huge, multi-media fan base) like yourself would do wonders for the awareness of online comics.

Well, just a thought anyway.

Cheers,
Kean


I have great arguments with Scott about online comics, which tend to end up with him saying, "But by the time you get to panel 36 my first panel is now larger than the entire known universe, so you see I couldn't do it on paper!" and me going "But why do you want a panel larger than the known universe anyway?" but by that point in the conversation Scott has a strange light in his eyes and is starting to levitate and expound...

And then he shows me a selection of online comics ("Now this is a work of genius. Of course, it's a good thing you have broadband, otherwise you couldn't actually read it until tomorrow...") and I cavil and scoff until he shows me something I like, which he does quite often, and then I'm impressed.

I can't imagine I'd ever do online comics for the sake of doing online comics. If ever I had an idea for a comic that would only work if it was online, and didn't involve characters falling for a very long way or panels larger than the known universe, and that wasn't a novelty act, I might well do it.

And pretty much the only comic I ever drew is, of course, already available online, and had been for some years, that being the story of Heliogabolus.

Lacking Scott, I don't go and read online comics for pleasure. I have too many piles of unread paper comics to read, and they make me feel guilty by being things that take up space on the floor in boxes. Online comics do not make me feel guilty. Yet.

...

Talking about guilt, I've put in place a blurb moratorium for the next year. I'm not giving any more blurbs. Recently, every day would bring another book or three, each with a nice note from the editor or the author or both asking me to read it and endorse it, too many books to read, let alone read and tell the world how good they were, and if I liked them all and said so then it would become meaningless anyway... and something snapped. So I shall treat everyone equally and say no to everyone and feel one huge pulsing miasma of guilt rather than a dozen specific guilts a week. Which is a great improvement.

Tuesday, October 22, 2002



Anderson's Bookshops presents Neil Gaiman, author of American Gods (this
year's Hugo Award winner), Neverwhere, Stardust and his newest, Coraline.

Friday, October 25, 6 p.m.
123 W. Jefferson Ave., Naperville, IL
630-355-2665
www.andersonsbookshop.com
**Anderson's will begin handing out numbers to reserve your place in the
signing line at 5 p.m. Please present your Anderson's receipt for one of Mr.
Gaiman's books to receive a number.**

The morning has barely broken and already several people have e-mailed me to point out that Nick Lowe's original essay The Well-Tempered Plot Device, is online.

(Rereading it, it's interesting what he, as a critic grumbles about, is stuff that I, as an author, when I read the article 18 years ago, looked at and went "Oh, that's useful, I'll remember that" which was probably not his intention at all.)

One person has written to ask if I'll be writing the book about Beppo the Clown. No, that was merely an example.

Re: your journal entry on 22 October about "the cliches of Fantasy" - my question (rhetorical in my case, I suppose) is, isn't that sort of thing the reason most people READ Fantasy? Isn't that what they want and expect to read, variations on the theme of The Heroic Journey with the protagonist growing and finding out more about herself along the way? Or is it just me? I almost feel like apologizing for my tastes now, but if I didn't ENJOY that sort of thing I wouldn't be READING Fantasy books.

Then you are the perfect reader of Diana Wynne Jones's TOUGH GUIDE TO FANTASYLAND. The people who don't know and love the cliches will not get all the jokes.

(I wasn't really talking about cliches. I was trying to explain, expand and expound on the concept of plot coupons for the people who felt I'd not been very clear about them when talking about the Victoria Walker books, and found myself doing a gentle parody as I typed because it was fun to type. And there's stew in STARDUST.)

And about fifty people have asked me to plug, or just wanted to know what I thought, about National Novel Writing month. The object of which is to write a 50,000 word novel in a month, on which getting to the finish line is more important than the content. I think it's a great idea -- anything that makes people who want to be writers write is a good idea. It's too easy to let your life slip away, convinced that all you need to be a writer is an idea. In reality, what you need to do is put one word after the other until you're done, with all the work and pain and triumph involved.

Chuck Jones told would be artists to draw, explaining that "you've got a million bad drawings inside you and the sooner you get them out, the better". Raymond Chandler is reputed to have told would be authors that they have a million words of crap to get out of their system. And in both cases there's a lot of truth there -- if only because it allows you to keep going despite your technical limitations and inability to get the words or the pen to do what you want, and eventually find yourself, well, competent. And some of the words and pictures you turn out on the way can be pretty good too.

Several people asking what I meant by "Plot Coupons".

I think Nick Lowe (the Interzone film critic, not the rock star or the Marvel editor) was the first person to coin the term. It's a very useful way of thinking about a particular type of structure of a story.

It's the kind of story where the protagonist(s) is told to go and collect a bunch of objects. It's a very good way into a world, because it takes you all over, looking for things. Often, early on, someone will say something like, "A thousand years ago, Estragon The Dark Clown, for reasons that will never be adequately explained in this book or its many sequels, placed his power in The Funny Hat of Doom, The Big Red Nose of Darkness, the Wig of Desmond, and the Revolving Bow Tie of Light. It has been written, that only when these four objects come together will a Saviour arise to save Clowntown. You, Beppo, you must take this map (helpfully printed in the front of the book for easy reference) and nip around the book obtaining these four things (each the object of veneration by a different culture, each guarded by very different groups of people) at great cost to yourself and to the supporting cast, and then you must bring them back here."

"Me? But I'm not even a full clown. I'm just a popcorn boy."

"They say the gods smile on popcorn boys, lad. But quick -- the Vladimirian Army approaches across the hills. Winter will keep them penned down, but if you don't bring back those plot coupons by the Spring, it will mean death for all of us."

"And if I do? What then, wise old clown?"

"Then, Beppo, we will still need to find someone to wear the Hat, the Wig, the Nose and the Revolving Bow Tie. Someone who is truly a hero. But who that person will be, I do not know."

"Don't look at me like that. Remember I am but a humble popcorn boy."

"Hey kid -- you're leaving Clowntown a popcorn boy, but you're coming back a hero!"

There. Does that help? And have I ever actually recommended Diana Wynne Jones's TOUGH GUIDE TO FANTASYLAND for anyone who wants to avoid the cliches of Fantasy. (It's always stew, she points out, despite how long it takes to make stew and how easy it is to burn stew even with a gas range let alone a cooking fire, and never omelettes.)

(By the way, books I always used to suggest to people (actually to lend to people) who wanted to be writers, particularly SF writers, were Reginald Bretnor's The Craft of Science Fiction, Samuel R. Delany's The Jewel-Hinged Jaw, and I'd add to that a wonderful essay by Alan Moore from around 1985 (republished, I think, in the early 1990s in The Comics Journal.)

