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Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Not yet in Kupu

There's a new purpose-built system that I'm meant to be writing this in, as I learn how to make the transition over to the Whole New Website, but it just ate a post, so I've come back to good old reliable Blogger.

Slightly odd day -- I fell asleep yesterday around three in the afternoon and slept until seven this morning, which means, I think, I was more tired out from all the travelling I've been doing than I thought I was. Still, it meant that I was up and bright-eyed, if not exactly bushy-tailed, for an odd class-interview-by-telephone at 9.00am this morning.

I think from this article -- http://www.moviesonline.ca/movienews_6497.html -- MirrorMask will definitely be out on DVD in Region 1 on February the 7th, although it appears that it'll be out in PSP format on January the 10th.

I noticed that a couple of the biographical pieces that I keep meaning to send people who write in and ask for date of birth and all that stuff for school essays, the location of which I'd lost track of, are up at http://www.holycow.com/dreaming/academia/.

...

QUOTABLE NEIL
Here's a link to the Neil Gaiman Quotes Site that you ordered. http://quotableneil.blogspot.com/

It wasn't an order, honest. But it looks very nice.

speaking of quotes, your earlier correspondent might want to peruse this: http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Gaiman

and also

There are lots of quote sites with you on already. Have you seen

http://www.amk.ca/quotations/neil-gaiman/
http://en.thinkexist.com/quotes/neil_gaiman/
http://www.quotationspage.com/search.php3?Author=Neil+Gaiman&file=other
http://quotes.prolix.nu/Authors/?Neil_Gaiman
??? I loved Stardust. kissies. Kate.

I hadn't. Incidentally, the exact and complete Death quote (from Death Talks About Life) is "Life -- and I don't suppose I'm the first to make this comparison -- is a disease: sexually transmitted, and invariably fatal." (Which I put up here for the benefit of anyone googling it, because I notice that there are a few different versions out there.)

Neil-Any chance of being able to order a copy of the Study in Emerald poster online somewhere? I'd really like to get my hands on one, and I'm stuck at college for the duration. Any information or help on the way towards getting my hands on one would be vastly appreciated.Sincerely,Zach Weber

I don't think that DreamHaven have decided a few important things yet, like, well, the price for a start. The posters will go on sale at the Dec 3 signing, and will then, assuming there are any left (and I think there will be, as I can't imagine all 1200 selling at the signing) be made available at the www.DreamHavenbooks.com and www.neilgaiman.net websites. And then I assume that there will be a mad rush on them, they'll all be gone by Xmas, and Jouni will promptly take his share of the loot and buy a small tropical island with it, leaving Finland for ever.

...

Anansi Boys made the Christian Science Monitor list of the year's ten best books.

There are animated Bakers cartoons up on Kyle Baker's website. http://www.kylebaker.com/www/turnerbaker/bakersdiet.htm and at http://www.kylebaker.com/www/theater/bakersmall.html. Having said that, it's a bit odd watching them, because these are the Bakers, after all. It's a bit like being friends with Homer Simpson, or having Tom and Jerry as pets, and then seeing the cartoons.

....

Okay. You remember the paragraph above about the Study In Emerald poster and signed print? It is, in government-speak, no longer operative. This is because ten seconds ago I got an email from the mystery woman only known as E.V. Mobius at DreamHaven, which said,

Neil,
Here are the links to the two editions of A STUDY IN EMERALD:

Poster - $10.00
http://www.neilgaiman.net/single-item-detail.php?id=G1719

Print - $40.00
http://www.neilgaiman.net/single-item-detail.php?id=G1720

E.V. Moebius
DreamHaven Books

and there you go. It looks like this, only significantly bigger:



Tuesday, November 29, 2005

The promise of snow

Steel-grey skies promise snow.

A reminder for anyone in the Minneapolis area -- I'll be doing a signing at DreamHaven on Saturday, Dec 3rd. And I'll do a reading and a Q&A first. The event starts at 2.00pm (details at http://www.neilgaiman.net/news-home.php). This will also be the release event of the extremely limited edition Jouni Koponen-designed wall poster of A STUDY IN EMERALD (which is the story that won the Hugo last year and is up somewhere on this site). I've wanted to have a poster that was a complete story ever since I saw a complete Shakespeare Play done as a poster, and I realised how many words you could get onto a large piece of paper. Jouni's done it as a front page of a newspaper, complete with turning the ads in the text into adverts. DreamHaven is doing a thousand unsigned ones and 200 deluxe signed and numbered. I doubt they'll all go during the Saturday signing though.

In addition, Lisa Snellings-Clark is coming out to install the refurbished, repairedd and repainted statue in its nook (http://slaughterhousestudios.blogspot.com/2005/11/lucks-dancer.html) and she may well be at DreamHaven as well.

Now, it's started to snow...

(A number of people have written to me, some at length, pointing out factual errors in the New Yorker C.S. Lewis article, while one person, much more sensibly, copied me on his letter to the New Yorker. )

Lots of people, mostly different ones, also wrote in to let me know that MirrorMask has, according to Amazon.com, a US release date of February 7, 2006. (Here's a recent review by a film reviewer who liked it. And here's another.)

And on the subject of truth and rumour, I was fascinated by http://www.guardian.co.uk/race/story/0,11374,1653120,00.html -- when urban legends get deadly.

Thea Gilmore is one of my favourite musicians in the world -- I love her music, and having spent time in her company (she wrote to me through the website some years ago after I said something nice about her) I think she's also a very good person to have as a friend. She's interviewed over at http://www.guernicamag.com/interview/232/this_girl_is_taking_bets/.

Hi, Neil! According to Google, since Sep 19th you have not talked about the foreign editions of Anansi Boys. Could you possible have forgotten to tell us any news? Or is it just like it is, no news at all?-Alvaro Cavalcanti.P.S.: Hey, if you could tell us specially about the Brazilian edition, it would be really nice. :o)

I finally got the list of foreign Anansi Boys publishers in. As of today it's as follows:

US: Morrow; UK: Headline (the imprint in hardback, and in "export" paperback is "Review"); France: Au Diable Vauvert; Germany: Heyne; Italy: Mondadori; Holland: Luitingh; Japan: Kadokawa; Finland: Otava; Portugal: Presenca; Spain: Roca; Brazil: Conrad; Czech: Polaris; Polish: Mag; Russian: AST; Romanian: Tritonic; Israel: Opus

I was about to post the link to the terrific Crooked Timber Susanna Clarke Seminar when this email came in:

Dear Neil,

fyi, the Strange and Norrell seminar is up at
http://crookedtimber.org/category/susanna-clarke-seminar/ (PDF at
http://www.henryfarrell.net/clarkeseminar.pdf). Susanna's bit of it is
at
http://crookedtimber.org/2005/11/29/women-and-men-servants-and-masters-england-and-the-english/
.
Cheers

Henry


The snow's stopped, slightly disappointingly. That was fast. Still, the sky's gunmetal grey once more...

This is probably a really stupid question, but... how tall are you?

Five feet, eleven inches (180 cm). And shrinking fast.

...

Almost twenty years ago I managed an astonishingly short interview with Ken Campbell when I was researching Don't Panic!, talking about the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy stage show he put on. The HHGTTG show doesn't get mentioned in this entertaining article about him -- http://www.guardian.co.uk/arts/features/story/0,11710,1650710,00.html -- but it does talk about his eight to twelve hour long (depending on who you believe -- a quick google gave me 8, 10 and 12 hours) Illuminatus Trilogy adaptation. (Pictures of it, including an amazingly young Jim Broadbent, and intervews up at http://www.frogboy.freeuk.com/illuminatus.html.) (Then again, if each of the five plays did consist of five sections of 23 minutes, as mentioned on the previous link, then it would have been nine hours and thirty five minutes long altogether...)


Hello, I was wondering how a person would go about doing a book of quotations, in this case, one based on you in this blog. Every so often you write things that I find fairly intellegent, and memorable, and that I think ought to be remembered (fancy that). A lot of them are in the vein of writing advice, and I've taken to snagging little 'bytes' of your advice, and/or your off-hand comments, and/or or other little things, and doing little photo-shoppy type things with them and then putting them up on my computer desktop, to inspire me.

This may sound like a compliment. Please contain yourself.

But I thought about "The Quoteable Sandman" and what a nice little book that ended up being, and I wondered if some of the quotes I've collected wouldn't lend themselves to something similar.

MY QUESTION IS THIS:

How would I go about getting something of that nature started up? Would I ask your permission first, since these are your quotes? Would I assemble a collection and go to a publisher and then get them to get your permission (if they give a fig, and assume that others would too, about what you have to say on the topics of writing, and fiction, and life)....


