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Saturday, November 29, 2003

Writing a book; also what do you do with a signed tee shirt?

The most exciting bit of yesterday was when the plane landed, and as soon as it stopped moving they turned the plane's electrics off. It was dark outside, and raining, and the passengers moved through the plane by the light of their mobile phones (not sure who had the idea first, but in a pitch-dark plane the phones gave enough light to see by). Climbing down, by the tail, I could smell burning and there were a number of airport firefighters pulling up, so I suspect the landing was much more exciting for the crew than for the passengers.

Anyway...

It's good to be settled down again. I loved doing the documentary consultancy thing, though; it was the kind of project that was utterly made for me, and it was only by strength of will, and having an idea of how many hours there are in the day that I didn't simply say "Oh, just give me the project and I'll write the script," several times. But I managed not to.

I liked the director and the company, too. And it's a really fun thing to be involved with. More details as I'm allowed to reveal them.

So now I'm back, and the novel, which seemed to have finally found itself as I left, seems to still be itself, and I've already written several thousand words today, and it was fun and easy and pleasant writing with some good jokes in it, and the characters are acting like themselves. It's nothing like I thought it would be, mind, but that's not a bad thing. There will be bad days ahead, of course, but I think I'm now writing my book.

...

Hey Neil,

"Henry Selick is also developing a stop-motion feature adaptation of Neil Gaiman's scary children's book Coraline."

This must be a year or two away as Selick is currently working on the latest Wes Anderson movie 'til mid 2004. True?

Cheers,
Steve


Not sure where the quote's from, as Henry's Coraline is meant to be mostly live action. And he's definitely working on the new Wes Anderson film, while we wait to see if Bill Mechanic will get pandemonium Pictures (who Henry wrote the script for CORALINE for) off the ground.


hi,
i was just wondering, what font type did you use for the sandman story in endless nights?
love your books, and stories, and all thank you
and my name is tyas, from indonesia by the way...


The font in the Sandman story in Endless Nights, like the fonts for everything except the Despair story, were created by Todd Klein. I'm not sure if it has a name.

Mr. Gaiman, i read that you had Stephin Merritt make some music for you or that you collaborated on something. Did you, and if so what was the project?
thanks


We did. It's the CORALINE audio -- it contains the Gothic Archies song "You are Not My Mother and I Want to Go Home", background music by Stephin, and Stephin's own recording of the Coraline Rat Song.

You can hear a lot of it if you poke around over in the Coraline area of mousecircus.com.

We're talking about doing a stage adaptation of Coraline, for which Stephen would make songs and music and so on...

Quiestor Mage
Ravenskoll Estate
Hackney. E9, 6SN.
London.
England.

Dear Niel Gaiman 27th Novemeber 2003

"It only takes a few good men to remain silent, for Evil to prevail."
Well Mr Niel Gaiman. I liked your, Im not saying anything reply about the fact that you plaguerised the life of a REAL White Magi, and decided to call it The Books Of Magic. very magical.
Of course there is no similarity between myself and Tim Hunter, Tim Hunter and Harry Potter. Of course not no similarity at all. If any one knew Gaiman they would have you in stocks.
And What about the leader of The Columbia Ivestigation Board??? Hal Gehman. I didnt write 2001 honestly. 7 Deaths.
Fuck you Gaiman Amen!

Yours faithfully,
Quiestor The White Magi.



You know, the word you're hunting for is "magus". "Magi" means more than one of them. If you want to make anybody take you seriously, you'll have to pay attention to details like that.

Here's an old news story I was wondering about, and was glad to see it was sorted out...

i am loathe to send you anything, because i know 500 other fans will do
the same, but i was interested in this story a while back.

Not a question, but the update on the Library Hotel has come in- a
settlement where the OCLC gets referenced in the hotel literature, and
some money goes to "Reading is Fundamental" to combat illiteracy. So some
good came of it all in the end.


http://www.nydailynews.com/news/local/story/140227p-124446c.html


And this one made me smile ruefully,

do you have any books that have won awards or at least have been nominated for awards?
(i have to read a book by an author that has won awards or was nominated)


as it does sound a dreadful imposition. (luckily, lots of books win awards because they're pretty good.)

So, yes. I think all of my books except Neverwhere have either been nominated for, or won, awards. http://www.neilgaiman.com/about/awards.asp hasn't been updated for a few years, and is missing a few from the years that it's up for, so it's not amazingly helpful. (Edit, a bit later: Neverwhere actually won the Prix Julia Verlanger, which is one of the top French SF awards. I don't think that The Day I Swapped My Dad For Two Goldfish was nominated for or won anything, though, so avoid that one.)

Hiya Neil,

I 'won' the Armani T-Shirt you signed for the Ruminator Auction on Ebay. GMZoe got the Night Flight one. GMZ asked me what I was going to do with mine. I said I might frame it. (By the by, it sounded like just a great cause, me family lives about 40 mins. outside of the Twin Cities and I've never heard of this joint. I'm heading up next month and it's now part of my schedule.) What would you do with a signed shirt? And I know...wear it. But it's not goin' back to freakin' Ebay and well...I don't know; what do you do with a neat shirt? Cough up an answear mister!

timmy


Well, wearing it is certainly the easiest option. Beyond that, I'm a bit out of ideas. On the other hand, if anyone has any brilliant ideas, feel free to send them in through the FAQ line, and I'll post some of the most helpful.

...

Am getting fonder and fonder of the Adverts CD "Cast of Thousands". When it came out, I remember thinking it a feeble followup to their debut album, "Crossing the Red Sea With the Adverts", and I thought the Adverts were a sort of second rate punk band (I saw them play Crawley Leisure Centre when I was 16, and loved the gig, and wished they were the Clash or the Pistols). They've aged better then almost all of their contemporaries, though. These days I find myself looking at "Cast of Thousands" as the place that TV Smith's blend of heartfelt-outrage-and-dreams-and-content songwriting really started to come together. Which I mention because I notice that TV Smith has released his first new CD in a few years, the first since "Generation Y" (if you don't count "USELESS" which was a sort of greatest hits CD, with all the songs rerecorded with a German punk band). The new album is called "Not A Bad Day" -- details at http://www.tvsmith.com/

Thursday, November 27, 2003

Strange cool couple of interruptiony days...

Just as everything on the novel starts to gel, I get a couple of days off, to meet with a film company about a really cool documentary for which I am acting as a consultant. And about which I am contractually forbidden from talking for a while, save to say that all of my love of myth and of natural history is getting a real workout here, such that I do not mind having had to get up at 5:00am to take a plane....

And this is a Happy Thanksgiving to everyone who celebrates it. And to a few of you who don't.

Monday, November 24, 2003

No, I'm not going to explain Old English Flavour Spangles here. You're on your own.

Right.

Am writing a novel, so you will neither get the story of What Happened When The Aga Went Out, or the excitement of sorting out the International Callback Number system.

The iPod podsleevz arrived. They've now added a warning to the website (probably following complaints from people who bought them) pointing out that an iPod with a Podsleev on will not actually fit into an iPod dock (which was, after all, most of the reason why I got it). However, the iPod in the sleev seemed to fit perfectly happily into an iMotion speakers dock, and to work okay in there, and to charge. And yes, you can work the buttons through the material. I'll report back after I've played with it for longer. In the meantime, if you ask me, the world is still waiting for the perfect 3G iPod cover.

Right. back to the novel.

Not that the novel has yet made it off the ground. Right now it's taxiing madly backwards and forwards across the airfield, with ground staff comically throwing themselves out of its way as it hurtles dangerously toward fences and buildings. But I have faith in it. They laughed at Orville and Wilbur Wright, after all. They laughed Edison. They laughed at Laurel and Hardy. They laughed at Old English Flavour Spangles ("The old English," she laughed, her sharp teeth glinting in the moonlight, "they taste nothing like this! Nothing!")

Neil, I could use your advice on something. My girlfriend is currently studying at a university in Russia. She has to present a book by an American author to her class. This summer, while she was in the US, I gave her some of your books, hoping she would spread the word about you back in Russia. Well, I suggested using one of your books for her project, but now I am unsure of whether you would pass for an American author. Born in England, American wife, no US citizenship, carry a green card, lived and written in the US for over ten years. You say you consider yourself English and probably always will. How would you feel about one of your books being presented as a work by an American author? Your opinion may help to convince my girlfriend's teacher. Or, should she present something by Jonathan Carroll, or Stephen King (my other suggestions)? Thanks for the help and all of the great stories.

Phil in Bangor


Well, it's her call.

If she wants me to be an American author she should simply state, with calm and a quiet authority, that, while born in the UK, Neil Gaiman has lived and worked in America for over a decade and must obviously now be regarded as an American author. And then present the book to the class; and if anyone complains that I'm not actually American due to my knowing what Old English Flavour Spangles were, she should Give Them a Serious Look.

Or, alternatively, she could pick Jonathan Carroll, and simply state, with quiet authority and calm, that despite being a resident of Vienna for well over twenty years, Jonathan Carroll must obviously be regarded as an American Author; and if anyone complains...

Hi, Neil! I'm very happy to hear that you're working on your new book. Much as I would miss your silly posts from crazy places, the promise of a new novel from you is much more exciting.