....

Monday, October 21, 2002

Home again. Got to the airport yesterday to discover what happens when Northwest overbooks their flights really badly, even if you check in way early, and Holly and I spent the night in an airport hotel. Sigh. (And, yes, I would very much rather had been home working than receive fly-anywhere vouchers. I have frequent flier miles and to spare.)

Friday I'm signing at Andersen's in Naperville Il., and Saturday I'm reading all of Coraline at the Chicago Humanities Festival.

Saturday, October 19, 2002

I finished reading The House Called Hadlows, by Victoria Walker, a couple of nights ago. I�d never read it before.

It�s a fascinating book. Better than The Winter of Enchantment, which is a book I had read a couple of times in the library when I was a boy, and first reread as an adult several months ago.

The two books are pretty straightforward � they share a kind of plot, and they share a weakness. They also share a mystery.

And they are both, pretty much, unknown. If the books had been picked up by Lin Carter for his Ballantine Adult Fantasy line back when they were published, back in the early seventies, I suspect they would have become seminal for a generation of Fantasy Writers, or at least part of the ongoing dialogue of fantasy. Instead, they were published, went out of print, and are now not quite forgotten (if they were completely forgotten I wouldn�t have had to pay about $300 a book to read them -- but readers who read them years ago haven't forgotten them, and still seek them out).

The Winter of Enchantment is set about a hundred and fifty years ago, in Victorian Times. A boy named Sebastian encounters a magical mirror and a mysterious cat, which lead him to a house beyond time which belongs to an evil enchanter. The house is inhabited by a girl called Melissa, who looks slightly older than Sebastian, but was taken prisoner by the enchanter a hundred years before. To win Melissa�s freedom and bring down the enchanter, they must find the enchanter�s power objects across time and space, aided by the seasons and some rudimentary magic.

The writing goes from the lovely to the clumsy, often in the same paragraph. The plot, well, it�s basically plot coupons (collect a set and redeem them for the end of the story) but they are fine plot coupons, and Plot Coupons are a great way to for a young writer, or an unsure writer, to begin. (The first Sandman arc, More Than Rubies, is a Plot Coupon story. So is Neverwhere.)

The House Called Hadlows, set a couple of years after The Winter of Enchantment, kept reminding me of another author, and it took me a while to realise that it was me � it was something about the cavalier blending of mythologies, in which elves, ghosts, Greek Gods and The Devil rub shoulders, along with the leavening of humour, and the way she wasn�t afraid to borrow motifs she loved from other books (the cat Mantari�s appearance as a lion is as close to C.S. Lewis as the end of Game of You).

In it Sebastian and Melissa are sent to a house (called Hadlows). A mysteriously deformed and ageless butler tells them the story of the house � a ghost story, in which the ghosts and the house can be redeemed by Sebastian and Melissa obtaining the earth, air, fire and water objects that once comprised a magical elixir and have been scattered through the mythscape. And again, we go after the plot coupons � but this time in set pieces closer to short stories, and in which there is a cost. Nothing comes free.

Each story has similar problems � there�s a jerkiness to the way the books move, for example. And they share a huge weakness in that the villains of each book are peculiarly absent -- while the Enchanter in the first book is barely seen, except in flashback, the Evil One in the second is pretty much offstage the entire time, even during the flashback. (It�s odd, as, particularly in Hadlows, Walker demonstrates that she can craft fine villains � the Devil, for example, and Ares and Hephaestus, in the fire and the air sections.) I wonder if she�d read Lord of the Rings between the two books and decided that her Evil One would be as unseen as Sauron.

Victoria Walker has some remarkable strengths � her imagery is excellent, her imagination feels boundless: you can feel someone enjoying imagining. There�s a real narrative drive. And her weaknesses are the weaknesses of youth and inexperience. The Winter of Enchantment is a good book with several astonishing scenes. The House Called Hadlows is a significantly better book -- you can see her learning as she goes. Each book is better written at the end than it is at the beginning. Each book is a journeyman effort by a journeyman of astonishing talent and potential. There�s an excitement in wanting to see what she did next � a certainty that over the next book or two she would have stretched her wings and really started to fly.

But there weren�t any more books. And she didn�t.

Which is the mystery. As far as any of us know, she never wrote another book. The last address we have for her is in January 1973, when she was 25 (she listed her occupations back then as farming and writing). She�s not listed as having died anywhere. The author photos show a young (early 20s), pretty, dark-haired woman, smiling happily at camera, and tell us she spent time in a Sussex windmill.

And while I�m tempted to write to the various 30-year old addresses that are on file for her, I won�t. Privacy should be sacrosanct, and mysteries are more interesting than explanations any day.

(The US rights to The Winter of Enchantment are held, for term of copyright, by the Macmillan company, inherited from Bobbs-Merrill company on its dissolution. Not sure about Hadlows.)

...

Saw a couple of colleges with Holly today. She liked Vassar best.

G'night.

Over at the DreamHaven "Official Neil Gaiman Store" we've put up the first Really Cool Original Thing.

It's a story called Cinnamon, which I wrote some years ago (inspired by a Lisa Snellings carousel sculpture). It's never been collected anywhere, and it's illustrated on the web by Jill Karla Schwarz, one of my favourite illustrators. One day we have to turn it into a picture book, but until then you'll have to make do with the three pictures you get (and the blinking parrot).

So go to http://www.neilgaiman.net/cinnamon.html and click on the Cinnamon logo.

(And then, if you feel the urge, go and browse their site, and thank DreamHaven for giving Cinnamon a home...)

...

Am on a quickly-go-and-look-at-colleges expedition with Holly, who is now a senior at high school, and where did the last seventeen years go? Due to traffic and train problems we just got into our hotel at 4.00am.

Pleasantly surprised, at end of long train journey, to stumble over a terribly nice review of Coraline in "The Literary Review", which I'd bought (along with a Comics Journal) to read on the train.

Tomorrow is going to be a long day.

Friday, October 18, 2002

Whatever happened to the wonderful painting that you found in your basement by Zulli(?) of Sandman that you thought might make a nice poster?

DC brought it out as a poster.Here's a picture of it from the DreamHaven site. Your local comic shop should have it for sale, and if they don't, Dreamhaven do.

...