Well, yes, you'd ask my permission first. And then I'd say no, but I'd add that if you want to do a web page of quotes that you've collected that you like, I'd be fine with that and happily link to it.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

balancing acts and Mithras

A small clarification came in on the Ottakar's special edition -- Hi Neil, A quick response to the complaint about the price of the limited edition version of Anansi Boys avaialble at Ottakar's. The price was set by the publisher, not Ottakar's. However, we have no problem with the price, as it is a lovely piece of kit - new binding, silver edging, 1/4 bound, sturdy box with concave edging. If it was a case of just taking the dustjacket off and shoving the book in a flimsy case then I'd agree it was over-priced. But this special edition is just that - special - and certainly worth �40. Best wishes Jon

And I keep meaning to post about the Waterstones-Ottakar's takeover attempt in the UK (here's an article on it -- http://observer.guardian.co.uk/uk_news/story/0,6903,1651774,00.html), and my personal hope that the two bookshop chains will remain separate.

Dear Neil, Do you take a tour of the US and the UK every year? Amos

No. The last real US tour before this year was 2001. (The last UK tour was 2003.)

Neil,I know you spend a lot of time on the road, especially right now promoting your most recent book, and I've gathered from your journal that at least one of your children is in boarding school. It doesn't seem like you see your family very much at all. My question is are you comfortable with that? Is your wife? Do you feel you are sacrificing your family for your career or visa versa? Do you wish you hadn't become as famous as you are but only enjoyed a moderate amount of success so you could spend more time at home? To sum it up, how do you come to terms with the balancing act that is necessary with such a demanding schedule? Sincerely, Kristina

I don't think any of the kids are at boarding school -- the older two are at college (with Mike, the oldest, a grad student with his own apartment), and only Maddy, the youngest, still at home.

I think it's a trade-off. Mostly, I don't "go to work", I set my own schedule, and much of the time I'm here, able to do anything they need. The downside is that when I do go away, whether it's a tour or just flying to New York or LA for a meeting, I'm gone (although it's always good if they can join me, and sometimes they can). I don't think it has much to do with famousness, honestly -- it's been pretty much this way for the last sixteen years. Having said that, 2005 has been a particularly odd and onerous sort of year for travel and touring; I'm glad it's almost done and don't plan to repeat it. (I try not to make the same mistakes. Wherever possible I'll go for new and different mistakes next time.)

How do I come to terms with the balancing act? I balance as much as I can, and occasionally I teeter or topple. Then I get up and start balancing again.

...

Really enjoyed an article on C.S. Lewis in The New Yorker
(http://www.newyorker.com/critics/content/articles/051121crat_atlarge)
-- partly, I think, because it articulated something that started to puzzle me when I was writing "The Problem of Susan":

Yet a central point of the Gospel story is that Jesus is not the lion of the faith but the lamb of God, while his other symbolic animal is, specifically, the lowly and bedraggled donkey. The moral force of the Christian story is that the lions are all on the other side. If we had, say, a donkey, a seemingly uninspiring animal from an obscure corner of Narnia, raised as an uncouth and low-caste beast of burden, rallying the mice and rats and weasels and vultures and all the other unclean animals, and then being killed by the lions in as humiliating a manner as possible�a donkey who re�merges, to the shock even of his disciples and devotees, as the king of all creation�now, that would be a Christian allegory. A powerful lion, starting life at the top of the food chain, adored by all his subjects and filled with temporal power, killed by a despised evil witch for his power and then reborn to rule, is a Mithraic, not a Christian, myth.

While my second favourite recent article is this one on making coloured bubbles... http://www.popsci.com/popsci/science/0a03b5108e097010vgnvcm1000004eecbccdrcrd.html

...

Over at The Dreaming (www.holycow.com/dreaming) Lucy Anne has done a mega-update, collecting together articles and quotes and everything of recent vintage, including a bunch of stuff I'd not seen before. (I enjoyed the article on the Lenny Henry event in the Independent, and was surprised by the number of state awards Coraline is up for.)

...

Neil, thank you for yet another beautiful book. I hope you wrote that Chablis is red on purpose. Or did Anansi do one of his tricks on you?

Unless something's changed since I wrote it, you may want to reread the section. The Chablis being drunk is white, but Grahame Coats is longing for a red: He found a corkscrew, opened the bottle and poured himself a pale glass of wine. He drank it and, although he had never previously had much time for red wines, he found himself wishing that what he was drinking was richer and darker.

Someone else wrote in correcting me for having the Puritans landing in Florida, having I suspect misread, People forget that the children born to settlers in Florida were already old men and women when the dour Puritans landed at Plymouth Rock.

Hi Neil, I took Judith's walk this proper wintry dusk, since it's a thrown stone from my studio. Though I couldn't possibly add a word to her commentary I did post some photos and the odd drawing over at my journal. http://www.joelstewart.co.uk/blog/blogger.html
Thanks for providing me with a fill for my voidful sunday.Very Best~Joel (of Cycling Cornish Accordion thief fame etc. etc.)

You're welcome. I hope that if the feedback on this walk is positive I can persuade Judith to do more walks for the site.

(Go and look at Joel's website, and appreciate his artwork. And you might want to check out the walk photos in the link.)

London Walks are at www.walks.com, and Judith does a Sherlock Holmes Walk, a Jack The Ripper Walk, and a Old Camden Town Walk (pdf file at http://www.walks.com/GetAsset.ashx?AssetId=1123).


Hi Neil,
Sorry for being a snivelly creep first of all, but you're a genius!
Fawning out of the way, I was wondering if Stardust was being cast at the moment. I ask this because yesterday I met a young and very up-and-coming British actor in the library where I work (although strike me down if I didn't recognise him until 5 minutes after he left). He was looking for a copy of Stardust, which made me prick my ears up instantly, and we had a good conversation about your work. We talked about the following you had, recurrent themes in your work, and we discussed the fact Stardust was being made into a film. He asked me if I felt the film would be mainstream, to which I replied I thought it would be. He said he wished to read the book for 'research' though I didn't probe further and he didn't tell me. He left with the intentions of also reading Smoke and Mirrors and Coraline, though I did tell him that he'd have to buy his own copy of Coraline as I currently had the library copy and had no intention of bringing it back.
After he left, and after I realised who he was, I wondered if he was possibly being considered for a role. I hope so, as I feel he would be excellent. If this is the case, though, I rather regret telling him that I wanted to slap you in the face because you were so talented I was consumed by bitter jealousy. Sorry. Didn't mean it.
So, is it being cast yet? And are there any people you'd like to see in the principal roles?
Cheers, Gabrielle


Hello Gabrielle. While I don't know who your up-and-coming-actor is, it's true that Matthew Vaughn's currently casting Stardust. He's looking at lots of tapes and meeting lots of people. He phones me up and talks casting a lot, and so far I'm impressed with what he's planning, and who he's going after.

I don't talk casting, especially not on other people's films. (I should say, though, that I was thrilled on Beowulf how many of the people we wanted, in an idle "wouldn't it be nice if" sort of way, we got.)

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Includes special guest review

Woke up really early in the morning and watched some of the new Dr Who DVDs with Mike and Maddy.

Maddy says: My name is Maddy. And Dr. Who was quite good. I liked it when the world blew up. Yes, quite. :-)

Disappointingly, she made no attempt to watch it from behind the sofa. I suppose she's just too old. And, at 4' 11", too tall.

Hi Neil

Did you know that the Ottakars limited edition of Anansi Boys is priced at �40? That's getting on for $70 in yank money.

As a UK based book collector I'm used to getting shafted on these so called "collector's editions". Normal practice is for the chain (usually Watersones or Ottakars) to charge an extra �10-15 for the service of binding in a signed page, removing the dustjacket and putting the book in a cardboard slipcase. I'm sort of a completist so usually I just grit my teeth and pay up.

The premium being charged for the limited version of Anansi Boys has given me pause this time though. Did you write an original poem on each of the specially bound in pages? Is some extra material included that is missing from the standard UK hardback? Perhaps you can shed some light on exactly why it is so expensive.

If, as I suspect, Ottakars are just being greedy then I wonder how you feel about being their accomplice in this little enterprise? After all, without your signature they wouldn't really have an exclusive product to profiteer on.

Chris


True. If getting a signed version cheaply is that important to you, you might want to see if you can still get any of the US Morrow version -- I signed 5,000 sheets for them which went out at no extra cost to anyone. They've got them for sale over at DreamHaven's Neilgaiman.net site for the same cost as the usual edition for as long as supplies last (link is http://www.neilgaiman.net/single-item-detail.php?id=G1693 and it's only one to a person).

I've only seen the Ottakars signed edition of Anansi Boys briefly, when I arrived in the UK, but it looked lovely -- like some serious bookmaking was going on (not simply greedily "removing the dustjacket", you'll be pleased to hear) from a new embossed leathery cover down to the silvered edges of the pages. Given the extremely small print run I'm not surprised they're charging forty quid for it. I'll take your word that that's over the odds, but an Amazon.co.uk search for "signed, limited books" had them running from around 40 pounds to well over a thousand pounds.

