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Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Pedantically speaking...

I was reading New Scientist this morning, catching up on the backlag of magazines that came in while I was travelling, and between the articles on How Eating Fruit Bats Can Cause Alzheimers and an article on copyright laws in which the Recording Industry Association of America states that proceeds from online file-sharing and music distribution "are known to fund terrorism" (although who knows this, and how it is known, and why they then don't prosecute the terrorists instead of twelve year old girls it doesn't say) I ran into an article called IS EARTH ONE OF A KIND? by Hazel Muir. It begins:

Although many more planets are being discovered outside the solar system, none of them looks anything like our own planets. And it is possible that they formed in a completely different way, making our planetary system rather unique.

...and I found myself puzzling what "rather unique" means, when used in a paragraph like that in a scientific journal. I think it means that our solar system is more unique than a solar system that is quite unique, fairly unique or a bit unique, but less unique than a solar system that is very unique, extremely unique or unbelievably unique. All of which, I suspect, must be less unique than a simple "unique", which means, of course, "one of a kind".

I don't have a problem with gradations of uniqueness when used to describe hairstyles, dancers, or the taste of stewed fruit-bat, but in an article like that, it seems rather meaningless. Or quite meaningless. Or even meaningless.

...

Jouni Koponen is a Finnish illustrator. For fun and for experience, he created an illustrated edition of my Lovecraftian tale "Shoggoth's Old Peculiar". He painted the cover. He did a dozen or so creepily hilarious scraperboard illustrations. He set the type and laid it all out. He sent me a link to the website where he was working on it, and I showed it to Greg Ketter at DreamHaven Books, and suggested that it might make a good chapbook. Greg agreed enthusiastically, and Jouni blinked a lot..

The chapbook will come out, in a limited edition, in time for Fiddler's Green. A hefty share of the book's profits will go to the CBLDF.

You can probably find out more over at DreamHaven's slowly-being-redesigned-now-with-search-functions online neilgaiman.net bookstore. And I just noticed that they now have the Michael Zulli cover to the untitled next CD -- which I think will be called Speaking In Tongues -- up on their site.

Hmm. And they've also put up MP3s of me reading "A Writer's Prayer" and "Nicholas Was..." as well, as tasters for the Warning Contains Language and the Telling Tales CDs, for anyone who's interested. (Click on the listen buttons on the front page).

Monday, August 30, 2004

Mysteries revealed and do it yourself postage stamps

For some reason the final paragraph of the last post vanished.

I'd mentioned in it that I'd just discovered http://photo.stamps.com/ and had decided that I was going to make my own stamps for something -- probably a Fiddler's Green commemorative stamp, or something like that.

(On the good side, you can make your own real US postage stamps. On the bad side, it's a dollar for a 37 cent stamp...)

(Twelve years ago, Dave McKean gave me a book he made, as a Leaving England present. It's a Sandman book, and was blank inside when he gave it to me. These days it contains some gorgeous Sandman drawings and paintings by friends -- Clive Barker, and Chris Bachalo and Kelley Jones and Steve Bissette and many, many others. Dave painted the cover himself -- it's a lovely Morpheus portrait, and has never been published, or seen by anyone except the artists who did the drawings inside the book. And Dave just gave me his permission to use that painting as the cover of the Fiddler's Green Souvenir Book.)

...

Meanwhile, instant gratification. Er, clarification:

Hi Neil,
Had a fun time reading your blog today as I think you mentioned my wife (albeit in a roundabout way). She used to be the manager of the Barnes & Noble store in Ann Arbor and at one point had transferred to Toledo. I believe the person who emailed you had the story mixed up. In fact, Vince Locke was a frequent visitor to the Ann Arbor store, not you (a fact I'm sure you're aware of). And as anyone who has met either one of you would know, there really isn't much similarity between the two of you! :-)

Incidentally, after leaving Barnes & Noble my wife began working at Borders, and was in charge of your signing at the Las Vegas manager convention a few years ago. She is now lording it over my head that she has been mentioned on your site twice now (the first time as one of the "beautiful and radiant but troubled young ladies from Borders")

http://www.neilgaiman.com/archive/2001_04_01_archive.asp

Asmat


Thanks Asmat. (And Vince Locke's webpage is at www.vincelocke.com)

...

Outside the kitchen window is a rowan tree I planted about ten years ago. It's now about thirty feet tall, and is, by late August, utterly covered in glorious orange-red berries. This year they're hanging so heavily that the branches are bowed.

For the last week a family of robins have been turning up each morning and eating a few berries, which puzzled me, because in previous years it's normally been a flock of cedar waxwings. Finally this morning the cedar waxwings arrived: they look like smaller female cardinals, but with too much eye make-up, and they gorge themselves on the berries until one cannot figure out how a bird of that size can have eaten that many rowan berries...

I'm told by this website's bird lady that if the cedar waxwings turn up a little later in the season, when the berries have fermented, you get to see flocks of drunk waxwings attempting to fly upside down, falling out of trees, singing loudly and off-key, beating up smaller birds for looking at them oddly, puking in birdbaths then telling the first line of a joke they can't remember over and over, while patting your leg and telling you that you're the best friend they've ever met. Also they are unable to remember where they put down their keys.

Saturday, August 28, 2004

Father and daughter post. Hi peoples.

Yesterday was Maddy's tenth birthday. She has reached double digits. I am under orders to mention this, and then to hand over the computer to Maddy (who also typed the "Hi Peoples" in the title). Right.

...

Hello. This is a message from Maddy Gaiman. No, please stop clapping. I do not deserve a standing ovation. Yes, thank you. Goodbye. Goodbye. I see no reason to talk any more. Farewell good friends.

...

And with that she's climbed onto the bed with a Betty and Veronica Digest and is lost to the world.

i am a 17 year old from portchester, England and have read american gods, i heard that you were from portchester and i just wondered if this was true or not, please reply

True as daylight. I was born at 44b White Hart Lane, Portchester, above a tiny grocer's shop owned and run by my family. I didn't stay there very long, though: we moved to Portsmouth -- to Purbrook -- when I was about six months old. (You can read about it, allowing for fiction, in VIOLENT CASES and in MR PUNCH.)

