Friday, April 04, 2003
This isn't exactly a FAQ, since it's not really a question at all, but I don't know where else to send it. I just wanted to let you know, that I too have been (possibly) flirted with by Mickey Mouse at Walt Disney World. I had just graduated from high school at the time. When I finally got to the front of the line to get a picture and autograph with Mickey, I got the distinct impression that I was being flirted with. It was extremely bizarre. Then I read what had been written in my autograph book, and it said, "You're so cute. Love, Mickey Mouse." Very strange experience. Not as strange as Santa Claus saying, "Looks like Santa gets his present this year," but still very strange.

As unusual as it may seem to some, perhaps Mickey Mouse is a big flirt.


I knew it!

Neil -

In light of your essay about books and gender, I'm curious about how you would perceive gender reaction to your writing. Do you find that in your extensive interaction with your readers, through signings, appearances, and emails, that you seem to attract either gender (females dresses as cartoon rodent flagship cornerstones notwithstanding) more regularly as an author? Additionally, has it varied by book, and if so, how much does the readership on a particular book fall into agreeing with the gender of that book, as you would denote it? I ask, primarily, because in my own contact with Neil Gaiman readers, which is clearly going to be from an infinitely more limited perspective than yours, I have found that while I initially thought your work something I would recommend to my fellow grown-up Douglas Adams graduates (decidedly more likely to be male), as I begin to introduce students to your work, I find that young females particularly relate to it.

Just curious,
Jason Sherry

The only way I can tell stuff like that is from signings, really, which I think must be a pretty good sampling of, at least, people who would go to signings. The gender balance is about 50/50, and has been for many many years. The age range is a lot harder to call. Ten years ago I knew at a glance if someone was a fan, or there to get a book signed for a son or daughter (or grandson, or granddaughter) too far away to get to the signing. These days I simply don't know any more (partly because readers who found me when they were young are in many cases now respected members of their communities, and partly because the books are more likely to be read by people over 50 than the graphic novels would have been). If you were to randomly throw a ball into a crowd at my signing it would be rather more likely to hit someone under, say, 35 than over, but beyond that there's not a lot I can point to that the people have in common. Except they're surprisingly nice. (Not surprisingly to me, I expect it, but surprising to bookshop staff, whose eyes grow wide before the signing starts because there are green-haired punks and cool tattoos and pretty gothladies in great clothes in lines next to men in suits with briefcases and matronly ladies with glints in their eyes and people with small children and they started lining up at dawn or whatever, and I don't know what the staff expect but they tend to come up to me at the end and say "Your fans were all so nice!" as if riots or bloodshed would have been the normal order of events...)