This is from the Library Journal.
August 1, 2005
Gaiman, Neil Anansi Boys
Fat Charlie�s life is about to be spiced up�his estranged father dies in a karaoke bar, and the handsome brother he never knew he had shows up on his doorstep with a gleam in his eye. Next thing he knows, Fat Charlie is being investigated by the police, his fianc�e�s falling in love with the wrong brother, and he finds out that his father was the god Anansi, Trickster and Spider, and that the beast gods of folklore are plotting their own revenge upon his family bloodline. A fun book with a little of everything�horror, mystery, magic, comedy, song, romance, ghosts, scary birds, ancient grudges, and trademark British wit�it shares ideas and characters with American Gods but conveys a more personal look at the dysfunctions unique to a family of dieties (now this would be one reality show definitely to watch!). Another lovely story as only Gaiman can tell it; necessary and recommended. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 5/15/05.]
A couple of trickles from the UK -- the Bookseller asked some genre buyers what they were most excited about, and Helen Ward from W. H. Smiths said,
"The book I'm most excited about is Neil Gaiman's Anansi Boys (review September), his first mainstream comic fantasy novel for a while. I loved it, I thought it was terrific. I think this will widen him out from his cult readership and Pratchett fans will go out and buy it."
And this made me smile broadly -- author Manda Scott -- http://www.mandascott.co.uk/ -- got an advanced copy of the book, and wrote about it in the Church of England Newspaper (22 July 05) from an article where they asked various authors what they were going to be reading on their summer holidays.
The great advantage of being an author, is that I get the unbound proof copies of up and coming books that other editors think I might like to read. Thus I have the great good fortune to have access to Neil Gaiman's Anansi Boys ahead of its publication in September. Neil Gaiman is one of the few genuinely intelligent writers of what is generally described as 'post-modern' fiction -- his work is thoughtful, wise, spiritually challenging and incredibly funny.
Anansi Boys (take off the 'A' and try to pronounce it) begins with Fat Charlie Nancy's discovery that his estranged father has died -- and that his father, who made his childhood a misery, was, in fact, the god Anansi, the spider, teller of stories, weaver of myths and dark shadowy magic. In other hands this would be pulp fantasy fiction. From Gaiman, it's a treasure, every word. I can't imagine a better way to spend a holiday.
Other news -- seeing it's in Fangoria (http://www.fangoria.com/news_article.php?id=4496), I can mention here that it looks like Crispin Glover will, if everything works out, be working with Bob Zemeckis for the first time since Back to the Future: he'll be playing Grendel in the version of Beowulf I wrote with Roger Avary, joining Anthony Hopkins, Ray Winstone, Robin Wright Penn and Brendan Gleason. Amongst others.
And I mentioned in the post that got eaten by Blogger the other day that I'd a) got a haircut and b) signed an enormous stack of stuff at DreamHaven Books a few days ago (you can see a lot of what I signed at http://www.neilgaiman.net/just-in.php) including some of the Really Useful Books and an enormous stack of copies of Now We Are Sick, back in print for the first time since 1991.
And to make up for that inept Lev Grossman article in Time, here's a small sane article about Worldcon from the Scotsman -- http://news.scotsman.com/features.cfm?id=1719612005.
The box of stuff from Australia arrived yesterday. It had opened on the way and been resealed by the postal service. Normally this means that the contents have gone, never to be seen again. In this case, as far as I could tell, everything I'd been given was still there (I started listening to the various CDs while working last night) but additionally a box containing an order of contact lenses had been carefully put in by the postal service and sealed up. I suppose I have to work out the best way to get the lady who owns the contact lenses her lenses back...
And Hera's new CD arrived, Don't Play This -- http://www.herasings.com/ -- and she's rapidly becoming my favourite folkie expatriate Icelandic singer-songwriter. The title song is very funny and cruel.
Talking about funny...
Greetings From the South.
I was a bit shocked to see: Louisiana, 354
directed to your site. As I am from this land. However as I thought about it more I realized the truth. Most people in Louisiana don't own a computer. Down here we are a poor down trodded lot. Business take a step into the state, feel that sweltering heat, and run away. We suffer greatly everyday, with only a few of us allowed to use one of the 355 computers a day. But we all read. Your books. The sales just look low because we believe in handing books around. We have our bi Weekly Swamp Book meet.
This event occurs every Monday, and Friday. We all show up at our designated swamp, arriving by fan boats, and poled barges one by one. Each meeting spot consist of atleast 500 people. We then exchange your books amongst ourselves. And have a three hour discussion on what we learned from your writings. This is followed by a rousing song that we have entitled, "Neil, Neil, Neil, He May Not Be From The South But He Can Still Write Good Books." So you see, we are actually huge fans. I just wanted you to know... And I'm certainly not lying... At all.
I believe you. Utterly.
Mr. Gaiman, About the 'bookshops who ask' thing, when you're on a tour... I've always wondered about that. Is it as simple as they having just to ask (assuming it fits on the schedule, etc), or is the process a little more complicated than that? I just can't help but wonder if there's a system of benefits or someting (for example bookstore X will make sure that, aside from having your books on display, only books from your publisher will be on the smaller display tables, or something like that...). I mean, I know that you are really interested in making sure that your fans have a good time and don't get exploited, or miss out out on things, but does the 'book tour world' work on the same general principle? Best,/august/
Not as far as I know, no. I'm sure that various special things could be asked for ("While Mr Gaiman is signing nobody working for your bookstore must wear the colour blue or chew anything tasting even remotely nutty") in practice what gets asked of a bookshop is pretty simple. I'll post the current version of "So You're Hosting a Neil Gaiman Signing" that goes to bookstores up here, if people are interested. The main thing I think Harper Collins are interested in is simply making sure that there are enough copies of the book for the people who are there, and that they feel they are getting the most out of their promotional dollars.
Edit to add -- I just noticed that Amazon.com have changed their prices, so the MP3 CD version of Anansi Boys is now also discounted and is cheaper than the audio CD version. (I can't find a link to it at other online retailers at this point.)