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Friday, September 30, 2005

If this is thursday, where am I again?

Just finished a lovely little signing at Book Passage -- only a couple of hundred people, which made it so easy and pleasant, and a great conversation with Michael Chabon, and then I got back to my room to find that I've got another hundred books to sign for a local bookshop, if the hotel can find them and get them up here.

(I'm currently waiting for them.) (Right. They're signed.)

Hi Neil.I live in Olympia, Washington.( roughly 60 miles from Seattle ) I plan on going up to Seattle on Tuesday the 4th of Oct. But see, I don't have a car. I am going to ride the train up there to go to the signing. From now, until October 4th, I work, so I really don't have an oppurtunity to go up there and buy a "ticket" So... maybe you could help me this, it would help alot! If I show up at the location say at around... 5ish... will I be able to buy my copy of anansi boys and my ticket then? Or do I have to buy the ticket days before the event? I really have NO way to get up there to buy a ticket in advance --I am just a poor eighteen year old. Best case scenario is I get up bright and early on tuesday, take the train there (how noble!) and buy my ticket. Then, I wait patiently in line. Worst case scenario is I arrive, an officious receptionist explains to me that I had to purchase my ticket in advance, and that she is "so sorry".Please, I am not even asking you to post this one your site. I don't care about the "fame" If you know the answer to my little problem, I would be very grateful. I might even bring you some peanuts on the signing day or something...Thanks in advance.Neverwhere>American Gods (but AG is sexy as well)- Will P.


I don't know. I have the same information you have -- Tuesday, October 4 7:00 PM PDT SEATTLE University Bookstore At University Temple United Methodist Church1415 NE 43rd Street Seattle, WA 206-634-3400 http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/wh/event.asp?eventID=15220 $3 or free with purchase of title from any University Book stores.

What I'd suggest to you, and to anyone else who doesn't know what to do or how something's going to be organised at one of these signings is to call the phone number for the event -- in this case call the Bookstore at the number given -- and ask. They can usually give you a better answer than I can.

Dear Neil,I know it's probably a bit late to be asking this question, but I haven't seen the answer posted on your journal or at the website of the West Hollywood Book Festival. Do I need to buy Anansi Boys there to have the book signed by yourself, or may I buy the book elsewhere (and perhaps for cheaper, no offense) and bring it there to be signed? Yours confusedly, Jackie P.S. I'm looking forward to seeing you, and hopefully having a book signed by you. And please forgive me in advance if I babble incoherently at you.

As far as I know, you simply go to the Golden Apple Booth and get a ticket early in the day. They will be in limited supply, though, I'm afraid, as I'm only scheduled for an hour's signing, and have to go on from there to an interview.

I'll sign at Vroman's in Pasadena the night before for anyone who's there, though, and will stay until everyone's done.

...

There's an interview at Nerve.com with both me and Dave McKean about MirrorMask...

Do your separate projects make you appreciate your reunions more?
Neil: It's a nice position to be in. Very few enjoy it. We're like Simon and Garfunkel.
Dave: We're not like Simon and Garfunkel.
Neil: What I meant is Ike and Tina.
Dave: Tom and Jerry.
Neil: Exactly.

Read the whole of it at,
http://www.nerve.com/screeningroom/film/mirrormask/

While you can listen to me talking to Kurt Andersen at Studio 360 -- http://www.wnyc.org/studio360/show.html for one week only. Podcasting at http://www.studio360.org/index.xml.

There's a review of MirrorMask at the New York Times -- which thinks that Dave and I co-directed it, which is an odd thing to read in the Paper of Record. The embodiment of a cult film, one destined for a rich life on home video, it is an acquired taste that this critic has yet to cultivate, he says. Fair enough. The LA Times comes down on the side of the film: http://www.calendarlive.com/movies/reviews/cl-et-mask30sep30,0,1852273.story?coll=cl-mreview

Here's the Entertainment Weekly review -- http://www.ew.com/ew/article/review/movie/0,6115,1110758_1_0_,00.html

Another review at Ubercine -- http://www.ubercine.com/MirrorMask-GW.html -- Their first feature-length collaboration is MirrorMask, a gloriously loony yarn and astounding work of art which may well catalyze a whole new genre of feature filmmaking for the twenty-first century. I would like to dub it �Le Cin�ma du R�ve.� In fact, I think I shall. Right now. Because I can. MirrorMask is primo Cin�ma du R�ve. Dig it.

...

Fifteen years ago Terry Pratchett and I went up to the Locus office and were interviewed by editor Charles Brown and we had our photos taken on a sofa. Over the last two weeks Terry and I have passed through the same offices, sat on the same sofa, were interviewed and had our pictures taken. The magic of Photoshop should put us on the sofa together, in an almost exact repeat of the 1990 photo, in the February edition of Locus.

From what Charles tells me, the Special Offer for readers of this blog is still valid -- https://secure.locusmag.com/2005/Issues/02SubscribeGaiman.html -- but they will be putting their price up soon, so it may not last forever.

...

An appreciation of Jerry Juhl -- http://filmforce.ign.com/articles/654/654602p1.html

...

Finally, there's the recut SHINING trailer. I wasn't going to put it up, because I've seen it all over the web, but still. It's special. And you may not have seen it yet.... So enjoy. http://www.ps260.com/molly/SHINING%20FINAL.mov

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Jerry Juhl...

One of the best things about this blog, for me, is that it's the diary I don't keep.

I can go and look at an entry like this one -- http://www.neilgaiman.com/journal/2002/04/you-know-if-i-wasnt-completely-tired.asp -- and remind myself how incredibly fortunate I sometimes am. That was the night I got to eat ice-cream with Jerry Juhl, and talk Muppet history and everything. He was an incredibly nice, funny, wise man, and we corresponded by email afterwards, a little, and I sent him books.

Mark Evanier's journal at http://www.newsfromme.com/ is one of the best blogs on the web, an ongoing and informative commentary on comics and showbiz and Vegas and some politics, not to mention Mark's occasional tribulations with places that should be selling him things to eat or use but don't. He also keeps up entries on those who died recently, with personal n otes and memories. I think this is the first time I've gone there and learned that someone I knew had died: http://www.newsfromme.com/archives/2005_09_28.html#010384

...

Jane Morpeth, from Headline Books, has a request for anyone in the UK or Ireland who was planning on waiting until I get to the UK in November to buy your copy an ANANSI BOYS, and it's this. Please don't wait. Buy it now. She says,

I don't suppose you could mention on the blog that it is crucial your readers go and buy their copies THIS week, up to and including Saturday... Cheeky I know, but after last week's position with 4 days' sale we are only a few hundred copies away from the top ten, so any sales this week rather than later would be enormously helpful...

Which means, I think, don't worry about whether getting your copy now will be a problem for signing lines in N ovember -- we'll make sure that it's okay. Just get the copy, buy all Xmas presents now, etc, and make Jane Morpeth a happy editor.

...

And I keep meaning to mention that ANANSI BOYS in the US has gone back to press -- you should be able to tell the first printing apart from any later ones, as the first printing has black binding and purple endpapers, while later printings will have purple casing (what's under the dustjacket) and black endpapers and a different coloured Spider embossing.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Still smiling...

A friend just sent me the link to the Time interview with yourself and Joss Whedon, where you said something along the lines of you'd love to stop blogging but you don't want to disappoint people. Good God, man! I really enjoy your books and your site, and I would indeed miss your blog if it vanished, but I'm no fan of forced labour. Why not just blog when you fancy it, rather than more or less every day? Just cut down a bit, if you don't want to give up altogether. And do cut it altogether if you think it a total pain. You are NOT a hamster on a wheel (although it may feel like it sometimes, during a tour). We'll all still buy the books and ask you nicely (in our gazillions) to sign them, never fear... LR.

Oh, don't worry. When I'm ready to stop, I will. I always do. The important thing in that interview was "For me, it's always that Mary Poppins thing. I'll do it until the wind changes." I started blogging in Feb 2001, certain that I'd do it until September 2001, but I've enjoyed having a soapbox, not to mention somewhere to witter on about writing and socks and things too much to stop. Still, one day the wind will change, and I'll either stop or take a break or something, probably as an initial step towards becoming a mysterious recluse rumoured to have tissue-boxes on my feet and a long scraggy beard. Mostly what I was trying to stress was the oddness of realising that there are A Lot Of People Reading This, and the weird feeling that gives -- the knowledge that something small I do for fun somehow matters, and that if I stopped people would care.

...

There's a big article on MirrorMask in today's LA TIMES -- http://www.calendarlive.com/movies/cl-et-mirror28sep28,0,308014.story
-- an excellent interview with me and Dave McKean with a very, um, moody photo.

Dave talks at http://www.ifctv.com/ifc/insiderNews?CAT0=5827&NID=14369&CLR=orange&BCLR=FF6600

More MirrorMask reviews in -- http://www.eastbayexpress.com/Issues/2005-09-28/film/movies2.html

http://www.slweekly.com/editorial/2005/clips_2005-09-29.cfm

http://www.sfbg.com/39/52/art_film_mirrormask.html

http://www.comingsoon.net/news/reviewsnews.php?id=11349

http://www.riverfronttimes.com/Issues/2005-09-28/film/opening.html

And I got a note from the publicists at Sony asking me to stress that the first weekend's attendance will seriously affect what happens next. So if you are in a town that isn't showing it, and you want to see it, getting your friends who are in a town where it's showing to go and see it as soon as it's come out will increase the chances of it getting to you. Or something like that.