Hello I recently purchased your book Neverwhere. was fine up to page 116 when I found that another book had been inserted. Remember Summer by Elizabeth Lowell. continues to page 165 leaving me with a large hole in the story. Let your publisher know please as I am not pleased atall. Maureen McKee

With pleasure, but they'll only blame the printer. Your best bet is to contact the shop you bought it at and ask them to replace it, and they will. They always do.

Anyway, at least you noticed. There are probably people out there who think that the middle of Neverwhere is about as postmodern as things get.


Neat that you let us travel with you across the globe.
This web site is a nice place to keep an eye out for you. Jet lagged?

/Anneli, still saving it
www.anneli.rr.nu


What a beatiful site.

Hello Neil,

I just want to thank you because I wrote a letter to Dave Sim and I have received today a signed copie of Cerebus with a letter of Dave. What is incredible (for me) is that I am french and he send it to me in France. So it was not a joke.
Thank you and thank Dave for me (he has written a little word in french in order to show me that my english was not so bad).
Do you know how many letters he has received ? Am I the only foreigner who has written a letter to him ?

Merci beaucoup Neil.
I love your works.

Didier

PS: Do you know if we, poor frenchies, will have a chance to see Mirrormask one day (in english or in french) ? Say yes please!
PPS: Same question about the Neverwhere DVD.


I don't think anyone knows whether or not Mirrormask will be released theatrically around the world yet, not even Sony. But I'm sure it'll eventually come out in France on DVD, if nothing else.

The US DVD edition of Neverwhere is not Region Encoded, so you can buy it and watch it wherever you are. I have no idea why it isn't region encoded, but it isn't. So you can certainly get that in France.

People in the UK and Australia have also written in to let me know they've got their signed Cerebuses as well.

They also write to say things like this:

Dear Neil,
Taking advantage of the Dave Sim Cerebus offer, I wrote a letter to Mr. Sim saying that I wanted an issue as a present for my fiance, a fan of his work. You see, I wrote, we're getting married in September, and we're so hard-pressed to save up for that expense that we've decided that this year for our birthdays we're getting a wedding and nothing else. A box arrived today with two signed "Women" graphic novels. Not issues, graphic novels. One was signed to my fiance, the other to me, both with inscriptions saying, "Just in case it doesn't work out, there's no need to have the autographed 'Women' trade in the community property list. Here's one of your own." They were signed by both Dave and Gerhard.

Worrying (yet funny) inscription aside, I'm trying to say what a super guy Dave is! He actually *read* the letter and did a little something special for us, complete strangers. --Shannon


and

UPDATE TO THE ONGOING DAVE SIM EXPERIMENT:

Neil here is a transcription of Dave's letter to me (just arrived today).

Please note the PostScript.

Regards,

dethbird(Rick)


------------------------------------------------------

12 August 04


Dear Neil Gaiman blogophile:

I regret to inform you, that owing to the chaotic happenstance which is the international postal network of which Canada Post is a randomizing full participant, your request for an autographed copy of an issue of Cerebus containing part of the Sandman parody (the full parody is available in Cerebus volume 8 Women)(see attached) arrived today.

The reason that I regret to inform you of this is that-had your letter arrived yesterday along with the other four that came in-you would now be reading a personal reply from me. Unfortunately yours came in this morning along with 212 others, and so you are reading a form letter. And what's more, you don't even get the rather lengthy form letter that the 110 people whose inquiries arrived on Monday will be receiving, because it's already early afternoon and I've only had time to open and read the International inquiries and it looks as if it will take the better part of the day to open and read the U.S. and Canadian inquiries.

The best laugh so far Joey C.: "I'm sincerely hopeful that a signed Cerberus in this case refers to your version on paper, rather than a large three-headed dog. Even though my fianc�e would like a puppy, I expect a three-headed one would be more than we could handle."

Most charming: Karen B. in Wollongong NSW writing a six page letter by candlelight in the middle of a winter power blackout.

Sincerely,

Dave Sim

PS: Please notify your fellow cyberspacepersons-wherever it is the you (sic) congregate-that they are welcome to post any of my personal or form letters to any Neil Gaiman/Sandman forum to keep everyone up-to-date on how the experiment is coming along. I forgot to mention that in my first form letter. And don't forget to tell Neil, as well. He's apt to feel left out, otherwise.


And the last message I got was that Dave had received over 900 letters so far. I've not yet got a fax from Dave begging me to tell people to stop, so am happy to still tell anyone from around the world who'd like a signed SANDMAN-parody Cerebus to go and read http://www.neilgaiman.com/journal/2004/08/lewis-and-clarke-not-to-mention-snuff.asp. Write and tell him why you want it, and he'll send it to you.


Hi Neil. Ok, here is your head scratcher for the day. I live in Toledo, Ohio and several year ago I worked a five year stint at Barnes & Noble. This would have been around 97. Our store manager had come from the Ann Arbor, MI branch on Washtenaw. She told me that there was a "comic book writer" that frequented the cafe there and she thought it was you. Ok, so, none of my damn business, but I have always been curious about this for some reason. Did you own a house in Ann Arbor? This affects me not at all. It will not change my daily life. I will not feel empty or full but for some reason unknown to me, I would like to finally put this to rest. Thanks so much Neil. Take care. Can't wait to see Mirrormask!


Nope. Not me, I'm afraid.

What's odd is that none of the "was that you?" messages that have come in have ever been me. I wasn't the mysterious man on the bus in Ireland, or the mysterious hitchhiker claiming to be me in Scotland, or any of the others. Unless I was some kind of tulpa, of course.

Which reminds me:

Amazon.ca says the mass-market paperback of your "Untitled Collection" will becoming out in late 2024.

It's good to plan ahead.


Not only that, but they also list an Untitled Novel of mine, which was apparently published in 1969.

I wish I remember what it was titled, the novel that was published when I was eight. I could tell them, if only I knew. More tulpa activity, obviously.

Hey neil, you have got to check this site out. I don't know about you, but it pops 100s of stories into my mind!.http://www.timetravelfund.com/index.html-take care

Indeed.

Hi Neil, Ok this might be a goofy Martha Stuart type question..but please answer cuz I'm dying to know..I just saw the little indie Lovecraft documentary "The Eldritch Influence" and you are sitting in this chair next to a fireplace..Is that your house? and what color red is that room? You were great by the way..Loved your comments on the Necronomicon.CheersNEV.

