(Blinks at the light. Peers out of his hole.)
I'm home for the weekend -- as, I'm delighted to say, is my son Mike (although he came back from Washington, while I just came back from my hole). Maddy and I just went and picked him up from the airport.
So, my news. I've almost finished typing-transcribing the first 2/3 of the new novel, "Anansi Boys". Which is to say I still have a chunk of novel -- more or less the last third of it, unless it grows -- to write, but more or less everything that I've handwritten has now been typed. And I'm 56,000 words in on the actual novel's first draft.
I've got a few scenes still to be transcribed, although they're from later in the book than I've actually got, and I know they may change when I actually get to them, but I might as well type them up.
So, what I have to do now is that thing I wind up doing 2/3 of the way through the story, where I think about the end a lot, and trace all the things that need to happen to all the characters between where I am and the end, and then get it down in one huge mad wossname. Not sure if the wossname will be handwriting or typing. It might be fun if it were handwritten, but it probably won't be any more.
Every now and again there are places where I know that what I've got down isn't what will be in the book, but a sort of placeholder scene -- I need to do some research on a few things, and I'll fix them on the next go through.
The weirdest thing about the book is that it begins as a comedy, then slowly shades into something a bit like horror, and I realised a couple of days ago that the rules of fiction mean you have to tread slightly warily as you go, if you're going to do something like this. In a comedy, part of the underlying agreement is that good people and bad people will get what they deserve, and that happy endings will be earned, and the universe rewards nice people and sensible ones. In horror the underlying agreement is that there is no justice and that good people may be fed to the lions at authorial whim. Which realisation induced a moment or two of panic, and then I shrugged and figured it would all come out in the wash.
Anyway, right now (in the book) I'm filling a very small spare bedroom in a london flat with broken glass and flamingoes. What an odd book this is to write, to be sure.
It's nice to be back in a real house, and to have other human beings around. I shall sleep in my own bed tonight.
For that matter, it's nice to have the Internet access for a couple of days.
I'll try and catch up on e-mails and in-boxes and such and write a helpful and useful blog entry over the weekend. In the meantime...
I've been awarded three Locus Awards. Best Novelette for "A Study In Emerald", best short story for "Closing Time", and Best NonFiction or Art for Sandman: Endless Nights.
This is particularly cool, because the Locus Awards have more voters than any other awards in SF (even the Hugos).
Details at http://www.locusmag.com/2004/News/06_LocusAwards.html
And "A Study In Emerald" can be read at http://www.neilgaiman.com/exclusive/StudyinEmerald.asp and in the Haber & Strahan "SF, the Best of 2003"
(And the word-count of "A Study In Emerald" is 8,000 words -- the upper limit for a short story or the lower limit for a novelette, which is why it got the Locus Award as one, but is nominated for a Hugo as the other.)
"Closing Time" is the McSweeneys Mammoth Treasury of Thrilling Tales Anthology and reprinted in the Hartwell & Cramer "Year's Best Fantasy 4", and one of the upcoming Steve Jones "Year's Best Horror" anthologies.
My personal favourite of all the stories published last year was the one from Nalo Hopkinson's Mojo: Conjure Stories -- it's called "Bitter Grounds" -- I just learned it got an Honorable Mention in the Fountain Awards: details at http://speculativeliterature.org/Awards/SLFFountainAward/2003.php.
Which made me happy -- it seemed like all the stories I wrote in 2002 got attention (awards or picked up for Year's Best anthologies) except that one, and as I say, it was my favourite. (It also got the most perceptive piece of attention.)
Dark Horse will have a limited edition Mirrormask tee shirt for sale at San Diego: Dark Horse will also have a Comic-Con exclusive MirrorMask T-shirt for sale. MirrorMask, produced by Jim Henson Pictures, is an upcoming feature film directed by Dave McKean from an original story by Neil Gaiman. The Comic-Con exclusive MirrorMask T-shirt will be limited to no more than 500 pieces.
(I just got through watching a Mirrormask DVD of work in progress which arrived while I was away -- it included the complete sequence in which Helena is transformed into a mind-washed princess by a roomful of man-sized golden mechanical dolls in music boxes who are singing Burt Bacharach and Hal David's "Close to You" very slowly (it sounds very strange and mechanical and haunting, sort of Stina Nordenstam-ish). Astonishingly beautiful, and very disturbing at the same time.
Those of us who were saddened by the news that Dirk Deppey's excellent Journalista! blog was no more, can take heart. Heidi Macdonald is blogging, and the world of comics news is the better for it. http://www.comicon.com/thebeat/ is one to add to your blogroll.
And of course, Saturday the 3rd of July 2004 is Free Comic Book Day. I should have mentioned this before... http://www.freecomicbookday.com/