Here's the current list of places it's showing... http://www.sonypictures.com/movies/mirrormask/theaters/

and a contest over at http://mumpsimus.blogspot.com/2005/09/mirrormask-contest.html

....

Congratulations on the NYT thing, Neil. I spent the hours of 5-7 pm yesterday evening, reading the copy of Anansi Boys you signed in NY, on the steps of the New York Public Library (the bit directly opposite Library Way, where the models walking down Fifth are getting mildly disturbed at the intersection by the bookreading types coming down 41st). It's a wonderful book to read by twilight, with a 19th century beaux-arts facade behind you, the CNN building on your left and high fashion outlets in front. Old gods in a new world and all that. I won't hold out for a reply since I've written to your blog address five times without one(no worries, hehe, this is not a not-so-subtle complaint) but I really do hope they're telling the truth on the site when they say you read all of these. Having followed the course of this novel's inception it makes me strangely happy to see it rocket to the top. And so it should. It's very good.

I do read them. It's just that I can't put most of them up, because of space and because of time, and that is just how it is and always will be.


Hi Mr Gaiman.

just got a copy of Anansi Boys and devoured Chapter 1 in one gulp. Want to savor the book though, so i'm leaving Chapter 2 for later...

got a copy of the limited ed letter you wrote for us folks back here in the Philippines, too. just wanted to let you know that, though i'm still just in the first chapter, your book has already made me smile.

meanwhile, i also got a copy of the Mirrormask book "for young adults". i got a copy of the screenplay book that i refuse to read until i get the chance to see the movie, but the new Mirrormask book poses a bit of a dilemma for me, which you can find in detail if you mozy on over to

http://skinnyblackcladdink.blogs.friendster.com/skinnyblogcladdink/

which basically says that i'd rather see the magic trick (the film) before peaking behind the curtain (reading the screenplay, but then the book "for young adults" seems to me is a whole other magic trick.

that shameless plug over and done with, i was wondering what your advice would be for someone who's picked up the book but hasn't seen the movie. what sequence, do you feel, provides the better experience: reading the book before seeing the film; seeing the film before reading the book; reading the book during bathroom breaks at the film; or seeing the film while reading the book simultaneously? the latter two seem ill-advised, the second to the last one because, honestly, who would want to take a bathroom break at Mirrormask? and the last given the darkened nature of theaters, but then what do i know? there are always, after all, flashlights.

hoping for the guidance of your exponentially more significant wisdom.

dreamwell.
c


Well, the MirrorMask story book is a novella-length story, written as by Helena Campbell, our heroine, telling what happened to her. It leaves some things in MirrorMask out, and includes many things that aren't in the film, so if you read it first some things will still be a surprise, and if you see the film first you'll still find some things new in the book....

You can read the first few pages online here, at http://www.harperchildrens.com/catalog/excerpt_xml.asp?isbn=0060821094 which should give you an idea of whether you want to read the rest of it or not.

...

To answer a question that's started coming in, the ANANSI BOYS at Number One thing will be on next week's list (to be published on the 9th of October 2005) -- right now, the list is this one -- http://www.nytimes.com/2005/10/02/books/bestseller/1002besthardfiction.html.

You know, I don't generally stop to reflect, and am, to the exclusion of most other things, rather exhausted right now, all things considered, but I suspect that I'll always look back on this week as being one of the especially good ones -- it's not every week that you have a big budget movie start shooting on the Monday (I see from Beowulf's imdb that they've got a few more cast names up, including John Malkovich as Unferth), learn that your novel has gone to number one on the Times list on the Wednesday, and have the little film you made come out on the Friday. It's got to be special.

It's probably why I'm smiling. Well, that or the lingering aftereffects of the champagne.

If you're in the Bay Area, remember it's me and Michael Chabon in conversation tomorrow at Book Passage Corte Madera (Details here) -- followed by a signing -- and then the Cody's reading and signing is on Friday at 7.00pm, allowing you to go and see MirrorMask at the Landmark, at 4:30 pm first.

(And this is from the Cody's website --
7 PM at First Congregational Church of Berkeley(2345 Channing Way at Dana, Berkeley)TICKETS ARE REQUIRED:a complimentary admission ticket will be given with each purchase at Cody's of a copy of ANANSI BOYS beginning September 20, the day the book goes on sale. Books and tickets may be preordered by calling510-845-7852 or emailing events@codysbooks.com
[PLEASE NOTE:If you want an additional ticket, it will be necessary to purchase a second copy of ANANSI BOYS, or a copy of either MIRRORMASK or THE ALCHEMY OF MIRRORMASK at Cody's. Please understand this restriction on tickets stems solely from the somewhat limited space we will be in. We urge you to plan to attend well in advance, as we cannot guarantee seats at the door; but you may call 510.845.7852 from 10 AM until 4 PM the day of the event to inquire if seating is still available. Regarding Neil's book signing time: he, and we, are happy to allow as many copies of ANANSI BOYS purchased from Cody's as you wish to have signed; you may request two additional items be signed for each customer. Neil's signing lines are long, but rest assured everyone will be accommodated. You'll receive a numbered card when you arrive, so you will have some idea of how long a wait, and whether you can go for coffee!]

There's a first time for everything...

I do not normally drink champagne with my publisher while sitting on a step in the sun in a busy square in the middle of San Francisco, with me and my publisher alternately not saying anything and then babbling and then not saying anything again.

Still, it's not every day that you get told that a book you wrote has just gone on to next week's NYT Bestseller list at Number One. And it seemed a very appropriate sort of a thing to do.

The biggest trouble with black clothes...

...is trying to work out which bit of the general blackness in the suitcase in a dimly lit hotel room when you aren't really awake yet is going to turn out to be socks.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

scattershot

Many things to mention, and not much time to blog, so forgive me if this is a bit bitty and scattershot.

I phoned producer Steve Starkey who assured me that BEOWULF did indeed start shooting yesterday (yesterday Beowulf and his men came ashore; today they meet the Skylding's Watch), and I learned that by the time I get to the set Anthony Hopkins will have wrapped. I also got the possibly mistaken impression from him that Crispin Glover is now mainly talking in Old English.

Book People in Austin was great -- hundreds and hundreds of people, amazingly well organised signing line, and only slightly marred by them running out of books and having to send people out to raid other bookshops to grab another 50 copies, and it turned out even those weren't enough. (They had figured, sensibly, that 600 books would be enough, and they were wrong.) And if you need a problem with your signing, that has to be the best one of all.

Here's a really good MirrorMask review.

Author Meg Cabot (who is one of my daughter Maddy's favourite authors) is now blogging, something I only noticed because she linked in to Neilgaiman.com, and I really enjoyed her LEFT BEHIND rant, and her advice for people in Her Lines -- http://www.megcabot.com/blog/blogger.html

http://pittsburghlive.com/x/tribune-review/entertainment/books/s_376230.html is an interview with me about ANANSI BOYS mostly.

I actually signed (and saw) my first copy of the book for kids with the very long title last night, and discovered something very important that you should know if you like Children's Fiction. (It was actually something I suggested to them, and which I had forgotten about, but it happened and it has made me happy.) Which is: in addition to containing short fiction by me and Nick Hornby and Mr Snicket and the like, it also contains, in, I hope, its entirety, GRIMBLE by Clement Freud. This is a story I have loved since I was seven and which has been out of print for a very long time indeed. And now it's back in print, in noisy outlaws etc and you can read it. (I'm not the only Grimble fan in the world. In an Amazon.com interview J. K. Rowling described it as "one of funniest books I've ever read" -- which you would think would have been an incentive for a publisher to bring it back into print before now.)

Here's a MirrorMask interview that quotes me accurately -- http://www.comics2film.com/FanFrame.php?f_id=15363 -- and here's one done on a cellphone in a moving car on the way to a signing that gets a few things sort of upside down on the what-was-me-what-was-Dave-McKean of it all (given the circumstances and how hard it was to hear each other, not the interviewer's fault I'm sure.)

Boing-Boing mentions the MP3 CDs of ANANSI BOYS and AMERICAN GODS now being available at http://www.boingboing.net/2005/09/26/gaimans_book_availab.html. (Between ourselves, I don't think that the whole MP3 CD thing is working yet -- lots of people getting ANANSI BOYS in CD, and lots of them downloading it cheaply from Audible.com, but I've only signed one solitary MP3 CD so far.)

...

At last, the information on the Vancouver Library Reading I'm doing, that people can only get to by winning tickets -- details at http://www.straight.com/content.cfm?id=13049 --
Enter now for your chance to win two free tickets to a reading and Q&A at noon on October 6 at the Vancouver Public Library with Neil Gaiman.
THE ONLY WAY TO ATTEND IS TO ENTER.To win, email
contest@straight.com and answer IN 200 WORDS OR LESS why you are one Neil Gaiman fan who absolutely has to attend.
One prize per winner. One prize is two tickets. Contest deadline: Sunday, October 2, at midnight.


...

Is Hollywood Ready For Neil Gaiman? asks http://www.zap2it.com/movies/news/story/0,1259,---26868,00.html but alas, according to the Village Voice the answer is WAKE UP! PEOPLE! THE DUDE USED TO WRITE COMICS! I'm honestly not sure when I've enjoyed being patronised by a bad review more. It begins "The contemporary zeal for graphic novels�fiction, let us remember, equipped with drawings and speech bubbles�has, to this spectator, encouraged the emperor to parade before an adoring public in a threadbare Speedo, if that," and continues on from there.