Not my house, but the house of the director of the film. And it was a very red room indeed. (Anyone who wants to see it, can see the trailer at: http://faculty.mcad.edu/~aolson/demoreel/eldritch_site/eldritch_trailer.html)

Thought you might find this interseting. http://www.themorningnews.org/archives/how_to/tricks_of_the_trade.php dee

Lovely. The one I used to use as a journalist was giving articles lousy titles. Once an editor had retitled the article, s/he was also happy to buy it.

Maddy just went off, used one phone line to call herself on the other, answered the phone, and had a long and utterly convincing conversation with her brother Mike about the DVDs that she got for her birthday, then handed me the phone, and went off into delighted hysterics when I tried talking to him. I think she needs attention. (And the repeated suggestion that I "post it now and get off the computer" is, I think, another hint that I'm done for this afternoon.)


Friday, August 27, 2004

After the Roadtrip

The roadtrip was.... interesting. It wasn't just that the car's air-conditioning was kaput. It was that the AC was also dripping water behind the instrument panel, which the shorted out the CDplayer/radio. When it became apparent that whatever else was going to happen, we weren't going to get any more useful noises out of it for a while, we stopped at Walmart somewhere in Indiana and bought some speakers, which we plugged into the various computers and the iPod in the car, and I was very grateful that I'd bought a little AC power thingie for the car that plugs into the lighter, so that ran the speakers and kept the computers powered.

Didn't make inside of the car any cooler, though. It was a humid oven-like late August day across most of the midwest.

I drove through much of the night, because opening the windows cooled things off then, while Holly napped. Then a few hours actually asleep in a motel, which ended with Holly shaking me and telling me it was time to get back on the road. This time Holly drove while I kvetched sleepily and navigated. It worked, though: we had a lunch reservation at Morimoto's in Philadelphia at 1:00pm, as our reward for making the drive, and at exactly 1:00pm, we walked through the doors -- sweaty, travel-stained, bleary, and smelling like people who'd travelled across America in a very hot car indeed. Oddly, they served us.

(The food was good -- it's very high-end Nobu style, and the Morimoto Miso Cod is better than the Nobu's signature dish version.)

Then on to Holly's college, where we hauled boxes of her stuff from last year into her new room, and then I left her the car (and the speakers), suggested she might want to get the AC fixed, not to mention the stereo, and she dropped me off at the station, gave me a bottle of water and waved me goodbye. I took the train to the airport, and listened to a mother in a nearby seat tell the most Improved version of Goldilocks and the 3 Bears to her daughter. She seemed very proud of her improvements to the story, for she told it loud enough for the whole carriage to hear: although porridge was eaten, everybody loved everybody all the way through, nobody was in any danger of being eaten by bears, or even of incurring bearish displeasure. The girl seemed to be putting up with it without any evidence of enjoyment. The other daughter (aged about 3) was sitting with her father on the next seat -- she started playing a game where she slapped his hands and giggled. They seemed to be having fun. "Don't play that game! It's a bad game! Don't teach her games like that! Why do you teach her games like that?" the worried mother said, reproving both of them for doing something that seemed, at least to me, utterly sensible and very normal. I think I'll put her in a story one day.

Then onto the plane, which sat on the runway waiting to be allowed to take off, with the pilot giving occasional helpful updates on when the plane wouldn't take off, while I read a copy of the New Yorker. Then it took off, and I immedately fell asleep, and dreamed about continuing to read the New Yorker instead (the dream article about the problems they were having getting the movie of Jerry Springer: The Opera off the ground, starring Jerry Springer as himself, was fascinating, as was the one about how artist Lisa Snellings* accidentally became a best-selling novelist). And then I woke up as we came in to land, was driven home and dropped off in a particularly empty house.

And I wrote this.

& so to bed.


*This is the same Lisa Snellings who asked me several weeks ago to let anyone who ordered one of her CBLDF Neil Rats (or any of the other rats in the set) know that her e-mail had gone wonky, and if you'd ordered something and hadn't received it (or a response) to get back in contact with her.

Thursday, August 26, 2004

Mobile

As an experiment i am seeing if i can blog from the road. I am using the new nokia and the tmobile account. Have just entered indiana, wishing devoutly that the air-conditioning in holly's car had picked another day to misbehave. yours sweatily

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Driving Miss Holly

I set off very early tomorrow to drive Holly to school.

Her school is about 1300 miles away, so I don't expect we'll get there until Friday afternoon; then I'll leave her the car and fly home, in time for Maddy's tenth birthday on Saturday.

I may post our exciting adventures from the road tomorrow night. Or I may just go to sleep in whichever motel we find ourselves on the way. (It's also quite possible that there won't be any exciting adventures.) (An adventure is just an inconvenience properly considered, as G.K. Chesterton once pointed out.)

Wish us luck.

Last One...


And because all the other images I've posted might be considered a little unsettling, a sweet one to finish off with. This is the orchestra that usually lives in a small red box in the Prime Minister's hat, playing a brief fanfare in the bedroom of the sleeping White Queen.

Helena's Dream


This is a resend also. It's a still from the MirrorMask Dream Sequence, as Helena falls asleep for the first time. In a moment she'll wake up, and then things will get really weird...

(All of these images are copyright Sony Pictures and Jim Henson Films, and are up here by permission.)

Quality Time


This one was sent before but doesn't seem to have published: it shows the Dark Queen (Gina McKee) and Helena (Stephanie Leonidas) (seen here in Dark Princess mode) spending a little quality time together.


And this is a spider (or possibly a spyder). They're made of darkness and they function as the Dark Queen's spies.

Dark Castle


Here are several MirrorMask photos, posted here with permission. They're all stills from the movie. This is the Dark Castle, which bears a strange resemblance to the tower block in Brighton where Helena is staying.

small useful post

I'm definitely at the Library of Congress 2004 National Book Festival in Washington DC on October 9th; I'll be talking in the "Science Fiction and Fantasy" pavilion, which has its first outing this year. The talks in several of the other pavilions will be livecast, but not that one. Lots of details at http://www.loc.gov/bookfest/ and a list of authors up at http://www.loc.gov/bookfest/04/authors/index.html. I can't see what time I'm talking, but when I know I'll post it here.