I'm writing to tell you that you were recently the star of a poetry recitation evening at Carleton University here in Ottawa. I memorized "Nicholas Was" (along with a section of Paradise Lost, for reasons that don't need exploring at this juncture) and delivered them to a packed house. The goal of the evening was to raise money via sponsorship for PEN (poets, playwrights, essayists, editors, and novelists), which is of course a wonderful organization that works to defend freedom of speech, to free writers imprisoned for their politics, to promote literacy and education, and so on. Their site is at http://www.pen.org . In any case, the promise that I would memorize and recite "a Neil Gaiman short story" won me ninety dollars worth of sponsorship. The fact that I didn't mention how short the story was is, I think, forgivable. ;)

In all, the recitation evening raised over six hundred dollars for PEN and included a selection from Beowulf, The Miller's Tale, Ginsberg's "Sunflower Sutra," "The Journey of the Magi," and many other fun recitations. Mine was a great success and won me one of the prizes - a beautiful book put out in the seventies called "The Great Canadian Comics."

I just thought you'd like to know that your work is doing good things behind your back. And I wanted to thank you for (albeit unwittingly) supporting our fundraiser. Good luck with the new book!

Megan Graham
Ottawa, Ontario


Congratulations. And well done.

...

And there's a slightly expanded version of the LEGENDS II interview with me and Tad Williams at http://www.uk.scifi.com/htmlsite/content.asp?sID=11&headID=914

Sunday, November 23, 2003

It was 20 yrs ago today...

There's a long interview at the SFweekly site with me about Don't Panic! and Douglas Adams. It's at http://www.scifi.com/sfw/advance/24_interview.html. And, I just realised, give or take a few days, it's exactly twenty years ago that a starving (well, fairly hungry) young just-turned 23 year old journalist turned up at Douglas Adams' flat in Islington to interview him for the first time.

One tends to burble in interviews, and not always remember what one has said. So this bit of the interview, trying to explain why Douglas wasn't a novelist, took me by surprise, and may bear repeating:

I suspect that whatever Douglas was is the equivalent of us all standing around in the 14th century trying to talk about a science-fiction writer. If we were all in the 14th century and we'd just witnessed the passing of the equivalent of an Arthur C. Clarke, we'd be standing there going, "He's a balladeer, really. But he wasn't really happy as a balladeer. I don't know, maybe he was sort of an illuminated manuscript man." It seemed like most of what he was doing was about the future, and you don't really have words for it. In the case of Douglas, he wasn't a science-fiction writer, he wasn't a novelist. I don't know what he was. I feel as awkward trying to describe what he was as I think Chaucer would trying to describe "ye science-fiction writer," because it begins from a set of assumptions that we don't have.

...

Also, I never posted a link to the delighfully silly Jill Karla Schwarz's Attention Deficit Girl comic. Jill is a marvellous artist (she did the illustrations to my story Cinnamon, at neilgaiman.net -- just go down to the bottom of the page and click), and if you click on the version with sound, she also does the voice of ADGirl, who sounds -- and acts -- amazingly like Jill Karla Schwarz.

...

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/shared/spl/hi/sci_nat/03/piltdown_man/html/default.stm# is the link to the BBC Piltdown Man site. Lots of nice bits there...

I was obsessed with Piltdown Man when I lived in the Sussex village of Nutley (which is just round the corner from Piltdown, after all) and came up with my favourite theory after reading all the books that were around then, which was that the Piltdown Man skull was perfectly genuine, but became deeply inconvenient, and so was replaced by a fake version of the skull while it was off-display, during the war, which is why all the top authorities were convinced it was genuine at first, and why everyone could suddenly see it was a clumsy fake thirty years later.

It's a lovely theory, every bit as good as trying to solve a puzzle where Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Pierre Teilhard de Chardin are both suspects. I never believed it for a second, mind you, but it fit most of the facts (except for the way that no fossils turned up post 1916 in the gravel pit) in a comfortable sort of way.

(I tend to believe the hoaxer was Charles Dawson, who died in 1916, mostly because he lived in Uckfield, and according to the old gentleman who lived in the bungalow in the back of my old house in Nutley, he'd never met anyone from Uckfield who wasn't up to no good, no, not in eighty five years he hadn't. And he knew a thing or two.)

Saturday, November 22, 2003

me and the beastie

Many years ago � it was at the end of the Mr Punch tour in December 1994, I think � wandering through a city that might have been Boulder Colorado and might have been somewhere else entirely, Dave McKean and I found a toy shop which sold something called a Closet Beastie. It was a handmade beast the size of a large teddy bear and looked faintly sheep-like, and had a large pocket, with toys in. Later, I bought one and gave it to a friend. I found it -- him? -- tonight, high up in a forgotten cupboard. It's a bit dusty but seems happy to be out in the open air again.

I also discovered that if you don't have any raisins or sultanas to hand, a chopped-up plum will work just fine as stuffing for a baked apple.

Lousy writing day, though.

Sometimes lousy writing days are lousy writing days because you're still figuring something out, and you're not quite ready to let yourself know what it is. And sometimes they�re just days when your head doesn�t want to do the thing where anything worthwhile ever seems to make it out of your fingertips.

Dear Neil,

My question is twofold, in a way.

You were born in Britain and yet you now live in the US. I just wanted to know how the whole system works with publishing. I've noticed that British authors who live in the US (like Bernard Cornwell) have their books first published in the UK and then in the US. Is this a requirement if you are originally British? And since you now live in the US are you a US citizen or do you still have your British citizenship or do you possibly have dual citizenship?

The reason I ask is because I'm in the same boat at you, in a way: I'm from Europe working through the steps of becoming a US citizen, and I have no idea how the whole citzenship/nationality system works with the writing and publishing world.

So if you could clear that up a bit, or point me in the direction of a few websites or sources, that would be most helpful.

Thanks and good luck on the book!



I have British citizenship, and a Green Card, for whatever it's worth. I've never taken US Citizenship, probably never will: I still think of myself as English.

Where your book is published first tends to be by whoever bought it first. Publishers these days tend to try and publish as close as they possibly can in dates, and they butt heads a little at contract stage to decide who can physically bring the book out first. In the old days a year between publishing on either side of the Atlantic made little difference to anyone, and was quite usual. These days, people will go to Amazon.com (or Amazon.co.uk) rather than wait for six months or a year. It doesn�t have anything at all to do with the nationality of the author though.

Friday, November 21, 2003

it tasted a bit like heaven. I ought to have mentioned that bit.

The thing about working in -- and to all intents and purposes, because for much of the day it's the only warm place in the house, living in -- an ancient kitchen, is that your mind runs along strange and unusual lines. It's a bit like being haunted (or possibly possessed) by generations of houseproud cooks.

In real life I don't do the washing-up five or six times a day. It wouldn't occur to me to do it more than once a day. Or possibly twice, if I needed a mug.

In real life I don't ever think "Hmm, those pears on the table smell slightly sweetish, as if they're just past their prime. I think I ought to slice them up and stew them slowly in a saucepan on the Aga stove with a cup of water, some lemon juice, honey, a splash of wine and a teaspoon of balsamic vinegar, then eat them with a glop of fresh cream." Honestly, I could go for years without having that sort of thought cross my mind. But when you're living in a kitchen it seems sort of natural.

Right. Bedtime.

in which you learn that in comics L and I can run together, and not to give money to strangers

Starting to get rhythms of writing going. Which is nice. Mostly finishing 1602 #8 (the final episode), which is becoming so much less intimidating now that I have Anansi Boys to worry about. (Starting something is always slightly scarier than finishing something else. But only just.) I have an idea of a kind of voice it might be interesting to write a novel in (oddly enough, more or less the one I write a lot of this blog in).

There's an account of the Foyles evening at Congress Hall up at http://contemporarylit.about.com/cs/authorinterviews/a/gaiman_mckean.htm. There are also photos from that evening at wireimage.com (you have to search for Gaiman to see them, and they're only thumbnails, but they are there. Dave McKean's the one with the beard, Jonathan's the one in the suit. I'm the one who looks like he should have brushed, or at least raked, his hair before the photos started).

You know, if I got a phone call saying "Hi, it's me. I need lots of money. I've just had a car crash, and am unexpectedly pregnant. Send it to the following bank account right now," I like to think I would at least say "Who is this?" rather than, "No problem, oodles of cash on its way to your bank account, whoever you are." This appears, however, not to be uniformly the case around the world, particularly not in Japan. Well, according to Reuters, anyway.

And over on http://poynter.org/resource/55043/nyt_robertson_comic.gif you can read a comic from the New York Times News section, about papparazzi trailing Madonna. It's pretty much readable online, although a few hand-lettered characters have closed up, as they are wont to do. It took me a couple of puzzled rereadings to realise that the autograph hunters did not, as I had first thought, turn up at the Four Seasons carrying cupboards. (Which makes it a very good thing that Clint Eastwood was not there that day.) There's more background on the story here.

Hello.

Ok, straight to the point:
My mind has been left not quite the same by a small story included in one of your comicbooks. The problem is I can't remember in which one was it. The story includes a woman, a nasty man, broken promises, churches, three little girls and a big worm. (I apologise for the awful summary.) Could you possibly help me with this?

Also, I have to mention the virus-like effect that many of your stories have. -It's scary, it really is! I find myself trying to get people that are close to me to read e.g. Snow,
glass, apples, just so that I wouldn't be alone! ..and if succeeding, I have felt like a criminal. ..funny, huh!

So, to some sort of a comrade in crime, my best wishes and greetings from a snowy Finland,
Anni


The story is somewhere in the middle of Sandman Book 9, The Kindly Ones, and you can find the original folk tale I based it on in Neil Phillips' Penguin Book of English Folk Tales

hey Neil! I'm very excited to hear about you starting on a new novel. hopefully you get all the inspiration and love you need.