I'm afraid the author doesn't have much to do with pricing: these things are arranged between the publisher (who has the rights to the book) and the small-press publisher (Ottakars, or, in the US, Hill House) who license the rights to do their edition of the book from the publisher. The author can hope that the small press does the best possible job of bookmaking, but we don't get to set prices. We sign our piles of paper and we hope that most people will be happy.

Let me know what you think when you've had a chance to look at it.

Mr Gaiman:

...Do you know what kind of effort is involved in getting an out-of-print book back in print again? I think Dodie Smith's I Capture the Castle was one of these recent reprints, but I'm not sure if J.K. Rowling had anything to do with its publication, or if she just wrote reviews for the book to help the book along.

A friend recently shared a book with me by Nicholas Stuart Gray called Over the Hills to Fabylon. First published in 1970(?), I think it's been out-of-print for a while and it's not easy finding affordable copies. I adore the book and I think it belongs on our shelves right next to our copies of The Last Unicorn (organized by favorites; alphabetization be damned.) It's utterly lovely and humorous and doesn't seem dated, so I think it should be more easily available. I realize one can always use the library, but I'm the frequently penniless sort who unwisely spends her last $25 - two days before payday - on a book or two. I'd like to buy multiple copies of Gray's Fabylon to give to the children of my friends and relatives.

Any thoughts on how one person can generate enough interest in a long forgotten book to convince publishers they should print the book again? What if one of your lovely books fell into obscurity? How would you want us to spearhead a rescue mission?

A plan that involves urban dwelling spelunking and magical kazoos would be especially welcome!

Fondly,
Audra Haskell


I don't honestly know. I've recently been talking to a publisher who approached me about doing some "Neil Gaiman Presents..." books, an idea I'm interested in mostly in order to get some favourites back into print. I've managed to get a few beloved books back into print in the last decade. It normally involves writing an introduction, or cornering an editor in a bar and buying them drinks and then pleading. I used to buy old Ballantine Adult Fantasy edition copies of Lud-In-The-Mist from second hand bookshops and give them to editors.

Nicholas Stuart Gray is one of those authors I loved as a boy who holds up even better on rereading as an adult. I'd never heard of Fabylon (and a brief check tells me that even ex-library copies are $75-$300) but he's the kind of author someone definitely ought to bring back into print. (I loved the short stories in "The Star Beast" and "Grimbold's Other World" myself.)

Hey~

I read Good Omens and liked it. Now I am reading American Gods because Anansi Boys isn't out in paperback yet and I am cheap. Anyway, I thought it might be interesting to hear that the way Shadow acts/thinks/feels when he's getting out of prison is amusingly similar to what it was like for me getting out of basic training and later being discharged from the US Army :D I would bet you don't get comments like this from 21-year-old females very often. Have a nice day!

~Janna


I shall do my best.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Poster Wall

There are posters like this up all over Glasgow, only the rest of them don't have me standing in front of them. Actually, this one doesn't have me standing in front of it now, seeing I'm back in the snowy American MidWest, but it did last Sunday.

The Wolves in the Walls Musical Pandemonium will have its first night at the Tramway in Glasgow on the 23rd of March, 2006, and in London at the Lyric Hammersmith on the 10th of April, before careening around Scotland. Full details over at http://www.improbable.co.uk/show_example.asp?item_id=14

Waking and whiteness

Woke up and snow was falling gently and slowly and continually outside my bedroom window, and I put on a dressing gown and it was my dressing gown not a hotel one, and I wandered out into the house and it was my house and there were lots of different rooms I could go into, not like a hotel at all really, and right now Maddy is using the TIVO to show me her edited highlights (with full Maddy commentary and theories) of America's Next Top Model (I have just learned how the models on the edges of the all-the-models-together pictures are always eliminated first) and my assistant just brought me an apple and carrot juice and in a minute I shall exchange the dressing gown for clothes and go for a walk. I'm glad I'm home.

Years and years and years ago, I did interviews for Knave Magazine in the UK: the deal was that the subject had to be someone I thought was interesting and so did the editor, so I got to interview an amazing bunch of people. Then, at the end, in 1986, as I was feeling pretty done with interviewing, Ian Pemble, the editor, left, and the new editor wanted sexy celebrities, and he paid for an interview with George Best. (I thought that was odd. We'd never paid anyone to be interviewed before.) Anyway, Best came in and had his photo taken and chatted, mostly about his alcoholism, or at least that's what I remember most clearly -- he'd just had some kind of Scandinavian stomach implant fitted that would, he assured me, kill him if he started drinking again, because otherwise, he told me, the booze would kill him anyway. And now, almost twenty years later, it has...


Dear Neil,
You are wonderful. Thus, I need you to write my wedding vows. I don't need them immediately, but preferably before January of 2007. Thanks for your help.

Ariel.


Dear Ariel, you are too kind. Slowly the dos and don'ts of this Blog emerge. We've already established that I don't name children, cats or rock groups. I'm afraid I think I probably don't write wedding vows, either.

I'm interested with your comment about making Thanksgiving dinner. Is it just a when in rome thing?

You mean, would I eat a Thanksgiving dinner somewhere that wasn't the US? I rather doubt it. But it's good to eat turkey and stuff, particularly with a family you haven't seen much of since September the 18th, and who you missed.

Hi, Neil! According to Google, since Sep 19th you have not talked about the foreign editions of Anansi Boys. Could you possible have forgotten to tell us any news? Or is it just like it is, no news at all?

-Alvaro Cavalcanti.
P.S.: Hey, if you could tell us specially about the Brazilian edition, it would be really nice. :o)


I've asked my agent to get the list of foreign ANANSI BOYS together for me, and I'll put it up here.

Someone called Perrin very helpfully put the Judith Clute London Walk into PDF format -- here's a zip file

ebooks.zip

of which we learn in the zip you will find the following ebooks:

- LIT = for Microsoft Reader
- PRC = for Mobipocket reader
- PDB - PalmDoc

Don't know why the LIT is so much more ginormous, altho i think it saved the map in its original res...hope this helps some folks geek it up on their PDA like myself!

P.


Also, Judith CLute has a website -- http://www.judithclute.co.uk/ -- with some of her paintings on, and an email address for any of you who do the walk to let her know how it went...

Hi there Neil

Just wanted to ask if you have had the time to get the new Kate Bush album, Aerial, and if so, what your impressions of it are?

And are you planning to come to France any time soon? With the french release of Anansi Boys?

Jeremy/When lingers


Current impressions are: I like the first CD of Aerial very much but the second one, with the Rolf Harris singing and the birdsong, currently leaves me a little cold. This opinion may change. I bought a bunch of CDs in the UK and put them on my iPod, and so far the surprise hit CD of the bunch was this -- http://www.luakabop.com/jim_white/cmp/album4.html

Not sure when the next trip to France will be, but I trust that you'll keep it nice till I get there.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Thank you

10:00am plane from Glasgow. Picked up at Minneapolis airport 4:30pm local time (10:30pm UK time) by my son Mike, taken home, hugged Maddy a lot and was hugged in return, was fed an enormous Thanksgiving dinner, fell asleep on couch in front of Jerry Springer the Opera DVD, woke up, wrote this.

Longer, more interesting post after I next wake up.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

You can zap them (with your zapper)

I leave Glasgow tomorrow morning, and will, I hope, land in Minneapolis in time for Thanksgiving dinner. Had a mostly good day, slightly complicated by the fact my UK cell phone decided that it can no longer top itself up, so people all over the world probably think I'm not calling them or returning their texts on purpose.

I would post some amazing wolf pictures here but a) I don't have the right cable to get them off my camera and b) Julian Crouch said "Now, Neil, you won't post any of these pictures on your blog, will you?" while we watched our first wolf do his thing, so I won't, no. But I wish I could.

Lucy's brother's video game song is really funny, by the way.

I visited Rothesay today, briefly, for the first time since I was a boy, and was astonished to see that it's barely changed. Everywhere else has changed, after all. How odd.

...

Lots of questions I don't know how to answer. For example...

I've recently become quite interested in what I would term "fabulist fiction," a movement that appears to have no conclusive definition, but stems from magic realism and currently includes such greats as Kelly Link and, to an extent, Michael Chabon. My question for you is this: do you consider yourself as falling under the category of fabulist fiction, and if so (or really, even if not) why have you chosen to work with this particular category? All of your work has some element of the fantastic, the supernatural, or the mythological, and I'm wondering if this was a conscious choice on your part, to write only in this certain genre, or if your stories just seem to take that turn naturally. What, for you, is the allure and advantage of writing in this fabulist form, and what, if any, are its pitfalls?