Had dinner with Michael Chabon tonight, after his signing. Talking about doing a signing for the McSweeneys Michael edited with my story in it (and Steve King's, and Harlan Ellison's, and Kelly Link's, and Elmore Leonard's and Sherman Alexie's and Glen David Gold's and Nick Hornby's....). It'd be a signing to remember if it happens. (If you subscribe to McSweeney's you get it months before it turns up in the book shops.) Talked about lots of other things too (I think we could have talked for several weeks). I think I've persuaded him that he'll like Robert Aickman.

We tried to follow directions from the bookstore to his hotel, and slowly discovered that you couldn't get there from here. Well, not with me driving and Michael navigating you couldn't, as slowly the streets took on an ever more Escheresque quality. We could see where we going; we just couldn't get there. Finally we pulled off the main road, and called my assistant Lorraine, who sighed and got us there in what seemed like seconds.

Wednesday, October 16, 2002

Hello, I am a middle school art teacher. Most of the time I have a few students who are interested in cartooning. In addition to doing my bit, (inking, composition, page lay-out, and so on) I will generally direct them to a variety of web addresses, including several related to you (thanks) or that I have found by following your links (I delight in directing them to Coleen Doran's biography... so motivating!) ...I currently have a student who creates amazingly well drawn, funny, dark, deep, and creepy work which leads to my question: at what age did you develop an interest in horror? Did your folks or friends express concern / dismay at the dark content of your work? What do you tell people who question the validity of violent or horific content in your work? What advice would you have for a young creator who is feeling pressure to "lighten up" his work? My student's work is really somthing special, like many in middle school (8th grade) he feels he is all alone, and although he is very unique I am hoping to convince him that he will find others who appreciate his particular kind of humor, and I suppose, reassure him that he is okay. Thanks so much for this journal, it is a tremendous resource for my students who are interested in writing and comics. Rachael

Er... I don't think I wrote any horror/weird/creepy stuff before I was ten. Although I loved The Armada Books of Ghost Stories, Mike Moorcock's Elric stories, and the creepy bits of the Narnia books before I was ten.

By the time I was eleven I was writing stories for school crawling with Vampirism and Lycanthropy, and doing a sequence of drawings of severed heads on plates (mostly through laziness, because it meant I could skip drawing the rest of the body). For several years (aged 13-15) all of my stories ended with the Earth being destroyed, because I couldn't figure out how to finish stories. Nobody seemed to mind.

I hope that no-one stops your student from writing or drawing what he wants to.

Tuesday, October 15, 2002

There's an article on Roger Avary at Salon.com http://salon.com/ent/movies/int/2002/10/15/avary/index.html

Happy Birthday, Jordan.

The Sunday evening of World Fantasy con -- November 3rd -- is going to be a lot of fun, musically speaking. At 7.00pm The Fabulous Lorraine's New Band, currently known as Folk Underground (currently rehearsing in my basement, as I type this), play at Minneapolis's First Avenue, at the Tim Malloys CD release party, and at about 9.00pm (I think) The Future Bible Heroes take to the stage at the Minneapolis Women's Club Theatre.

Lots of FAQ e-mails from people wanting to know about obtaining rights. So...

(Takes a deep breath...)

If you want to get the rights to do something with Sandman, from turning it into a stage play to making a short film or a computer game or even to making a CD of music inspired by it, you need to talk to DC Comics. They own or control the rights to everything I've done for them (except Mr Punch and Stardust). Write to Karen Berger at DC Comics, and she'll pass on your request to the correct place.

They'll probably say no to your request -- not because DC Comics takes pleasure in being bloodyminded, but because they don't control all of the rights: lots of them have been bought by Warner Brothers films along with the Sandman movie rights. If you propose a Sandman short film, for example, if the request goes to Warner Bros, they'll eventually say no.

(Generally speaking, if the film rights to a book have been sold that adds an extra layer of complication to things.)

If you want to find out about adapting a short story into a short film or turning something into a play or generally just establishing what the rights situation is on something of mine, then contact my literary agent, Merrilee Heifetz at Writer's House. Apart from DC and Sandman, no rights to any books or stories are held by any publishers so trying to find someone to talk to at Harper Collins or Headline or Workmans or Berkeley or wherever will not get you anywhere.

Sometimes the rights you're after will already be tied up by a film deal. It's not logical that a film that hasn't been made in Hollywood could stop you putting on a puppet play of something in New Zealand, but all too often, that's how it is, and there's nothing we can do about it.

If you're looking to buy movie rights on something of mine, then you'll want to talk to Jon Levin at CAA.

For more unusual rights requests you may want to talk to Erin Culley LaChapelle at CAA -- she tends to deal with unusual online requests, people who want to turn things into computer games, musical enquiries, and so on.

Monday, October 14, 2002

Home again...

This morning I finished the story for art speigelman and Francoise Mouly's LITTLE LIT volume 3, to be drawn by the wonderful Gahan Wilson. It's a fun little story about some kids having a party in a graveyard.

Lots of organising for the small film happening. (It has a working title of A SHORT FILM ABOUT JOHN BOLTON.) Will post more info as I get it.

Poster arrived of the Li'l Endless statue set - I shall try and post it here to see if I remember how...


Lots of questions coming in that really have been answered before on the big FAQ blog or somewhere in the journal. If you have a question, it's a very good idea to do a site search of neilgaiman.com and see if it's been answered somewhere...

Hi neil.
I sended a mail some time ago. IM spanish and i think it wasnt what i tried to say. Sometimes i think in spanish and have probelms translating. Ill try it once more.
Ill just ask u the plain questions now.
1) Do you know the ending of the stories you write before placing the first word of it? I once heard that you must know the ending because a story is travel between point A and point B. i know that this is arguable but i kinda agree it. What do u think?
2) Do you get scared while writting, when you are writting those thing that have to do so much with you that may even painful to write them that no one will understand you?
3) Could u recommend me a list of books about Norse mythology? Here in Spain that mythology is very far and i cant find anything. (Its kinda like when i tried to find Beowulf, it hasnt been printed here!) Also, a good book about characters of mythology in general would be great.
3) Any book a storyteller apprentice should read.

NACHO
A spanish fan.

PD You wont be comin for something to the beutiful Spain? I suppose you only attend places where english is spoken.


1) Some stories I know the end of before I start them. Some I just know how they begin. Some I know how they middle, and some I just have one image from somewhere in the story. Each story is different.

2) Sometimes, yes. When you're writing well, you're sometimes walking naked.

3) Check the Norse section of http://www.neilgaiman.com/works/Books/American+Gods/in/183/ (And yes, I really will go in and finish it off one day. Honest.) As to what's available in Spanish... I don't know.