I just had a quick question...I know you've given advice on getting published before, and I've read it, but I was wondering if you could answer a slightly more detailed question...which publishers publish your sort of novels? how does one find a publisher willing to publish a fantasy novel, as opposed to, say, publishers who focus on reference books?

maybe it's a silly question.

~Silly American Girl


It is a silly question, on the face of it, with an even sillier answer. But you'd be amazed how many publishers who only ever publish reference books get sent manuscripts for romance novels, which they will never publish, while publishers who really want a new book of werewolf erotica are probably being sent cookbooks as I type this. So it's actually quite a sensible question.

So this is the secret. You go to a bookshop, and you look at the kinds of books that are sort of like yours. Then you look on the spine, to see who published them. Then open the book, and you'll find the address of the publisher on the inside. Write it down. (This can also be done using the web, but a bookshop gives you a better feel of who publishes what quicker.) If you're feeling chatty, talk to the bookshop staff. Say things like "Who publishes the best historical werewolf erotica these days?"

Then send your book to those publishers -- an preliminary letter of enquiry is always welcome, to find out if they take unsolicited manuscripts, or if they want one chapter and an outline, or if they just want you to go away.

Also, if you want to be a writer of SF or horror or Fantasy, subscribe to Locus. The online Locus is really useful. The print version is invaluable.

...

And finally, Berkeley's Comic Relief, Rory Root's excellent store, is having a cash crisis at the moment. If you're in the Bay area and were planning on buying any graphic novels for the holidays, now's the time...

Thursday, November 20, 2003

stray links, mostly

The Sunday Times made WOLVES IN THE WALLS its book of the week. I can't find the article on the Times site, but someone's posted it at: http://www.outofrange.net/blogarchive/archives/000516.html

There's another WOLVES IN THE WALLS review from preschoolentertainment.com.

There's a little interview with me and Tad Williams about our stories in Robert Silverberg's LEGENDS II at The Alien Online.

...

And the iTunes audio books appear to have vanished, leaving only http://phobos.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewArtist?artistId=3603584 (a link which only works if you have iTunes) as evidence that I was ever there at all. I wonder if they'll ever reappear.

Wednesday, November 19, 2003

Posted from Hiding (or, Why is that Author disguised as a tree?)

Let's see...

For the next month, postings here may be a bit thinner on the ground, as I'm starting the next novel in earnest, and wrapping up the last part of 1602, and writing the adaptation of the BBC Radio 4 version of "MISTER PUNCH".

Soon, I have no doubt, the cry will go around "Where is Neil? He is not posting with his usual vim, vigour and enthusiasm, nor has he yet posted the link to the extremely interesting website all about peculiar things that goats do that I sent him nor answered my friend's question about why he called the Corinthian the Corinthian", and from the rooftops the reply shall echo in return, "Ah, but he is in hiding starting a new novel so he has an excuse".

Several people have chided me for not mentioning that Tori Amos's new Album (it's a sort of a "Best of") called "Tales of a Librarian" is a) out and b) contains a previously unrecorded song that I've alluded to in this here journal over the years called "Snow Cherries From France". I'm pleased "Snow Cherries" is out, not least because several messages have come in since I first mentioned it, I presume from fans of Tori's, accusing me of making the song up to "mess with their heads". (As if I don't have enough to do.)

Which reminds me, Robyn-from-Foodporn has put up the account of her day backstage -- it's a sort of an interview with added recipes -- with Duncan Pickford, Tori's chef, at her website: http://www.foodporn.com/celebrities is the place to read it. Duncan feeds Tori on the road. (On the road is an inaccurate colloquialism in this context. Actually he feeds her in her dressing room.)

Hullo Neil!

I've been wondering if you put some part of yourself, be that some weird idiosyncrasy, quirks, etc, into the characters you create. How much of your essence do you put into them? The way you described Richard Mayhew...well, the description sort of fits you.

Anyway, thanks for reading this. Keep writing, and we'll keep reading.

Cheers,
Kyle


Well, you always go and find that bit of a character who's you, even the dreadful ones. Or at least, I do.

Richard Mayhew started out in my head as being very vaguely based on my friend Richard Curtis (long before Hugh Grant made a career out of playing Richard Curtis in things Dick had written), and then when I wrote the book I borrowed the physical side of Richard Mayhew from Gary Bakewell, who played him in the BBC TV series. But I'm sure there's bits of me in there, though.

Amazon has a listing for an Audio Cassette version of the Legends II book
due out in December. Do you read your own Shadow story or is the whole
lot done by another person?


Someone else does it. I hope to god whoever does it can do Scottish accents, or it will be embarrassing...

Hi Neil,

Just a curious question, is that really what your office looks like on the first page of the website, or is it just a publicity shot of what the Neil Gaiman office 'should' look like.

If not, what does yours look like?!

Kind regards
Clare UK


It looks exactly like that, although the fridge is no longer a rattly aquamarine-coloured thing from the early 70s. It's now a white object that purrs.

Well, and I'm not there right now, either.

Neil,

I know your love of the iPod, but I can't remember ever reading a mention by you about Apple's iTunes store? I only bring it up because, while scanning the "New Additions" this morning, I found "Coraline" (as read by you) and "American Gods" (as read by a name I didn't recognize). Did you know that you'd be able to buy you reading one of your books, or was this a decision made by the publisher alone? Just curious.

Mike Broadwater


Oh good. I'm really pleased they're up there. I'll have to ask Greg Ketter at DreamHaven/neilgaiman.net about seeing if we can get the tracks from WARNING CONTAINS LANGUAGE and TELLING TALES up there as well...

I've not said thanks to everyone who came out to all the UK/Irish signings and readings, and all the people who gave me cool things (I finally got to see a video of the Ark Theatre production of "THE DAY I SWAPPED MY DAD FOR TWO GOLDFISH", which was enormously fun), and who were so very nice. So thank you all.

Monday, November 17, 2003

Still in Dublin.

Long, long day, filled with interviews and hunting for silver pens and scribbling my name on shop stock, followed in the evening by a really good, fun signing, but I have to be up really early to be on Irish breakfast TV tomorrow morning (and it looks suspiciously like I left my razor in the hotel in London, so may be peculiarly stubbly) so I'm waving goodnight to the world now.

Waves.

Waves some more.

Goes to sleep.

Sunday, November 16, 2003

"Accidentally shot by a man in a diaper trying to kill a member of the Ku Klux Klan. That's not the epitaph I was hoping for."

I seem to be addicted to the soundtrack of JERRY SPRINGER THE OPERA, and am also in Dublin. The two things are not connected.

Met Lu Kemp from BBC Radio today, and talked about the Radio version of MR PUNCH that I'm going to do (with Dave Mckean doing the music, as he did for our Signal to Noise adaptation). St Paul's Covent Garden -- The Actor's Church -- was round the corner from my hotel, so Holly and Lu and I went over there, and I showed Lu where Mr Punch's birthday is celebrated every year in May, in the churchyard. We went inside the church, walked around looking at all the names of famous parishioners on the wall, and upstairs the organist, practicing, started to play what sounded like carnival music on the magnificent church organ. It was very odd: an extremely Mr Punch moment.

Saturday, November 15, 2003

My Day. By Neil Gaiman (age 43 and 5 days)

So I got up and blearily stumbled into the taxi, along with my daughter Holly, and we went to Broadcasting House. Then I drank two cups of BBC tea, worried that I was too sleepy to make any sense, and, still slightly concerned I wasn't awake, I went on the radio. The adrenaline rush of pure terror woke me up, and then I forgot to be scared. Jonathan Ross is a true professional -- he made it really easy and pleasant for me to sound intelligent on the radio, chatting to about three and a half million people about The Wolves in the Walls, and everything else. You can listen to the show at BBC - Radio 2 - Jonathan Ross -- press "Listen to Last Week's Show". It'll work for a week.

Then a walk back to the hotel, and Holly napped while I wrote 1602 #8. I e-mailed three pages off to Andy Kubert, and got into another taxi, which took me to the IBBY Children's Literature/NCRCL conference (details at http://www.ncrcl.ac.uk/IBBY/ibby_flyer2003.htm). I was a last-minute final addition to the programme, and just got up and burbled for twenty minutes, at the end of the day, but everyone seemed very happy. I had an utter fanboy moment when a faintly familiar-looking person came over at the end and introduced himself as Philip Pullman, and I just started gushing foolishly, and he was kind enough not to notice. Then I signed many books for people at the conference.

Into a taxi, said goodbye to Bloomsbury publicist Lucy Chapman (who is Ace) and back to the West End, where I took Holly to see Lenny's show at the Wyndham's. It was really good -- I've seen Len performing live many times (including a gig which he cheerfully acknowledges as one of his worst performing experiences ever), and this is the smartest show he's ever done. Beautifully scripted and constructed too. You can read about it in the Guardian at http://www.guardian.co.uk/arts/reviews/story/0,11712,1083177,00.html or the Telegraph. He's only on for another couple of weeks: if you're in London, it's well worth checking out.

Hi Neil,

I'm just another voice amongst the deluge writing into thank you for
your presence at the Foyles reading yesterday (which reminds me that I
need to write to Foyles to ask that future events in that hall they put
the speaker on some sort of dais - there were several people, myself
included, straining their necks to get a good look at you. I suppose
this means I also number amongst those who want to put you on a
pedastal...).