I think you have to define it before you ask me if I'm part of it or not. If it doesn't have a "conclusive definition" and is a sort of "I'll know if when I see it" thing, then either I definitely am or I'm probably not. Most of my work has something fantastic, supernatural or mythical in it, yes, but that covers an awful lot of ground, and leaves out things like Signal to Noise or The Day I Swapped My Dad For Two Goldfish and the other things that aren't fantastic, supernatural or mythological...

Er. But if I am a fabulist, I have no idea why I am. (As I said to someone who asked a similar question at a Q&A recently, It's because I'm me and it's what I like to write. I don't think I have a convenient origin story, such as "When I was five years old I was bitten by a radioactive myth".)

It makes me long for one I can answer easily. Like hi neil, i'm just wondering why you spelled 'Yvaine' as 'Evaine' :D ~ cancan, manila (A: Because that's how it's spelled in the script, which is how it's pronounced anyway.)

Lots of you have written to let me know about the Scottish fairies...

This story may be of interest to you. Apparently some local fairies caused this property company to scrap their demolition/building plans and start all over again.

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2-1881612,00.html

Sincerely,
Nicole Lee
http://neekole.com


It's probably worth pointing out that it's not just niceness that makes people not want to disturb "fairy things". There's fear there too. I remember being shown a large boulder in the middle of a field in Schull in Ireland which was, I was told by the lady who lived just over the road, hauled over to the side of the field by the farmer, who wanted to use his combine harvester, against the advice of several people who remembered it as a "fairy place"; the farmer had a stroke the following day (and strokes were once known as "elf-strokes") and the next morning his sons, I was told, hauled the boulder back to the middle of the field.

...

http://www.animated-news.com/archives/00004144.html

is an interview with Henry Selick about lots of things, including the CORALINE film.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Wolf Heads and Walks

Long day. Wrote the words to another song, along with a couple of scenes, and realised that THE WOLVES IN THE WALLS is now turning into a real show -- there's a sort of coherence and point of view to it that seems to have emerged from it rather than been imposed on it. On one side of the theatre Nick Powell goes over the music with the actors. Over on the other side of the Tramway proscenium, Julian Crouch makes huge puppet wolf-heads from burlap and glue and pipe-lagging and ping-pong-balls, funny and scary all at once. Much of the time I'm useless, and then suddenly I get very useful to everyone indeed and start scribbling and shaping until it works. Then I go back to listening.

Hi Neil

On November 08 you wrote that your friend Judith Clute had created "a whole walk with Cool London Stuff and some Neverwhere bits in it", and that you would post it here in a day or so. The day or so is now long gone, and I cannot seem to find a description of the walk, or a link or some such thing. Am I not looking thoroughly enough, or has this been forgotten? I am Norwegian, but my boyfriend and I will be visiting his parents, who live in London, surely the best city there is, in a couple of weeks, and I would really, really love to see Cool London Stuff, not to mention Neverwhere bits, in between picking up signed books at the various locations you mentioned yesterday.

Thanks for all the lovely stories.

Marthe :-)


Thanks for reminding me!

Judith's first walk For www.Neilgaiman.com is called A STROLL IN OLD LONDON AT DUSK and looks terrific. I've saved it as a Rich Text file, with a map at the bottom...

Click on the link below to read it or download it. (We'll put it -- and any subsequent walks Judith creates -- up on the new version of www.neilgaiman.com when it's beyond beta testing.)

A stroll in old London at dusk.rtf

...

Finally, congratulations to Harlan Ellison, now a Grand Master.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Two things I forgot

I keep forgetting to mention that MirrorMask will be getting an Italian screening, in Trieste, next Sunday. Details at http://9017.noiza.net/spf/programma/film/mirrormask/?searchterm=None.

I also keep forgetting to link to this -- http://www.newsfromme.com/archives/2005_11_18.html#010591. It's a post about the Jack Benny 39 cent stamp.

Jack didn't start out at 39, of course. The gag began on his radio show in the 1940s, I think 1946, when he told a disbelieving reporter (played, if memory serves by Mel Blanc) that he was 36 (he was actually in his 50s; it was a joke). He then aged, over the next few years, one Valentine's Day at a time, until he was 39. He almost turned 40 on the air but at the last moment got a telegram from his sister letting him know he was a year younger than he thought he was. So he stopped at 39, and stayed there.

The alternative to doing the online petition is of course sending a real, paper letter to the US post office (and the inforation is up at the petition site) which is what I'm planning to do.

You can learn more about Jack Benny over at the OTR (old time radio) site, where they are now podcasting Terry and the Pirates: http://www.otr.com/index.shtml, or learn even more and also order all 900 shows for $65 in MP3 format over at http://www.otrcat.com/jackbenny.htm.
(The first few years are missable, in my opinion, and I'd not recommend starting with disk 1.)

Right. Off to work.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

More on the news

Several comments on my grumbles about "imaginary" news, in the last post.

re: "why I left journalism...."your point makes perfect sense, but the transverse is also true; the obvious response to a leak of an incident of that kind is a denial by everyone involved or otherwise 'in the know.' as much as we all trust the neil gaiman's we read[and certainly i'm not implying we should have anything but the utmost trust in you ;)], us "outsiders" basically need to hear both sides and decide who we trust more. which is, of course, what allows such stories to thrive. i'd compare it as well to serious issues like the clarence thomas confirmation hearings. sometimes one version is entirely true, and sometimes the truth is somewhere in between. john

Well, up to a point, Lord Copper...

What fascinated me on this (and the reason why I blogged about it) is that here you have wholly invented stories which first surface online, in each case quote "an insider" to deliver entirely fictitious information, are then picked up by Indian Newspapers as news, and (in the case of the Angelina Jolie Shut Down Beowulf Production story) finally turn up in the UK and US tabloids a couple of days later and then have a sort of a half-life in several perfectly respectable papers. I think it's safe to assume that the Guy Ritchie is Directing Stardust story will continue to run and run (it's already hit the Indian newswires since I posted that last). Never mind that Matthew and Guy parted company several years ago, or that Matthew's been announced as producing and directing this since the news leaked out in Variety, a month ago.

In each case, it's not that "the truth lies somewhere in between". It's that you have something that someone made up from the whole cloth and then reported as true. (Neither of them are in any way important as stories, neither of them matter to me in any major way, certainly not enough to put whatever reputation I have in this blog for honesty at risk, anyway.)

So I don't think that "the public should be allowed to make up their own mind" when the choice is between something perfectly imaginary being reported as news, without even the possibility being reported of the thing being wholly untrue in the first place. Yes? You ought to be free to wonder whether glow-in-the-dark meat is indeed safe to eat, but not to need to wonder whether it exists in the first place; free to wonder whether a jet-lagged Bush really did attempt to escape from a Chinese press conference, but not whether there really is a George Bush and whether he went to China or not.

Neil,

I read the article "one reason you gave up journalism." I am a student in a broadcasting program near Chicago, IL, USA. I struggle with the same issues. Over the past 2 years I have pulled off my blinders and dived into the media world. The nature of the beast is not what I expected. I have many observations of which I could write volumes of stream of consciousness about.

My Idea of true journalism is to hold people accountable for what they do, be a watchdog for the common man, and not get caught up in political/financial partisan hackery for self advancement.

I can't think of that happening too much anymore.
Yesterday, I listened to a radio package where the focus of the story was "how it can be dangerous to walk all day in a concrete mall." Meaning people might drop dead from the strain on their heart from WALKING.

This is not journalism. This is theatre. This is the grand stage of mediocrity. Praying on peoples fears and offending them by talking down to them. Sometimes I have a good feeling that one of my colleagues will someday change all this. I do not feel up to the challenge. (see jaded in the dictionary.) I feel that I should wash my hands of it and not become part of this player's theatre. Any thoughts?

Andy~


Well, I left journalism. But then, I didn't want to be a journalist in the first place. I wanted to make stuff up.

There are good journalists out there. It's not all descended to the level of American Broadcast News ("Something YOU use EVERY DAY may KILL YOU. Find out WHAT in TONIGHT'S NEWS.")And I don't think that apathy, or leaving news reporting in the hands of people who don't care what they write or broadcast as long as they get paid, is much of a long-term solution, if you wanted to be one of the good ones. Ideals are good things to have. When you abandon them you start dying. So if you want to be a journalist, then you should be. Just be one of the good ones.

...

There's a fun review of ANANSI BOYS over at the Boston Globe

And given the comments here on Patenting Story Ideas, I refer you to a Making Light thread, on patenting the Flying Saucer. (And the Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich with the crusts cut off...?)

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Why I left journalism....