And several of you have wanted to know if I'll be at the Worldcon this year (yes, and I'm MCing the Hugo Awards). And yes, there will probably be a couple of signings as well, and I'll announce the details here. I have more than a suspicion that I won't be wearing a black leather jacket and tee shirt to MC the awards: I'll have a rummage in the back of the closet to see what else I have.

Oh Mr. Gaiman, where is the speech you made at Mythcon? Didn't you say you'd post a summary of it in your blog? Where is it? O where? I know it won't be as good as hearing the one you actually made, but some of us couldn't be in Michigan that weekend because we had to go to Kansas City to visit our in-laws. *sob*

I'll try and get it typed in the next day or so; and then it'll either go up here, or over at the Mythopoeic site. I'll let people know here.

...

Today I got to listen to the next audio CD for adults. It contains me reading Instructions, The Price, Daughter of Owls, and The Facts in the Case of the Disappearance of Miss Finch, and has music by Adam Stemple (of the Tim Malloys, and Boiled in Lead fame). It has a gorgeous cover by Michael Zulli. It has everything except liner notes and a title.

By tomorrow it should have both.

...

And finally: Cthulhu Plush Slippers. Quite how Great Cthulhu will react when he rises from his sunken grave and sees people wearing him on his feet, I hate to imagine. It'll be the end of the world, I expect. Then again, it would probably have been the end of the world anyway.

Monday, August 23, 2004

Q & A

Q: Are you home?

A: Indeed I am. Getting home was slightly more interesting a procedure than it should have been: I phoned Northwest Airlines 24 hours before my flight was meant to take off, to confirm everything, and the nice lady at the other end of the phone told me that everything had been fine, but that unfortunately my flight home had in fact taken off ten minutes previously.

Q: So you weren't on that flight then?

A: Er, no. But by the simple, almost magical expedient of paying Northwest more money, we wound up on the three remaining seats on the flight the next day, the flight I thought we were on, but weren't.

Q: Did you get lots of writing done on the plane then?

A: Not so you'd notice. I couldn't get the computer into any position in which typing on it didn't feel like something the Inquisition might have dreamed up on a day when they were on particularly good form, so I soon gave up on typing and bunged in a DVD.

Q: Anything interesting?

A: The Dennis Potter CASANOVA TV series. I had fond memories of it from when I was not quite a teenager, and picked it up at Gatwick. But I only watched an episode.

Q: Not quite what I would have picked out as a DVD to watch on a plane...?

A: My highly-scandalised ten-year old daughter agrees with you fully, and she was enormously relieved that I stopped after one episode and I settled down to read The Mystery of Edwin Drood instead.

Q: Is it any good?

A: Yup. I can't wait to find out who dunnit.

Q: That's a joke, isn't it?

A: Well, traditionally, jokes are meant to be funnier than that. Um. I bought Edwin Drood at Gatwick as well.

Q: Did you buy anything else interesting at Gatwick?

A: A bottle of 1963 Strathisla at the whisky shop. The first season black and white DVDs of the Roger Moore Saint. Enormous quantities of wine gums.

Q: You're big on wine gums, then?

A: They were for Mike. You can't get them in America. And he's currently watching The Saint DVDs, although they were ostensibly for me.

Q: So, you're definitely home?

A: I am. I have an internet connection that works. I have much too much e-mail to reply to. I have an enormous pile of cool stuff waiting for me to do things with it.

Q: Anything particularly interesting?

A: God yes.

Q: Such as...?

A: Well, of my stuff, there were copies of the new edition of THE DAY I SWAPPED MY DAD FOR TWO GOLDFISH, with the Enhanced CD in it. It's bigger than the original edition, has a new Dave McKean cover (mostly because people seemed convinced that the old cover had something to do with Counting Crows, and because the cover didn't really reflect the art style inside) and I wrote a new afterword for it. It's gorgeous.

There were two advance copies of THE NEIL GAIMAN AUDIO COLLECTION CD. It's not the best title for a CD in the world, but it's part of a series with things like THE JAMIE LEE CURTIS AUDIO COLLECTION, the DR SEUSS AUDIO COLLECTION and THE MAURICE SENDAK AUDIO COLLECTION, so you won't catch me grumbling.

On the Audio Collection I read The Wolves in the Walls, The Day I Swapped my Dad For Two Goldfish, Cinnamon and Crazy Hair. I haven't listened to them, because I mostly don't like listening to me read unless I have to; it's like calling home and hearing your own voice on the answering machine. I have, however, listened to the last track on the CD, which is Maddy interviewing me about writing, which is really sweet, and, at the end, I thought, incredibly funny.

There was a box of copies of SANDMAN:ENDLESS NIGHTS in paperback too.

Q: So by "a pile of cool stuff" you mean "things you wrote"?

A: Not at all. I was merely putting the things I wrote first because it's still exhilarating to pick up a new book or CD with my name on the spine, after 18 years. That feeling hasn't gone away yet, and I hope it never does.

There was a copy of THE YEAR'S BEST FANTASY AND HORROR waiting for me. The Seventeenth Annual Collection.

Q: The Datlow-Windling one?

A: Not at all. Terri Windling has retired and her editorial functions have been taken over by Kelly Link and Gavin Grant, who are doing Fantasy. There's over a hundred and fifty pages at the beginning of the book that round up what was good last year in horror and fantasy in prose and poetry, in movies and tv, in comics and in manga and anime (that last we are also told on the cover, in a special little badge that looks like it was designed by someone who hadn't ever seen the lovely Tom Canty mermaid cover-painting), and then over five hundred pages of stories. I'm really looking forward to settling down with the book, finding what things Ellen Datlow has unearthed, and how different the Kelly & Gavin choices are to the things that Terri used to pick. Year in, year out, it's always essential reading.

Q: I suppose you wouldn't happen to have a story in there...?

A: Er. Yes. A Study In Emerald. (But seeing you can read that here I'm more than happy to plug the book for the other 42 stories and poems.)

Q: Just out of interest, was there anything waiting for you that wasn't by you, and didn't have a story by you in?

A: Of course. Lots of things. A Disturbing Bunny, for a start.

Q: This would be from the Disturbing Bunny of the Month Club, I suppose?

A: Of course! http://www.morbidtendencies.com/botmc-details.html has all the details, not to mention photos and suchlike.