I've not been to Spain for about five or six years now -- the last trip was to the convention at Gijon. I'll be coming back this April, movie permitting. Yes, I go and sign books in places where they don't speak English. (Last year I went to Italy, Argentina and Brazil. The year before that to Finland, Norway and Sweden.)

Friday, October 11, 2002

So for me the highlight of today was getting backstage in the Library of Congress -- especially seeing the George Herriman and the Winsor McKay originals in the Prints and Photos dept, along with some of the comics (the 1939 World's Fair comic, for example), and the newspaper archives.

For Maddy it was getting the packet of Presidential M&Ms in the Vice President's office (red, white and blue, in their own packet). "I'm glad I didn't see the president," she said. "If I had, no-one at school would have believed me. So I'm pleased I didn't." She has a spare pack of M&Ms to take back to school with her, though, so they'll believe that something happened.

The Library of Congress is missing a lot of comics. I suggested they put together a list that we can circulate to the comics community. There are bound to be people out there who would be thrilled to know that their copy of Action Comics 67 was going to the Library of Congress.

...

Hi,
Neil Gaiman is one of my favorite writers next to Charles DeLint. Mr. Gaiman how do you do it? The whole writing a story. I can never finish. I don't want to end my stories they just go on and after a while I just get so frustrated. so I set it aside and well now I have 4 books in my head or outlined on paper. What can I do? Do you have any advice? My dream is to be a published writer. I don't care if my books are on the best sellers list or anything like that. I just want to get my stuff out there, so maybe someone else like myself (a bookworm and a future librarian of the Library of Congress-fingers crossed) can read it and like it or not. If you see this Mr. Gaiman I hope you have the time to respond. If not that is fine. I love your works and thank you for writing them. They have impacted my life.
Jacqueline (Aridy)


There really isn't a magic secret, I'm afraid. How do you do it? You do it. Finish those four books. Or at least finish one of them. Then start another. Write shorter things you have to finish. When they're done write other things. You'll get better as you go.If you send them to people who might publish them, sooner or later you'll get published. And then you get to read what you wrote, published, and you really get to start learning.

Mr. Gaiman,
Three sort of related questions. 1) Is the Endless Nights series going to be a full-fledged comic book ala the Sandman books or will it be more prose with pictures, ala Stardust? 2) Which format do you prefer? 3) I mentioned this new series to a friend of mine who enjoys your work but to a lesser degree than I or most of your journal readers. Her response to the Endless Nights series was "He should just let that go. Sandman was great but it's over". Do you sometimes feel this way? Thanks for your time.


1) It's a 140 page book, containing seven stories, one for each of the Endless. Six of them are strict comics. One of them, "Fifteen Portraits of Despair", with art by Barron Storey, is closer to something like Storey's Marat-Sade Journals than regular comics.

2) Whatever's most appropriate for the story

3) I certainly agree that Sandman's over. I was the one who finished it, after all, six years ago. But that doesn't mean I'm forbidden from ever telling any more stories with any of those characters in ever again, or I hope it doesn't. The stories in Endless Nights are stories I've not told before, anyway -- and I got to write for six artists I've always wanted to work with, and one artist I love working with.

Thursday, October 10, 2002

Mostly today was spent walking.

Maddy decided she wanted to see the gemstone exhibit in the Natural History Museum, mainly in order to have seen for herself each of the precious stones that princesses are named after in The Ordinary Princess, and while we were there I wanted to see the T. Rex Imax film because my friend Kari Coleman is in it (she plays the professor's girlfriend), and I'd never seen it. Was disappointed to discover that Kari never flees from a dinosaur at any point in the film. (It's an odd film, like two different stories that have been welded together in the middle, but Maddy enjoyed it, and Mike enjoyed grumbling about it.) Ate at Kaz Sushi, which was good but not great, and was rained upon a fair bit.

(Last time I spoke to Kari, I rang her out of the blue for the first time in a year, and she was delighted and slightly weirded out, as, she said, she'd just seen a big display of my books and had been thinking about me. Which was a coincidence that would have impressed her had she not been a serious skeptic. Here's a fascinating article she wrote about Cold Reading, for a sequence on the Penn & Teller Sin City Spectacular that was, in the end, never used.)

Hello Mr. Gaiman -

How are you this fine day?
In case you were wondering, I'm positively fine. I have a small question/favor to ask of you, a couple of days ago my dear and loving sister asked you question and you have yet to answer it. She spent a great deal of time composing it, making it perfect, for she holds you very high in her esteem, so that you would not have to read her question then think to yourself, 'My that girl had atrocious grammar and spelling. Wherever did she go to school? Certainly not a fine British school such as the one I went to in my youth.' Well, as forementioned, it has been a few days and there has been no posting of her question and your response on your journal. After she first submitted her question she was all giddy with the idea that her question might appear on your journal which would mean that you had taken the time out of your incredibly hectic schedule to read what she wrote and then respond to it. Erin, my sister, had been sick and feeling blue these past couple of days and it would mean a great deal to her, and myself, if you would post her question and your response on your journal or e-mail her. Though if you are to busy you could just write this one sentence in your journal, "Erin B., You rock my world."

Thank you - K. B.


Hullo K.,

The hard and awful truth is that most days bring anywhere between 25 and 50 questions, along with the notes, the "this isn't a question but" letters, FAQs, websites people want to me mention and so on. If you send something in and it doesn't get posted, it's no reflection on what you sent. I can't reply to everything. It would be a full-time job. I do read everything (including Erin's message), if that's any comfort, or I try to. And what gets picked is whim...

Dear Neil,

In this week's (Oct.11) issue of Entertainment Weekly, author Zadie Smith expresses extreme displeasure at the possibility of becoming a celebrity author, i.e. known for her appearance and personality as much her writing. Obviously, you have experience with this phenomenon. Has being the focus of a cult of personality ever bothered you? Has it been a beneficial to your career? Please don't get all modest now; I am genuinely curious. Thanks for your time.

Sincerely,
Benai in Boston


Well, I've been working for about a decade not to be that. I've said no to "People" magazine about half a dozen times, and "no" to the David Letterman show twice. I've said no to at least a couple of documentary films about me, of the "they'll just follow you around for a month or so, you'll hardly notice they're there" variety. I'll do TV if it's about the book in question, or about the work, but that's a different thing. It's not about appearance or personality as much as it's about the writing. It's definitely not about being a celebrity.

The articles that are out there are about the work, not about "this tangle-haired Englishman with hazel-green eyes has been taken unawares by success..." or whatever, which are the kinds of silly articles that the likes of Zadie Smith have to put up with.