After a few weeks ago's bollocks story about Angelina Jolie walking off the Beowulf set (just to remind you, she didn't, although it's still going around, along with what look like cameraphone snaps of Miss J in full Grendel's Mother gear) today's bollocks news story is about how Guy Ritchie and Matthew Vaughn are "yet to decide which one of them will actually direct" Stardust.

Again, it's all from an unnamed "insider".

Which will come as a suprise to anyone involved in the film -- it's been Matthew's personal project for years, and when he left X-Men 3 he immediately started prepping for Stardust. He'll be directing and producing it. Guy Ritchie's never been involved in it at any point in any way.

(I spent a lot of this morning at Matthew's place watching audition footage of Tristrans and Evaines. One absolutely stand-out Evaine in the batch.)

I know that at my age (and given that that was one reason I stopped being a journalist) I shouldn't be amazed at totally fabricated "news" stories, but I still am -- and only know that those two were complete and utter made-up bollocks because I had personal knowledge. The next time that I read that in the papers that Wallace and Gromit have broken up (probably with Gromit going off with Jennifer Anniston) I'll still wonder whether it's really true or not. If you see what I mean.

...

From Reg Osborne in Australia:

I probably should have told you at the time or
earler that the Great Debate from Continuum 3 is now
availiable on CD. I know that for a lot of people that
was the highlight of the weekend so you might want to
let them know that they can now replay it any time if
they order a copy from here:
http://www.continuum.org.au/c4_offers_cds.htm

Also, the photo gallery from the con has finally gone
up here:
http://www.continuum.org.au/c4_gallery_c3.htm

Apart from proving that Michelle can't go anywhere
without attracting a camera, (and let's face it, why
shouldn't she,) there's a wonderful shot of you taking
dictation from a dalek which is worth the price of
admission on its own.


...

Nearly forgot to mention that I signed a LOT of books in central London yesterday. So if you're hunting for something signed by me for Xmas, Blackwells, Foyles and Borders (all in the Charing Cross Road) and Waterstones (Piccadilly, Harrods and Oxford St) all have signed books -- Anansi Boys, MirrorMasks, and lots of paperbacks. Some of them even had graphic novels. I also signed a lot of books for Forbidden Planet in Shaftsbury Av. (And, of course, many books were also signed for the various shops I signed in on this tour -- http://www.neilgaiman.com/where/where.asp for the complete list.)

Friday, November 18, 2005

Happy Alan Moore's Birthday

You know you're tired when it occurs to you that the reason that the phone you are holding is frustrating your efforts to dial with it by somehow not having any buttons with numbers on either side, is because you picked up the iPod nano instead.

So I'll post http://blogs.guardian.co.uk/technology/archives/2005/11/09/top_20_geek_novels_the_results.html
instead -- the Guardian's top 20 books for Geeks.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

(that's enough song titles. ed.)

Belfast was lovely -- partly because there were so many people there who were happy that I'd turned up, and partly because it was the last official signing of the tour.

Now back in London. Another day of interviews today. More tomorrow. Then to work on the Pandemonium.

I should mention that Ottakars Bookshops have had Headline create an exclusive, signed, slipcased edition of Anansi Boys, just for them, which I think will be released next week. I saw an early edition and they look extremely pretty.

Neil
I don't suppose I'm the first to ask about this, but here goes anyway. All your November posts so far have been preceded by punk and post punk song titles, is there a reason for this? Nostalgia for the era of drainpipes and skinny ties as you tour the old country, or can we expect some fiendish quiz on B sides and indie labels (in which case i'll have to recover my record collection from the cupboard under my mum's stairs)?
Thanks for the Canterbury signing, didn't you realise the fireworks were actually in your honour? Regards Dave Evans

Well, you weren't the first to spot that they were song titles, but you were one of the first to notice what kind of songs they were. It started accidentally, and then it seemed like a good idea, for reasons I could not possibly articulate...

And today's mystery is why does the Guardian, alone among newspapers, believe that Beowulf is a "stop-motion" film? It's not like I haven't written and corrected them. (Or made fun of them here, for that matter.) It's in every article -- including the latest, a fascinating interview with John Malkovich (who plays Unferth).

Looking forward to getting enough sleep tonight....

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Radio, Radio.

The answer to the brief but no less sensible query of Why Dundalk? is because it's on the way to Belfast.

The eagle-eyed will notice the link to the EFF Blogger's Rights thingie at the bottom of the page (if you're reading this on www.NeilGaiman.com of course). You can get your own badge for your blog over at http://www.eff.org/bloggers/badges/...

....

So I did the Rattlebag radio show, and it was really a delight to do.

I love Dublin, love my usual Dublin Hotel (it's the Clarence - http://www.theclarence.ie/ - and is one of the nicest hotels anywhere in the world, comfortable and understated and excellent. I'd probably even stay here if I was paying for myself, and am sorry I'm only here for one night), and after the Rattlebag show I did a signing for everyone who'd managed to get tickets (they only had 200 seats, and they were almost all gone before they announced the event). After the interview I did a Q&A with the audience for a while that won't be broadcast, but will probably go up on the Rattlebag website....

Hey Neil, Your Rattlebag interview will be available from here http://www.rte.ie/arts/2005/1117/rattlebag.html after the show airs which will be 2.45pm (GMT) on Thu the 17th of November. Right now the link is dead. It will be in Realaudio format, though I'm sure someone will convert it to mp3 for you.All details here: http://www.mulley.net/2005/11/15/neil-gaiman-signing-in-dundalk-tomorrow-rattlebag-detailsRegards,Damien .

The signing was fun, if a bit rapid as we had to get 200 people out of the studio as soon as possible -- everyone seemed to have enjoyed the evening with its various readings and conversations, and they were happy I was there, and I was happy to be there.

Fun all round.

Hi Neil, you've probably already read this, but I thought your legions of loyal fans might like to know how much _The Scotsman_ loves you. And do you really drawl in a "transatlantic twang?" http://news.scotsman.com/arts.cfm?id=2233742005 Kira

I don't know. Probably. I think my accent is more midatlantic than transatlantic at this point, although the longer I'm in the UK the more English it becomes, I am told. It's hard for me to hear, either way.

(You can listen to the Rattlebag show, or to http://www.wnyc.org/studio360/show100105.html and decide for yourself.)

I'm looking for some Sandman posters. One is the Endless by Frank Quitely. The other is one of Dream standing with his hands raised and sand streaming through his fingers, but I don't know who the artist is. I've had an awful time finding them. (The internet: "Find them in your local comic shop!" Local comic shop: "Haven't seen those in years. Try the internet!") Any ideas? Thanks. Reed Macomber

I'd try DreamHaven's www.neilgaiman.net for the Quitely ENDLESS poster (although the only posters I can see they have is the Bolland Death, the Zulli fine art Sweeney Todd, and some CBLDF posters). But there may be some left -- or keep your eyes on eBay. The other poster was painted by Vince Locke for a chain of music stores in around 1991, were never sold in comic stores, and they are now rarer than two-headed frogs.

Go Buddy Go

A quick one from a Dublin hotel -- I just learned that I'm doing another signing tomorrow -- at 1.00pm I'm signing in Hughes and Hughes bookshop, Clanbrassil Street, Dundalk.

Then at 6:30 pm it's the No Alibis signing at the Ormeau Baths Gallery in Belfast.

Rattlebag in Dublin tonight.

Blogger has put in a safety feature to stop posts vanishing into the ether, and it's already saved a post from a couple of days ago.

I'm interviewed at http://www.chuckpalahniuk.net/features/interviews/neilgaiman/ by Will Christopher Baer. It's a fun one.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

I got your number (written on the back of my hand)

From the DreamHaven site -- Saturday, December 3rd, 2:00PM Neil Gaiman will be reading and autographing. We will begin issuing numbers for the autographing at 11:00am on the 3rd. (The number determines your place in line for the autographing - once you have your number, you can go and do other things, rather than standing around in a big long line for hours) Autographing will be limited to two items you bring with you, plus anything by Neil you buy at DreamHaven that day. (In case of an unexpectedly large crowd, we may further limit the number of items per person) If you can't make it to the event, you can order signed or inscribed books at our neilgaiman.net website, or by calling our mail order department at 612-823-6070 (11:00AM-8:00PM Tuesday-Friday, 1:00PM-6:00PM Saturday, ask for E.V.) For further information email (dream@dreamhavenbooks.com) or call 612-823-6161

If you're in the Minneapolis area and you couldn't (or just didn't) make it to the Mall of America, this is especially for you, and before Christmas at that.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

teenage kicks

Today was, I was told, the earliest signing in the history of Forbidden Planet -- it started shortly after they opened at 10:00am. Hundreds of very cold people, some of them still hung over, lined up in an alley behind the shop and I signed for them... and I realised I'd been signing in Forbidden Planet since January 1989, when Dave McKean and I did a tour for Black Orchid (and the first couple of issues of Sandman). Seventeen years seems a very long time to be signing people's books on a Saturday afternoon...

