My copy of MirrorMask the script-and-storyboards book was waiting in the mail when I got home -- it's huge and heavy and, really rather wonderful. (Gaiman's law of picking up your first copy of a book you wrote held true: if there's one typo, it will be on the page that your new book falls open to the first time you pick it up. It never fails. It used to make me sad or frustrated. Now I half-expect it.) I think it'll be in the bookshops in the US in about two weeks.
Also waiting was my copy of Tori's tourbook, with my letter to her about the gardening in it. (I keep imagining the reaction of people reading it. "Yeah! Rock and roll! Neil's writing about heirloom tomatoes!" Ah well.)
Last year I talked about the Julie Schwartz memorial lecture.
After Julie died, there were discussions about what would be a good memorial to him. The idea that found favour in the end was that an annual lecture might be a fine way to keep Julie's memory green: an annual talk by an eminent (possibly even preeminent) guest speaker about the things that Julie influenced -- in particular the worlds of pop culture, comics, SF, fandom and the intersection of "high" and "low" culture. DC Comics have been in talks with Julie's alma mater, but as I understand it, the college in question never really went for the idea, so DC Comics boss Paul Levitz is currently looking for a home for the memorial lecture, and is talking to several organisations and educational establishments, but he feels that the word could be got out more widely. Which is where this blog came in...
A number of universities got in touch with me about this and I forwarded everything that came in to Paul Levitz at DC Comics, who then had the Solomonic task of picking one. Anyway, I'm delighted to announce that the Julie Schwartz memorial lecture will be happening at MIT, and will be organised by the Director of the Comparative Media Studies Program (currently Prof. Henry Jenkins).
According to the letter I just received on this, individuals wishing to contribute to the Julie Schwartz Memorial Lecture Fund should make cheques out to MIT, with a note saying it's for the Julie Schwartz Memorial Lecture Fund, and should be sent to Anne marie Michel, Assistant Dean for Development, School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences, MIT, Rm E51-257, 77 Massachusetts Av, Cambridge MA 02139-4307. (And it's always worth pondering what the world of media would have been like without Julie in it.)
When I find out when the first of the lectures will be and who's giving it, I'll post it here.
Other cool things in the mail-pile included a certificate from AudioFile magazine letting me know that the Neil Gaiman Audio Collection had received their Earphones Award. (Incidentally, the latest audio CD, SPEAKING IN TONGUES, is reviewed at http://www.sfsite.com/fsf/2005/cdl0505.htm by Charles de Lint, along with the new Jouni-illustrated Shoggoth's Old Peculiar chapbook. And at http://www.neilgaiman.net/speaking-in-tongues.php you can hear an MP3 of me reading the what-to-do-if-you're-stuck-in-a-fairy-tale poem, "Instructions". On the other DreamHaven pages they also have MP3s of "A Writer's Prayer" and "Nicholas Was...")
And the best thing was a copy of Poppy Z. Brite's new novel, Prime, which was, to my great delight and surprise, dedicated to me and to Ti Martin, with a lovely scrawly note from Poppy reminding me that I did good things for her for Liquor. (Honestly, most of what I did was a) like it very much and tell her so at a time when she needed to hear that she hadn't wasted her time writing something nobody liked but her, and b) suggest that, since her agent disliked it intensely and didn't seem to want to sell it, she really needed to get a new agent. Both of which were rather self-evident.)
I see from her website and livejournal that Poppy's on tour right now. (Remaining stops on her tour, for those of you who want to go out and see her read and tell her I said hi, are:
Saturday, April 16, 2:00 PM - Borders, 10720 Preston Road, Dallas, TX
Thursday, April 21, 5:00 PM - Lemuria Books, Jackson, MS
Tuesday, April 26, 1:00-3:00 PM - Tower Records, New Orleans
Tuesday, April 26, 6:00 PM - Beaucoup Books, New Orleans
Thursday, April 28, 12:00-1:00 PM - New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival Book Tent
Friday, May 13, 7:00 PM - Barnes & Noble, Metairie, LA )
Right. I'll be offline from tomorrow until Monday, doing the final scribbling and writing and inputting stuff on ANANSI BOYS. Wish me big luck..