Beyond that, well, most people who read my books or comics do it because they've heard good things about the books or comics. It's not because of what I look like or my personality. That's not modesty. Even on a huge book signing tour I'll meet less than 1% of the readers of a book. So I'm with Zadie on this one.


You mentioned in your journal about "only washing up when there were no more cups for tea" and that made me think of Hitmouse from the Uncle books.
I read the first two as a child and have been re-reading them all my life when I needed something light and funny. I was astounded when I recently found out that there were originally 6 books published! 4 now out of print and any copies going for wild, out-of-my-reach prices.
I have seen you mention them many times and wondered if, as someone who knows more about the publishing biz than we poor outsiders, you knew of anything that could be done to get the other 4 books published again, or even released to E-books. I want to read them!
Thank you.
JT


Sure. The first time I mentioned the UNCLE books on this journal, you couldn't get any of them. We're 1/3 better off than we were then.

Write to the people who bought the first two back in print, and tell them you'd buy the rest of the books.

So last week, before the trial, when I was at my lowest ebb, I phoned home. "When this is done," I told my wife, "Win or lose, I want a holiday. Just three or four days of going off on my own. But I hate to be away from Maddy so much."

"She's off school at the end of next week," she said. "Why don't the two of you go and have an adventure?"

Which seemed like a terribly good idea, and I told her so. Trouble was, I just didn't know where to go for an adventure. Driving around and looking at autumn trees would be fun for me, but torture for an eight year old. And Disneyplaces might be fun for a big group, but would be much less so if there were just two of us, especially if half of that two of us was me...

Several hours later the phone rang. It was my son, at college in Washington DC. "I think you should come out here..." he began.

"Good idea," I told him. "I'll bring Maddy."

So I'm on a three day holiday in Washington DC with an 8 year old. I'll do a few things I've wanted to do for a while -- get backstage at the Library of Congress, for example. And I have readers in the oddest places.

So, now settled down in Washington DC hotel room.

I'm reading Tony Horwitz's BLUE LATITUDES. I loved his book "Confederates in the Attic", and I have had a story about Captain Cook and his men and Australian megafauna in my head for about four years. It's called "Transit of Venus", and the Horwitz is a fine addition to the Cook books already rotting down in the back of my head.

Let's see...

got a question for ya..

Being that you're a good friend of Tori Amos.. and given the fact that your friendship with her is very well known among the public and the fans of Tori and you.. how often do you get asked about her? Do you ever get tired of people who interview you asking questions such as: "so, seen Tori lately? how's she doing? how's her daughter? you ARE her kid's godfather, aren't you? what's the word on the new album? you gonna write anything for it?" etc. ?

Have you ever had to fight back the urge to lose your cool and yell "ENOUGH ABOUT TORI! Aren't we supposed to be talking about ME??"?


Not at all. I get easily bored talking about me, after all, so I don't mind at all when people want to ask about Tori, any more than I mind if they want to ask about Terry Pratchett, or Dave McKean, or Yoshitaka Amano, or Kelly Link or... well, the list is long, and I never mind being asked about my friends. At a normal signing of three or four hundred people, there will be three or four extremely Tori fans in the line, and if there's a new album coming out they'll ask if I've heard it and if it's any good, and I'll tell them, and sometimes they just want to know if I really am the same Neil she sings about, or just if I've seen her recently, and I'm perfectly happy to answer. (Anyway, I figure one-in-a-hundred people are asking her the same questions about me in her meet-and-greet lines, just as they're asking Terry Pratchett if there'll ever be a sequel to Good Omens...)

And here's a very sensible one...

As i've admitted before, i'm totally hooked on audio books
and as much as i try to do *everything* online, audio book
rental i do not. Whereas Blackstone charges $10-15 for
renting, the local Library is free!
I'm sure the stock of audio books varies greatly from town
to town but our library has great audio books...American Gods
for one ;-)


Why didn't I think of that? Libraries are your friends.

Neil,

I am currently redesigning my web site as its about time. And I have been scouring the net for an image to put on my site that looks half way decent, and suits my personality. As do a lot of the Sandman images especially the L'll Endless (which I once thought of getting tattooed but have since grown past that phase).

What I am curious to know is if I use an image either scanned in or pulled from the web, of say the Sandman or L'll death or something, am I breaking copyright? Worse than that am I stealing someone else's art? Obviously I would credit them for the image on the site, but as I have the design skills of a three year old with a crayon it would be nice to use art from someone actually creative and that looked good.

Is this something that's "Ok as long as it's for personal use" or is it just a straight forward "Wrong thing to do"?

Your opinion on this would be much appreciated.

Thanks
Adrian
http://www.sevitz.com


My attitude is, I don't have a problem with it, it's not a commercial use, go for it and put up a copyright notice. DC Comics's attitude seems to be something much more complicated -- something like "If we knew about it we might have to say no, so we Don't Know That The Web Even Exists and that means we don't have to say no," -- which amounts to the same thing.

Wednesday, October 09, 2002

Dear Mr Gaiman,

I am a French student in Paris, France (!). I am currently preparing a Master Degree of Professional Translation of Literature. Basicaly, I would like to have your kind permission to use your novel Coraline, which I like, as part of the "course work" this year, therefore, this is a non-profit project. Do you know if a French translation of Coraline is already scheduled for the French readers? Do I need to contact you Literary Agent, whose address is mentionned further down? Many thanks for your help,

Best regards,

St�phane JOUFFROY.


I can't see it would be a problem for you to translate Coraline for coursework. Have fun with it. The French rights to Coraline have been bought by Albin, with H�l�ne Collon as translator, and I think it will be published in late January -- I'll be out for the Angouleme festival, and will do signings and interviews and what-have-you in Paris the week before. (Any French journalists who want interviews should talk to Albin, or to Diable Vauvert who publish American Gods etc.)

There's a review of TWO PLAYS FOR VOICES here -- Needcoffee.com Audio Bomb: Two Plays for Voices.

You seem a fan of audio productions in regards to your own work (such as American Gods, Two Plays for Voices, Coraline, W:CL, etc). Do you enjoy listening to (or even have a chance to listen to) other authors audio productions?
(Asked by one currently listening to Zelazny read his 'A Night In The Lonesome October')


I love the reading of Roger doing "Night In The Lonesome October" -- I listened to it while writing American Gods, whenever I did the washing up in my writing cabin, which meant it took months to hear, as I tended to do the washing up only when I ran out of mugs for tea, but I'd already read the book so wasn't impatient for plot, and just loved hearing Roger read the book. (It nearly convinced me to do American Gods myself, as "October" is all set in England and Roger doesn't even try to do English accents.) I can listen to music while writing. I can't listen to other people telling me stories, so I mostly listen to them while driving.

