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Saturday, December 31, 2005

I'm back, he said.

Had a holiday, much of which I spent writing in a deckchair on a beach. Got the Marvel Eternals project all nailed down in my head and in my notebook, wrote most of a Graveyard Book short story thanks to Maddy, who I read the first chunk to at the point where I was convinced it was rubbish, and she liked it and wanted to know what happened next, so I had to keep going, wrote an introduction to Will Eisner's New York Stories for Nortons.

I tried posting from San Juan airport, on the way home from Antigua, using my cell phone and Opera Mini (a wonderful little cellphone utility that says it only works "in Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Iceland and Germany" but installed just fine in the US http://www.opera.com/products/mobile/operamini/,) but by the time I realised that it wasn't going to post a Blogger entry they were already closing the plane doors.

The New Year comes here in a few minutes, and so this is a short, waving, I'm back in the world sort of post. The Crowley and Aziraphale New Year's Resolutions are up at http://www.harpercollins.com/global_scripts/product_catalog/author_xml.asp?authorid=3417&tc=ae.

And I'm still not sure I can improve on what I wrote at the end of 2001 -- so consider the wish for 2002 to be equally as applicable to 2006. Back then I said... I just realised I probably won't post again in 2001, so this is by way of being a New Year's greeting to all of you out there who read this. May your 2002 be filled with magic and dreams and good madness. I hope you read some fine books and kiss someone who thinks you're wonderful, and don't forget to make some art -- write or draw or build or sing or live as only you can. And I hope, somewhere in 2002, you surprise yourself.

And I hope you do.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

A week off...

An overnight in a Newark airport hotel and now it's off with the family to warm places for a week which will, I trust, burn off this hellish cold-cough-sneezy thing. ("If I die," I told Mike, with the gloomy relish of the afflicted, "this will all be yours." "You're giving me your cold?" he asked, unimpressed.)

In the meantime, have a wonderful Christmas, Chanukkah, Kwaanza, Mithras's Birthday, Festive Wossname etc. Or have more than one.

And please don't break the internet while I'm away.

Friday, December 23, 2005

true glue...

Thank you to our Guest Blogger. I quite like the shoes in question.

If you are of a certain age, you may remember the kind of glue they had in school before they had glue sticks. It came in pots, was a sort of a yellowish brown colour, and it never quite seemed to set. I haven't seen it in years.

Someone seems to have filled my chest cavity with it, though. And much of my head cavity too.

Have drunk more hot-honey-and-lemon-and-ginger than any man should consume.

Ah well. I'm dragging the family away tomorrow for a week to somewhere much less cold than this, where I plan to sit on the beach and write introductions, a film script and a short story. Not sure if there will be much internet access, though.

...

Right. A few tabs to close...

The LA Times gave Noisy Outlaws etc... a mixed review, such that I was almost surprised to read that Gaiman (of "The Sandman" graphic novel fame) provides an exquisite take on the mythical phoenix � this time rising from the ashes of gastronomical greed � in his baroque "Sunbird."

I've mentioned a few times here how fond I am of J. P. Martin's UNCLE books. The Economist --
http://www.economist.com/world/displaystory.cfm?story_id=5323657&no_na_tran=1 -- writes about the books and the reasons why they've never been a publishing success. (I bought the Red Fox edition, though, and suspect that the appalling design job they did might have had something to do with its failure to sell copies.) Still, Maddy, who likes being read to, requested that I stop reading Uncle to her, when I tried, some years ago, because it was "boring". It may be more an adult pleasure...

....

The Tattered Cover in Denver will be podcasting author readings and Q&As -- http://www.newwest.net/index.php/topic/article/4937/C39/L39. In coming weeks, the program will be expanded to include podcasts with Franken, Didion, Susanna Clarke, Robert Hicks, Neil Gaiman, Lemony Snicket, Clive Barker, Andrew Weil, Monty Roberts, Nicholas Sparks, Dan Savage, Zadie Smith, Michael Connelly, and others.

...