Anyway, I'm also writing to ask you about your reading voice. This may
seem an odd comparison, but during your reading, your reminded me very
much of the voice on a readalong story book tape I had when in my
childhood (we're going back a good quarter century here). Although the
voice on the tape was that of a woman, your intonations and inflections
seemed awfully familiar. I'm curious to know how your reading voice
developed, whether it was simply happened naturally as you found yourself
perfoming more, or if you made a concerted effort to practice (or was is
just by reading to your own children?).

Needless to say, you have a captivating voice. Am I right in thinking
that you've recorded some audio books? I may need to have a look for
those...

Thanks again,
Mark

P.S I would have have stayed to get something not signed by you (in
addition to several other items I haven't had signed by you in the past,
but alas I found myself at the end of a very long queue with no end in
sight. Whilst the end result of this was that I did indeed fail to get
something signed by you it was a little more impersonal than I'd hoped.
I may need to try again next year...

--
"A miracle, even if it is a lousy miracle, is still a miracle"
Teller


I don't think we'll use that venue again -- it was great, but too small to fit all the people who wanted to come. (And I realised as I sat down, and all the faces in the audience vanished, that our seats were indeed much too low.)

I'm not really sure how my reading voice developed. I didn't really do any reading or public speaking from the age of about 15 to about 30, when I read my story "Chivalry" at a Dragoncon and discovered that I really enjoyed reading in public, and that I wasn't actually bad at it. I've done three CDs so far -- WARNING:CONTAINS LANGUAGE and TELLING TALES from DreamHaven, and CORALINE from HarperChildrens. Also there's a video, LIVE AT THE ALADDIN, done for the CBLDF.

As a boy I was taught elocution for several years by a magnificent elderly drama teacher, Miss Webster, who had me do the LAMDA "speaking of verse and prose" courses, in order to cure me of a slight lisp (which she got rid of in the first few weeks). I suspect that most of what's any good in my reading I owe to Miss Webster, and any faults are undoubtedly my own.

And I've always loved that Teller quote.

Dear Neil
I briefly heard your interview on the Jonathan Ross show and immediately thought my 9 year old daughter would love to read Coraline. After that I was a little confused ( because I was driving and concentrating at the time) which of your other books were written for children. Please could you advise.
Kaye Newman


Easily. Coraline is a novel for children. The Wolves in the Walls and The Day I Swapped My Dad For Two Goldfish are also for children -- both are illustrated by Dave McKean. The Day I Swapped My Dad For Two Goldfish is harder to get in the UK, although it will be coming out next year from Bloomsbury (and will be reissued in a larger-sized edition, with a new cover, at the same time, from HarperChildrens in the US). Pretty much everything else is intended for adults, although may or may not be suitable for kids, depending rather on the kid in question.

...

And this is a reminder that I'll be signing, for the last time on the tour, on the 17th of November, at the Dublin Bookshop, 36 Grafton St, Dublin, at 7:00pm.

Friday, November 14, 2003

Saying goodnight, mostly.

If this one is short too it's not Lucy's fault. ("Stay up as late as you like," she said. "Write a long post on your blog. Otherwise your journal readers will start sending me hate mail or something." I told her that they wouldn't do that because they are nice, and she said she was sure they were very nice, having met about a thousand of them in the last week, but she wasn't going to risk it. "Anyway," she said, "The taxi will get to your hotel to take you to BBC Broadcasting House at 9:45am. You can sleep until, oh, 9:40 if you want.")

Anyway, the Foyles event was really good. Jonathan Ross was hilarious, Dave McKean and I enjoyed ourselves, and I loved reading the whole of Wolves in the Walls in a room with great acoustics, where the nuances worked. I saw lots of family, and lots of friends, and lots of people I last saw at last year's Foyles signing. Dave flies off to New York tomorrow to attend the Vampire Lestat musical read through, and to go to the New York Times Best Illustrated book event.

Holly, my daughter, flew in for the weekend to see me, and is having fun, although she sensibly slept in the green room through the many hours Dave and I spent actually signing.

I immensely enjoyed the Foyles event yesterday, it was the first signing of any kind I have ever been to, and it really made my day.
I hadn't brought anything with Dave McKean's work to the signing, and I very much wanted Dave McKean's autograph, but I wasn't really sure if I could ask him to sign my copy of American Gods for me, without offending him. So do you think I was right in thinking that it might annoy him if I asked him to sign something he wasn't a part of?
Do people ever ask you to sign the work of others, and how do you feel about that?
Anyway, thanks for signing my books Mr. Gaiman, can't wait until the next event, whenever that may be.

Love,
Xu


No, you wouldn't have offended him. He would probably have said something like "you know I didn't really have anything to do with this...?" just to make sure that you did know that. Dave, like me, is very hard to offend, at least by polite requests from people you're signing books for.

Neil,

Just attended the Foyles "Wolves in the Walls" reading and must say it was HUGELY entertaining.

Unfortunately my friends and I were unable to stay and say 'thank you' to you Dave and Jonathan (inspired!!) in person, but we'd like you all to know we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and very much looking forward to ALL your future collaborations, as well as those tantalising solo projects! (please tell us more!)

The love and enthusiasm you both have for your work is truly infectious. So much so that we (my friend who can write and myself who can kind of draw) are conspiring to do a story together, it doesn't matter that we have no formal training! It doesn't matter that she is a Doctor and I'm in I.T! It doesn't matter whether we "get anywhere"! We're just going to have fun! By heck!

Thanks again and many good wishes,
Rachel
http://www.the-whispering.com



I honestly don't mind that a couple of hundred of people left after the reading and interview and Q&A. If they hadn't, we'd still be signing... Just glad people enjoyed it as much as we did.

...

By the way, lots of people have started sending me the 1997 article about the theology of the street kids in Miami again. I linked to it first back when this was still the American Gods blog, but I'm now getting a couple of messages a day from people who are discovering it for the first time. It's very wonderful, and is at : http://www.miaminewtimes.com/issues/1997-06-05/feature.html

And it's 2:00am and it's goodnight time.

Thursday, November 13, 2003

Very short one

It was a good day. (I promised Lucy-from-Bloomsbury I'd not stay up late and post on my blog tonight. So I won't. G'night.)

hasty useful post

The very last thing I did before I left the house to go on tour was sign two black tee shirts with glittery Walmart tee shirt paint, for a very good cause: http://www.usatoday.com/life/books/news/2003-11-12-ruminator-books_x.htm tells why. And the objects from me, Margaret Atwood, Oliver Sacks and co will turn up at http://www.stores.ebay.com/ruminatorbooks any moment now.

Wednesday, November 12, 2003

Posh hotel. Cold room. Very cold room.

In Leeds. Had a really fun day -- signed stock at the bookshop at Salt's Mill -- it's a wonderful place filled with David Hockney art and cool shops and suchlike. Then on to a reading and signing in Waterstones Leeds. Then back to the dead posh restaurant and hotel, and up to my hotel room, which is freezing.

This is odd, because the hotel is too hot. The corridor outside my room is sauna temperature. But my room is freezing - the only potential heat source seems to be an ancient metal radiator on the wall, of the kind that sucks heat out of a room. I tried twisting a few things on the radiator and learned they didn't twist, and that the radiator stayed extremely cold.

I called reception, and asked if there was a way to warm the room up, and they said I should use the heater. I said I couldn't find a heater. The receptionist came upstairs and explained that, by heater, he meant the radiator on the wall. Then he twisted a few things and discovered that they didn't twist, and that the room remained colder than the rest of Leeds. He apologised. He went away. I started typing this to keep warm...

He just returned with a heater.

I'll keep signing for a minute until the ice on the metal fixtures starts to melt.

There's a really interesting article about Graphic Novels/comics growing up etc, which I hope will start a new trend in sensible reporting, over at the Daily Telegraph site. (It's a long, long link I'm afraid, so click here and hope.)

Meanwhile, we learn that publishers are not leaping all over each other to publish David Blaine's diaries from inside the glass box. Possibly this is because everyone knows the plot already. (Man sits in box. Man gets thinner. The sun rises. The sun sets. Sometimes people throw eggs.)

My room smells faintly like burning heater. I'm not sure that it's going to be safe or sensible to leave the heater on all night.

I should probably turn off the heater, put on a thick sweater and go to bed.

And yes, the beard has gone. And yes, there are some photos, and yes, I'll stick some up here when I get a moment.

(And it looks like yesterday's post didn't post when it was meant to, so, to repeat, if you're in the London area on Friday, there's a small signing at Harrods at 11:00 am.)

Tuesday, November 11, 2003

Is there a Meeravarice, Meerenvy, Meersloth?

In Bristol right now, in a hotel where the rooms do not have numbers, only names (mine is called "Meerlust"), and you basically find your room by walking around the strange warren of a hotel finding every other room until the room that remains is yours; the high point of my day was tea with the wonderful Diana Wynne Jones, who does not change, thank heavens.

Did a fun reading and signing at Waterstones Bristol.

Bought a beard shaver. It has to be charged before it can be used, and it is currently charging...

There's one new thing on the schedule -- on Friday Morning at 11:00am I'm doing a signing in Harrods, in the book department. It's basically a stock signing for Harrods, but, as they did last year, they'll set me up with a table and books, and are happy if I sign for anyone there (last year it was mostly astonished tourists). So if you want a bit more time than you'd get at Foyles, or want more things signed than will happen at Foyles (my guess, based on numbers of tickets sold to the Foyles event, is we may have to limit things to one item per person) then you may want to try and slip along to the Harrods signing.