Q: And this particular Bunny was...?

A: Pink, with huge werewolfy teeth and an enormous red velvet tongue. His mouth opens all the way, like a thylacine's. He also has a green bathrobe. Holly is trying to decide whether or not he will be accompanying her to Bryn Mawr this year, in case she needs something you can both cuddle and use to terrify burglars.

Q: Anything else?

A: Well, there was a copy of the complete BONE. It's the height of a trade paperback, and over 1300 pages long. It looks rather intimidating in that format -- it looks like the epic fantasy novel that it is. A perfect gift, too.

Q: And that was all?

A: Not at all. Lots of other cool things, but I just realised that if I don't sleep soon my head will fall off, so I think I'll stop writing this and go to bed now.

Q: Very wise.

A: That wasn't a question.

Q: I know.

A: Nor was that. Not that I'm complaining, mind.

Q: Er, right. Why don't you answer a real FAQ question?

A: Okay. Here's one that's been coming in in various forms for the last few days...

So that's it, is it? No more movie. No more hope. My world is lost forever!!! *sniff* erm...not exactly but I am rather dissapointed that there won't be a Good Omens movie coming out any time soon. There was still hope until they officially took the message boards off of InternetMovieDataBase.com. That was a harsh moment, let me tell you! So is there anything along those same lines to look for in the future? A movie version of any of your books? The promised sequel to Neverwhere? I must know!Love ya, Liz

Well, I think it's probably a bit early to write off the Good Omens film any more than it was already. Terry Gilliam is now explicitly not, alas, going to be directing it (although it's still got a Terry Gilliam script) but the producers seem quite enthusiastic, and just put in an offer to a director whose work Terry Pratchett and I both like very much.

Other than Good Omens, there may soon be some cool news on the Coraline film -- if there is news it'll be within the next seven days, and I'll put it up here.

And finally for tonight:

Tell them about johnnytheremin.net. i need stories...

Right you are. Consider them told.

Friday, August 20, 2004

Forty Nine Doors and a Dead Walk?

I'd planned today to allow me to get back from interviewing some incredibly helpful police/fraud squad people in Lincoln (for some ANANSI BOYS research) in time to write some journal stuff.

Little did I know that I'd get to see what happens when they close down Victoria Station with a bomb scare and throw everyone out, and delay all the trains, and that I'd get back much too late to write anything sensible. So the smell of the cells this evening will wait until tomorrow, as will what I did yesterday, when I wandered the Piranesi lightwells at Somerset House with Julian Crouch and Mark Buckingham in order to inspect forty-nine doors and a Dead Walk.

There are still hundreds of unanswered questions waiting.

But seeing there was one question asked and partly answered by correspondents, and other people have done all the work for me....

Could you update us on what kind of response Dave Sim has gotten for his free comic offer?

and also

A few days ago I got my signed copy of Cerebus in the mail with a letter from the cranky Mr. Sim. He said I was the second person to mention that I am a fan of both Cerebus and Sandman. I am extremely happy. I'm just curious to know how many people took advantage of his generous offer. Erin

and they were immediately followed by

Hey Neil!I got my Cerebus copy from Dave Sim. He claims to have received 124 letters by August 10th, and sent me a nice autographed copy of issue 165.-Laura Gjovaag

Which tells us at least how many Dave had got by August the 10th (and, I hope, demonstrates that it isn't, as one person thought, some kind of internet hoax).

(For your free signed copy of one of the Sandman parody Cerebus issues, go to http://www.neilgaiman.com/journal/2004/08/lewis-and-clarke-not-to-mention-snuff.asp which has the information about Dave's offer, and the address to which you need to write.)

...

And those of you who are kindly offering help with my Bluetooth woes should know that I managed, in trying to update the laptop's Bluetooth driver, to accidentally delete Bluetooth from the computer entirely.

I only do things like that when I'm 4,000 miles from a reinstall CD. Honestly, it's a knack.

Goodnight.

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

It's Alive!

Stumbled from holiday in Italy to rain in the UK, where it all seems to be meetings, trains, not being able to get onto the internet, researching the novel and losing people's phone numbers. Not neccessarily in that order, of course.

I saw Dave McKean this evening (tomorrow he nips off to New York for a few days to work on the Broadway "Vampire Lestat" musical, which he's doing production design stuff for. "Say hello to Elton John for me," I said sunnily. "Or should that be Elt?" "Reg, actually," said Dave, and he drove off into the night). I've been promised some MirrorMask images that I can put up on this blog, when I once again have the ability to download them.

Tomorrow is all talking to people about a maybe TV series.

There are several hundred excellent questions, comments and so on from people waiting to be answered, and I'll try and get to a few in the next post.

In the meantime:

a) the rule about never eating sushi in airports because it will taste like wet fish-flavoured rubber strips laid over lumps of cold rice pudding does not apply to Amsterdam airport sushi counter, where the sushi is basic but very decent.

b) I bought a new telephone in said Amsterdam airport. (Maddy complained that it was the ugliest one they had.) I like it, mostly -- it's a Nokia 6230. Its bluetooth applications either don't work at all, or don't work with my laptop's, but at least my ringtone is now an MP3 of the 6ths "In the City in the Rain", which seems appropriate. Pretty soon I'll have the original Vic Mizzy Addams Family TV show incidental music on there, and then the world will be my mollusc. (A quick Google of "Nokie 6230 bluetoth problems" shows that I'm not alone...)

c) Some helpful person sent me the link to the H2g2 article on Sandman. It's at http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/h2g2/alabaster/A188606 - they used to have an article up but it's now been all updated and rewritten.

Friday, August 13, 2004

Postcard: From an Internet Tobacconist

I wrote "from an Internet Cafe " as a header first, but Holly pointed out to me that it's actually an internet tobacconist.

Nothing exciting to report. I've survived all my Italian driving, and was sort of enjoying it by the end. We're now on a small island in Northern Italy, catching up on sleep. For Holly's 18th birthday she asked me for a short story as a present, which she wanted delivered by her 19th birthday. It's been 960 words long for several months now, and is almost two months late, but I'm cheerfully finishing it for her, when I'm not dozing, eating, or being dragged around on walks.

("You like the walks! You're the one who drags people! That's not fair" says Holly, reading this over my shoulder.)