The Independent have already sealed off the John Clute Obituary of Robert Sheckley behind their "please give us money to read this" wall, so here's the Guardian's review, by Christopher Priest, instead.

Interesting article on the combinations of food colourings, flavour enhancers, and artificial sweeteners over at http://society.guardian.co.uk/health/news/0,8363,1671820,00.html; meanwhile the strangest story, and one that, in different circumstances he probably would have liked to have recounted on the air, and put it into context with something unlikely like Upton Sinclair's novel The Jungle and the Meat Inspection act of 1906 -- Alastair Cooke's bones were stolen on the bone black market: http://media.guardian.co.uk/site/story/0,14173,1673270,00.html


And there will probably be one more American post from me tomorrow, and then it's scribbling on a beach. Wish me luck. And, in case I forget to mention it when the link comes in, Terry Pratchett and I have written Aziraphale and Crowley's New Year's resolutions. They'll be up somewhere at http://www.harpercollins.com/ just after Christmas...

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Special Guest Blog

Merry Christmas! Happy Hanukkah! Merry Kwanzaa! Happy New Year! A.K.A. Happy Holidays Everybody! Yo yo yo sup doggs! Maddy is in the house! I had a pretty good day today.... I bought two new pairs of shoes and they are pretty sweet!! Except for the fact Holly thinks they are ugly. I strongly disagree. My father and I have been watching Dr. Who lately... the one with Christopher Ecclestone, I mean. It was reeeeaaaaalllllyyyy good. But we watched it soo much that...um... we kind of ran out of episodes. So... now we must wait patiently for the new season to come out. Yes, quite. Well, as much fun as this has been I must sadly and sorrowfully bid you all good night. Good night.
- From the desk of Maddy Gaiman

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

ID

The 139 page decision in the Pennsylvania "Intelligent Design" case is fascinating reading -- remarkably lucid and interesting. http://www.sciohost.org/ncse/kvd/kitzmiller_decision_20051220.pdf

The "why this is not an activist decision by an activist judge" bit on page 137 is terrific, although you're best off getting there the hard way, starting at page 1, including slogging through the appalling behaviour of the people on the School Board who started it, who, despite feeling it was important to expell Darwin (and Darwin's finches) and get the Old Testament God back in the classroom, had somehow managed to fail to realise that any of that stuff in the Bible about bearing false witness applied to them.

...

Michael Zulli writes to let me know that he's finished another painting and put it on eBay. He's also put a rough of the next painting, a magnificently goatish Pan, that he's working on now as the final image of the auction. Keep an eye out at http://www.michaelzulli.com/pan.htm to watch it progress and to see when it goes up on eBay (or alternately just write to him and offer him lots of money for it. He won't mind. It's how he can afford to buy more paint).

bleagh.

The sore throat thing headed for the chest and then decided to settle down there and in the head. I am now going to crawl into the sauna and hope to shake it...

Before I do, I should mention that the LiveJournal Officialgaiman feed seems to be taking longer and longer to check its feeds, which means that probably when it does start working again I'll get all manner of grumbles from people that I'm spamming their friends list once more. Consider this an early apology.

Hi Neil,I was on Amazon about to buy the 'The Neil Gaiman Audio Collection' when I read a review from a customer. This was what it said..."Though the content of this CD is great, beware if you plan to listen to it on your computer or your IPOD. This disk contains one of the "copy protection" kludges that have become popular, and cannot be played on many computer CD drives. There are ways around it, but it's a royal pain not to be able just to use the CD."Is this true? I was planning to buy it so I could listen to it on my iPod. But if it can't be downloaded, then it pretty much defeats the purpose of the purchase.Thanks,Chan


No, it's nonsense. I'd assume that he just got a defective CD. Mine ripped just fine, anyway, and as far as I can tell, there aren't any copy protection things on it, or any evil little backdoorware programs either. Just me reading children's stories and a poem and, at the end, Maddy interviewing me. (The list is up at http://www.neilgaiman.com/books/audio_collection.asp).