There's a sweet interview with the wonderful Stephanie Leonidas at http://www.ugo.com/channels/filmtv/features/mirrormask/interview.asp along with another MirrorMask clip.

Here's the Onion Interviews with me and Dave McKean at
http://avclub.com/content/node/41034/1/1 (me)
and
http://avclub.com/content/node/41034/1/2 (Dave)
and some of the outtakes from the ONION interview -- http://www.livejournal.com/users/rollick/423627.html

...

Finally, and most importantly, it's Banned Books Week, something I kept meaning to write about except, given the tour schedule, I fell asleep instead. http://www.ala.org/ala/oif/bannedbooksweek/challengedbanned/challengedbanned.htm#mfcb

Monday, September 26, 2005

Missing the Evil Marauders

I slept till I woke up, then I had lunch with some Washington friends today, which was very civilised and pleasant. Then over to Politics and Prose to sign about a hundred copies of ANANSI BOYS, and from there to Borders. Jon Singer had decided that I needed to taste some Burmese food from his favourite local restaurant, and turned up with enough of it to feed me, my book escort Paul, and also my newly arrived New York Superagent Merrilee Heifetz Herself, who is tagging along with me for a few days just to help and make things a little easier, bless her. The food was amazing, although a bit salty, something I only realised as my mouth slowly dried up during the reading. (Nobody seemed to mind though.)

Signed for about 300 people, which meant it wasn't quite such a marathon as normally (I think many local people had got their books signed at the Book Festival instead) and I walked away when it was done, instead of lurching and staggering.

Over at Time.com they've posted about the first third of the interview with me and Joss Whedon. http://www.time.com/time/arts/article/0,8599,1109313-1,00.html It's not the most accurate transcription you'll ever read. But it's fun, and has significantly more content than the article that came with it.

Here's a St Louis review of ANANSI BOYS.

Here's a Toronto Star ANANSI BOYS review.

The Canadian National Post review isn't up on line yet, but Rob Wiersema, who reviewed it, has it up on his LiveJournal at http://www.livejournal.com/users/willietheshakes/22418.html.

(At the risk of repetition, Lucy Anne over at http://www.holycow.com/dreaming/ is keeping much better track of all this than I am. She's posting lots more press articles, interviews and such.)

The eBay First Amendment Project Auction ended -- I think it worked. Lots of money raised, and a gravestone in THE GRAVEYARD BOOK went for $3,383.

At Coode Street, Mr Strahan comments on a short story I've written called Sunbird, which will be out in a couple of weeks in an anthology. He's spot-on about it being a Lafferty. The anthology it will be appearing in is called A book of noisy outlaws, unfriendly blobs, and some other things that aren't as scary, maybe, depending on how you feel about lost lands, stray cell phones, creatures from the sky, parents who disappear in peru, a man named lars farf, and one other story we couldn't quite finish, so maybe you could help us out although I could swear that evil marauders and purple blobs used to be in the title somewhere.

(The story, which I blogged here about writing, was my daughter Holly's very late 18th Birthday Present, but she did not mind it being published because it will do good things for 826NY -- http://www.826nyc.org/.)

(And a quick google gave a link to the introduction by Mr Lemony Snicket himself, reposted at http://www.livejournal.com/users/literaticat/103560.html).

...

I thought you'd like to know(and all your fans), that according to www.cinemamontreal.com, Mirrormask will be opening in Montreal on the 30th of september. Unfortunatly they dont say where.Good luck on your signing tour!Maxime

That's great, if it's true.

Hi Neil!

I was in DC for the March on Washington yesterday, but had to stop by the Book Festival (hey, even the Bush administration does something right once in a while). I was completely awestruck by your line, and took a picture of it:

http://www.dpsinfo.com/images/fan/other/050924neilsline.jpg

This was at about 1:45, before you'd gotten there. I was estimating 400-500 then - the line snaked up and back at least four times. At that point, you had more people than John Irving and David McCullough combined, though they'd both been signing for a while, and you hadn't arrived yet. I did get to hear George Margin talk, and he was delightful as usual.

So, did all the writers in attendance really get to have brunch with the First Lady? What was that like?

Laurie Mann
AwardWeb
http://www.awardweb.info


It was a White House breakfast. Some of the writers went, some of the writers elected not to go, and this particular writer was scheduled to be on a plane down from Boston while the breakfast was happening so was never able to even wonder whether he would go or not.

Hi Neil!I'm so excited to see that you're coming to Vroman's next weekend. I was looking up the details on the signing, however, and I was a bit upset to find that there will be no posed photos taken. Is this a choice of the bookstore, or is it your agent's, to move things along? Either way, I was a bit disappointed. Also, are you planning on reading at all from the new book? The signing takes place outside... which is weird in the first place. Ah well... looking forward to it anyway!Thanks!elise, CA

Actually the not posing for photographs thing has been my call. You can take any photos you like of me scribbling, you can take photos of you next to me, if you're lucky I'll try and look up when it's time for the flash to go off, but these days everyone has a camera/cameraphone, and while it doesn't add a long time to each signing, if you multiply it by hundreds of people, it can add a few hours to the signing line. (Also, the continual flashes were starting to hurt my eyes.)

(Having said that, tonight Borders put a staff member onto fulltime camera duty, and it went smooth as clockwork.)

As far as I know I'll be doing a reading, yes.

It should be interesting doing the reading outside. Last time I was at that Vromans, for Stardust I think, they decided that fire regulations meant that only a hundred people could hear the reading. So 100 people were at the reading bit while another 300 stood outside for an extra hour, in a long line snaking round the building. Then the sprinklers went off, soaking most of the line. Who were wet but good-humoured when I started to sign their books... (And some of their books were pretty wet too.)

Neil, Just wanted to let you know that the ign comic website is currently taking votes for the greatest comic scribes of today. The field is down to the final eight, and you Mr. Gaiman are one of them. Any of your fans or readers who want to vote you into the final four and beyond can go to: http://comics.ign.com/articles/646/646667p11.html
Currently you are leading Grant Morrison by almost ten percent. I wish you the best of luck (as I have been voting for you) but in the next round it looks like you could be going head to head with Alan Moore. I am completely torn, since I also have undying affection for the great bearded one. Hope the book tour is going well. Steve

Well, I'd vote for Alan if I were you -- he's a much better comics writer than I am.

...

Monday's signing will be in Austin, Texas, at 7.00pm Book People -- http://www.bookpeople.com/coe_example.html?EventID=2944

Saturday, September 24, 2005

After the Book Festival...

Signed for a bit more than four hours at the National Book Festival for a lot of people. I'm not quite sure what the value of "a lot" was here (although I'd guess at 800+ and could by off by 2-300 in either direction), just that I had been getting through people as fast as ever I've signed before, and I feel honestly kind of dazed right now.

(The Book Festival press release says I "signed 500 books" -- but I think that means 500 copies of Anansi Boys. I signed a lot more things that weren't Anansi Boys.)

Am right now as excited as a small child at Christmas to know that I do not have to get up at 5:30 am tomorrow to fly anywhere, having signed until midnight the night before. I shall, instead, sleep until I wake, which, in the state I'm in right now, is a thrilling sort of thing and only spoiled vaguely by my suspicion that I'll wake up at 5:30 am anyway. But any night that I can get more than three hours of sleep plus whatever I can grab on a plane has to be a good night. And I shall eat with George R R Martin and Michael Dirda this evening, and I shall let them do all of the talking.

* * * *


There. The asterisks indicate the passage of time, also a very good meal, some nice red wine, and excellent conversation. First actual meal (as opposed to something gulped down while signing books) in a week. Suddenly the world seems a much more pleasant and hospitable place.

(I promised George I'd tell the world about his signing tours of the UK and the US in October and November -- you can read all about it at http://www.georgerrmartin.com/appearances.html.)

...

Elizabeth Hand is a marvellous writer and a perceptive critic, and she gave me a decidedly mixed review for American Gods in the Village Voice some years ago, but it was the kind of review that, though it wasn't entirely positive, left me happy that she had at least read and was criticising and had understood the novel I had written, even if she didn't feel it was particularly successful.

Still, remembering that review, my heart sank a little when I saw that she'd reviewed Anansi Boys in the Washington Post. And then I read her review, and by the end of it I was prepared to battle her enemies or whitewash her fence. It begins,

With Anansi Boys , Neil Gaiman's delightful, funny and affecting new novel, the bestselling author has scored the literary equivalent of a hole in one, employing the kind of self-assured storytelling that makes it all look so easy. One can imagine Gaiman's legion of fans putting down the book and rushing en masse to pen their own riffs on traditional folklore and contemporary pop culture. But it's hard to imagine anyone topping Anansi Boys , if only because it's a tall tale to end all tall tales, inspired by the trickiest of all trickster gods, Anansi the Spider, whose origins lie in Ghana.

Tales of the West African deity traveled with slaves to North America, where the clever spider became the anthropomorphic figure known as Aunt Nancy, Anancy, or Bre'r Ananse (a counterpart to Bre'r Rabbit, another African American trickster). In Gaiman's last full-length novel, American Gods , Anansi made an appearance as the (mostly) human Mr. Nancy. In Anansi Boys , Mr. Nancy cedes center stage to his sons, Fat Charlie and Spider. As the novel's catchphrase puts it, "God is dead. Meet the kids."