Monday, November 10, 2003

What a Few is. What to do in London for the next 3 weeks. Will this beard never die?

This is a very hasty post, because I need to go to bed. It was a long, really fun day, which began with the phone call from a panicky lady on hotel reception letting me know that a van was unloading boxes of books I was apparently going to be signing into the hotel lobby, and did I know anything about this, and could I make it stop? I figured out that this must be the "People from Titan/Forbidden Planet will stop by with a few books for you to sign" on my schedule. So I went downstairs and signed 500 Sandman graphic novels and copies of Wolves in The Walls. 500 is a Forbidden Planet few. Or possibly some. Anyway, they do have a mail order dept if you need a signed graphic novel.

Then I went over to the Wyndhams Theatre, near my hotel, to drop off a good-luck-on-your-first-night card for my friend Lenny, and it turned out he was already there to do a run through, so I gave him the card instead. He is doing three weeks with his new show, which he assures me is the best thing he's ever done, and has told me to plug at every possible opportunity, so if you're in London in the next three weeks, go and see Len in his amazing red suit being excruciatingly funny. Go on. http://www.theambassadors.com/wyndhams/ for details.

Then saw friends at Bloomsbury, was given a lovely pens-and-ink birthday present by my editor Sarah, and signed some copies of wolves that will be prizes on the Bloomsbury Website competition (and I said thanks to Adrian who designed the wonderful Wolves in The Walls screensaver and e-cards). Then took the train, with Lucy Chapman, my Bloomsbury publicity person lady, to Oxford. Signed happily for a lot of people, many of whom managed to ignore the beard completely. Went back to hotel, and Lucy and I ate and I came up here, phoned home, and am writing this. Then logged on...


This came in earlier today from the Dreaming's own Lucy-Anne:

Hi Neil:

We were going to wait until midnight here to let you know, but it seems so silly when it's already midnight by you.

This is for you.
http://www.livejournal.com/community/eleven10/

It was up to two screens of entries when I last checked, and will hopefully be more before we close up shop.

The info page (which will explain why the entries are so short) is at http://www.livejournal.com/userinfo.bml?user=eleven10

Bouquets go to the co-moderators, Eden (darksong), Cassie (iliadawry), and Jan (ragdoll), not to mention the various and sundry Thingies, Wellies, LJers, and folks on the message boards on Yahoo and neilgaiman.com who made sure that the word was passed out as quietly as we could manage.

I'll take the brickbats. Perhaps they will help frighten away the mice.

Happiest of birthdays, and wishes for many more.

With love,
randi



Which left me grinning like an idiot, and profoundly grateful to all of you. Thanks to everyone who's sent Birthday Wishes in any way. I wish I could write back to you all, but I can't, will not even try. Not tonight at any rate. Am in fact going to bed now.

I'll see some of you later today in Bristol. Or possibly in Bath.

Sunday, November 09, 2003

The answer is not 42 any longer

I've changed the time on the blog to London time. And would thus appear to have just turned 43. Which seems like an unlikely sort of an age to have arrived at. Can't remember the last time I celebrated it alone in a hotel room though, but my daughter Holly's already phoned to wish me Happy Birthday...

A quote I ran into today that made me smile and nod and smile again, from the liner notes of Sondheim's MOVING ON. Sondheim says, "What advice would I give to the young Stephen Sondheim? I'd give him the same advice that Oscar (Hammerstein) gave to me, which is to write what you feel and not what you think someone else feels." Which (apart from "Write!") may be the best advice one could give a writer, so I shall pass it on here, with my compliments.

From the Mailbag...

This came in, and I read it and blinked, then I re-read what I'd written, and thought, well, she does have a point.

Hello Mr. Gaiman!

I was just reading through your blog and wanted to mention something real quick. In mentioning the story about the Denmark granting legal recognition to worshipers of the Norse Gods, you make a joke about "human sacrifices". Now, I figure you're someone who knows better than to think people really are out trying to commit human sacrifices (even if they can't get a government permit for it *g*) but, well, given that not everyone is, would you be willing to maybe consider making a note that it really IS just a joke?

Unfortuantely, a lot of people seem to think that Heathens (what most worshipers of the Norse Gods call themselves - at least in the US), Pagans and other 'followers of nonstandard religions' really do engage in human sacrifice and other such nastiness when we don't. True, people in the old times did, but in trying to reconstruct the old Norse religion, we're not so much trying to copy or do everything exactly the way it was done in ancient times, but rather how it would have been done if the religion hadn't been surpressed a thousand years ago and instead had evolved naturally to modern times.

I hope this doesn't seem too silly or rude or anything, but there's a lot of misunderstandings, and I'd hate to see people come away with the idea that there are these nuts in Denmark wishing they could have included killing people in their government-approved rites, you know?

Thanks!!

Kriselda Jarnsaxa

[Oh, and just FYI, from what I understand, Iceland has officially recognized Asatru, which is the most popular of the Heathen faiths, so no one there has to worry about whether they get caught any more or not, though that is a great addition to the law.]


So yes, it was a joke.

Why doesn't MirrorMask have its own site?Whenever I've wondered about it,I either come here or imbd or Muppet Central. Be well.

I don't know. Probably because the filmmakers are too busy making it at this point to have thought of it, and I suspect that Hensons are waiting until the film is closer to being finished.

i'm surprised that you haven't mentioned this yet (or as far as i've noticed, you haven't) but there's an interview with you in the latest (november) issue of newtype USA, which i haven't read yet as i was surprised enough by it to run over to my PC and send in a comment forthwith.

I forgot.

It's not unusual for me to forget to post things like that. Luckily, people sometimes remind me.

I forgot to post this interview with DC Comics boss Paul Levitz from the Guardian: http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/story/0,3604,1080651,00.html (Interesting partly because Paul generally keeps a lower profile. It's nice to see his head above the parapet.)

Something else I forgot to mention -- next Saturday morning, I'll be babbling or burbling or something with Jonathan Ross on his Saturday Morning radio show. http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio2/shows/ross/ for details or proof. And for sheer amusement value I recommend going to the rants page and listening to The Bad Impersonator, or, well anything really... And you can listen to the show live on the web, or replay it for the following week.


Dear Neil,

Just wanted to thank you for linking to my Playboy Decades work. I'm a big fan of yours, so it was quite a gratifying surprise to see my stuff linked to on your journal.

All the best.

Cheers,
Jason


You're very welcome. I thought the images were beautiful.

Your iSkin comments got a lot of iPod fanboys boxers in a bunch over at http://www.ipodlounge.com/ The comments sound more like you insulted their girlfriends or something.

FWIW: the bottoms of the skins (I have a blue one from Speck) *are* kludgy. When mine is plugged in (in the car) it's difficult to maneuver the dial on the iPod because the bottom flips up in the way. I may make my own... I'm desperate to lose the cold, clinical whiteness of it.

--Maureen


How bizarre. I mean, you can't use the inMotion speaker dock with the iSkin on, even if you peel it up; you can't get the Belkin Voice recorder on without pulling the iSkin mostly off the top. Anything like the iSkin you have to keep removing or partly removing in order to use it is a poor design job. Ah well. (For the record, I've found iPodLounge an incredibly helpful site over the last year.)

Anyway, my grumbling in public was a sensible thing to do, because you lot, between you, know everything, and this arrived:

Hullo Neil. Not really a question per se. I read on the Blog that you were having a mite of trouble with the iSkin exo for your new third generation iPod. I've been constantly shopping for the perfect sleeve since the third gens debuted. I just came across one that sounds and looks purty good and Macworld magazine gave it a four mouse (read star) rating in their review of it. It comes in six colours, including black. It sounds like it may suit your needs better than the current iSkin. Anyways, here's the URL, hope its of some help. PodSleevz http://www.radtech.us/podsleevz.html Respectfully, Ivory the lil white boi

Which looks just perfect, thank you. I've already ordered one, and will report back about it.



Dear Neil,
My girlfriends sister and her young daughter were over for a visit this last weekend and our place being the den of two adults has little to keep a three year old girl interested. After playing with my girlfriend's old musty stuffed animal cat for a bit, the girl was looking rather bored. "Well" I thought to myself "I do have that book by Neil Gaiman 'The wolves in the walls' it is meant to be a kids book after all." Though I had bought it for myself of course under the guise of buying a gift for some nonexistant sibling. Well to make a long story somewhat shorter the girl loved the book, and has taken to carrying it around with her (however you may mention to Dave Mckean that some of his illustrations confused her a bit). Well the problem and the source of my writing is that that she is convinced that the book will/has been made into a movie, and that of course we all need to see said movie soon. I attempted to explain to the girl that their was no movie, however my words hardly stood up against her three year old logic that all books have movies to go along with them. So at last to my question. I wonder if you couldnt go ahead and make this book into a movie to save me a bit of trouble.
Thanks for listening,
Dylan
www.geocities.com/paranoidartist


Well, I wasn't planning on it, but I'll see what I can do.


Dear Neil:

Russel T. Davies has suggested that the first season of new Doctor Who episodes will include 13 episodes at 45 minutes apiece. Any chance you would write an episode if asked?

Michael Tax


If I have time, certainly. (It took five years to find time to write a Babylon 5 episode, of course...)

Having just read 'Coraline' I was wondering, having you ever heard of, or read Lucy Lane Clifford's 'The New Mother' 1882? I'm hoping to write a book about fairy tales and would be very interested to know.
Thanks!
Selene
x


One reason lots of FAQs simply don't get answered is that the answer is already on the journal somewhere -- it's always worthwhile, if you have a question you think may have been answered somewhere before, like how to get published, or what I think of National Novel Writing Month, or something like that, to search for a few relevant words on the site.