The story's called SUNBIRD. It just occurred to me that an awful lot of animals get eaten in it, which is a very odd sort of present for a vegetarian, but I expect she'll forgive me.

("You never told me that!" she just said, over my shoulder.)

Right. Hope all of you are having a wonderful time.

love

Neil

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Italy!

Set off on Sunday evening for the airport. Maddy and I flew to Amsterdam, then we waited in Amsterdam airport for a replacement plane to Venice (the one that we were meant to be travelling on having become whatever the air equivalent is of unseaworthy, due to an overeager baggage handler having rammed into the side of it. "It has a hole in the side," said the purser, in high Dutch dudgeon. "We shall get another plane.")

Got to Venice, met by Holly and a friend who has elected not to be named in the journal (Miss X). Holly is nineteen. Holly turned nineteen in Italy about six weeks ago. Holly has observed that while I congratulated Mike on his birthday, hers didn't actually get a mention in this journal. Holly does not plan to let me forget this.

Ever.

I've never been in Venice in the summer. The last time I was there it was about September 18th 2001, and there were no tourists, or almost none. This time the press of bodies was amazing.

We've now gone to Bologna for the afternoon (and I've grabbed five minutes on the internet), and I've been talked into driving a rental car, something I would be slightly more sanguine about if only the Italians, wonderful people in many other ways, could be persuaded to accept red traffic lights as an order, rather than as a vague sort of suggestion.

Will post again when I get a chance.

....

And now a brief word from our sponsor:

Holly HollyMaddy Maddy Maddy Maddy Maddy Maddy Maddy Maddy Maddy Maddy Maddy (This is Maddy typing, ((Holly wanted me to type the Holly part)) could you tell?)

Sunday, August 08, 2004

late night post

Spent today with Scott McCloud and family. Met up with them at DreamHaven, which has copies of Gothic! and The Faery Reel in, and I know this because I signed stacks of both books for them. The story in Gothic! is called "Secret Brides of the Faceless Slaves in the Nightmare House of the Night of Dread Desire" (I think) and I've read it at more or less every reading for the last eight months and many people who heard it always wanted to know when it would be in print. So, it's in print, and as of lunchtime today there were signed copies at Dreamhaven. Check their neilgaiman.net site for details -- right now it's up at http://www.neilgaiman.net/just-in.php (it doesn't list them, or the Faery Reels as being signed, yet, but they are.)

DreamHaven has an astonishing amount of cool stuff in boxes and on shelves in backrooms -- even more astonishing if you include the stuff they can't find. It occurred to me today, talking about stuff they couldn't find, that I'd lent them, some years ago, a Simon Bisley oil-painting, which Simon gave me, of Batman, which he did as part of a proposal for a Batman one-shot I was going to write. This was in about 1989. The comic never happened, for a variety of reasons. The painting was up on the wall (in a branch of DreamHaven that's since closed). I asked Greg Ketter about it and he hunted briefly, then pulled out the painting, and I realised, looking at it for the first time in several years, that there are probably people out there who would pay an ungodly amount for a Bisley painting of Batman, and the CBLDF could certainly do with the money. So rather than take the painting home, I left it with Greg Ketter to photograph...

And once that was done, a remarkably good day followed, spent hauling three small girls around the crawling nightmare that is Camp Snoopy. Took a short break from that at one point to take Scott McCloud to the Apple shop in the Mall of America. I do believe (for reasons that shall remain unspecified, but you'll have to take my word for it) that the staff in the Apple shop in the MoA are the coolest people in the world. Scott walked out of there beaming.

Tomorrow evening Maddy and I will fly to Italy. Tonight I have a houseful of McClouds.

I thought I was going to write this, hit publish, and then answer today's e-mail. I was so wrong. Bed seems like so much more sensible an option.

Saturday, August 07, 2004

a small ponder about humour and the law

Every now and again I'll read a news story that will have me shaking my head with puzzlement. I mean, take the following joke. Or, if you like, "joke":

"Someone came up to me last week and complained about a joke, quite a big-boned girl.
She said: "I think you're fattist." I said: "No, I think you're fattest".


Not exactly the kind of thing you'd think anyone would want carved on their headstone. It's like the contemporary equivalent of one of those really weak Shakesperian puns, the kind that have to be footnoted and explained, and at the end, once it's all been explained, you shrug and wonder if the groundlings did any more than make that noise that indicates that they knew the person on the stage thinks he said something funny and they hoped the next thing he says actually will be...

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/tv_and_radio/3539246.stm

Comedian Jimmy Carr is considering further action against Jim Davidson, whom he claims stole one of his jokes.

Carr wrote to Davidson demanding an apology after he allegedly repeated Carr's joke about an overweight woman.

Carr was not satisfied with Davidson's response and was consulting lawyers on further legal action, his agent Hannah Chambers told BBC News Online.


Bizarre. Ah well, if it comes to "further legal action" I will be following the case with fascination.

Friday, August 06, 2004

Mirrormask stuff mostly...

I promised I'd let you know when there was more Mirrormask news.

Over at Comic Book Resources, there's a long interview with Michael Polis, one of the three Executive Producers of Mirrormask. Often Executive Producer is a code phrase in Hollywood, meaning either "has something vaguely to do with the rights and has been thrown a title and a little bit of money" or "has nothing to do with this really but is high enough up the totem pole to have awarded him-her-or-(more usually)-itself a chunk of the movie anyway". But in the case of Mirrormask, our exec producers (Michael, Lisa Henson and Martin Baker) have earned their title, and Michael has been tireless in making things happen, such as the Dark Horse toys and the Hot Topic Mirrormask stuff. Anyway, it's a good article.

There are also a couple of screen grabs up there -- one of the Floating Stone Giants, and one of the Music Box Dolls.

Here's the Giants. You can see Valentine and Helena with their backs to us, very small on the platform.




And I just chatted to Dave McKean about getting a trailer together and up online -- I think he plans to tidy up the thing that we showed at San Diego. "Did you know," said Dave, mildly surprised, "that there are people on the Internet who actually watch trailers?" I had to admit that I did.

(You've probably seen the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy teaser-trailer, haven't you?)


More news as I learn it.