Generally speaking, if the authors are good readers I very much enjoy audio books read by the authors -- it's such a different experience. You can't speed up or slow down. You just get the story the way the author wrote it.

I tend not to be a fan of abridged work, unless the abridgment was done by the author. (I got a copy of the CASTLE OF OTRANTO, a huge gothic novel, on 2 CDs which were barely more than a "this is what happens". I bought it because it said it was unabridged. We live, we learn.)

If I'm doing a long drive I'll always try and do audio books -- Blackstone audio have an excellent selection of rentable audiobooks on CD (I highly recommend their Huckleberry Finn and their Wodehouse). And I buy a lot of stuff from the BBC as they'll bring things out on audio and then lose them again. I loved Stephen King's readings of Bag of Bones and the bits he did in Hearts in Atlantis - I've had arguments with, for example, my wife, who loves King but doesn't like his reading, whereas I really enjoy it. it's understated, but evocative.
...

There's a point in October in the Midwest (and in the East of the US too -- I've seen it in rural Pennsylvania) when the skies are perfectly blue, it's sunny enough to make every maple tree glow yellow or orange or red, there's a chill enough in the air to make you wear a sweater, but after a minute's walk you can't remember why you're wearing it, and you're walking in the tinted glow of a Bradbury story. It's the perfect season, as long as you drive a little slower and more carefully and keep an eye out for deer.

Tuesday, October 08, 2002

We had first frost two nights ago -- but a gentle sort of frost, rather than the killer ones we sometimes get -- which meant that I spent some of yesterday afternoon harvesting things -- lots of eggplants and peppers (jalapeno, cayenne, cherry hots, and various sweet peppers) and squashes, and, of course, the pumpkin crop. Which proved the saddest of all the crops, really -- I'd been on the road too much this year, and dealing with the legal case, and wasn't paying as much attention as I should have been, or as much as I normally do. Several of the bigger ones had been nibbled away by mice and bugs. Still, harvested enough for many pies and stews (you can serve soups and stews inside hollowed out, cooked pumpkins, you know) along with enough big ones to do jack-o-lanterny things with. The exotic pumpkin contingent consists mostly of weird orangey ones, and some odd greenish-grey japanese pumpkins.

THE WOLVES IN THE WALLS is all finished. It's a graphic novel, by Dave McKean and me, for young people and those who have to read to them -- like THE DAY I SWAPPED MY DAD FOR TWO GOLDFISH only with more panels, not just single-pages. I'm looking forward to reading it.

Jill Thompson's doing a strange project right now -- it's a manga-style book, based around the Sandman book "Season of Mists" -- a sort of lighthearted fantasia about what Death, Delirium and Despair were doing during that period. I had been holding my breath slightly on it (trusting Jill, and having loved her Little Endless Storybook so much, but still having doubts about whether even Jill could pull this off), until a bunch of pages came out of my fax machine yesterday. She's doing everything herself, even lettering, and she's doing an amazing job. Any time that events overlap with scenes from "Season of Mists", she uses the dialogue I wrote, or extracts from it. The art is a whole new Jill style. Lovely stuff. Happy on the page.)

Monday, October 07, 2002

Hi Neil I was wondering if you will be doing a signing at the Chicago reading or is it just a reading. My daughter and I both ejoyed Coraline. Also do you have any idea why they state that the reading is for ages 10 and up? Thanks. Geoff


Not sure -- I'll do what the festival tells me to do. In the past there's always been a signing afterwards. I suspect that "10 and up" is because they figure that making kids under 10 sit for 3 hours comes under the heading of a cruel and unusual punishment.

Tried posting this to "Where's Neil" but there's some problem at blogger.com -- so I'll post it here for now.

http://www.chfestival.org/november/index.cfm?pg=2&GetEventID=491

Chicago Humanities Festival XIII

Saturday October 26, 2002
4:00 to 8:00 PM

In a pre-Halloween program, Neil Gaiman reads from Coraline, his new "scary book for strange little girls." Venturing through a mysterious door in her apartment building, a girl discovers a secret flat � and an unusual family � mirroring her own.

Note: Full Program is in two 90 minute segments: 4:00 - 5:30 p.m and 6:30 - 8:00 p.m.
Ages 10 and above

HOW TO ORDER TICKETS

Online:The fastest way to the Chicago Humanities Festival is right here at www.chfestival.org. View program listings and order tickets from our secure website.

By Phone: 312.494.9509
Monday - Friday, 10:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.
Saturday 11:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.

In Person: Chicago Ticket Office Location
Tribune Store
435 N. Michigan Avenue, Ground Floor
Monday-Friday, 11:00 a.m.- 5:30 p.m.
Final ticket sales date for this location: October 30, 2002

By Mail/Fax: 312.494.9610 (24 hours)
Chicago Humanities Festival Ticket Office
500 North Dearborn Street, Suite 1028
Chicago, IL 60610

Please click here to download the PDF Order Form

TICKET PRICES

Series are priced according to the number of programs. Tickets for individual programs are $5.00 unless otherwise noted. Pending availability, tickets may also be purchased during the Festival at each site for $6.00 (cash only), unless otherwise noted. Programs sell out early - buy your tickets NOW!

Payment: Use your Visa or MasterCard to order online or by phone, fax, or mail ($5 handling fee per order). Cash or personal check may be used if paying in person (no handling fee) or by mail. Your cancelled check or monthly statement is your receipt.

FREE Tickets for Students and Teachers and Student Groups: Please call 312.494.9509 to order your free tickets. Pending availability, tickets may also be available during the Festival at each site (I.D. required).

A couple of years ago I was approached by a nice man from the Sci Fi channel who was putting together a series of short films. He wanted to know if I wanted to make a short SF film that they'd finance, and I said yes, and went off and wrote one. Then I got an apologetic message from the nice man at the Sci Fi channel explaining they'd changed their short film policy and they only wanted something that could be turned into an ongoing series, which my film certainly wasn't. So I tucked it to one side and forgot about it.

And then I had a conversation a couple of days ago about a feature film I'm meant to be directing, which seems to be edging rather close to reality. And, as Dave McKean pointed out, I ought to direct something first. Partly as a gentle way in to the process, and partly to make sure this is not an enormous mistake. So I pulled the script for the short film from the dusty and cobwebbed place on the hard disk where it was resting and sent it to a couple of friends who could help me get it made. It looks like I'll need to find a couple of weeks between now and the end of the year to make my small film... I'll try and keep a running account of what happens up on this journal.