The Search tool is the magnifying glass on the left.

A quick search for Lucy Clifford gave me three mentions on the journal. One of them is http://www.neilgaiman.com/journal_archives/2002_06_01_archive.asp#85202123, and I'll leave it to you to find the others...


Yea i want to know whats gonna be done with Medieval Spawn (yes I know he is dead) but don't just let him sit there and do nothing. At least let Mcfarlane have the rights to make a few more figures out of him. you are hurting the fans here.


Er, the judgement in the legal case gave me co-copyright in Medieval Spawn and Cogliostro (and confirmed my copyright interest in Angela). It didn't take away Todd McFarlane's copyright interest in either character. Todd has the rights to do a Medeival Spawn toy any time he wants; he just has to give me 50% of what he makes from it. ( There were weird reports that the reason Todd couldn't do his Image Tenth Anniversary story is that I was somehow stopping him from using the characters he wanted. Again, a nonsense: Todd's co-copyright-holder on the characters. I can't stop him from doing anything he wants with them. Nor would I want to.)


Todd's currently appealing the jury verdict to the 7th Circuit court of appeal. I thought it would be simpler for everyone if I waited until the appeal was done and the jury decision was confirmed before licensing out Medieval Spawn toys, statues, games, comics, novelty condoms, or whatever.

I'm not sure how I'm "hurting the fans" by not doing anything until then. But I can assure you that when the jury decision is confirmed I will happily license out Medieval Spawn to anyone who wants to use him for anything at all, astonishingly cheaply. And of course Todd will get his 50%.

...

And Teresa Nielsen Hayden explains everything you ever wanted to know about girls and guns over at Making Light. Meanwhile Iain Banks just did a book in which he drove around Scotland tasting, and learning about, single malts. (He talks about it here.) Bastard. Wish I'd thought of doing a book like that.

Jerry Springer The Opera etc

Just woke up after sleeping for about twelve hours. What woke me up was my daughter Maddy saying good morning, then singing twenty minutes of songs from Into the Woods and Sunday in the Park With George. Which, despite the problems with the iSkin, finally sold me on the new iPod. If you have to wake up away from home, having your daughter singing "Children and Art" to you is the best way to do it.

Spent last night, as I drifted closer to sleep, listening to the soundtracks for Avenue Q and Jerry Springer the Opera.

I need to buy myself more plug adapters -- I only have one with me and keep having to unplug it to plug other things in.

Hi! Any chance of you taking a picture of the beard before it's gone? And posting it? Because Sinister Neil Gaiman sounds amusing...


Photos were taken before I left home, and given the flood of requests I may stick up a picture or two when I get copies.

Several people have sent me this story -- Denmark to recognise Worshippers of Norse Gods. Which is good news. Although I assume that the whole human sacrifice bit isn't going to make it into the rituals listed in its bylaws.

(Which reminds me. When I was last in Iceland I learned that when worshipping the Norse Gods was banned, about a thousand years ago, there was a clause that only made it illegal if you were caught. I still love that.)

Dear Neil,

I am a maskmaker, and I have been creating dark-fantasy-themed masks for several years. I don't know if the mask pictured on the Mirror Mask promo image is from the film, or was just used for the promo. But if you need masks for the film, I would be happy to supply you with several at my expense. I have followed your work and Dave McKean's work since my college days, and you have both inspired and motivated my artistic vision since that time. It would be a pleasure to give something back.

All the best,
Monica Roxburgh
www.goblinart.com


Thanks, that's very kind of you -- but all the live action stuff in MirrorMask was already shot in June and July. Some of the masks (mostly the Black Queen's) were bought by Dave McKean in Venice before the shoot, and the rest were made by Dave McKean and the production staff, and are very odd.

...

And I keep forgetting to post this: http://www.salavon.com/PlayboyDecades/PlayboyDecades.shtml If you haven't seen it, it's four photographs which "are the result of mean averaging every Playboy centerfold foldout for the four decades beginning Jan. 1960 through Dec. 1999. This tracks, en masse, the evolution of this form of portraiture."

Saturday, November 08, 2003

UK signing times shifting...

I'm in London. Very tired, in that way that you get when you just never managed to fall asleep on the plane. The world is odd and flat.

I'm in a new hotel, one I've never stayed in before. It seems very nice so far. I still have the beard. We'll see how many more days it lasts.

Checking the bloomsbury Website, I noticed that details on the times of the various signings had changed from what I posted here last week.

The current Bloomsbury Versions of things are:

November


Neil Gaiman
Borders, Oxford
Date: 10 November 2003 Time: 18:30
Neil Gaiman will be talking about and reading from 'The Wolves in the Walls', and 'Coraline' at Borders, 9 Magdalen Street, Oxford, OX1 3AD. Tel: 01865 203901.


Neil Gaiman
Waterstone
Date: 11 November 2003 Time: 14:30
Neil Gaiman will be signing books at Waterstone's in Bath.


Neil Gaiman
Waterstone's, Bristol
Date: 11 November 2003 Time: 18:30
Neil Gaiman will be talking about and reading from 'The Wolves in the Walls', and 'Coraline' at Waterstone's, 11A Union Galleries, Broadmead, Bristol, BS1 3XD. Tickets: �3 Tel: 0117 925 2274.


Neil Gaiman
Waterstone's, Leeds
Date: 12 November 2003 Time: 18:30
Neil Gaiman will be talking about and reading from 'The Wolves in the Walls', and 'Coraline' at Waterstone's, 93-97 Albion Street, Leeds, LS1 5AP. Tel: 0113 244 4588.


Neil Gaiman
Foyles, London
Date: 14 November 2003 Time: 19:00
Bloomsbury and Foyles present Neil Gaiman an Dave McKean in conversation with Jonathan Ross at The Congress Centre, 28 Great Russell Street, London, WC1 3LS. Tickets: �5 / �4 concs Call Foyles on 0870 420 2777 (Lines are open 8:30am - 6pm, Monday to Friday), or book online at www.foyles.co.uk.


Neil Gaiman
The Dublin Bookshop, Dublin
Date: 17 November 2003 Time: 19:00
Neil Gaiman will be talking about and reading from The Wolves in the Walls and Coraline at The Dublin Bookshop, 36 Grafton Street, Dublin 2, Tel: 353 1 677 5568


...

As a side comment: I loved the iSkin for the original iPod. It made the thing better: harder to scratch or to damage, harder to touch keys by accident, it made it easier to transport, and look cool.

So when I got my 40G iPod, I got a couple of iSkins for it. Glow in the dark, even.

The trouble is, the new iSkins make the thing work less well. The bottom of my iSkin has now been cut off to allow it to sit in the dock of the iPod speakers. The recessed keys are harder to get to and to press properly (and the "lock" key is almost impossible to get to). The microphone-notes attachment doesn't work with the iSkin in place.

So the first and second generation iSkin is terrific. The third generation one is pretty useless.

Friday, November 07, 2003

More denials at eleven.

As you'll learn from CNN (http://www.cnn.com/2003/WORLD/europe/11/07/uk.charles/index.html) or from the Guardian, the allegations are quite untrue.

Go and read it first. There.

I think we at this journal's news desk can go further.

Not only are the allegations untrue but:

a) the goat was not, in fact, Spanish, but Portuguese, and is currently living safely in a wildlife preserve in East Molesey.

b) The Tango is a dance made famous in Argentina. "Erotic licking" plays no part in the Tango. Neither, of course, do balloons.

c) only a lunatic would apply shoe-polish to a weasel.

d) if the alleged incidents had in fact occurred in broad daylight during a car-boot sale in Harrow then there would be photographs, and quite possibly a plaster cast.

e) by now the "Use by" stamps on the yoghurt would have expired, indicating it as unfit for human consumption.

This journal trusts that this clears up the matter once and for all.

The Heliotrope Gamahaean Union

For some reason my author copy of Shadows Over Baker Street has never turned up, so I picked one up when I was in DreamHaven the other day, and finally got to look over my story. Some very odd copy-editing going on -- "crucifer" had become "crucifix", "messrs." had become "Messieurs", and all the Victorian places where they deleted information -- as in the "_____th Regiment" had become the rather more puzzling "------th Regiment". Also most of my capitalisations and hyphens were up grabs (for example, the perfectly real word woolgathering has become wool-gathering, which is not a word at all). Still, the story's fine. I'd read on Caitlin's blog (october 11th 2003 and the next few entries) that hers had undergone a copyediting nightmare, to the point where she'd more or less disclaimed it as printed, and I was rather worried.

I assume this was the same copy editor who changed "Jeremy Brett" to "Jeremy Irons" in the introduction, presumably on the basis that an actor the editor had heard of named Jeremy is more likely to have played Sherlock Holmes on TV than an actor named Jeremy he or she hadn't heard of.

...

Speaking of Censorship, Mr. Gaiman,
http://www.salon.com/books/wire/2003/11/06/
malaysia_books/index.html
cheers,
Rupa Datta



...which put me in mind of Bradbury's story "Usher II". And made me sad.

Ahem - the Foyles event is on the 14th, not the 15th, RIGHT?? I should dearly like to think so, because I booked a flight for being there on Friday night, not Saturday night. Please don't make our lives too exciting by posting wrong dates, there might be people out there with weak hearts, you know ;)

Michaela


Yup. It's the 14th. I was, um, just seeing if you were awake. (I've fixed it now.)