You have yet to write another word on "Conrad's Fate". Though, considering the book won't be available before late February (April in the U.S.A., if Amazon is to be believed), anything you WILL write about the book before then will be mostly gloating. Please have more consideration for Diana Wynne Jones fans who read your blog - of whom there are several - who are in danger of being consumed by their own envy.

Well, it's a Chrestomanci novel. It stars a fifteen-year old Christopher Chant, and is told by Conrad, who is rather depressed about his fate. It's funny, scary, supremely twisty, and the quintessence of what a Chrestomanci novel ought to be. (I think it's about as good as Charmed Life and The Nine Lives of Christopher Chant and rather better than The Magicians of Caprona. Your mileage may vary.)

Thursday, August 05, 2004

a Scorpio Rat, actually

Neil
Just in case you haven't found it and no one else has sent it here is the link to the rats http://www.lisasnellings.com/ratbag.html
and the Neil rat http://www.lisasnellings.com/neil.html
he looks so cute.
John Mooney

There. When I told Lisa I was posting about the rats she sent, she muttered something about having to get a webpage up fast. She muttered nothing about her tagline...



I'd grumble, but she's donating 20% of the rat in question to the CBLDF. And he does look cute.

Hi Neil!
I'm in the process of setting up my writer's website (www.tamarasilerjones.com) in an effort to be ready for whatever insanity ensues when my first novel comes out this fall. I'm a dedicated reader of your journal, and I'd like to put a link to it on my site under "Info for Writers". Is that okay? If so, do you have a graphic available or would you prefer just a simple link?If it's not okay, then I shall not link.Thank you so much and I hope Maddy gets feeling better soon.Have a great day!
Tamara Siler Jones Ghosts in the Snow - Bantam Nov. '04

Good luck with the novel. No, I never mind if or when people link to the site. I think that over the years there may have been graphic links put up, somewhere on the site, but I'm not sure where I'd go to find them. (You know, when Anansi Boys is done, it'll be time to look at the neilgaiman.com website with a view to making things easier to find. For right now, http://www.neilgaiman.com/map/map.asp is a good place to start, but even that's out of date. Oh well.)

Hello, Neil -Well, I've just done my bit in the persecution of Dave Sim - I've written him a letter. In handwriting (colleagues used to complain that first they had to work out which way up to hold the postcard...).Your turn: were you going to say anything about the BFS Calendar? it seems a bit premature, I admit, but it's in their Cybershop (http://www.britishfantasysociety.org.uk/shop/bpub.htm#2005%20Calendar) and they've put out a press release, so...Thanks for all the cool stuff -Jean

Sure: The British Fantasy Society will be putting out a calendar. Paul Kane made it happen -- it's a retelling of Gawain and the Green Knight, with a story and a picture on each month by a different artist and writer, introduction by Clive Barker. I think I did May.

...

Dennis Kitchen retired from the CBLDF Board of Directors this year after 18 years of running it. He did an amazing job. The new Chairman of the Board is Chris Staros, publisher of Top Shelf Comics.

I thought that Chris's letter to the world deserved a wider audience, so am reprinting it here:

A Personal Message from Chris Staros:

Hello, everyone. Thank you so much for the warm reception. I've received
dozens of heart-felt and congratulatory emails since the above
announcement was released by the CBLDF. It's nice to be in such a
supportive community, and I look forward to working with all of you in the
coming months.

You know, comics is the last truly free artistic medium. Yet the fact that
it's relatively small makes it extremely vulnerable to politicians and
prosecutors trying to make names for themselves on the often-overzealous
moral ground of "protecting the children." It is here that First Amendment
battle lines are drawn and precedent setting cases are determined, and
that's why it's critical that all of us -- publishers, distributors, retailers,
creators, and fans alike -- support the CBLDF in any way that we can.

It may surprise you to learn that there are currently only 1,300 members of
the CBLDF. In an industry of over 3,000 retailers and at least 5,000
professionals -- the most likely to be defended by the Fund -- as well as
over 250,000 fans, there are only 1,300 people who feel strong enough to
become "card carrying" members of the CBLDF.

We're fortunate enough to live in a stable country, which gives us
the "luxury" of becoming complacent about political matters. But in a post
9/11 environment, when the battle for our civil liberties is being fought at
all levels, this is not the time to sit on the sidelines.

I've personally witnessed -- as Top Shelf -- what this community is capable
of when it rallies behind a cause. And the CBLDF is a cause worth rallying
for. In his acceptance speech for the CBLDF's Defender of Liberty Award at
this year's Eisner ceremony, Jim Lee eloquently stated "You certainly don't
need the likes of me to tell you what dangers we face as an industry and
as a community: dangers from overzealous local prosecutors looking for
easy, under-funded targets for political gain; dangers from a federal
government using an environment of fear and uncertainty to weaken our
civil rights. We live in a scary time -- a time when the power of the First
Amendment is truly being tested and it is my honor to be able to help in
any way possible. But we need your involvement as well. Every professional,
every retailer, every fan here should be a member of the CBLDF."

And in Chuck Rozanski's Defender of Liberty acceptance speech from the
previous year he impassionedly expressed, "One of the things that's come
up lately is the concept that patriotism involves repression. I think that in
this country -- my adopted country -- that patriotism, true patriotism,
involves defending the rights that the people who came before us fought
and died to achieve. . . we owe it to the next generation to not leave them
a world which has greater repression and less freedom than the world we
were given. So I ask you all to support the CBLDF in any way that you can."

When pillars of the community voice articulate and emotional pleas like
this, there is no excuse not to take action.

Get involved in something worth fighting for.
Please commit to a one-year membership today (starting @ $25):

With one click you can join the fund:

AT THE SECURE CBLDF WEBSITE
http://cbldf.safeshopper.com/7/cat7.htm?945

OR

AT THE SECURE TOP SHELF WEBSITE
(ALL membership proceeds to the CBLDF)
http://www.topshelfcomix.com/news.php?type=7

Your friend thru comics,

Chris Staros
President, CBLDF Board of Directors
Publisher, Top Shelf Productions
PO Box 1282
Marietta, GA 30061-1282

chris@topshelfcomix.com
http://www.topshelfcomix.com

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Sigh

I see that Blogger, not content with eating one entire post today, then tried to make up for it by publishing three different versions of the reconstructed post. Not sure if the trouble's at my end or at Blogger's -- or at Direcway's, which spent today intermittently losing the satellite feed to the internet without even a decent thunderstorm as an excuse.