Only Anansi isn't exactly God; he's a god, sort of the god next door: "In the old stories, Anansi lives just like you do or I do, in his house. He is greedy, of course, and lustful, and tricky, and full of lies. And he is good-hearted, and lucky, and sometimes even honest. Sometimes he is good, sometimes he is bad. He is never evil. Mostly, you are on Anansi's side. This is because Anansi owns all the stories." Anansi isn't exactly dead, either, though it's true that Fat Charlie's troubles begin when he attends his estranged father's burial. Fat Charlie "was only ever fat for a handful of years. . . . But the name Fat Charlie clung to him, like chewing gum to the sole of a tennis shoe." He grew up in Florida but now lives in London, where he is engaged to a nice girl named Rosie, who won't sleep with him until after they're married. He works for the loathsome, weaselly Grahame Coats, a talent agent who for years has been fleecing his clients, including the delectable Maeve Livingstone, widow of Morris Livingstone, "once the most famous short Yorkshire comedian in Britain."

[Plot description cut here. Go read the review.]

Gaiman first came to prominence in the late 1980s with The Sandman , the brilliant series that helped reinvent comics and put graphic novels on the map as Literature with a capital L. His previous full-length books, while wildly popular, are hit-or-miss, hobbled by epic ambitions that can occasionally seem pretentious and clever conceits that overpower other concerns such as characterization and pacing.

In Anansi Boys , he gets it all right: Here, Gaiman's storytelling instincts are as remarkable and assured as Anansi's own. As Fat Charlie frantically attempts to undo the damage he's caused and save his brother Spider, and the world, from the forces he's unwittingly loosed, Anansi Boys becomes darker, richer, wiser than any of Gaiman's earlier works.

Here's old Mr. Nancy, in his ghostly guise: " 'Now, Anansi stories, they have wit and trickery and wisdom. Now, all over the world, all of the people they aren't just thinking of hunting and being hunted any more. Now they're starting to think their way out of problems -- sometimes thinking their way into worse problems. They still need to keep their bellies full, but now they're trying to figure out how to do it without working -- and that's the point where people start using their heads. . . . That's when they start to make the world.' "

Lewis Hyde titled his noted study of the trickster mythos Trickster Makes This World . With Anansi Boys , Neil Gaiman has made it his own world, too, and given readers a first-class ticket for the journey there.

And what made it so good for me was not that she likes Anansi Boys or that she says good things about it but that again, reading her review I felt, with a sense of giddy happiness, that she had read and was describing the novel that I'd written -- that she liked it, and it had worked for her, was a bonus.

Which reminds me...

I just bought the audio book of Anansi Boys, and that reader, Lenny Henry, is truly inspired. I sure wish he had done American Gods. He's pitch perfect on every English accent (not just the ones from England). I haven't even finished it yet, but I'm blown away by this guy! Tell the publisher to pay him whatever it takes to get him to do more. I listen to good audio books over and over.

Oh, and the story is pretty great so far, too.

Linda Frasier


Lenny's reading is pretty wonderful. (You can listen to, or download, the first track of the MP3 CD at http://www.neilgaiman.com/journal/01%20Harper%20Audio%20presents%20Anansi%20Boys.mp3 if you want to hear what it sounds like.)

While Lenny himself writes about Anansi Boys, and me, and comics and things at the Headline site -- http://www.neilgaiman.co.uk/index.php?pgId=60.

Neil, the Mall of America signing details (http://tinyurl.com/c5xpc) are up, and are they a doozy. It's wristbands from Sam Goody starting at 9AM, and that's when the line starts. Only one item can be signed per person, ONLY "Anansi Boys" will be signed, no photos, and the book will be available for purchase starting at 6PM -- 30 minutes before the signing begins at 6.30. Tell me this isn't how it's going to be, I'm begging you. Shawn

I don't know -- I've sent an email to Jack Womack at Harpers to find out. But the Mall of America sets its own rules, and I don't know if we can do anything to change them (they certainly seem a great deal more stringent and less reader-friendly than anything else that's happening on the tour).

I do plan to do a proper Minneapolis signing on a Saturday afternoon at the end of November or the beginning of December at DreamHaven Books, and can guarantee (based on previous signings) that it will be hospitable, pleasant and fun, and that there will be no security guards or wristbands present.

...

Forgot to mention that the Cambridge reading and Q&A was really fun last night. But it was.

Friday, September 23, 2005

The Glamorous Life

Signed for about 600 people at Anderson's event until 12.20am. Then an hour's drive back to the hotel, so it's 1.30 am now, with a 6:15 am pickup tomorrow to the airport. Unable to figure out why we didn't either a) put me in a hotel near the event, in which case I would have been asleep an hour ago, or b) put me in an airport hotel to save the time in the morning. Very mysterious.

I've just ordered food, as I'm starving. I hope it comes soon.

If ever I do another signing tour it will have time to sleep built into the schedule.

...

Reviews of ANANSI BOYS at
http://www.csmonitor.com/2005/0923/p15s01-bogn.html
http://bookinfo.net/2005/09/18/anansi-boys-by-neil-gaiman/
http://jivemagazine.com/review.php?rid=1305
http://www.forbes.com/ceonetwork/2005/09/21/gaiman-anansi-boys-cx_mm_0921bookreview.html
http://www.startribune.com/stories/389/5606313.html
http://www.sffworld.com/brevoff/215.html
http://contemporarylit.about.com/od/fiction/fr/anansiBoys.htm
http://www.usatoday.com/life/books/reviews/2005-09-21-anansi_x.htm

Thursday, September 22, 2005

um

Since I last posted I've signed for a bit over a thousand people, first in NY and now in NC. Am typing this in Charlotte. Will be in Chicago by lunchtime tomorrow.

I'll try and post the various links to reviews that are coming in as soon as I get a moment. For now, if you're interested, I'll point you to http://www.holycow.com/dreaming/ where Lucy Anne is keeping better track of it than I am right now.

Looks like the Mall of America signing is back on. (I was hoping we could just yank it over to DreamHaven, when the MoA started being silly, but they stopped being silly, so I'm still going to be signing there. The DreamHaven signing will be at the end of Nov or beginning of Dec.)

& so to bed.

Monday, September 19, 2005

What am I doing?

So, a quick highlights from the last two days, and then sleep as I have to be out of here at 7:30 am tomorrow for a TV thing.

Yesterday I did a talk in the Apple Store about MirrorMask, then to CBGBs, where I read my new short story "How to Talk To Girls At Parties" aloud to an audience for the first time, and discovered (to my great joy) that it worked.

This morning, to Hensons for a bunch of interviews, then Lev Grossman of Time interviewed me and Joss Whedon together (Joss on the phone) which seemed like it wouldn't work, but was actually most pleasant and fun. (My favourite bit was, in an aside, learning that Joss liked The Day I Swapped My Dad For Two Goldfish.) Then to Studio 360 (http://www.wnyc.org/studio360/) for an incredibly enjoyable interview with Kurt Andersen that will air in a week or two, and a meeting with my agents about foreign editions, and then I changed hotels and from there I went to Symphony Space to see Susanna Clarke, where we had an incredibly enjoyable conversation which just happened to take place in front of about five hundred people.

Various interesting things happening in the background, most of them good. Not sure right now if the Mall of America signing will be happening or not.

Hi Neil,I'm really looking forward to the signing your doing at Vroman's in Pasadena (happens to be the week of my birthday, so we're all going to go see Mirrormask the night before, then come see you the next day. Thanks for the gifts)! However, the person I spoke with at Vroman's said that you won't be personalizing things. Is that true? No happy birthday, Dave? Thanks Dave

Not true at all.

...

There's a new site up for the UK -- http://www.neilgaiman.co.uk/ tells you lots of cool stuff about the UK editions of the books.

You can even send ecards of the covers ( at http://www.neilgaiman.co.uk/ecard.php).

Shower. Sleep. Yes.

When I wake up it'll be publication day...

Sunday, September 18, 2005

leaving soon...

I leave on tour in a few hours. Doing all those last minute packing things -- wishing I wasn't doing the whole of America and much of Canada at this particular time of year for the next three weeks, as I have to pack for everything from Indian Summer to Early Winter.

Just updating the iPod right now, and trying to print out the stuff for my reading tomorrow. (There. It printed.)

It's going to be a long tour, and I miss Maddy already and I haven't gone yet.

Neil,This is more of a cry then a question...I bought a copy of "a really useful book" and sadly, the pen is a broken little thingie. I cannot SEE any of the hidden text or even write my own secret words. I wonder if others have complained about the nasty little broken pen. Sigh....here is a question, is it a black light activated notebook thing so I could buy one and see the hidden texts? sigh....I know this is not a earth shattering or deep, inner question....I am just a sad girl who cannot hide my secrets with the magic book you promised....

Dave McKean had the same complaint, and he wasn't the only one. I've been told that replacing the batteries in the pen normally fixes the problem -- the pens have somehow run down while waiting, and they do ship with a bunch of little replacement batteries.

But the people who seem happiest are the ones who've gone out and found black-light flashlights for themselves that work much better than the one the book came with.