Hello Neil,

If the program that spawned a popup window and killed your blogger post is on your computer, here's the site of a really good program called Spybot that gets rid of such spyware, malware, and spamware (and it works better than Ad-Aware, of which you may be...aware):

http://spybot.eon.net.au/

cheers!
dan winckler


And it seems to work more intelligently than ad-aware too.

Neil, blogger should have saved your post on the 5th of the november if you change the dropdown on the right to show x number from DRAFTS.
This caught me out alot and I thought I had lost posts but they all showed up in there.
Hope it helps
Dave


I know it should have, but it didn't. I've tried various different things, and right now it's just stopped saving things. So I'll be more careful. (So saying, I copy what I've written and post it -- but don't publish -- before I go back to typing.)

Well Neil, your campaign to get Thea Gilmore on "Top of the Pops" may be starting to bear fruit; the video to "Mainstream" was shown on TotP 2 earlier this evening!

It's a strange video, apparently having cost less than �40 to make; it was shot using the security cameras in a record shop in Crewe, of all places.

She played here in Manchester on Sunday night, by the way, to a very eclectic crowd, and was fantastic - the best gig I've been at in at least four years.

Keep up the promotion, and I hope I'll see you at the Leeds signing,
Greg Daly.
(http://gregorianranting.blogspot.com)


I was proud of myself for buying the Mainstream singles from amazon.co.uk before I heard they'd shipped them out too early to count on the charts. So I'm delighted she made it onto ToTP anyway, with her 38 quid video. There's a great little interview with here in the Guardian at http://shopping.guardian.co.uk/music/story/0,1587,1069132,00.html.

Just a note on the random screwed up tags: It's iTunes (for Windows). Did the same thing to me, and when I tried to uninstall it, did something bizarre and awful to my modem drivers and WMA player, too. So, whatever you do, DO NOT uninstall iTunes. It's not worth it.
Have fun with the being sinister.
Wende


Many thanks for the warning...


Hi Neil!

I am currently writing a thesis on comics and I was wondering something, so I thought it may be a good idea to ask you.

What were the rules in big compagnies such as Marvel, or DC concerning censorhip? What was an author allowed to say, and what was forbidden? Was the stress put on bad language solely, or the violation of a major charcacter's background, or did one also have to avoid non-patriotic/anti-american talk? Or anything related to politics? Could you enlighten me with your experience or forward me to somewhere where I could learn more about it?

Cheers,

Aslan


I don't recall a lot of censorship. There was a monologue about masturbation in the Serial Killer's Convention story that I had to take the word masturbation out of, and I lost a few swear words, until, in Sandman: The Kindly Ones, I really really really needed Rose Walker to be able to say "Fuck" and Karen Berger went to get special permission from Paul Levitz, who was very bemused as he thought we'd all been using it in Vertigo for years. We hadn't, but shortly after that, most people were.

Hi Neil. Here's a writing-related question for the FAQ page:

I recently attended a well-respected writers' conference in Canada. In three different workshops, best-selling authors told me I must change my name every time I publish a book in a different genre.

If an author writes romance and builds up a readership in that genre, then he/she must change their name in order to write a mystery novel. Why? Because those readers who only want to read romances could accidentally pick up the mystery novel based on their love of the author's writing and then be upset or disappointed when the story reveals something other than romantic fiction.

Personally, I feel this advice is misguided. Many authors -- you, Diana Gabaldon, Iris Johansen, Kay Hooper, Stephen King and John Grisham to name a few -- have written books in different genres and maintained a solid fan base. In the process, they've also gained new fans and turned readers onto books in different sections of the bookstore.

As a journalist and poet who's now delving into fiction, I found this advice to be rather disheartening. By the end of the year, I plan to have three books sitting on publishers' desks: a vampire romance novel, a collection of quotes for writers and a children's book for the 4-7 age group. Should I come up with three separate pseudonyms or stick with my own memorable moniker?

Thank you for your time.

Jade Walker - http://www.jadedwritings.comWriter, The Blog of Death (http://www.blogofdeath.com)
Editor, Siren Song (http://www.sirensongmagazine.com)
Author, "Sex, Death and Other..." (http://www.metropolisink.com/walker/sdao/)



You're asking the wrong person. I mean, I'm all over the place, and really like being me, and really would rather not have to publish my childrens books or graphic novels or whatever under other names than my own. I suppose that I assume that my readers are fairly smart, and can cope with me existing on various shelves.

I just noticed (over at Teresa Nielsen Hayden's blog) your distinct lack of an interesting blog name. Seeing plain old "Journal" listed with all the others (i.e. 12 Frogs, Monkeys in My Pants) made me wonder... is this due an oversight, an inability to choose your favorite wild blog name, an understated rebellion against the blog-title mainstream, or some other dark, mysterious reason?

~Ann


I think it's probably because I started this thing so long ago. Back before blogs had funny names. Back when the only people blogging were me, Sam Pepys, and a couple of mastodons.

Or because I didn't name it. Back when this site was AmericanGods.com (go to http://www.neilgaiman.com/gallery/gallery.asp# and click on the top left box -- it'll take you to the first incarnation of this site, and to the first incarnation of this journal, which you can also see at http://www.neilgaiman.com/gallery/OLD_AmGods/journal.html) it came with a front page with a timer (American Gods will be published in -872 days 22 hours and 2 minutes, it says) a page with links to a few bookselling entities, and, because it was simple, Neil Gaiman's Journal. Calling it the Heliotrope Gamahaean Union would just have confused things.

Incidentally, Teresa suffered a hellish data crash. Details over at Making Light, her wonderfully named blog. Entries for the Second and Third of November. And she's wisely put up a tip jar...


...

Why won't you comment on the similrites between Tim Hunter and Harry Potter? What can you gain from not speaking out? I was disappoujnted in you when I read this article.

I don't know why I'm now on record as not commenting on it. I thought I had commented on it, several times now, once or twice on this blog even. I think it's a coincidence. (Here's me commenting about it in 2000. Here's me commenting about it in 2001.)

Thursday, November 06, 2003

Hasty useful post

A very quick one to say the Dublin signing is:


Monday 17th November 7pm
The Dublin Bookshop, 36 Grafton Street, Dublin 2, Tel. 353 1 677 5568


And that the Foyles event on the 14th (me and Dave McKean interviewed by Jonathan Ross) is now down to standing room only tickets, so if you want to go, you should call now, because otherwise there'll be no room at all.

Wednesday, November 05, 2003

Remember, Remember The Fifth of November.

Sigh. It's 1:00 am and I was seconds away from posting a very long post about the day, and answering lots of questions and everything, when an evil piece of something that turned out to be spam tried to close the blogger window, activating the blogger "do you want to save this post or leave without saving?" message. I told it I wanted to save it, and the post zapped off into the void anyway.

Sigh.

Oh well.

Let's try again...

I got a much-needed haircut today.

While I was sick I grew an accidental beard, and once she'd finished cutting my hair Wendy-from-Hair-Police decided to do things to the beard, on the basis that whatever she did, I'd still get rid of it in a couple of days. She wound up turning it into an extremely sinister Van Dyck, which has the effect of making me look, well, extremely sinister. I now look like the sort of person who, when the hero says "but -- but you promised that if we did what you asked, you'd spare the Earth, and, and we brought you the girl. Dammit, you promised!" nods thoughtfully and says "I lied," as he reaches out to press the red button marked Press Here To Blow Up Planet.

I signed a LOT of books at DreamHaven, stuff people had ordered from the DreamHaven Neilgaiman.net website -- everything I'm going to sign from here to Xmas (well, they'll have lots of signed stuff, but that's it for personalising). The high point was Greg Ketter showing me the Michael Zulli art for the next, as yet untitled, Spoken Word CD. It's quite glorious -- some of the coolest imagery Michael's ever made. I hope it reproduces down at CD size. If it doesn't we may be forced to do a poster of it or something, if Mister Zed doesn't mind.

I dragged my friend John M. Ford and his sweetie Elise off with me to grab some lunch, and to accompany me to the local Apple shop to buy some accessories for the iPod. (I got the voice recorder and speaker unit from here). This made me very happy (particularly getting to chat with Mike Ford).

Then I got home and discovered something puzzling. Something -- I don't know what (possibly Moodlogic. Possibly iTunes. Most probably just evil computer-goblins) -- has, in the last week or so, screwed up the tags for hundreds of songs. I was alerted to this when I noticed that Dylan Thomas was now apparently reciting his poetry on Hamell On Trial's "CHOOCHTOWN" CD. Dozens of CDs are screwed up, and there's not enough time to delete them and reburn them.

I've decided to look on it as a good thing -- it will add a certain amount of surprise and chance to the world of listening to music...

Also discovered enormous piles of mail waiting for me, including the Thackery T Lambshead Book limited edition pages to be signed. I found myself wishing they'd arrived a week ago, when I was sick, and had some time on my hands. Now I've got a very limited number of hours before I fly to London, and I'd not budgeted any of them to sign a thousand sheets of paper. Well, I'll manage it somehow -- and it's a good thing it arrived today, and not, say, Friday...

...

I'm going to be a guest at Penguincon next year, mostly because it struck me as something fun I could drag my son Mike to that he'd enjoy as much as, or more than, I would, and because Terry Pratchett had a great time last year. It won't be a usual SF convention, and the guests include lots of people I'm looking forward to meeting in the flesh, like the Slashdot people, and Wil Wheaton, who long before he was an uberblogger I knew of as The Guy Who Started the Sandman Discussion On Genie...