(Which reminds me -- we meant to put the whole of the Maddy interview up here at some point. Maybe that could be the first podcast...?)


Hi, Neil. Longtime obsessive craven fan, first time writing. Obligatory worship bit: I just read the whole Sandman series end to end for the first time (finally obtained the last books) and you're even more of a genius than first appeared. Anyway, enough sucking up and on with the content...

Just a quick response to your mention of the Auckland Santas - unfortunately the story you linked (the CNN one) was a major example of misreporting. The New Zealand Santacon was largely peaceful with a couple of bad apples making trouble, but the damage done was reported way out of proportion. I'm a participant in the London arm of Santacon, and I'd love for you to see the good time we all have (it's happening all over the world, baby!) getting extremely drunk in santa suits. My photos of this years London event (about 400 santas present) are up at:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/44851550@N00/sets/1606862/
(thought you might also be amused that I went as Cthulhu Claus),
and other peoples photos are up at:
http://www.santacon.co.uk/

Headquarters of Santacon worldwide are at
http://www.santarchy.com
where you can also get the full story on the New Zealand incident...

Merry Christmas!


No! Don't tell me that the news media isn't perfectly and indefatigably honest about all things. Next you'll tell me that twelve year olds aren't really successfully printing and passing their own money (http://www.wftv.com/irresistible/5575631/detail.html), or that the General Public is not, to a man, woman and child, utterly disgusted and up in arms with the slaughtered red-nosed-reindeer done in lights hanging from a tree in Orlando (http://www.wftv.com/news/5540774/detail.html) (watch the little video clip for a desperate attempt to make a news story out of nothing much).

I should have realised that this was Santacon -- which I first learned about, as I learn so much, from Making Light -- http://nielsenhayden.com/makinglight/archives/005916.html ...

Hi Neil, Just ran across this and thought you might want to give it a plug...

"From the darkest depths of the cartoon vaults comes the Cartoon Art Museum's (http://www.cartoonart.org/)latest exhibition, Gross, Gruesome and Gothic. This horrifying display features over 50 original cartoons from a wide array of artists and comics, from spine-tinglers to rib-ticklers and everything in between.
Exhibition highlights include:
The Stuff That Dreams Are Made Of: Neil Gaiman's Sandman One of the most popular and acclaimed comic book series of the past 20 years, Neil Gaiman's Sandman tales from DC Comics set new standards in excellence for fantasy and horror. Featured artists include Chris Bachalo, Duncan Eagleson, Marc Hempel, Kent Williams and series cover artist Dave McKean."

The perfect family holiday outing...
~ Sarah


Consider it plugged.

And Holly gets back from Italy today, which means that, for the first time in many months, I'll have a complete set of offspring here.

Monday, December 19, 2005

tab closing time

Currently feeling a bit under the weather, although it's probably just being a bit tired out from all the travel combined with a sore throat.

The most exciting thing I've done since getting home was picking up my Mini Convertible, wishing that it wasn't 6 degrees F ( -14 C) and I could actually open the top...

But in the meantime, I need to close some Firefox tabs. Some of them are news stories -- such as Drunken Santas Run Riot In Auckland (http://edition.cnn.com/2005/WORLD/asiapcf/12/17/santa.rampage.ap/index.html) in which we learn that A group of 40 people dressed in Santa Claus outfits, many of them drunk, went on a rampage through Auckland, New Zealand's largest city, robbing stores, assaulting security guards and urinating from highway overpasses, police said Sunday. I think it's the phrase "many of them drunk" I like best about that.

John Clute writes Robert Sheckley's obituary in the Independent -- http://news.independent.co.uk/people/obituaries/article333685.ece

Someone has made a beautifully disturbing Snow, Glass, Apples doll -- photos at http://www.livejournal.com/users/drachemaedchen/54195.html.