Hello Mr. Gaiman, I have a question about your signing events. Seeing as how you like to sign for as many people as possible, when you get a request to write something unusual, do you prefer if the person gives you an explanation, or just telling you what exactly to write, so that you can move onto the next person? I ask this because I am planning to be at one of your signings to get a book signed for someone else to get a specific statement written.Thanks,Candido
It depends. If someone says, for example, "Can you write Congratulations Willoughby on Your 21st Birthday" I will, happily. If someone says "Can you write To The Only One That Trevor Has Ever Actually Loved and He Wishes That He Hadn't Put That Ice Cream Down The Back Of Your Blouse, And In Fact In Another Dimension You Are Already Soulmates Please For God's Sake Give Him A Second Chance And He Promises This Time He Won't Mention His Kidneys and then put your favourite quote from Shakespeare after that..." or worse, tries to explain at length why they need a lengthy thing they've written copied down by me, my answer will probably have to be Sorry. Unless the line's really short, but it probably won't be.

...

And now, I am handing over the rest of this post to Miss Hayley Campbell -- daughter of my friend Eddie Campbell, my friend in her own right, and dedicatee of THE DAY I SWAPPED MY DAD FOR TWO GOLDFISH.

Last seen in this blog in http://www.neilgaiman.com/journal/2005/07/tokyo.asp, Eddie Campbell's brilliant new book will be called The Fate of the Artist. The Fate of the Artist is a hilarious dip into Campbell Family Life, and also a murder mystery.

You can read an interview with Eddie at http://www.graphicnovelreview.com/issue1/campbell_interview.php, which includes a graphic novel manifesto.

Or you could just read this...

Hello Neil,

You might remember that there was a bit in Dad's new book about his
household inventions; such as the 'door spoon' that hung from the doorknob
in lieu of a key which was used to lever open the pantry door, the 'fridge
towel' for soaking up water that the faulty fridge leaked all over the floor
and so on. Brisbane is being buffeted by wild winds at the moment -- houses
are being blown over a few suburbs away, electricity poles are packing it in
and people are complaining that their Foxtel has been cut off blah blah
blah. Our front gates keep swinging open and Mum doesn't like it. She asked
Dad to 'do something about it', giving him license to be creative. So he
did, and he was.

He went to the ragbag in the pantry and found a scrabby, that is, an old
discarded bleach-stained pair of underpants (Mum's, of course), and attached
it to the front gate in such a way that the tops of the pickets were poking
through the leg holes and the crotch was wedged in between the two gates,
holding the flapping doors in place with the stretched elastic of the
waistband. And he left it there overnight.

Mum discovered this brilliant invention in the morning looking a little
worse for wear, the crotch had come loose and was fluttering like a flag in
the wind. She removed it immediately.

"WHAT WOULD THE NEIGHBOURS THINK???" she cried, "AND THEY'RE MY
UNDERPANTS! YOU DID THAT ON PURPOSE!"

So now the gates are swinging in the wind and Mum just goes downstairs every
now and then to close them.

I thought it was too amusing to keep to myself.

Love Hayley

Friday, September 16, 2005

New York, Apple, Today's Auctions

I just got sent the schedule for the New York trip. Erk. Somehow I had assumed that I would at least have time to breathe over two and a half days. Instead it has highlights like a meeting with my agent to talk about all the foreign editions of ANANSI BOYS, which lasts 40 minutes, occurs between two interviews and during which I shall also be eating because that's the only time I get to eat for the next five hours. If you are a friend or even a family member who was hoping to see me in New York, having looked at my schedule I can now assure you that it isn't going to happen. When I'm not doing something for Harper Collins, I'm doing something for MirrorMask.

Gosh.

One event that hasn't been mentioned here before is that I'll be talking on Sunday at the Apple Store in Soho in an Indiewire MirrorMask event that will run from 5:30 - 7.00 pm. I don't think there will be time for any signing or anything as I have to run from there to the CBGBs event. Details at http://www.indiewire.com/calendar/050918.html#000455 and http://www.apple.com/retail/soho/week/20050918.html

The part of the Big Author Name Auction with me in it has gone live (Your name -- or your family's -- on a Gravestone in The Graveyard Book, my next children's novel), as has the script for Sandman 75 in Joe Quesada's Inkwell auction.

http://stores.ebay.com/AuctionCause for the complete list of authors (I'm trailing behind Stephen King, Lemony Snicket, John Grisham, Michael Chabon and Nora Roberts right now.) Here's the direct link to me in the auction

Here's the link to the auction for the signed script for the last issue of Sandman.

Here's the Inkwell Auction. (Lots of amazing original art.)

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Cheap rats, toronto, etc

There was a general lack of comfort with the way things were being organised at the Toronto Signing, mostly with the bit of the signing that involved paying $15 for privilege of getting to have your books signed. It just seemed a bit dodgy. So Harper Canada have done their best to make people happy, and, as I understand it, now, your $15 ticket is good at the event for a $15 discount on books. So your ticket now subsidises your copy of ANANSI BOYS (or MIRRORMASK, or whatever else you get).

However, those of you on the other side of Canada, grumpy about spending your $15 in Vancouver are out of luck -- it's part of the Vancouver International Writers and Readers Festival, which is a good cause, and that's where the money's going. Anyway, according to the website -- http://www.writersfest.bc.ca/2005festival/special_events.htm -- it would cost you $100 to have lunch with Margaret Atwood, so I'm relatively cheap.

(I don't know why people would want to have lunch with writers. I've eaten with writers. We have appalling table manners, and rarely say anything other than "Pass the salt" or "If you're not going to eat that, can I have it?")

...

Hi Neil (ok, no Neily):

It's me again :) With another question. This one about seeing you!

I'm going to be coming from Jersey for the Union Square signing next week with my sis and a friend. After a very frustrating conversation with the events coordinator at B&N, I found out that instead of tickets, B&N will be giving out wristbands the afternoon of the signing. Wristbands will guarantee you a seat at the discussion and the chance to get some stuff signed by you. Only one wristband per person, no one can pick them up for you, and no, they will not mail them to out-of-state attendees.

That's fine if you live in New York. When I inquired what we commuting several hours into the city should do, I was answered with a very gracefully stated 'tough luck'.

The gentlemen said that he could not guarantee that those without wristbands would be able to get something signed - it's the author's discretion how long they choose to sign for.

Hence, my question: Neil, how long will you sign for? Am I about to take a 3 hour trip in vain? Are you going to only sign for the people with wristbands, or are you going to make sure everyone gets a chance? Should I punch their PR guy? Can I tell him I got permission from you to punch him?

I'm not judging you either way, I just want to know - I had a similarly dissapointing situation occur at the same B&N when me and my sis went up for Tori's signing, and I just want to know what to expect this time.

o, and answering all these questions? you rock.

admiration and thanks,
cynthia silvestri
www.pie-eyeddesign.com


I did not know what the answer was to this, so I asked my publicist at Harper Collins, Jack Womack (and people have asked if this is the same Jack Womack as the SF writer, and it is one and the same) who said,


Miwa Messer, the B & N national coordinator and I have spoken.

Wristbands will NOT be necessary for anyone to be guaranteed a seat or
an opportunity to have their books signed by Neil Gaiman at his ANANSI
BOYS launch event at Barnes & Noble, 33 E. 17th St., New York, NY,
September 20 beginning at 6 PM EDT. Anyone who comes the store will be
able to see and hear Neil (though available seats, as with any event,
will be on a first-come basis...), and be able to get on line and have
their books signed personally by him.

She further reconfirmed that the store will remain open for as long as
there are customers for whom to sign, and as long as you're able to
sign. There'll also of course be on hand pre-signed stock (those will
be the ones you do prior to the event)for anyone who is OK with just a
signature, or who needs to leave etc.


So that looks good.

...

Lots and lots of you have written in telling me that the reason the Quills Awards call a book named Marvel:1602 "Marvel 1602 Volume 1" is because Marvel has started doing a comic called "1602: New World", or suggesting other reasons why it might be sensible for Marvel to have called the book "Marvel 1602 Volume One".

I don't think that I explained myself properly. Marvel haven't called the book "1602: Volume one". The Quills award people have. But the name of the book that's nominated for the award is "Marvel 1602". That's what it says on the indicia and on the spine and on the front of the book. It's what Marvel called it. Thus, why the Quills awards have listed it as "Marvel 1602 Volume 1" when that is not the book's name, is really puzzling, and has nothing to do with whether or not Marvel have or will ever put out any other 1602 comics. (If that were the logic, they'd be listing American Splendor: My Movie Year as American Splendor Volume Nine [or whatever it technically is]...) Does that make sense? What's odd is that they've changed the actual title of the book nominated for the award.

I do hope the Quills will fix the name of the book. And possibly, while they're at it, put up a precis that indicates that someone actually had time to read the book they're describing. If you're trying to do a Big Impressive Award you ought to do things professionally, if you want to be taken seriously, and I think they very much want that.

...

Last month I mentioned that every article I'd seen about the Beowulf movie I wrote with Roger Avary had been written by people who had obviously neither read the script nor spoken to anyone who had. Here's an article -- http://www.latinoreview.com/scriptreviews/beowulf/review.html-- by someone who has probably actually got hold of a copy of the original script by Roger and I, and who is also being good about spoilers.

...

Hi Neil,

I was wondering if you can work out what's happening with the release of the Mirrormask Really Useful Book in the UK?

I see that is available in the US and I've seen it advertised on a couple of on-line stores as being in stock. Yet when I search for it on Amazon (.com and .co.uk) it doesn't exist. I tried my local bookshop and they can't find any record of it existing in either their's or Diamond's system.

Is there going to be a UK release? I was hoping it would make a perfect birthday present for a friend in a couple of weeks but it looks like I'm not going to get it in time. (A signed copy would be even better).