There's a bunch of CBLDF news I posted last time, but I can't be bothered to retype it. Luckily Dirk Deppey has done my work for me: http://www.tcj.com/journalista/zarch200311A.html#cbldf

...

And Fred the cat talks.

I've never had a talking cat before.

He wanders round the attic saying things like "Hullo..." and "Mimi". Well, the "hullo" is more like "hurro", but it's still quite off-putting if you aren't used to it.

His leg is healing fast. I'm really going to miss Fred when I go to the UK.

Monday, November 03, 2003

What has it got in its pocketses?

I was given my birthday present early, because I leave for England before my birthday. It's a 40 G iPod, and I can put lots of old radio, and lots of music on it, and have it while I'm travelling and writing. It's obscenely thin, and amazingly sharp-looking, and I should have time to stick all the stuff I need to put on it on it before I leave. I've just made a complete mess of ordering an iSkin for it, so will go to another computer and try again.

Anyway...

Over at Sequential Tart they've posted an interview with me -- thirteen questions -- which I typed in a hotel room in Finland, during the last tour. http://www.sequentialtart.com/13quest_1103.shtml It's a really fun interview which made me empty out my pockets on the hotel room bed, and take stock...

And there's an interview up at Slashdot.org, where they gave me ten questions, and I answered them. I actually got to look at the list of submitted questions this morning as well, and there were a lot of interesting ones it's almost a shame that I didn't get to do as well. But time is finite, and I was pretty late getting the ten I did do back to them... You can read them at http://interviews.slashdot.org/interviews/03/11/03/1349252.shtml?tid=188&tid=192&tid=97.

And I clipped Fred the Cat's claws today, and discovered while I was doing it that he has two cat-thumbs on each hand, which explains how he keeps stealing my glasses, watch, and so on (I'd assumed he picked them up with his mouth, and, I learned watching him today, I was wrong). An idle websearch for polydaktyl cats gave me a fascinating page on the subject...

Sunday, November 02, 2003

"The Adventure of the Orkney Werebot"

And several people asked...


Reading a recent journal entry, I saw question and reply regarding trade paperbacks vs. mass-market paperbacks, and I have to show a bit of ignorance here: what exactly do these terms mean? I understand these are two different markets now, trade and mass-market, but what markets are these? I apologize if this is a silly or picky question, but I ended up curious (and eager to sweep away that fog of befuddlement)!

Thanks,
'Stina

P.S. Good luck with Fred the Cat ; )


Sorry about that. Mass-market paperbacks are what most people think of as paperback books. Smaller than a hardback in every way. A Trade Paperback is a paperback that's taller and wider than a regular paperback, sometimes the size of a hardback or somewhat smaller, but with paper covers. (I looked for a helpful explanation on line and didn't find much: http://www.penguin.co.uk/static/packages/uk/aboutus/glossary.html has some definitions and sizes. So does http://www.maxdelta.com/books/format.htm.

Of course, paperbacks, and books, come in all sizes. Harry Stephen Keeler fans feed our shameful addiction from Ramble House, in a size convenient for slipping into your inside pocket.

Hello Neil. I have an over read tatty 1st edition of Good Omens and was wondering where the picture of you and Terry on the dust jacket was taken. It looks very much like West Norwood Cemetery or the gardens at Hever Castle. I would like to relive the picture with my daughter (me as Terry because of the beard, although I do look dashing in black)who is a second generation fan, Makes you feel old really.

Talking about things making you feel old... It was Kensal Green Cemetery -- the one that Chesterton wrote of, in his rolling English Road poem. Which is also the resting place of Richard Evans, the british editor who got me started on Neverwhere and encouraged me about Coraline.

I remember how cold it was, the day the photo was taken, and especially how cold poor Terry was, as he'd borrowed a very thin white jacket from editor Malcolm Edwards ("That way they'll know I'm the good one," he explained.)

We only noticed the winged hourglass on the crypt afterward, looking at the photos, and then decided to have them redraw the hourglass that ended the book to a winged one, and pretty soon it had become the symbol of the book.

I'm glad to see you're feeling better. I don't wish to bug you, but I wanted to tell you what I did for halloween, I think you will find it humorous. I got this cow costume that had these rubber utters and sewed some gloves together to make hooves. I then went around making various animal noises, mainly quack. Can you guess the joke? I was Mad Cow disease! (And yes, I am quite aware I can't spell at all) Well, seeing as this is supposed to be a question... What is your favorite cheese?

A nice white crumbly Wensleydale, thank you.

Dear Neil
DUDE, ok...explain me something. What is Endless Nights? A book? A graphic novel? Is it just one big book about the 7 Endless, or one book for each of them?
And again i would like to know why we put our e-mail below if you can't write to us due to short time.
thanx man, and never stop writing. NEVER. YOU HEAR ME? CAUSE THERE'S NOTHING STOPING ME FROM GETTING ON A PLANE AND
GETTING TO NYC IN LIKE 11 HOURS AND KICKING YOUR ASS IF YOU EVER TRY STOPING IT.
send my love to your family
always a fan
Rafael (Brazil)
ps: have you ever come to a signing in brazil after Sandman?
i'd give my right arm to have a chance to se you. and i mean, i can ripe it off right now!just let me get you a pen first.


Endless Nights is an oversized hardback book, about 160 pages long. It contains six stories, a conclusion, an introduction, some biographies, and some design pages. It will be coming out in Brazil.

And yes, I've been to Brazil -- you can read about the last time in the archives at http://www.neilgaiman.com/archive/2001_05_01_archive.asp. Go to May the 22nd, and work your way up to May 24.

(And for any Argentinians reading, yes, I know that the photo of me in the cemetery in the gallery is in Buenos Aires, and is miscaptioned. I'm sure that it will one day be fixed.)

Neil I read your book "Coraline" and I like it.Can you tell me how old you are?I like your site.

I'm pleased you like the site. I'm forty-two, but not for much longer.

...

Not a question, but a link, because other people might have been interested in the original Prez Rickard's comic after reading Sandman #54:

http://ape-law.com/GAF/Page04/
I guess it's possible to have a worse campaign slogan than "Love, Peace, and No More Vampie Bats!"...but I think you'd have to try really, really hard. ^_-

- Rachel


Author Nat Gartler gave me a page of original art from PREZ, on the basis that I needed it more than he did. I'm still grateful.

...

I notice that Powell's.com did a review of Alisa Kwitney's Sandman King of Dreams book that also managed to be a review of and essay about the entirety of Sandman -- it was their review of the day for October the 18th.

....


And tomorrow it will be Steve Jones's Somethingth birthday. I'm missing the World Fantasy Convention in Washington DC right now, and will probably miss Steve's actual birthday celebration tomorrow, so I thought I'd put something up here about it. When I met Steve he was an editor, a director of TV commercials (who in England can ever forget that poor plant, pitifully pleading "Can I have the five drop difference?"), a publicist, and one of the people who made the British Fantasy Society and the British Fantasy Convention happen. He was also still in his twenties, if only just.

These days he's mostly an editor of anthologies, and I have spent too long driving him mad by forgetting to sign contracts or write amusing bios and anecdotes for him, for his books. He is almost definitely no longer in his twenties.

There was a book, put together recently in the UK by Val Edwards, to surprise Steve with, in which his friends got to wish him Happy Birthday. This is what I wrote for it...


Steve Jones? Ah yes. Steve Jones. It seems such a long time ago...

I have counted on my fingers. It was a hair over twenty years ago that Steve and I first met, during the case that I like to call "The Mystery of the Wickenden Hall Ghoul". I was merely an amateur sleuth at the time, and without Steve's help I would never have deduced that the wheelchair-bound Miss Keynes was in fact the nightmarish half-woman, half-slug hybrid responsible for the desecration of Wickenden Hall's small graveyard; and I would not be here to write this tribute today if Steve Jones had not thoughtfully packed a family-size box of salt in his luggage.

After that? Seven dizzying years, of fogs and sunsets, stakes, silver bullets, fish-knives, mandalas and bite-proof body-armour neck-wraps. From Land's End ("The Case of the Piskies of Vengeance") to John O'Groats ("The Adventure of the Orkney Werebot") Steve and I travelled across Britain, rescuing fair maidens and slaying monsters (and, once, where we were certain it was the right thing to do, vice versa).

That the world should not be alarmed by our exploits, we agreed to maintain several harmless fictions -- I recall Steve pretending interest in some society that attempted to rouse interest in the fantastic, while I put it about that I was a journalist, and indeed some remarkable cases came our way through journalistic tip-offs... do you remember "The Case of the Surrey Strangler", Steve? As dawn broke, and we waded together from the blood-filled pond, I turned to you and said "If only your friends in the British Fantastical Society could see you now." And you said, "Ah yes. Not to mention the editorial staff of Gentleman's Relish," -- or whichever magazine it was I worked for at the time. Does it come back to you now, Steve? It was moments before the dark brougham rattled over the hill, to disgorge its hellish contents, and we were forced to flee...

Oh, those happy, distant days.

My own unfortunate disappearance, during the case I like to call "The Affair of the Transatlantic Traveller" is too well known to need documenting here. It pleases me that Stephen Jones continues to keep the flag flying: while purporting to be an editor of strange tomes, a member of that hidden group that safeguards and protects our fictions, he is, I am delighted to say, so much more.

Happy Birthday, Steve.

Neil


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