Someone else sent me a note asking how I'd like it if people misspelled my name, which seemed sort of odd because they do, all the time. A hasty google of Gaimen gave me 29,200 results, Gaimon 15,500 and Gaimin a mere 640 (lots of which weren't about me at all). Googling "Neal Gaiman" turned up another 12,600 results. One of the most popular results for "Gaimon" was this interview with Terry Pratchett I'd never seen before -- http://www.asmodeus.free-online.co.uk/terry1.htm -- which I thought mostly interesting as it was done while we were still writing "Good Omens" -- a week away from finishing the first draft, back when it was still called "William the Antichrist".

There's an interview with Ursula K LeGuin in the Guardian, and incidentally the next Studio Ghibli film may be an Earthsea story.

Over at Frommer's they've done a list of favourite books that make us see the world. It's a wonderful list, mostly of proper travel books, but I was thrilled that Neverwhere was on there. That Man Jonathan Strahan's list of his top ten novels of the year is really good, and has Anansi Boys on it as well (http://notesfromcoodestreet.blogspot.com/2005/12/2005-my-favorite-books-of-year.html), as does bookinfo.net - http://bookinfo.net/2005/12/16/bookinfonets-best-books-of-2005/, while the New Zealand Herald lists Mirrormask as one of its best books of the year (while also upping the "Neal Gaiman" number on Google by one).

Two contrasting C.S. Lewis articles, demonstrating, at least to my mind, that two diametrically opposed points of view can both be pretty loopy. The Baptist Standard is one of them - apparently I have "satirized him [Lewis] brutally" although I don't believe I ever did. ("The Problem of Susan" may have been a lot of things, but I don't see how, if you'd read it, you could call it satire), and approaches hagiography, while on the other hand these barking mad webpages endeavour to prove that Lewis was actually a Pawn of Satan -- http://www.balaams-ass.com/journal/homemake/lewsdion.htm is my favourite page, but the whole thing is entertainingly loony. It's magnificently crazed, attempting to prove that Lewis was "perhaps the single most useful tool of Satan" since World War 2, but perhaps the author does have a point in suggesting that Lewis was promoting paganism-- when I was seven I hit the encylopedias to find out who Silenus was, and Bacchus, and the Maenads, because they turned up in Prince Caspian, and Lewis seemed to know a lot more about them than he was telling...

I was wondering if you have time, could you please post to your loyal blog readers the link to MOCCA (Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art) in New York and let them know that they have wonderful works by your friend and fellow collaborator Charles Vess and Michael Kaluta until January 6th, and if one is in New York, it really is worth a look and the $3 admission. They even have a very lovely original from Stardust and two huge and stunning charcoal drawings that Charles brought from his personal collection. Here is their weblink: http://www.moccany.org/ex-07-27-05.html

With pleasure.

Do you think your blog readers would like to know about the Michael Moorcock Event we're having in January? As in, would you mention it on your blog? There's no reason you should advertise Blackwell's events, but I thought there might be a fair amount of crossover in terms of your readerships, and we only have three weeks (over Xmas!) to get the word out to people.

Wednesday January 18th, at the Vanbrugh Theatre, Rada, Malet Street, London, WC1E 7HU. Tickets �6/�4, in store at Blackwell CXR or from 0845 456 9876, Mon-Fri, 9.30 to 6.00. Questions & Signed copy reservations to:
events.london@blackwell.co.uk .

I think some of them would. Or at least, if I was in the UK I'd like to know. So I shall put this up here. (Moorcock's website is http://www.multiverse.org/)

Hi Neil,I spend loads of my free time reading your blog. It's wonderful. I do have one suggestion you might like to consider to help make it that wee bit better. It would be useful to have a search function for your journal. This way, we can all search for a topic more easily. Just my two cents' worth!A big thank you for having this blog for your fans!~Chan~

The magnifying glass on the left of the page with "Search" written underneath it in backwards writing (I know, I know, it wasn't my idea) takes you to http://www.neilgaiman.com/search/search.asp which is a google search engine for the blog, and dead useful.