I asked Forbidden Planet in London and was told All our FPs have the item, and it's on our core list - will be reordered when stocks hit minimum level. If the person doesn't live near one of our FPs, our mail order is reachable at info@forbiddenplanet.com. It's probable that most of the other comics/SF specialist shops in the UK have it as well.

Hi Neil,

When I was younger, i bought a "leatherbound" copy of Seasons of Mist. It had a gold key sort of engraved on the front. It was the first work of yours that i ever read. The cover caught my eye, and I was hooked since. I let a friend borrow it, and naturally we lost touch, and I never saw it again. It was very dear to me, because it was wat introduced me to my now favorite author. I recently started looking for that copy again, and I can't seem to find it anywhere. I may just not be looking properly, or maybe it was a very limited run. i am not sure. I was wondering if you could maybe point me in the right direction, because i would really love to have it again.

Thanks,
Chris


I'm afraid that edition is long since sold out -- your best bet is eBay or a used bookseller -- http://www.bookfinder.com/
is a good place to start looking. It can be pricy for the first edition, but there was also a Book Club version, exactly the same axcept for the publishing details (and if memory serves, they ran out of imitation leather toward the end of the print run, and went over to a sort of reddish vinyl).

...

Over at Slaughterhouse Studios, Lisa Snellings is having a brief sale on her rats: http://slaughterhousestudios.blogspot.com/2005/09/sale.htmlhas the details. You can get a Neil Rat, a Harlan Rat, a Lovecraft Rat, a Poe Rat, or any other rats astoundingly cheaply, for a short time. (You can see them all at http://www.lisasnellings.com/ratbag.html)

...

And finally, you may remember me talking last week about my day of interviews with Dave McKean last week. You can read one such interview up at http://www.comicbookresources.com/news/newsitem.cgi?id=5899. It's an odd thing about spending an entire day being asked questions. After a while you answer with perhaps more honesty than you should. I suppose I must have said, And the other thing is Hollywood executives really love the smell of their own urine and what they really like doing is urinating on things. And then going, "Hmm, now this smells really good" and being really puzzled when the rest of the world goes "No, actually it smells like pee." I must have said it. It sounds like me, after all.

in which ingenuity charges a phone

I never seem to have a phone charger, because I always leave them in hotel rooms.

Tonight, in a hotel room, with a dead phone, I thought if I do it, maybe other people do as well... So I phoned the concierge and asked. It turns out lots of people leave phone chargers in hotel rooms, and I got to take my pick of Nokia chargers, and my phone is now charging. Yeah, I know. It's sort of obvious. But I still feel bizarrely pleased with myself.

There's an interview with me in this week's Hollywood Reporter.

MirrorMask is one of the eight films picked to represent New British Cinema at the London Film Festival -- details at http://www.lff.org.uk/films_details.php?FilmID=774 -- For his marvellously entertaining first feature as director, acclaimed comic-strip artist Dave McKean has co-written, with frequent collaborator Neil Gaiman, a rites-of-passage fable that triumphantly takes its place alongside such fantasies as The Company of Wolves, Time Bandits and The Wizard of Oz. I'm not sure that it does, but that's lovely company to be put in.

I've been asked to remind you all (well, all "legal US residents") to vote in the Quill Awards, and to suggest that you might want to vote for Jon J Muth's book Zen Shorts as best illustrated children's books. Beyond that, vote for whoever you want (anyone in the graphic novel category would be a decent winner. And why do they call 1602 "1602 Volume 1"?).

(And the description of 1602 on the Quills website -- In total, it reads "Things in England become chaotic after Queen Elizabeth's death, and Nicholas Fury, Otto Von Doom, and the other superheroes must decide whether to stay in England or emigrate to America with a young girl and her Indian protector. " is the kind of thing that gets written by someone who didn't bother to read the book they're describing...)

And in closing, a scientific experiment -- http://www.jossresearch.org/special/tecnu.html.

Bed now. Yes.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

The Nature of Predictive SF...

I've noticed a few times in the last decade that Science Fiction, as a body of literature, has been at its most accurate as a predictive medium in the places that nobody knew or expected or imagined -- often in the places that people weren't even certain at the time were Proper SF. Every now and again I find myself reading the papers and realising that Ballard wrote it already, or Dick. Now someone has pointed out that the current events in New Orleans are straight out of Samuel R Delany's Dhalgren, a book that, when it came out, was accused of not being SF...


Hello oh author type person. My reason for contacting you in this crazy time right before the storm (aka signing tour) is in hopes that you might shed some light on the Thingie auction going on right now on eBay. In the wake of the Katrina tragedy I felt a need to do something to help. I knew I still had two or three of the Thingie shirts left that were specifically created to benefit charities so I decided I'd do a Thingie auction to benefit Katrina victims. Lance "Sqiiddie" Smith brought to my attention that Poppy Z. Brite was a N.O.er and may benefit from some help. Poppy has been known to post on the alt.fan.thingie and we tend to like to take care of our own so the decision was made that the proceeds of this auction will go to helping her, her husband, and her multitude of critters. I rounded up ten Gaimanlicious items (hey it is alt.fan.neil-gaiman after all) and put them up on eBay. I'm sure many of your wonderful journal readers would be tickled to help out Poppy and get their grubby mitts on some rare and interesting Gaiman swag to boot. Here is a link to the list of items being auctioned.
http://search.ebay.com/_W0QQfgtpZ1QQfrppZ25QQsassZivoree

So long and thanx for all the fish! Oops!...wrong writer guy...

Ivory tha lil white boi


And indeed, good rare things up for a good cause -- Poppy, Chris and their unofficial travelling cats' home.

...

A bunch more MirrorMask cinemas have been added -- the list as of now at http://www.sonypictures.com/movies/mirrormask/theaters/is...

OPENING 9/30/2005

CALIFORNIA

Edwards University Town Center 6
Irvine, CA

Landmark Act 1 & 2 Cinemas
Berkeley, CA

Landmark Nuart Theatre
Los Angeles, CA

Landmark Aquarius Twin Theatre
Palo Alto, CA

Landmark Ken Cinema
San Diego, CA

Landmark Lumiere 3
San Francisco, CA

Rafael Film Center
San Rafael, CA

COLORADO

Landmark Mayan Theatre
Denver, CO

ILLINOIS

Landmark Century Center Cinemas
Chicago, IL

GEORGIA

Landmark Midtown Art Cinema
Atlanta, GA

MASSACHUSETTS

Landmark Kendall Square
Cambridge, MA

MICHIGAN

Landmark Main Art Theater
Royal Oak, MI

MISSOURI

Landmark Tivoli Theater
St. Louis, MO


NEW YORK

Landmark Sunshine Cinema
New York, NY

TEXAS

Landmark Dobie Theater
Austin, TX

Landmark Magnolia 5 Theatre
Dallas, TX

WASHINGTON D.C.

Landmark E Street Cinema 8
Washington, DC

OPENING 10/07/2005

WASHINGTON

Landmark Varsity Theater
Seattle, WA

MARYLAND

Charles Theater
Baltimore, MD

OPENING 10/14/2005

MINNESOTA

Landmark Lagoon Cinema
Minneapolis, MN



OREGON

Regal Fox Tower 10
Portland, OR

OPENING 10/20/2005

HAWAII

Hawaii International Film Fest
Honolulu, Hi



OPENING 10/21/2005

TEXAS

Fort Worth Modern Museum of Art
Fort Worth, TX



OPENING 12/20/2005

HAWAII

Honolulu Academy of Arts
Honolulu, Hi


Neil,

I've been working furiously on a novel lately, and my day job involves computers also. I ended up with tendon problems from too much typing, despite my careful attention to ergonomics. (Specifically RSI, which is related to overuse and much different from carpal tunnel syndrome.)

Now I have to take a break from the novel to let my tendons heal, and I worry about the interruption in my creative flow. If I continue in longhand, I'm afraid I won't be able to keep up with the stream of ideas.

I was wondering if you or other authors you know have experienced similar problems, and if so, how it has affected you creatively?

P.S. If this is posted, please consider it a warning to yourself and any creative folk out there!

Chaz Ervin


I went over to writing novels in longhand back in 1994, when I started Stardust, and liked it so much I've been doing it ever since. I don't think that much faster than I handwrite, and it makes me think a little more about each sentence before I write it. Also I enjoy the process of going from first to second draft, typing it in. I don't know that it would work for everyone, but it works well for me.

...

Just wanted to let you know that our site, Your Mom's Basement (www.yourmomsbasement.com) has up a review of Anansi Boys. I don't know if you read all your reviews, but if so, please don't be discouraged by the first line. Thanks. http://www.yourmomsbasement.com/archives/2005/09/review_anansi_b_1.html#more

Oh good, another review that manages to avoid spoilers. I'm very grateful.

Monday, September 12, 2005

quick one

Outside, the owls are hooting. Loudly and continually...

Dave McKean is interviewed in the Guardian Online... http://www.guardian.co.uk/online/story/0,,1564446,00.html

...

I wrote that last night, stopped writing when the phone rang, and haven't had a second to write anything else all day, although the owls stopped hooting when the storm came through. We're in the final countdown to me going on tour, and it's all interviews and madness. I have to fly out for a meeting today, then I get home on Thursday Night, and the tour starts in New York Sunday.

Too many urgent emails not replied to, too many phone calls not returned and things not read or written. I updated Where's Neil, though.

Tour info: Toronto, Boston, CBGBs...