Anyway, sorry if you got spammed.

Chicken Soup and Ice Cream

It's been a long time since blogger ate a lengthy post, like it just did. Now I can put in lots of fail-safe measures to make sure it doesn't happen again, until, months from now, I get lulled once more into a false sense of security.

In the meantime I'll try and remember what I put in the vanished post.

First of all, life is slightly at sixes and sevens: Maddy's gone down with the kind of childhood illness that means that you get to eat mostly chicken soup and ice-cream, and you also get to sleep through much of the day and then wake up at 1:00am and stay awake with your long-suffering father for most of the night, much of it spent listening to Radio 7 (Stephen Fry reading Jennings, "Just a Minute" and the radio version of "Dad's Army" being particularly popular). We were meant to be flying to Europe today, for me to research a couple of novel things in the UK and then on to Italy to see Holly, but that's not going to happen. I'm hoping to head to Italy anyway on Sunday, but it'll depend on Maddy.

Hello. Just wondering, I saw last year's Mirrormask panel at San Diego, but missed this year's. Is there an official website yet or a site at which one can view a trailer or some of the footage that was shown?

There's Mirrormask.com, but there's not much there yet -- so far just a few stills and a synopsis, but you can register, and they'll let you know when there are updates. (Or, if you don't want to give an e-mail address to Sony, you can keep checking with this journal.) And there are definitely plans to put some cool bits up on the web. (I'd love it if we could put up the "Not a Trailer" Dave made for San Diego. Or even the "Close to You" sequence, on the basis that I think they are much more likely to make people want to see the rest of it...)

Neil, How about your take on the Alan Moore/IPC/DC deal? And, explain to us poor Yankees what all the hubub is?

Okay. Well, basically, most of the best-beloved comics characters from my youth in England have, by a series of strange corporate buy-outs, become the property of Time-Warner. Alan Moore, along with Dave Gibbons and Leah Moore and John Reppion and Shane Oakley, will be bringing them back, through Wildstorm.

There's a Newsarama article on it here: http://newsarama.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=16046

What it means -- apart from me calling Alan to volunteer to write a Grimly Feendish short story -- is that Alan and his (extremely talented) collaborators get to revive a host of characters who probably only matter if you were reading comics in the UK between about 1950 and 1975. But if you were, the news that The Spider is coming back, or Bad Penny, or Charlie Peace, or the Steel Claw, or the Legend Testers, is really, really good news indeed. Well, it is if Alan's involved.

It's not everyone I have fond or puzzled memories of: Billy the Cat and Katie are D.C. Thompson characters. But listening to Alan list the characters they do have made me grin like a twit. Here are a few of the IPC characters...

Hi Neil!
I expect I'm way behind the curve on this one, but have you heard about the Library of Unwritten Books?
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/entertainment/3937039.stm
http://www.unwritten.org.uk/
It seems like something you would like to know about, although credit for the idea is given to Richard Brautigan. No mention of Lucien, either. Tsk.Thank you so much for your site! (sorry, I'm writing this at a ridiculously late hour and can't form coherent thanks. Or thoughts.)

How unutterably cool. But I certainly wasn't the first person (or even the tenth) to come up with the idea of a Library of Books that were Never Written. I think the first person was probably James Branch Cabell -- his character John Charteris had a library of Intended Editions, the books the authors wished to have written.

...

Let's see, what else was in the lost post? I linked to Michael Chabon's excellent speech at the Eisners.

I grumbled -- practically fulminated -- about the barely-literate Katie Tarbox ("I realize that the dangers that lye on the Internet will continue to exist unless we as a collective make the effort to prevent those dangers") and her attempts to obtain, with threats, the katie.com site from its rightful owner.

I mentioned that since I put up the Shatner "Common People" link, people had been sidling up to me and confessing, in the tones of voice they would usually reserved for admitting that they seem to have acquired an unfortunate burning sensation when they pee, that they, er, really rather liked it, so I linked to the press release for the upcoming "Has Been" CD, for those people. You know who you are.

...

I also talked about the cool things that had arrived in the post today. Said things included,

1) Rats. Well, rat figurines anyway. Five rats in all, a demon rat, a wizard rat, an angel rat, a vampire rat, and... a Neil rat -- well, he's wearing dark glasses and a leather jacket, and is sitting on a copy of the Arabian Nights, and he looks sort of scruffy, so I'm pretty sure that he's me. They were a gift from Lisa Snellings, who tells me that she's doing the me-rat as a CBLDF benefit, in a limited edition of 500. I looked around her site for details on the rats (like pictures and, well, how much they cost) and couldn't see anything. I'll put stuff up here when I find out.

2) The Corinthian bust. He looks a lot like the photo DC put out of the prototype, except his hair is now the right colour (very blond). He looks deeply disturbing and sits between Lucifer and Merv Pumpkinhead on my desk.

3) Seven pages of Michael Zulli's gorgeous adaptation of my short story "The Facts in the Case of the Disappearance of Miss Finch".

4) A six page Teddy Kristianson Deadman story that I'd forgotten that I wrote for him. It's for a "Solo" book -- all drawn by Teddy, to be published by DC, and written by a bunch of different writers. He asked me if I'd write a Deadman story to finish the thing off with, so I did, and then more or less forgot about it until he e-mailed all 6 pages to me today. It's gorgeous.

5) Stuff from Chip Kidd. We met at the Eisners, after getting our photos taken, and I got to do that thing where you try to introduce yourself while staring at your shoes and mumbling that you're an enormous fan... and then you realise that the other person is doing it too. And he sent me Chip Kidd goodies, including his novel The Cheese Monkeys, about which I keep hearing excellent things. (Onion interview with Chip here.)

(I tried to find a picture of the Eisner winners together, but only found these on the Beat.)

There. Now to copy this whole post, then try publishing it...

Monday, August 02, 2004

A Small Addendum

I just realised that Susanna Clarke's http://www.jonathanstrange.com/ website is now up and running, which I should have discovered before putting up all those links in the previous post. It's only just up, but it has some fun things up already, including a short story called "The Duke of Wellington Misplaces His Horse", which is, in its way, a Stardust-Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell crossover story, which Susanna originally wrote for the Fall of Stardust chapbook.

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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