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Saturday, May 14, 2005

O HELL

Today was a good day for everything that wasn't mechanical, and doomed for everything that was.

For example, a new DVD recorder arrived. It has a friendly HELLO message on the screen when you turn it on, which is nice. What's not so nice is that it doesn't see any input of any kind, plays a prerecorded DVD about one time in five, and resets itself randomly even then. HELLO, it says instead of PLAY, and then the clock starts again at 1:00 and mostly it stops working completely. HELLO.

And that was only one of several small electric wossnames that, as soon as I touched them, decided that they really weren't cut out for working.

...

Collectors of Lisa Snellings' author rats will be delighted to hear that Harlan Ellison (as Zorro) joins Poe, Lovecraft, and some other author in the set. There's a picture of the Gang of Four here.) (And Lisa's rat-shop is here, but Harlan's not up there yet.)

...

You may remember that I finished a story called SUNBIRD last November, which was Holly's slightly late 18th birthday present (given that she was already 19 and a half). It'll be out toward the end of this year in a book that's called (deep breath)...

A Book of Evil Marauders, Purple Blobs, and Some Other Things That Aren't as Scary, Maybe, Depending on How You Feel About Lost Lands, Stray Cellphones, Creatures from the Sky, Parents Who Disappear in Peru, a Man Named Lars Farf, and Three Other Stories We Couldn't Quite Finish, So Maybe You Could Help Us Out. (Here's a link to the cover.) It's edited (and published by) the editors of McSweeney's and will be raising money for a good thing.

...

I took the Which SF Writer are You? test at http://paulkienitz.net/skiffy.html -- and was delighted to learn that I am apparently Chip Delany. Who knew?

...

I'm going to be the Master of Ceremonies at this year's Audie Awards, which should be fun.

The Audie Awards are given for Audio Books, and they're running a "Pick the Winner" contest -- Everyone who enters the contest will be eligible to win the Grand prize of a complete collection of the 2005 Audie Winners or 5 Runner-Up Prizes of a gift subscription plus $50 worth of audiobooks. http://www.audiofilemagazine.com/audie_contest_05.html

...

Lots of really nice messages following on from yesterday's post about Peter Beagle. Here's a small selection:

Hi Neil,Just wanted to let you know that I followed your link to Conlan Press for The Last Unicorn audio book and while there had a question about the ordering process and so called intending to leave a message (I'm on Eastern time, they're on Pacific, so it was about 6:30am there), but instead got a real live person who turned out to be Connor Cochran, President of Conlan Press himself. Mr. Cochran was informative, intelligent, and a complete delight. He talked to me about books I knew and several that I did not and even did a bit of reading for me of some of his favorite Peter S. Beagle selections. I came away from our conversation feeling inspired about reading, and especially about Peter S. Beagle and his works. He also told me that their little publishing company was taking about 20 orders per week and, thanks to you they've had several hundred orders since yesterday. So thanks for the link, the info, and all that you do.-Stephanie Benson Hampden, Maine


and

Just had to write when I saw that Peter S. Beagle was your gateway to Tolkien. He wrote a book called "I See By My Outfit," about a trip he and a friend took through the American Southwest. He kept stopping at Indian jewelry stands looking for "the one ring." As soon as I finished his book, I headed for the fiction section of the library and found Volume 1 of "Lord of the Rings." This was sometime in the early sixties--maybe 1962 or 1963. Thanks to Beagle, I got in on the Tolkien craze relatively early.


I noticed they had "I See By My Outfit" at the http://www.conlanpress.com/html/books.html site, and it's a book I've always wanted to read.

Neil,Thanks for the heads up about the Peter S. Beagle book. I too stumbled onto him as a child, wandering around Lake Tahoe on a vacation with my parents. In a small, quaint, they-don't-make-em'-like-that-anymore bookstore I came across "The Fantasy Worlds of Peter S. Beagle. It not only turned me into a serious reader for life, it made me want to be a writer as well.Beagle is one of those writers who escapes your memory when asked "who are your influences?", but immediatly brings a smile to your face when someone else brings him up. Thanks again for the info, and the smile.-Steve Gomez

That was exactly my thought. I almost never mention Beagle in a list of influences, but I know that Matthew the Raven was a descendant of the raven in A Fine and Private Place, and that the Death in "Come, Lady Death" was definitely somewhere in the back of my mind when I decided that Death had to be a girl...

...

And a few short ones to conclude with:

Stardust: Why could Madame Semele not see Yvaine? Did I miss anything?

Yes, I'm afraid so. You might want to reread the scene between Madame Semele and the witch-queen again.

(Incidentally, there will be a play of Stardust in Chicago over the next month -- details at http://www.suntimes.com/output/theater/wkp-news-call13north.html). I hope it's good.

Let's end this foolishness once and for all: When is "MirrorMask" being released for the general public to experience?

Isn't "let's end this foolishness once and for all" the sort of thing you're meant to say while hefting a rather large sword? Well, in previous blog entries (like this http://www.neilgaiman.com/journal/2005/04/thats-all-he-wrote.asp) I said that as far as I know it'll be released in the US in September. As far as I know, it'll still be released in September. There. I hope this ends this foolishness. Er, once and for all.

If you can't wait (or if you like Dave McKean art, or if you want a peek backstage) you should check out the MirrorMask book -- http://www.neilgaiman.com/books/mirrormask_hc.asp for details. And that is out now.)
...

A terse one in from, I would hazard, someone in Perth (the one in Western Australia, rather than the one in Scotland).

WHY AREN'T YOU COMING TO PERTH YOU C***?

Er, because the Australian divisions of my publishers picked where I'd go, and they didn't pick Perth.

If it's any consolation, the last time I went to a convention on the Australian mainland it was to go to a Swancon in Perth. And I flew in to Perth, went to the con, then took the four hour flight straight to Sydney to catch a plane home -- where I found myself having to convince an immigration official that I had, of my own free will, flown all the way to Australia in order to spend four days in Perth. This was, I was given to understand, the strangest and most suspicious sort of thing that that particular gentleman had ever encountered...

...

Finally, Karawynn Long sent me a link to a poem by Margaret Atwood about blurbs, and giving them. I may have disagreed with Ms A about remote-controlled signing machines, but I rather agree with her about blurbworld... http://www.web.net/owtoad/blurbs.html
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