As we head into tour season, expect lots of small, bitty, tour-related posts, like this one...

The CBGBs reading next Sunday is definitely happening -- http://www.cbgb.com/gallery/091805.jpg shows the poster, and has the details you need if you want to come. I'll be reading for somewhere between 20 and 40 minutes - probably the new short story...

The Toronto signing, October 8th 05 -- I was incredibly uncomfortable with the idea of Harper Canada charging $15 for a ticket to the reading for people who weren't going to be allowed to get a signature. It seemed very wrong. Initially we were told it couldn't be changed because they only had the space for a limited time, but that seems to have been fixed, so I've been assured that if you come along to the Toronto event, you'll get your books signed. The Learning Annex website doesn't yet reflect this, but that's what I've been promised, so if you want to come along, then sign up here. Seats are still limited to 750ish, and when they're gone they're gone.

The Cambridge MA signing, Friday September 23rd is sold out, and they aren't doing a waiting list. I've received conflicting reports on whether people who show up on the night, on the offchance, will be able to get any empty seats or not, but it's always worth a try if you're in the area (people always get flu, lose their babysitters, or get taken by aliens).

...

Hi Neil, I was just curious about those new Headline editions of your books you showed on the 7/21 post and said they would be out when Anansi Boys is out. Will those be available from Amazon? Thanks.

Headline's a UK publisher, so the books will be available through Amazon.co.uk, along with the other UK book sites, or at Hodder Headline's own site, www.madaboutbooks.co.uk where you can order the books directly, as far as I can see, on or after September the 19th.

Neil, Sorry if you answered this before. But I missed it. What are the times for the NYC events coming in a week or two? I've seen mention of them happening but no times. TIA.


For this and for everything like it, just go to the WHERE'S NEIL area of the website, http://www.neilgaiman.com/where/where.asp, which will take you in to the WHERE'S NEIL blog, which tells you everything I know about where I'll be when. The current US and Canada info is here. The Current UK info (much sparser) and Irish info (very sparse indeed, it doesn't even say that it'll be the 15th or the 16th of November in Dublin, although it will)is here.

If you can't see the information you need about the tour at Where's Neil, call the book shop.

...

The Louisiana Book Festival has, not unexpectedly, been put off until March. March is, for some reason, when everyone needs me to be places next year, and I'm not certain if I'll be able to go to the Book Festival at this point. I hope I can.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Thought for the day

I've only ever optioned one book or story by someone else. It was a book called WASP, by Eric Frank Russell. I was convinced it would make a perfect movie, and once it was optioned I started to write it. And then September the Eleventh 2001 happened.

I stopped writing the film and simply let the option expire. WASP wasn't fiction any longer. It had become rather too relevant, and I couldn't imagine a universe in which anyone would pay for it to be made in the foreseeable future.

If you read http://www.boston.com/ae/books/articles/2005/09/11/echoes_from_sci_fis_golden_age/ you'll find out why.

Or read the book.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

In which the author realises that some analogies don't age...

After all the iterations of the iPod, and all the upgrades in iPod software, you'd think that by now it would occur to someone to give the alarm clock function a one-time-only setting. Instead, if you set the alarm, it will go off every day at that time, either waking you up (if it's on a cradle), or, more usually, simply turning itself on in a bag or a pocket and running the battery down. Which I mention on the off-chance that someone who might fix it is reading this blog. You never know.

I got home to find boxes of books waiting for me. I now have copies of ANANSI BOYS, in the UK and the US editions, and the UK audio CD package. Oddly enough, according to several happy messages receieved, some of you also have copies of Anansi Boys, courtesy of bookshops that haven't noticed that the strict onsale date is September 20th. (Bad Waterstones Dublin. Bad Amazon.de. Bad er several people's local bookshops that I didn't get the names of.)

The UK and the US editions of the MirrorMask "Children's edition" (it's a bad name for the heavily illustrated novella, the nearest that Dave and I came to doing a novelisation) arrived and are exactly the same book, and also very different -- the UK edition is 10" (the same size as THE WOLVES IN THE WALLS) so the pictures are bigger. The US edition is 7" square, and is really charming for being smaller. (It's as if the UK one is a 10" single and the US edition is a 7" single, he explained, before realising that analogy is probably now officially meaningless.)

...

The Library of Congress National Book Festival schedule is now out: Saturday, Sept. 24, 2005, on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., between 7th and 14th streets from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (rain or shine). The festival is free and open to the public. Fiction & Fantasy Pavilion 12:40-1:10 Book Signing 2-4 http://www.loc.gov/bookfest/gaiman.html

...

Time Out New York ran an interview, the content of which I linked to in the Dreaming in the last post. They also have a full-page photo of me in DreamHaven Books a couple of weeks ago, and, for the curious, since I was just sent it, here's a scan (I think the yellow blotches are just from the scan, not from the photo, and probably not from me)...



You can order your own copy through the TONY web site.
...

Over at http://stores.ebay.com/AuctionCause it seems that eBay accidentally deleted the first round of writer auctions (Peter Straub and co) and have now reinstated them starting again from scratch, with new end dates, along with the second round. It will come as no surprise that Stephen King is now out in the lead...

...

If you're in Singapore then you can win a copy of ANANSI BOYS...

...

Hi, Neil, I'm in New York City and will be going to the Susanna Clarke conversation... Do I need to get a ticket or reservation for the signing at B&N for Anansi Boys? Sorry for the question if the information is already posted.. I just could not locate it.

Nope. No tickets or reservations for that one. I'd advise getting there early, though, if you can, and I'd warn you that it may be a long night.

Hi Neil, I just thought You might find this funny...or even interesting:http://www.orlandosentinel.com/orl-ghost0805sep08,0,3349932.story Kay, Bonn, Germany

A bit of both, really. And mostly I wonder how the case will come out. After all,

In addition to seeking $2.6 million to cover 10 years of rent and damages, the owners' lawsuit asks a judge to decide whether there are ghosts in the building -- and if there are, whether they would meddle in the operation of the Chungs' sushi restaurant.

What would Wolff and Byrd say?

...

Hi Neil,

Thanks for including the address for SCBWI Houston book donations I posted in my blog!

Unfortunately, I just learned that they're overwhelmed with donations and have to put the book drive on hold (they also thank everyone who's contributed.)

Anyway, thanks again, and sorry the info became outdated so soon after I posted it!

All best,

Janni Simner


...

Regarding tickets for the Toronto signing: There are two available! My fiance and I are unable to attend (much to our vast disappointment) and so we'd like our tickets to go to other fans instead of being wasted. My friend Sarah is holding them for me right now, and can be contacted at aldiwitchie@yahoo.com by anyone who's interested. These are signing tickets, not the general admission ones. I figured your blog would be the best place to advertise!

Actually, it isn't the best place to advertise, otherwise the blog would turn over the next few months into a place for people needing to shift tickets for events, clogging up everything else. But I'm happy to post yours as a way of pointing people to the places that can be used to swap, sell, or otherwise dispose of or obtain tickets and things:

http://www.neilgaimanboard.com/6/ubb.x is the forum/message board place of www.Neilgaiman.com. I met lots of the people who post there at Fiddler's Green last year and they are a fine, strange bunch.

http://www.livejournal.com/community/neil_gaiman/ is the LiveJournal community, while over on usenet, alt.fan.neil-gaiman is the haunt of the thingies: mad, bad and dangerous to gnaw.

All of these places will be good for those of you who have tickets to give to others, or to find other people going to the same events you are. Or to grumble that I never come and sign books in your country...

Neil I've been a big fan for a while, and in fact introduced my cousin to your work. I will be at your book signing at Borders in Bailey's Crossroads in Virginia on the 25th. My cousin, however, lives in Knoxville, TN, and is unable to attend. I know you've said we're generally allowed to bring two books to be signed, but are we allowed to buy two copies of Anansi Boys to be signed? Because my cousin really *really* wants a signed copy, and I was hoping to be able to get one for him.Thanks!-Mark

The rules for what other than Anansi Boys I'll sign will change from store to store, but, within reason, I'll always sign as many copies of Anansi Boys as you get, which allows people to buy copies as presents and suchlike.

YIPPEE you've mentioned more cities for mirrormask, and i was just logging on to say WAIT, its opening here too! Here being Salt Lake City... I saw it at sundance and at the time couldnt afford to also take my niece to the screening (who im slowly but surely converting to the gaiman world). So anyways, just a note to say, that when i emailed the local indy movie theatre and begged for them to bring mirrormask, my email gleefully brought me the response today that they already were, a Sept. 30th release... i will be there with bells on, and so will my niece... Congratulations, i cant wait to see it again. moons, stars, smiles -- Heather

That would be the Tower Theater, Salt Lake City. And yes, it's opening there on Sep 30th. I'm waiting for a full list of additions since the last one and will put it up as soon as I get it.

Hi Neil,While I was reading about the fabulously useful 2 pound laptop, I could not find any mention of what kind it was. Please satisfy a desperate geekgirl's curiosity.Gillian

It's a Panasonic CF-W4.

Here's the page about it -- http://www.dynamism.com/w4/main.shtml -- from Dynamism.com (who sold me mine). It was really just meant to be the travelling laptop, but I'm using it most of the time now, because it weighs nothing. (I've never had a computer that made people with iBooks jealous before. They don't start out jealous. That only happens when they pick it up.)

