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Monday, August 02, 2004

Lewis and Clarke. Not to mention Snuff.

I had a marvellous time at Mythcon; I handwrote a speech, but didn't type it, which meant that I sort of used what I'd written the basis of the talk I gave (about me as a boy, and C.S. Lewis, Tolkien and Chesterton) but left myself room to elaborate, improvise and burble.

I love conventions and conferences which are small enough for me to meet people. I come away from a Mythcon knowing more people than I did before: something San Diego-size, I come away from having failed to see several hundred old friends.

I read some excellent papers (my favourite was David Bratman's essay on the Sandman story "A Game of You", mostly because he said a number of things I thought about that problematic story), met some lovely people, and was, at the banquet, confronted by Food Sculptures: a Mythcon tradition which will haunt me till I die, or possibly beyond...

(I'll type out the speech sooner or later, and probably post it here, but it won't be as good as the one I actually gave.)

I just read an article in the New York Times Magazine about Susanna Clarke and her upcoming fantasy novel. Here's the link if you haven't seen it:
I was just curious if you've read Miss Clarke's novel yet, or if you had anything else to say about her (or the book), other than the couple of snippets in the article itself.It sounds like an interesting book. I like the premise, as laid out in the article, and I'm planning on getting a copy when it comes out.Thanks, and take care,
dave golbitz http://1031productions.blogspot.com

I have indeed read the book (Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell) and have even talked about it on this here blog a few times. It's a book it's hard to overpraise. A search shows it mentioned at:

http://www.neilgaiman.com/journal/2004/03/back-in-snow.asp

http://www.neilgaiman.com/journal/2004/05/in-which-author-finally-has.asp

http://www.neilgaiman.com/journal/2004/07/catching-up.asp

I loved the New York Times article. And before reading it, I really had never noticed the excellent way that the wheel of karma has turned -- Colin Greenland has been my friend for so long that I'd almost forgotten how much he helped me get published back in the dark ages. (I was 22 when I met Colin, and he read some of my short stories, and helped get my first short story published.) There was a very big difference between my first short story and Susanna's though. Hers was astonishingly good, for a start. Mine, well, wasn't.

Dear Mr. Gaiman
My name is Guilherme and I'm am one of your brazillian fans. I aprecciate your job, and I havea question for you. In your book tours, have you ever thought about coming to Brazil? You have thousands of fans here, mainly in S�o Paulo, and I know they will be really happy if you come here. Please, think about it.
Sincerely Guilherme

I'd love to come back to Brazil. I'm always very aware of how many readers there are in Brazil, how keenly enthusiastic they are. (The last signing in Sao Paulo, for 1200 people, is one of those things I'll never forget.) I'd love to come back. Maybe next year, maybe 2006 -- it'll depend mostly on time.

(My last trip to Brazil can be read about at http://www.neilgaiman.com/archive/2001_05_01_archive.asp on May 22 and 23rd.)

I don't want to be rude, but when are you going to talk about Cerebus?

Well, it was going to be at length in the same post that I talked about Gene Wolfe's The Wizard and the new Diana Wynne Jones book. But that one hasn't happened yet, mostly because I fell asleep on both of the plane journeys to and from Mythcon, so didn't get the writing time I'd hoped for.

So the long Cerebus post will have to wait. Still, I think it might be a good idea to kickstart the meme from the Cerebus post-that-hasn't-been written yet, and leave out all the stuff around it:

Amongst many other things, in Dave Sim's Cerebus (which is a story that took Dave and his partner-in-art Gerhard 300 issues to tell) he did, in the Women storyline, easily the best parody of Sandman anyone's ever done, as various members of the Cerebus cast of characters become Snuff, Swoon and the rest of the Clueless. It was wickedly funny, and had the author of Sandman curling his toes when he read it.

Dave Sim has made an extremely generous offer to readers of this journal (and indeed, to readers not of this journal, but just people who simply hear about his offer elsewhere on the Internet. Memes propagate, after all), which is the kind of offer that I found as interesting as he did. It's this:

If you'd like to read one of the Sandman parody issues of Cerebus, Dave will send you one. He'll send it to you very happily, free of charge. He will sign it for you, too. And he won't charge you a thing. Not even postage.

And if you're wondering what the catch is, it's this: Dave wants to know (as, I have to admit, do I) how many of the people out there in internet-land will actually go and do things that don't involve passively clicking on a link and going somewhere interesting. So what you have to do is write Dave a letter (not an e-mail. Dave doesn't have e-mail) telling him that you read that he'll send you a signed Cerebus, and telling him why you'd like him to send you a copy. It's as easy as that. And, quite possibly as difficult.

The address to write to is:

Aardvark Vanaheim, Inc
P.O. Box 1674 Station C
Kitchener, Ontario, Canada N2G 4R2

Dave, I suspect, thinks he'll get a handful of requests. In my more pessimistic moments, I think he's right, although I'd love it if he got deluged with letters, like those kids in hospitals who don't exist but are still collecting postcards...

We have a second-part of the plan too, which involves doing good things for the CBLDF. But that's for later. For now, if you're even mildly curious, write Dave a letter. Tell him you're curious...

(And for those of you who aren't sure if they want to risk having to go and find a stamp, you could go and look at http://www.cerebusfangirl.com/ -- and at http://www.cerebusfangirl.com/stories/stories.html you can even read several Cerebus short stories from Epic Illustrated, or the four pager from Alan Moore and partners' AARGH anthology.)

(But once you've read them, write Dave the letter. Don't forget to put your address on it, or to say why you'd like him to send you a signed Cerebus comic. And feel very very free to pass the word on to the comics news-sites or groups, or just to anywhere that people who might be interested congregate.)
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