...

Boxes and boxes were waiting for me when I got home -- all sorts of fun things, including the Finnish edition of "American Gods", and two bushels of Harelson apples. (Bought from a local place. This was not a good year for my apple crop, but I plan to pick, well, both of them tomorrow.)

It seems like when I went down to Madison it was late summer, and now it's autumn. Turned on the basement furnace today. Tomorrow, if it's not raining too hard, I'll harvest the pumpkin crop (there are lots of them, mostly rather strange things bought from Amsterdam airport). And plant next year's garlic crop.

I'll also do the finished draft of the story for the Little Lit anthology, for Gahan Wilson to draw.

Congratulations on your law suit, but I, and many others find our selves asking, but what about marvel man? Wasn't that the whole point? You have the rights now? What happens next? Can you give those of us who don't understand legal speak any kind of explanation?
Good luck
Brett in minneapolis


We'll see what happens. I had a good chat today with Mark Buckingham, and we're certainly looking forward to getting the material to which we own the copyright back into print as fast as possible, along with the never-seen Miracleman 25.

Sunday, October 06, 2002

Dear Mr. Gaiman -
I know everyone starts off these questions with the words "i know ________ but . . .", but, i have this question that I feel needs answering. Is it at all possible to get copies of your books printed in LARGE PRINT? that would be incredibly cool for those of us who are visually challenged (i.e. too blind to read the little little print of your books). In any case, if you have the inside info on the large print issue, please please let us know! Give magnifying glasses everywhere a break!
thanks sir,
probably not your biggest but damn well in the top 40 - fan,
-Angels Never Die


There's a large print edition of Stardust -- this is the UK edition published by Ulverscroft, while this is the US edition from Thorndike.

Not sure why none of the other books have been done in Large Print editions -- possibly your best bet might be to ask Ulverscroft or Thorndike (depending on where you are) to do Neverwhere or Smoke And Mirrors.

Other alternatives might be to buy one of the electronic versions of the books -- you can change the font size on a PC screen, a Palm screen, or Gemstar reader -- or to buy, or get from the library, audio books: American Gods, Coraline and "Two Plays For Voices" are out in audio form, as are the stories read by me in "WARNING: CONTAINS LANGUAGE". (Neverwhere's available too -- beautifully read by Gary Bakewell, with Music by Brian Eno, but it's an abridgement, and three-quarters of the way through it becomes a very strange abridgement as huge chunks of plot simply vanish into the ether.)

Saturday, October 05, 2002

Fascinating. People keep sending me newspaper articles about the recent legal case. All of them are wrong, sometimes in details, often in the big picture. Maggie Thompson was at the trial all the way, taking notes, and her article at the CBG website is factually correct all the way through. (Some people have had trouble with the collect.com site - I'll see if they mind us linking to it some other way. In the meantime, you could try registering and telling it you like comics and seeing if that helps.)

My Washington Post review of Michael Chabon's Summerland is here at Team Spirit (washingtonpost.com). Wish I'd had more room to talk about both the crossover phenomenon and the book itself.

Friday, October 04, 2002

Over at YabberNET - [http://www.yabber.net] which is a Canadian kids' site, there's a Coraline competition and interview.

And James Veitch sent an immediate link to the information on the Washington reading. It's "Chivalry" being read by Victoria Tennant (cool!), and it looks like some of the stories will be broadcast on NPR.

Sent to me, taken from today's Washington Times,

The Jewish Literary Festival in D.C. opens this weekend with a bookish bang. National Public Radio hosts a special edition of "Selected Shorts," a program celebrating the short story that features Broadway actors (including Victoria Tennant, Kathleen Chalfant and Isaiah Sheffer) reading stories from acclaimed British Jewish writers, such as Muriel Spark and Neal Gaiman. It all begins at 7 p.m. Sunday at the D.C. Jewish Community Center, 1529 16th St. NW. Tickets are $18 to $20. 202/518-9400, ext. 393.


Which sounds really cool. I'd say "the first I've heard of it" but it's probably one of those things that my agent asked me about in passing and I said "sounds fun" to. If anyone goes there, let me know what they read, who read it, how it sounded, if and when it'll be on NPR, all that...

And from the UK Times:

A LITTLE NIGHT READING;BOOKS /BY
Times of London , Sunday, September 22, 2002 , Section: Features , Page: Culture 40
What Carol Ann Duffy has on her bedside table

I'm on my second copy of John Colapinto's About the Author (Fourth Estate), having lost the first; I can hardly bear to reach the end of this hugely entertaining, cleverly plotted black comedy about a writer's crazed need not to write but to be published at any cost. It's the most unputdownable novel since Sarah Waters' beautifully crafted Fingersmith (Virago). I'm also checking the post every day for my paid-for advance copy of The Crimson Petal and the White (Canongate), Michel Faber's new novel. I have high hopes that this Victorian page-turner will keep me curled up in front of the fire now the nights are drawing in. I've been writing some poems about rock'n' roll for children, which is a great excuse to dip into The Rough Guide to Elvis, Paul Simpson's excellently detailed pocket Bible to the definitive 20th-century talent. My seven-year-old nightly climbs into bed to be read to, so Neil Gaiman's future classic, Coraline (Bloomsbury) is scaring us both to death, relieved by Eric Carle's sublimely illustrated (with flaps ) Watch Out! A Giant! (Simon and Schuster).
Carol Ann Duffy's Feminine Gospels is published by Picador


Which is doubly nice because Carol Ann Duffy is a terrific poet. Here's a website with a few of her poems on.

Thursday, October 03, 2002

Joan, who had the 4.00pm in the office sweep, collected. A mad rush to get down to the courtroom -- I left books, glasses, pens and my phone behind in the lawyers' office, and zoomed.

The jury ruled in our favour. I appreciate their work, and the incredibly hard work of the legal team, enormously. I regret that it needed to happen.

Tomorrow, with any luck, I get my phone back.

There's a law office sweep for when the jury will come back, and the lawyer who bet 3.00pm has already lost his dollar. One goes into a sort of Zen-stressed waiting state. There's nothing more anyone can do. So you wait.

To kill some minutes I called my L.A. agent, who told me some amazing wonderful absolutely cool news, which I probably can't post here until I get an official confirmation that I can. And I discovered it's possible to be at the same time deliriously happy and in a Zen-stressed waiting state at the same time. How very, very odd.