(I think the most unusual thing I signed today was the Basque edition of WOLVES IN THE WALLS -- I didn't even know it existed.)

Finished at Forbidden Planet at 2:30 and went out to Milton Keynes, where I signed some more. They really do the signing thing well at Ottakers in MK, and at the end I signed a table which will be auctioned for charity.

Favourite events of the tour so far are London-with-Lenny in first place, Manchester and Edinburgh close behind.

Hi Neil,I was at the signing in Forbidden Planet in Birmingham this afternoon and I saw Holly sitting on the floor waiting for you. So this is a question for her really: do you get bored waiting for your dad to finish signing? Or is it still exciting? Do you enjoy it?I'm glad I came to the signing today (I was the girl with the Tori programme) and really appreciated how you took the time to look people in the eye as you spoke to them.Thank you :) Jo

I asked her, and she says what she enjoys most is being there when I'm being interviewed by the press, as she gets to learn odd stuff she'd never think to ask herself. But the process of waiting around for me while I'm signing isn't terribly interesting and is probably why God invented iPods and books and things.

I thought your readers would probably be interested in http://www.english.ufl.edu/imagetext/cfp.shtml. The short form - ImageTexT, the first peer-reviewed academic journal devoted to comics, is preparing a special issue on your comics work, and we're welcoming papers. (And its pure coincidence that the CfP first went out on your birthday, actually.)

I suspect there are people out there who would love either to write papers, or to have an excuse to finish papers, so will put this up for them.

And finally, a minute's silence for the end of one of the best sites on the web for original fiction and reprints, over at http://www.scifi.com/scifiction/. I'd go and read everything you can there, before it all goes away, and thank Ellen Datlow that it was ever there at all...

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Cool for Cats

A hundred million birthday wishes in from friends and from strangers -- including a Callie who sent me a link to a syndicated horoscope column that tells the world it's my birthday. There was cake and champagne and a red balloon (from a representative of the neilgaiman.com board) at lunchtime in Newcastle, and there was more cake and champagne (not to mention two chocolate coins and about 350 people singing Happy Birthday) in Manchester.

My best present was Holly, my daughter, who is in Italy for the semester, coming out to join me in the UK for a few days.

Thank you all, so much.

...

Tomorrow (er, later today actually) is Birmingham at lunchtime and Oxford in the evening. London and Milton Keynes on Saturday, and Bristol and Bath on Monday. (Details and locations at http://www.neilgaiman.co.uk/author.php.)

Dozens of letters saying, e.g., I know that by doing this I'm exposing myself as a Pamela Anderson fan. During last night's episode of "Stacked," Pam's sitcom on Fox set in a bookstore, I saw a large poster of Anansi Boys hanging on the wall during one scene (the one where Christopher Lloyd overhears her phone coversation). It was the only poster of any book that was recognizable or displayed so prominently, so I thought it was intentional. Did you know about this? Did your publisher arrange for some kind of product placement? Or someone from the show is a fan of your work? Maybe Pam is thumbing through Anansi Boys right now...~Tris

I didn't know the answer, so I googled "Stacked Harper Books" and this article was the first thing to come up, which I think answers your question.

Over at http://slaughterhousestudios.blogspot.com/2005/11/lucks-dancer.html I see that Lisa Snellings has cast the little harlequin from my Nook Statue and is selling them, beautifully and individually painted. I went "I want one of those!" and then had to remind myself that I have one, and I even have the original. Silly me.)

Anansi Boys was chosen by Publishers Weekly as one of the ten best books of 2005. (A google gave me the list of ten at http://faithinfiction.blogspot.com/2005/11/pws-top-ten-novels-of-2005.html)

Right. Bed.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Hanging on the telephone

Quick one while I wait for a phone call. Last night was fun. Really, really fun. It was definitely the most fun I've ever had on stage in front of 830 people, and I think most of that was due to Lenny Henry, who is dangerously funny, particularly when let loose in front of an audience with an old friend and no script.

(Lots of people who were there have written about it, including The Mighty Scaryduck http://scaryduck.blogspot.com/2005/11/neil-and-len-len-and-neil.html and Suw at Chocolate & Vodka http://chocnvodka.blogware.com/blog/_archives/2005/11/8/1362727.html -- not to mention The Man Himself -- http://www.lennyhenry.com/home/blog.aspx?id=61)

Glasgow was pleasant at lunchtime, now in Edinburgh -- The event is at the Roxy Art House, 2 Roxburgh Place, Edinburgh (not what it says on Where's Neil) and will start a bit later than planned (to give people a chance to get there). 240 tickets have sold -- there may still be a few on the door...

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Hangin' Around

I've just discovered I have an extra 15 minutes until the car comes to take me to tonight's show. So, a quick blog entry...

Got up. Went for a long drive to a warehouse, where I signed 200 first printings of the Headline hardback Anansi Boys and 800 of the third and fourth printings (who knew?).

(Apparently UK bookshops -- or, I suppose, any bookshops in a UK bookselling territory -- can simply order the signed books through Hodder Headline's Bookpoint, so you can ask your local bookshop to get it in for you.)

Over the years, one of the requests that has come in time and again is for me to suggest places to go, or for a walk, for people visiting London. I asked my friend Judith Clute, who is a guide on London Walks (http://london.walks.com/) if she would suggest one, and she's done something over and above what was asked -- created a whole walk with some Cool London Stuff and some Neverwhere Bits in it. I'll format it and post it here in the next day or so...

Right. Car's here.

I imagine I'll see around a thousand of you tonight.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Safety In Numbers

The launch party was fun -- fairly near my hotel, so I arrived early, signed a lot of books for a lot of booksellers, acquired a lime, was introduced to Mitch Benn (of Mitch Benn and the Distractions) (who had blagged his way in because his sister Rachel was a Real Bookseller) who was, I learned, a Sandman fan although I think I rather surprised him while he was still in the process of explaining who he was by pointing out that I was also a fan of his and had already bought his first two CDs (incidentally, you can watch the video of Everything Sounds Like Coldplay Now at http://www.everythingsoundslikecoldplaynow.com/).

The launch party location was full enough that apparently at one point someone on the door started invoking fire regulations and not letting anyone else in. (If you were one of the people they didn't let in, sorry about that.)

Wound up at the end of the evening eating a terrific Indian meal at a Wardour Street restaurant called Soho Spice with my very first ever editor, Faith Brooker, who turned rather pale when I pointed out to her that my son Mike was the same age now that I was when she first took me out for lunch and bought my first book, with Roz Kaveney (and the complete version of her Alan Moore interview is at http://www.livejournal.com/users/rozk/94959.html#cutid1), with Vanessa (who I've known since the Society of Strip Illustration days in the late 80s), and with Suw Charman (of the Chocolate and Vodka blog) , who I'd only met earlier this evening, had recognised from her blog, and who is helping to organise a Digital Rights Group that I've agreed to be Patron of.

(As a Patron-to-be, I'd like to point out that of the thousand people who have signed up to pledge 5 pounds a month "to support an organisation that will campaign for digital rights in the UK ", they now have 931, and need only 69. So, particularly if you're in the UK, you might want to go to http://www.pledgebank.com/rights and see if you'd like to be in that final 69.)

If you're in the London area tomorrow night, just a reminder that there are still a few tickets left to the Blackwells event with me and Lenny Henry at
7.00pm: Event at Institute of Education, 20 Bedford Way, London
Contact: 020 7292 5100 (Tickets 7 pounds, 5. conc.,). (
Here's a link to a map, along with a slightly silly "review" of the event.) (Blackwells are expecting walk-ups on the night, so you should be fine if you just turn up, but if you're concerned, phone and reserve tickets.)

Right. Bed.

Many books to sign tomorrow. Many many.

Neat Neat Neat

Lots of interviews today. It's amazing the sort of things you find yourself talking about during interviews -- subjects today ranged from Why People in the West Country Seem to Like Oddness to Why I Love the Book "Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds".

Let's see -- the World Fantasy Awards have been announced, and a really solid bunch of awards they are too: http://www.locusmag.com/2005/News/11_WorldFantasyAwards.html Thrilled about Susanna Clarke, and very pleased about Margo Lanagan, John Piccacio and the Rodens, not to mention Carol Emshwiller.

www.Mousecircus.com is the junior division of this website, run by Harper Collins, and they have a nice little new MirrorMask subsite up there -- http://www.mousecircus.com/mirrormask/flash/mirrormask.html -- with some downloadable MirrorMask wallpaper.

