Thursday, July 29, 2004

no distinguishing marks or features

Most of today was spent on the phone, talking to people about things that needed talking about, which was mostly good, if frustrating in terms of getting any writing done. Finally I went off and did most of the work on the talk I'm giving at Mythcon, which made me happier.

I was amused to read in the Guardian about this parody site, and equally as amused to read the UK government order to take it down:   This is a very is [sic] serious campaign that should not be trivialised. In the interests of helping people to cope in the event of a crisis or a disaster we would ask that you to take down the site, immediately, and not put it up again in another guise, says the person from the non-parodic government version of the site, convinced that maybe people will believe that there really is a "Department of Vague Paranoia", and that they really are being advised about what to do in case of zombie attack.

Mirrormask is mentioned in the TV Guide:   Biggest Headtrip: Do you miss the days when the Jim Henson Company made trippy movies like Labyrinth and The Dark Crystal? Then you'll be happy to know that they're returning to the well with Mirrormask, a truly bizarre-looking movie about a young girl who enters a mysterious dreamworld populated by strange creatures. Written by comic-book guru Neil Gaiman and directed by master artist Dave McKean, this already looks like one of 2005's coolest movies.

I was delighted to learn that Vicky Featherstone has been appointed director of the National Theatre of Scotland. Vicky's co-directing the Wolves in the Walls children's-opera-thing, and is what P.G. Wodehouse would probably have described as a Good Egg. It couldn't happen to a nicer, etc.  Cheers, jubilations, hats flung into the air, popping of champagne corks.

Sorry for an entirely trivial question, Neil, but I'm wondering about something... how many free copies of your books do you get when they are published?  I figure you must have a list of friends and family to whom you send stuff and it would seem kind of weird if you had to buy all those copies of your book.  Thanks!  -peter
It's something that is normally agreed in the contract. Let's see -- DC Comics are probably the best, with 25 of everything. Then it goes down to ten or fifteen copies of most books, and then one or two copies of new anthologies with short stories in (because you're normally being sent them by the editor, and they come from his or her allocation).  And then sometimes you wind up buying a book because you notice you've got a story in it and no-one sent you a copy, and it's probably easier to just buy it than to spend the time dogging the publisher. (I bought a book yesterday with a reprint of a story by me and Dave McKean in it for just that reason.)

With luck I'll get a couple of copies of foreign editions (today brought a two copies each of the Serbian editions of American Gods and Coraline). (Today's mail also brought copies of Amazing Stories, in which I write an 800-word intro to a 200 word Harlan Ellison story, for a 1000 word feature that Harlan had mistakenly believed to be a 100 word feature.)

Other recent arrivals include the very spiffy Locus Awards: 30 Years of the Best in SF and Fantasy edited by Charles Brown and Jonathan Strahan, a book which no library or school library should be without...

Hi Neil,I was wondering if you saw this  and if it was the inspiration for the sleep sickness in Sandman.I love your work, thanks for the many hours of enjoyment.Paolo
Oh yes -- the sleeping sickness in Sandman #1 was a real disease that swept the world. And I hadn't seen that article - thanks.

Mr. Gaiman, I was wondering how I could go about obtaining your permission to feature the Kindly Ones in a student short film about time and graduating history. I feel that the Kindly Ones, by their very nature of being an aspect of one another, would best exempliphy the fundemental concepts of time this short seeks to illustrate. My fellow filmmakers and I concur that there would be little point in even trying to complete the assigment without the inclusion of these mythological figures.  Thank you for your time in reading this. Joshua
Well, you can always put the Kindly Ones into things; I didn't make them up, after all.  I'm sure that, on a fair use basis, you could show pages from the comics if you wanted to do that. If you wanted actually to dramatise bits of the comics for your film, then you'd have to ask DC Comics, and they'll say no, because the Sandman dramatic rights are with Warner brothers.


Several years ago I was given a Gemstar eBook reader to try out, by my publisher. I was unimpressed -- it sort of worked, but they'd taken a great deal of time and trouble to stop you being able to just put books  on it to read, and to make it only usable if you bought books from them.  Once the format was effectively dead and no longer supported, and my own eBook had vanished off into the darkness of some closet or other, they made it so you could put your personal content on your eBook, but I could never be bothered to go and find it again.  And I was reminded of that by this article on tethering.


It's odd when you read two stories that seem to be commenting on each other. So first: the problem. Then the cure...?


Finally, something that came in a while ago that I meant to post, but mislaid.

Hey Neil,   
I've noticed you put up a lot of links from your dedicated blog readers. I thought you might find this of interest.
Seems like a good cause, be you for or against the war.
"Books For Soldiers is a soldier support site that ships books, DVDs and supplies to deployed soliders and soldiers in VA hospitals, via our large volunteer network. If you have old, but usuable paperback books sitting around, collecting dust, why not send them to a solider for a big morale boost?"~Maeve McEneny