Also got faxed some of the Milo Manara pages from "Endless Nights". He's doing the Desire story. It's beautiful -- just as I imagined it. Classic Manara (remember, this is the artist who drew Fellini's JOURNEY TO TULUUM (I've probably got the title wrong) and Hugo Pratt's INDIAN SUMMER -- his Desire work is like that, beautiful historical work with gorgeous people and really erotic undertones, rather than explicitly sexual comics).

Lots of requests for interviews about the trial, which I'm saying no to. Win, lose, or win some counts and lose others, I think my position's going to be the same on that. As I explained to one journalist, it's not wrestling.

Wednesday, October 02, 2002

Last year I was at a convention in New Orleans. The convention gave me a couple of bodyguards to make sure I didn't get eaten by New Orleans, and one of them has a daughter who did a Coraline book report and website. I also did a mini e-mail interview with her, which she has up, and have since promised I would link to her site. She's nine. And she gave Coraline 5 beetles.

So the jury is out.

They are seven ladies, and they really paid close attention all the time. I felt like they really care that justice gets done.

I don't think I can ask for anything more.

g'night.

I suspect this is cool, and have absolutely no idea what it means, so am posting it and going for breakfast now...


Neil,

I don't know if you know, or are interested, but your journal is number 75 in the top linked journals at BlogRolling. I counted 47 people linking to you, including myself.

BlogRoll Top 100 : http://www.blogrolling.com/top.phtmlBlogs Linked to you : blogrolling.com - search blogrolls
I was surprised at one point when randomly blog hopping that their where many blogs linked to you, but on reflection the kind of person who blogs will quite often be the kind of person who reads your work.

Adrian
www.sevitz.com

this isnt a question
i just wanted to say how utterly cool you are for answering peoples questions for free. i was just over at david bowie's web site and you have to be a member to ask him questions ($100 a year) what a bastard!
thanks your a ledgend
sars


Well, in Bowie's defense, he's running his own website, which he's paying for and it works on members who get questions and, as I understand it, lots of very real things -- early access, limited material, shows for website people and so on, online chats with interesting people and so on.

I'm lucky -- Harper Collins, my book publisher, run this website. It costs them money, probably an awful lot of money given the work they've put in and the traffic it generates. They are very happy for me to use it as a platform for whatever I want. And I enjoy doing the stuff I do on here. It's the nearest thing to a Diary I'll ever successfully keep.

Tuesday, October 01, 2002

I've just noticed that there's a collected Hellraiser stories coming out -- the stories Marvel's Epic line did in the late 80s -- which includes Dave McKean and my story, "Wordsworth", about a crossword puzzle. We handed it in at the beginning of the Hellraiser series, all ready to go into one of the first couple of comics. The Editor didn't understand it and didn't like it. So kept it in a drawer and he wouldn't print it, as the years went by. We started asking him to return it if he wasn't going to use it. Finally, I think only because they'd paid for it, Marvel printed it in the very last issue of Hellraiser, after they'd cancelled the title, (possibly after the editor had gone as well,) certain they'd have people asking for their money back.

It's nice to see it printed in a collection of the best of those stories, and I hope it's not just because of who I am these days and who Dave is (I don't think it is, seeing that on Amazon, the back cover is almost all made up of Dave's images).

And several people have sent messages pointing to Amazon.co.uk: At a glance: Neil [CASSETTE] (including one of the reviewers).

Lots of people asking about the court case I'm not writing about here. If you go to

COMICON.com PULSE or to http://www.newsarama.com/ you can get lots of background, opinions, and on the pulse site, a report from someone who popped in for an hour or so to watch. (If you're in Madison, we're in the big blue courthouse in room 306. It's fascinating to watch.)

http://www.collect.com/interest/article.asp?id=299&cookie%5Ftest=1 is the Comics Buyers Guide electronic newsletter, and Maggie Thompson from the CBG was in court yesterday and today and is posting daily reports. Today she brought with her artist Pete Poplaski, who's been doing full colour court-room sketches for the CBG.

"You got that Dennis Potter thing going on," said Pete to me, during a recess, as I looked at some of the sketches he'd done.

I tried to figure out what he meant -- was my skin peeling off, like Potter and his character from The Singing Detective? Did I remind him of Dennis Potter dying of cancer, chainsmoking and swigging from the morphine bottle, in that final heartbreaking, triumphant Melvin Bragg interview?

"Dennis Potter?"

"Yeah.... no. The other one. The kid who does magic."

"Harry Potter?"

"That's the guy."

And of course, dressed for court, with a sweater and a shirt and black tie, I look like I did at school. Just a bit older. And more bespectacled.


.....
Hello, I am trying to find information about the artist who did the dust cover for American Gods. It is a great piece of art, and I would love to have a replica or a print-can anyone help? Thanks.

If you search the blogger far enough back you'll find a link to the photographer's site, with the original photo on it. Wish I could be more helpful.

FYI and a laugh: Bookmunch (slogan: "Review me Hard!") did a favorable (of course) review of Coraline, the best part of which says "Coraline is the dark meat and gravy!" You can check it out at <http://bookmunch.co.uk/view.php?id=405>.

Thanks...

Hi Neil,

The Newsarama website has an article about the Comics Documentary ("Sex, Lies, and Superheroes") for which you're interviewed in New York back in June I thought it might interest you and your journal's readers.

Here's the link for it:
http://161.58.84.234/cgi-bin/ubb/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic&f=1&t=000203
Thanks for all the stories!

Raphy


and a photo of me as well, with, in the background, two of the beautiful women who worked, as set decoration, much harder than I did.

Hey Neil,
When it comes to unfamiliar authors, I usually follow your recommendations ("If On A Winter's Night A Traveler..." is on of my all time favorite books!) but I've searched like crazy for CLIMBERS by M. John Harrison, to no avail...even checked used bookstores around town (I live in New York City).
You....uh...wouldn't happen to have a copy lying around, would you?

Thanks brother...

David Tedeschi in NY


Look on www.bookfinder.com, where they have four copies, ranging from around $3 to around $50.

And finally

what is project 1602 for marvel?

Ah, I got e-mailed a bunch of chapter 1602 pencil pages from Andy Kubert today, along with some amazing fully finished Chapter 1 colour pages from Richard, the colourist, who's turned them into something really cool. Put a big, silly grin on my face. I thought it was a good idea, and everything about it is really working. Which leaves me praying I don't screw it up somewhere further down the line. What is it? Well so far, it's really really fun. (Yes, says everybody, but...)

I'm not telling anyone anything about it till we're closer to publication. I'm hoping Marvel will let us get a long way through it before they start to publish, so no-one ever has to wait three or four months for the final episodes, and the last thing I want is people talking it to death and getting sick of it six months before it comes out.
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