I linked to that patent novel ideas site the other day. Scrivener's Error has picked up on it and points out a number of sensible things about it -- http://scrivenerserror.blogspot.com/2005/11/patent-nonsense.html -- not least among them that if you're patenting the idea without doing it, there's no evidence there that it'll work. Peter Cook, in one of his wonderful E.L. Wisty monologues, talked about patenting a pill that would cure all disease and make everyone healthy forever, and that way when someone invented it, he'd clean up -- and patenting an idea for a book without writing the book might be much the same thing...

I gave up on the hotel wireless service and they sent up a network cable. Apparently they're very used to this.


Did you know your blog is worth money??? It'S from Technorati.
(Link here.)


Good lord. (Thinks: uh-huh, that and twenty quid'll get me an internet connection in this hotel.)

Some nice person sent me a link to the Overstock.com Neil Gaiman shop, and I've lost the email but still have the link.

Right. Off to the next thing (in this case, a launch party for Anansi Boys).

Sunday, November 06, 2005

In The City

Norfolk and Canterbury signings were both fun, a nice way to start a tour, and were for about 120 people each (the room upstairs in Canterbury holds about 130). Which made them easy and comfortable and everyone got chatted to and the answer to "doesn't your hand hurt yet?" was "No." (I cannot guarantee the same for the event on Tuesday night.) In Canterbury I was interviewed by a couple of nice Finns, mostly about the STUDY IN EMERALD broadsheet poster that Jouni Koponen has designed (and which I'll write about here fairly soon).

I'm going to try and pre-sign a large number of copies of ANANSI BOYS (and maybe some of the others) so that people on Tuesday Night who, having enjoyed me and Lenny Henry talking and reading and answering questions and suchlike, take one look at the number of people waiting and decide that they have trains to catch or babysitters to relieve or simply that if they don't get out by midnight they will turn into a pumpkin, can, if they want, buy a presigned book and escape pumpkinhood.

Email is barely working and the 20 pounds a night internet service is sort of spotty. Still, at least they fill the room with free bottles of posh water.

After the Canterbury signing I went off to stay overnight with Dave McKean and his family, and Dave and I stayed up really late talking, setting the world to rights and so on. He showed me some of the MirrorMask DVD extras, and his script to Signal to Noise.

Now back in hotel. Tomorrow is interviews all day...

(And I see that blogger.com has just made it work so that even if the spotty hotel internet goes down at the exact moment you try to post, what you wrote will still be there when you go back a screen. Wisely paranoid, I'd already copied it, but still, it was nice to see that there was some protection there.)

Friday, November 04, 2005

London Calling

I'm in the UK now, in a hotel that charges 20 quid a day for an internet connection, which is I think the most expensive daily internet rate I've run into so far, anywhere on the planet. It seems that the posher the hotel the more they charge you to get online. Oh well.

It would seem patenting storylines will become possible in the future, if I've understood this article correctly -- http://www.emediawire.com/releases/2005/11/emw303435.htm
Any thoughts on this from you as an author?
Regards, Patrik Roos

Well, "could in some way become possible" as in, we are putting up on the web someone's press release about how he is trying to patent a story idea (why?) and hopes he may get it, and "will become possible in the future" are a long way apart, and I don't see any indication it's actually happening, and can't figure out why it would possibly be a good thing if it did. Following the link at the end of the article over to http://www.plotpatents.com/about_us.htm ("THE FIRST AND BEST IN STORYLINE PATENTS" TM) my initial reaction is that one could easily find oneself leaping to the conclusion that this is simply another way to try and separate the gullible or the hopeful from their money (A sort of Patent your story idea -- even if you can't write good! Then when someone uses Your Story Idea, they have to give you money!).

We learn from the plotpatents website, Recognizing that fierce competition for publication and financial reward focused on the quality of storytelling, as opposed to the quality of the underlying storyline itself, and further recognizing that even the world�s most skilled storytellers (of which he is clearly not) rarely turn a profit, his unique fictional storylines have matured into pending patent applications instead of novels or screenplays. He thus seeks reward on the true value of his innovations�the underlying storylines�instead of forced, sub-par expressions of these underlying storylines.

Which gives me a vision of the kind of people who come up to me at parties and tell me that they have a Unique Idea for a Novel and it's a Doozy, and if I write the novel for them they'll cut me in for 50% of the millions a publisher will pay, now actually being gulled into paying money for a patent application and then waiting, breath bated, for someone to publish a novel in which "Someone goes back in time and kills his own grandfather and now doesn't exist" or "Two people who are the only survivors of a spaceship crash turn out to be Adam and Eve" happens so they can sue for patent infringement.

I may, of course, completely have the wrong end of the stick, am not a lawyer, and would love to know what http://scrivenerserror.blogspot.com/ thinks about it all.

...

There's a lovely interview by the very brilliant Roz Kaveney of the just-as-brilliant-but-a-bit-hairier Alan Moore at the Independent -- http://enjoyment.independent.co.uk/books/interviews/article324487.ece. Not sure how long it'll stay up for people to read. (To read the Independent article on the 2.5 million unsold Harry Potter books I had to go to New Zealand -- http://www.nzherald.co.nz/section/6/story.cfm?c_id=6&objectid=10352756. Still pondering what Mr Robinson told book-trade analysts he had no plans for accepting large numbers of returned books means -- he doesn't think the books will be returned, or he won't accept them if they are. Probably the former, which seems a tad optimistic. Thank heavens Bloomsbury are wiser at numbers than Scholastic.)

And there's a bit of an interview with Dave McKean about MirrorMask, and Terry Gilliam about stuff at http://www.timeout.com/film/news/727.html.

...

And a reminder that all the UK events up to November 14th are up at Where's Neil and at http://www.neilgaiman.co.uk/author.php. There are still a few tickets left for the London Reading and Talk and Signing on Tuesday -- I've chatted to Lenny Henry and I think we're both going to be doing readings from the book, mostly because I want to hear him read live. Now we just need to decide what bits we're doing.

...

And the final word on No Alibis in Belfast is...


Neil Gaiman - 16th November 6:30PM - UPDATE

UPDATE: The venue for this event has now been confirmed as:

Ormeau Baths Gallery
18a Ormeau Avenue
Belfast
BT2 8HS

Tickets, costing �2.50 each, must be purchased from No Alibis Bookstore at 83 Botanic Avenue.

IMPORTANT Neil will sign unlimited New material PLUS a few other items

...

Neil, I just gotta make a small confession that there is no reason for you to care about. So here goes.
I love your stuff. I have a ton of stuff by you in my bookshelf not four feet from where I'm sitting right now. But I did not like Anansi Boys. I hear people talk about how great it is, and describe it in ways that make me think "did we read the same book? I didn't see any of that". Near as I can tell, I'm the only one.
Which is perfectly understandable, since my reasons are entirely personal. The real reason I didn't like it is probably that I myself have a brother who is the bane of my existence, so to speak, and whose behavior throughout the years has played a significant part in turning me into the sad, wretched excuse for a human being I am today. So, in the book, when Spider shows up and proceeds to make Fat Charlie's life a living hell, I was forever after utterly unable to forgive him, and desired nothing more than for him to die a slow, horrible death. And I still do.
I suspect this may have impeded upon my ability to enjoy the book.

Phew. Sorry, I just had to get that off my chest.


Not a problem. I've never minded when people don't like stories of mine (or the flip side -- I've never been able to understand why some people feel the need to apologise for liking some story or other best of all. Of course you'll have favourites, and they may not be the favourites of the person standing next to you).

I hope most people will by now assume that the next story I tell will probably be different all over again, and pick it up to see if they like it or not, but I'll not take it personally if they don't.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

because you asked...

Hey Neil, I have a confession to make. I got a free copy of Noisy Outlaws, Unfriendly Blobs, and Some Other Things That Aren't as Scary, Maybe, Depending on How You Feel About Lost Lands, Stray Cellphones, Creatures from the Sky, Parents Who Disappear in Peru, a Man Named Lars Farf, and One Other Story We Couldn't Quite Finish, So Maybe You Could Help Us Out from the Barnes & Noble where I work, and am consumed by guilt that I didn't pay for it, and quite possibly, the company didn't, either. Anyway, I was wondering what I could do to make sure that 826NYC will get my support in lieu of the $22 I didn't spend.

Also, I thought "Sunbird" was probably the best short story of yours I've read, and I absolutely loved it.

Thanks,

Christine


Right. Good question. I asked Dorna from McSweeney's what you could do, and she said,

What'd make me kind of really happy right now (well, apart from a
mention of this book on Oprah or something) would be:

(1) a review anywhere with a link to: www.mcsweeneys.net/blobs
Mainly because that page announces the November 12 event and it'd be
helpful to get it noticed;

and (2) If she'd consider maybe posting a review to the Amazon page?
It's looking a little slimpickings there and I don't like the practice
of posting from within, which is often advocated. If she liked the
book and puts something up, that'd be very great. All she'd have to do
is go to the Amazon page, here:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1932416358

and click on the link under Customer Reviews that says Write your own
review and post something.


