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Tuesday, February 10, 2004

Crash. "Morning has broken..."

Good morning.

Lots of explorer windows and firebird tabs open I can close with a clear conscience if I put the links up here. So without ado:

Fascinated to see that the process of English electability redefinition continues. Now it's Michael Howard reconfiguring the Tories into something that's a lot like New Labour, just as Tony Blair once sculpted New Labour to be electable by positioning it as a more caring version of the Tories. Interesting to see the Tories endorsing gay partnerships, and partnerships that don't include marriage: "To recognise civil partnership is not, in any way, to denigrate or downgrade marriage. It is to recognise and respect the fact that many people want to live their lives in different ways." http://www.guardian.co.uk/gayrights/story/0,12592,1144769,00.html

Just discovered that my friend Oliver Morton (author of Mapping Mars) has a blog -- Mainly Martian, at http://mainlymartian.blogs.com/. For those of us with any interest in Mars, and the current scientific wossnames going on there, Ollie's your man. I'm fascinated.

I've always enjoyed Ursula LeGuin's non-fiction writing: she answers questions over at the Guardian Online, and they are good and sensible replies, occasionally illuminating, always interesting. http://books.guardian.co.uk/departments/sciencefiction/story/0,6000,1144428,00.html

I was faintly puzzled a couple of times, though, when she grumbled about the book covers getting her characters' skin colour wrong, and the BBC radio adaptation mispronouncing Ged's name. They seemed like things it's pretty easy for an author to fix -- for the skin colour, it gets fixed either in later editions (you mention it to your editor, who mentions it to the art department, who mention it to the artist) or, if you realise that people are going to do this (after they've done it the first time) you make a point of letting people know. Yes, they ought to read the whole book, but they're artists, and they may not even have read the book, and just told what to draw by the art department, who themselves may have only had the conversation with editorial that goes "the scene on page 112 might be a good cover image: hero, heroine and giant eagle descending..." If, as Ursula points out, artists consistently get skin colour wrong, then you might want to mention it to your editor up front as something to keep an eye on.

And if it matters to you how characters names are pronounced, then again, you mention it ahead of time, surely -- it's the work of a moment to write a pronunciation guide ("it's Az-IR-a-phale"). The BBC are always dead keen to get things right....

...

Reasons to use Google #20047: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/3445523.stm

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I love this poem, I think because it crystallises what I, as a young man, thought would happen if I got anything published. And, of course, when it happens you slowly learn it's not like that at all.

While over at the Washington Post, Jessa Crispin reviews some graphic novels. It's fascinating, the feeling that we're slowly slipsliding into a brave new world in which we can take for granted the idea that Graphic Novels can get reviewed in real places without anyone having the need to wave and shout and point out that that's what they're doing. No whams or kerpows either. It seems like only yesterday that Journalista! was bemoaning the decision to put out a Sergeant Rock hardback as an act of supreme own-foot-shooting folly on DC's part, and now the book is beng positively reviewed alongside Palomar and The Fixer and League of Extraordinary Gentlemen II.

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Hello Mr. Gaiman,
A Plug for Yourself--Marvel 1602, Issue 7 of 8, is due out Wednesday. Fast coming to the end of the run. Is issue 8 going to be a double sized issue? Will it really all end or will you have one more issue (to tie up loose ends?). Somewhere I read that you owed Marvel another mini-series-would that be something to look forward to in 2005 or 2006, and would the purpose of that also be to fund Miracle Man? Thanks for your valuable time--how's the book coming? Dave G.


Yes, 1602 #8 will be 35 pages (as opposed to 22 or 23).

The story that began in 1602 #1 gets to finish in #8. There are certainly other stories that can be told.

Yup, the Marvels and Miracles deal with Marvel was a two project deal. I'm going to try and finish the novel before I start project 2 though -- and we still haven't decided what Project 2 actually is. And Anansi Boys is back being written after a month-long hiatus.

1602, as a comic, basically pays for the costs of the current appeal, and previous legal costs, on the whole McFarlane case. Part of the deal was Project #2, which is financially a lot closer to the normal model (ie Marvel gets to keep some of the money).

Republishing Miracleman, and finishing Miracleman, both look like they're getting closer. But it may be a mirage...

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And I have to go and do things, so I'll leave the anecdote about Julie Schwartz, a comics fan I shall probably call Mr X, and how you can find them both in Diana Wynne Jones's novel Chair Person, for another time.
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