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Bold as brass

Sorry about yesterday's Bolding thing -- there was a mystery LJ code inside one of the sections I quoted which, it turned out, was only visible in Firefox (and the LJ feed), and wasn't visible and didn't do anything in Explorer, which I only keep around now for doing Blogger entries anyway, because it doesn't keep bouncing you back to the start of the entry like Firefox does. Once I went into Firefox it was easy to find and fix.

Spent a long yesterday with Dave McKean being interviewed about MirrorMask, over and over and over. Usually press junket things are mind-numbing, because people ask the same four or five questions over and over, and the only choices become whether you say exactly the same thing over and over, or whether you try and rephrase it each time. This time, with the exception of people wanting to know how it all started, every question and every questioner was quite different. Which made it almost fun. Still exhausting, but fun. At the end of the evening, Dave I are were lucky enough to get to see some puppet improv at Henson's. Sort of like Whose Line is it Anyway?, but with puppets -- normally randomly grabbed from a long table. Extremely funny, and the kind of thing that ought to be seen by more than a hundred Henson's employees and their friends.

Michael Polis at Hensons tells me that some more cinemas have been added to the MirrorMask launch, and we'll put them up here. He also asked me to stress that, if you want to help MirrorMask to go wider, then try and see it in the first week. I don't think it'll make an enormous difference to us whether or not you're there on the first night, because with something small like this the Friday Night Grosses aren't going to matter, so you can go and see Serenity with a clear conscience. But the first week will be tremendously important to whether or not you're likely to see MirrorMask on the big screen anywhere else in the US, and quite possibly anywhere else in the world. (Although I hear rumours of a Screening in Singapore in December.)

Over at The Dreaming there's a transcription of the TIME OUT NEW YORK interview with me and article about ANANSI BOYS (I can't find any permalinks at the Dreaming, but it's currently the second entry down.) (Edit:here's the link.)

I keep forgetting to link to the Three Monkeys interview, again, mostly about ANANSI BOYS. http://www.threemonkeysonline.com/threemon_printable.php?id=286 (It's probably worth pointing out that in talking about the serious/funny dichotomy, I'm not quoting Terry Pratchett -- Terry and I are both quoting G.K. Chesterton.)

Incidentally, we've just got permalinks over at the FAQ blog I used to do here, and may now reactivate, now that I can actually point people at specific answers. Here's something I wrote about writing, for example...
http://www.neilgaiman.com/faq/2002_05_01_archive.asp#76924779 and then scroll up a bit.

Oops. Got to run for a plane. More later.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

MirrorMask, Salsa, stuff....

Long, vaguely irritating day, mostly because I didn't get enough sleep last night and have to fly off to a press day for MirrorMask in an hour or so.

But I went off into the garden, picked many tomatoes, not to mention the last of the onions, and sorrell, basil, cilantro, jalapenos and other hot and sweet peppers, garlic and everything except limes (which I bought), and I made a large quantity of salsa.


The devil-tomato is in there, although I forgot to save the seeds. Lots of jars have been bought and prepared, and tomorrow while I'm off talking to press people, it'll all be canned. I haven't figured out the label bit yet, but whatever I do will probably also involve numbering each bottle. And then I expect we'll eBay them, or something.





Not really certain which charity to support with it, but there are lots of terrific contenders. In addition to the ones I've already mentioned here, I've been pointed by Teri Goulding to Firstbook.org, which is providing books to children affected by Hurricane Katrina. Every $5 donated to First Book will be matched with 1 book that will go to children in the devastated areas.

While The Dreaming's Lucy Anne wrote to say,

Janni Lee Simner(http://www.livejournal.com/users/janni/231961.html
posted the following yesterday:

Books for evacuees

The Houston chapter of the Society of Children's Book Writers and
Illustrators (SCBWI) is collecting books for all ages for the Katrina
evacuees in their city, and will see to it that the books they gather
get to the refugees in their city. (Including those in the Astrodome,
which has a playroom.)

Anyone who wants to help can send books to:

SCBWI-Houston
P.O. Box 19487
Houston, TX 77224 ...

*****
The main SCBWI site is also listing a Lousiana Library Association
Disaster Relief Fund, with monies going to help both schools and
libraries. Links to the LLA site are not surprisingly down, but in
ALA's full coverage
(at ALA link)
the following contact information was posted.

LLA-Disaster Relief, 421 South 4th Street, Eunice, LA 70535

ALA is collecting info on library conditions, and requests for
assistance, supplies, volunteers, etc. from other librarians and
libraries
http://www.ala.org/ala/alonline/hurricanekatrinanews/katrinanews.htm

and this one also looks good...


hey neil, i saw you were putting some hurricane related info up. we are currenlty taking donations to help rebuild schools hit by the hurricane www.apse.us
hope you can help us spread the word..once all the furor dies down, there will still be lots and lots of work to do for months and years to come

...

Hello Neil, This is Austin Kuhn from Richmond, VA and I have been literally obsessed with MirrorMask ever since the synopsis was released, and I wanted to know "why is MirrorMask is being put out in selected theatres?"I have also wanted to let you know that i have told many people about MirrorMask and they love it and want to see it but might have to wait like me, until it is released on DVD, but before it is released I have learned as much as possible about the movie in case i'll have to wait for the DVD.

It's going out into selected theatres because it was a very low-budget family movie that really only made it into any theatres because it was selected for, and got a great reception at, Sundance. Having said that, now that it has been put into selected theatres, if you can, if you're near enough, please go and see it during that first week -- the powers that be will pay a lot of attention to how much money per screen it makes, and being released in a limited way is fine if Sony decide to keep showing it and slowly roll it out to more screens (like Amelie, or March of the Penguins) but is a bit more problematic if they don't support it, or people don't come out and see it (like Princess Mononoke, or Kung Fu Hustle, both of which I thought could have done with a lot more support than they got).

Really at this point it's up to Sony how MirrorMask does, assuming that people can find it and enjoy it.

Here's the list of cinemas at which it'll be screening:

MirrorMask

OPENING 9/30/2005

CALIFORNIA

Edwards University Town Center 6
Irvine, CA

Landmark Act 1 & 2 Cinemas
Berkeley, CA

Landmark Nuart Theatre
Los Angeles, CA

Landmark Ken Cinema
San Diego, CA

Landmark Lumiere 3
San Francisco, CA

Rafael Film Center
San Rafael, CA

COLORADO

Landmark Mayan Theatre
Denver, CO

ILLINOIS

Landmark Century Center Cinemas
Chicago, IL

GEORGIA

Landmark Midtown Art Cinema
Atlanta, GA

MASSACHUSETTS

Landmark Kendall Square
Cambridge, MA

MISSOURI

Landmark Tivoli Theater
St. Louis, MO


NEW YORK

Landmark�s Sunshine Cinemas
New York, NY

TEXAS

Landmark Dobie Theater
Austin, TX

Landmark Magnolia 5 Theatre
Dallas, TX

WASHINGTON D.C.

Landmark E Street Cinema 8
Washington, DC


OPENING 10/07/2005

WASHINGTON

Landmark Varsity Theater
Seattle, WA


OPENING 10/14/2005

MINNESOTA

Landmark Lagoon Cinema
Minneapolis, MN



...

And here's a question about the ANANSI BOYS tour.

Hi Neil.

My name is Sharmylae, I'm 15 and in Grade 10.

I just wanted to let you know, even though you probably get 2497436 messages just like this one, that you are the most amazing writer ever, and I really love your work. I'm working through reading as much as I can, currently working on about 8 Sandman comics and Neverwhere.

I heard that you were going to be in Toronto from this really nice guy that works at the Library near my house (a very cute guy, but that has nothing to do with what I'm writing) and he showed me the Learning Annex Article. I live in downtown Toronto and I was really excited to hear that, but by the time I reached the website to sign up it was sold out. I'm so sad, because I was very excited and so very badly wanted to meet you. I actually started to cry, but that's a bit scary and shows how much of a baby I am.

So for now, I will just condole myself with the chance that you'll read this message, and hope that it makes you smile, laugh, or wonder what the point was.

Good luck with everything and I will definately be reading your new book.

Lots of love, your loyal (and slightly annoying) fan,

Sharmylae


Thanks for the kind words, Sharmylae. I checked and the Learning Annex isn't sold out -- what's sold out are the first 300 tickets, which are guaranteed a signing. There's another 400 seats at the event, which aren't guaranteed a signature, although obviously I'll do what I can to sign for as many people as I can before they close the hall.

I've spoken to the shadowy figure of Mark Askwith, who assures me that the people at the Toronto signing will get lots of cool stuff that nobody else is going to get to see.

Several people have written taking me to task for charging so much for the Toronto signing. Just to reiterate, I don't set the prices for events that charge for signings, I don't see any of the ticket money (which normally goes to the rental of the space for bookshops that don't have enough space to put all the people who would come to a signing), and I don't choose where I go on a signing tour. If you're concerned about something, contact the publisher. Honest.


Mr. Gaiman,

I had a quick response to the statement one reader made about the Boston signing being sold out... If you call the bookstore you can still put your name on a "waiting list," so that if a larger venue is found, you've got dibs on tickets.

Just thought it would be worth mentioning.

~CJ


Thanks.

And finally, I thought I should mention that the first round of First Amendment Project auctions are underway: http://stores.ebay.com/AuctionCause for Peter Straub, Amy Tan, Michael Chabon, Karen Joy Fowler, and Andrew Sean Greer. The bidding is fast and furious with Peter Straub out in the lead as I write this.
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