Seeing that Christine is a Barnes and Noble employee she might also want to post a review over at bn.com (here's the link) or browbeat, bludgeon, bribe or blackmail any book reviewers she knows into mentioning it.

Then again, donations to 826NYC can be made directly at http://www.826nyc.org/donate/index.php -- or, of course, you could start buying your superhero supplies from http://www.superherosupplies.com/

Hey Neil,
You said a while ago on your blog (after you said the Moa was being silly) that there will be a signing later at Dream-Haven, when will that be? I would really like to get my book signed by you in person, and I was unable to attend the Moa signing due to a family funciton.

Thanks
Anne


Current plans are for the friendly Minneapolis signing to take place on the 3rd of December. Around 2.00pm. At DreamHaven. More information to follow...

Neil,

Last week you got a question about people posting pictures of themselves dressed as the Endless. So, some brave soul on LiveJournal immediately started:

http://www.livejournal.com/community/endlesscostumes/

- Glen


and lots of people write things like

Hello.

I have another simple question for you. Why do you spell it "Hallowe'en"? Is "Halloween" incorrect?


Not if you're American. Probably not if you're English any more, although when I was at school that was how we spelled it, the apostrophe indicating the missing "v". (I did a quick google and noticed that the Daily Telegraph still spells it like that and then I had to read the story about unicycling doctors and I learned that After Paula Dadswell complained, she received a letter from hospital managers assuring her that in future all unicycling on the ward would be restricted to "special occasions" and then I learned that Ronald Pearsall was dead, and got to the point in the obituary where it mentioned that he was part of a team that wrote Dennis Wheatley thrillers after Wheatley died, and then I went to a Wheatley bibliography page and established that he didn't seem to have published much in the way of thrillers after he died in 1977 and then realised I was in one of those evil timesinks that the internet does so well... )

Finally...

Hi Neil. Just wanted to quickly mention what I suppose could be considered a one-word review of Anansi Boys, on Stephen King's website.http://www.stephenking.com/stephens_picks.php The one word: "Excellent."
I was also wondering what you think about his Dark Tower world being turned into a series of comic books @ http://www.marvel.com/king . I'm looking forward to it, personally. Loved those books.

I'm delighted.

Keeler etc (and even more Belfast)

Seeing that the season of gift-giving will soon be upon us, I thought I should draw your attention to the McSweeney's Collins Library edition of The Riddle of the Traveling Skull by Harry Stephen Keeler.

It's the kind of book which contains, on page 3, a couple of paragraphs like this:

What the devil, I wondered, did he mean by his presumptuous actions? Was he the house-servant of someone who had moved into this neighborhood during my seven weeks� absence on pure business in the Far East? Was he really minus any matches? Yet, why had he stared at me so queerly on the Broadway car?

He irritated me, strangely. And in the hope of getting a line on the source of his abnormal interest in me, I began to review the events�such as they were�which followed my exit from the big new Union Passenger Station at Randolph Street and Michigan Avenue. For it must be remembered that at the time I knew quite nothing, naturally, concerning Milo Payne, the mysterious Cockney-talking Englishman with the checkered long-beaked Sherlockholmsian cap; nor of the latter�s �Barr-Bag� which was as like my own bag as one Milwaukee wiener-wurst is like another; nor of Legga, the Human Spider, with her four legs and her six arms; nor of Ichabod Chang, ex-convict, and son of Dong Chang; nor of the elusive poetess, Abigail Sprigge; nor of the Great Simon, with his 2163 pearl buttons; nor of�in short, I then knew quite nothing about anything or anybody involved in the affair of which I had now become a part, unless perchance it were my Nemesis, Sophie Kratzenschneiderw�mpel�or Suing Sophie!


(Borrowed from http://www.ramblehouse.com/travellingskullchapter.htm, where the whole of the first chapter is up on line.)

My copy arrived from McSweeney's yesterday, and is undoubtedly the best-looking edition of anything by Keeler ever published (during or after his lifetime). Mr Collins is to be commended for bringing this book back into print. It may start a major Harry Stephen Keeler revival, but probably it won't. (Mostly, I think, because you need to have a certain mindset to find Keeler anything other than unreadable. I think he's worth it, but I know that most people won't -- it's not like a bad film, where you watch it to laugh at it; in Keeler's case it's not so bad it's good -- it's actually good, it just shouldn't be.)

This just in:

London Below: The Theme Park! For sale: Britain's underground city http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2087-1849406,00.html

Wow.

Several people have recently sent me links to the gnod literature map. I'm still trying to figure out why the result for Gaiman is completely different for Neil Gaiman. (And why Neil Gaiman is out on the edge of what people who like Gaiman read.) Not entirely impressed with it to be honest -- I don't see how the linkages are built, although the Neil Gaiman cluster seems much more logical than the Gaiman cluster (where, as I type this, my closest neighbours are de Sade and Vacchs).

...

Just learned that the Belfast signing has moved due to demand, to

(edited to say - not sure at present where it'll be. For now, check with No Alibis. I'll put up something when it's finally confirmed.)

6.30 pm Wednesday 16th November 2005

Tickets from No Alibis, Botanic Avenue, Belfast TEL: 02890 319 617 or email: david@noalibis.com

Belfast news, mostly

In that final packing-and-working stage right now. Two conference calls to do today.

The Belfast event has a time and a place - it's

Wednesday 16th November 2005
Time: 6.00pm
No Alibis -- http://www.noalibis.com/
No Alibis Bookstore
83 Botanic Avenue
Belfast
BT7 1JL
By phone: +44 (0)28 9031 9607
By email: david@noalibis.com

They say on their website that This is likely to be a very busy event, so admission will be strictly by reservation only. If you would like to attend, email David or call 9031 9607 to reserve your place at Neil Gaiman's first ever Belfast event.

...

From a final comment on http://comingsoon.net/news/topnews.php?id=11812 it would look like the deal for Matthew Vaughn to make Stardust has been done with Paramount, and from this article in the Daily Mail it looks like they'll be shooting in England and Scotland early next year.

...

Someone recently wrote to ask where their library could get the ALA poster -- not sure which one you meant, but the the ALA poster of me is at http://www.alastore.ala.org/SiteSolution.taf?_sn=catalog&_pn=product_detail&_op=1358
and the P. Craig Russell Sandman is at http://www.alastore.ala.org/SiteSolution.taf?_sn=catalog&_pn=product_detail&_op=1226

Several messages coming in suggesting that the MirrorMask DVD will be coming out in January or February 2006, but I don't yet have a link.

And this morning's mail brought me a Death. (More of Will's remarkable custom Barbies are up at http://www.culttvman.com/will_reid_s_custom_barbies.html. As he says, it keeps him off the streets.)

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

A pandemonium...

November's here...

In addition to answering questions on Anansi Boys over at The Well's http://www.well.com/conf/inkwell.vue/, I'm now also doing my bit over at the Barnes and Noble University -- go to http://educate.barnesandnoble.com/educate/bn/home/catalog/overview.jsp?productId=46626 , where an online ANANSI BOYS book club seems to be happening. (It runs all this month.)

We're also practically ready to relaunch this website (www.neilgaiman.com for those reading this through a feed) (actually it's been almost ready for a month, but I didn't want to change over while I was on tour, and we wanted to get most of the bugs out first). I'll be having a conference call with webmistress Kelly Jones tomorrow, and then I'll let you know what the countdown is.

The signing and reading in Manchester on Thursday the 10th of November will now be at the Dancehouse Theatre,10 Oxford Rd. Manchester with a start time of 7.30pm (half an hour later to allow everyone to get there). (Tickets from enquiries@manchester-deansgate.waterstones.co.uk)

...

The National Theatre of Scotland has announced its opening season.

We learn from the Scotsman that Vicky Featherstone, the NTS artistic director and chief executive, has already lined up a major United States tour for a production she will personally direct, The Wolves in the Walls. Taken from the children's graphic novel, it is called a "musical pandemonium" for all the family

(Vicky's also written a lovely piece in the Guardian about her philosophy and vision for the NTS.)

The hum of the gibbon, the music of the mice...

Anyone who has read CORALINE will have learned that mice and rats sing. Now the scientific community finally catches up with children's fiction... http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/story/0,3605,1605806,00.html

If the researchers are right, it will elevate mice to an exclusive musical club until now populated mostly by birds, whales, dolphins and gibbons.

Mousesongs can be heard here http://image.guardian.co.uk/sys-audio//Guardian/audio/2005/10/31/audioS4.mp3 ( shifted down 4 octaves but in real time) and at http://image.guardian.co.uk/sys-audio//Guardian/audio/2005/10/31/audioS1.mp3 ( slowed 16-fold).
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