Hey Neil, what do you think about starting up a Audio Blog? You got a cool voice and I think it'd be cool to take your voice around on my ipod... Actually that sounds a bit creepy, don't do it! Just kidding, I thought you'd like that suggestion. Peace.

I don't think I'd do an audio blog. But I keep thinking there must be an interesting way to do a podcast sequence that would be worth everyone's time.

Mr. Gaiman, My fantasy book is currently in the text production phase at Publish America. They are quite big on author self promotion. I was wondering how much self-promotion you did in the first years, or if you let the publication do its magic and wait for the calls to arrive.I have already made arrangements with the comic book store where I normally shop with my husband and daughter for a book release party and signing. I have also put up a website for the book. I'm not sure if I should run about willy nilly setting up book signings for "King's Assassin" at other bookstores in the Metroplex before the release, and if hounding Dallas Morning News and Fort Worth Star Telegram to print a press release (having to be written by me) once my book is released would truly help bolster sales in the long run. It has not seemed to help a fellow author who published a nonfiction work, so I am flummoxed as to whether I should spend my time working on my current story in progress or on self promotion. What is your experience on the matter?As always, I enjoy your works and your blog,Juli Nelson http://geocities.com/she_ra35/index.html

Well, there's nothing wrong with authors promoting their own work. One of the advantages of working with more traditional publishing models is that publishers have people who will do things like write catalogue copy, and write press releases and send them out, while books from traditional publishers are several thousand percent more likely to be picked up and read by book reviewers than books which are perceived as being self-published. Most authors are better writers than they are publicists, for a start, and are, as you note, better off spending their time writing than publicising, especially when, as in your case, even if they do succeed in publicising the book, people will have real trouble getting it. As the CEO of Barnes and Noble explains in this Washington Post article about PublishAmerica, "if authors want their books in stores, they need to go the traditional publishing route." There are other problems with PublishAmerica as a way to get your book into people's hands -- I'd point you to http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=10211 for a useful summary.

...

And finally, the happiest of birthdays to Ms Lisa Snellings Clark. You should go to her blog at http://slaughterhousestudios.blogspot.com/ and wish her happy birthday and remind her she was going to put up video footage of my statue doing its pecular thing.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Errata Silp

In the previous correction, David Gilmour was, of course, spelled David Gilmore . We trust there will be no further Pink Floid typos of any kind, unintentional or otherwise, in this blog.

Friday, December 16, 2005

A quick one from the NorthWest Lounge

Lots of travelling now almost over (I'm typing this in a Northwest lounge). I went to Cornwall for the day and then up before dawn and out from Gatwick. Got back to America, and then found myself stranded in the wrong city by a snowstorm, with a discharged cellphone and a week's accumulated jetlag, so I decided to see this as a positive thing rather than a negative thing, so I a) slept and slept and slept and b) went to see King Kong (which I liked the opening of, very much liked the end of, and just kept checking my watch in the middle of).

Are almost all your short stories meant to leave me feeling depressed at the end? It seems like none of them have a happy ending yet your novels do. Is this intentional?


Not in the sense that I go "Wow. A short story -- here's my opportunity to depress people." But I know what you mean -- the cumulative effect of the short stories isn't one of unalloyed joy and delight, and the characters who creep out into the short fiction tend to be slightly more hurt and damaged than the ones at novel length. Still, there are some funny and upbeat short stories.

Gatwick has done way with separate departure halls for domestic and international travellers.

Now as far as I know... international travellers arriving at Gatwick and connecting to another international destination do not have to go through UK customs and immigration and show their passports.

So they issue all domestic travellers with a barcode that when read near your departure gate brings up your photo so they can check you are still you.

The idea being that you can't give your boarding card to an international traveller not yet passed through customs... If you did he'd never have to show his passport etc. to get into the UK.

[)amien


Second time through that made perfect sense. Or it would have done if anyone had actually checked anything, and if we hadn't just walked down a short stretch of corridor, with our photos taken at one end and the papers taken at the other. But maybe we could have theoretically mingled.

Neil said this in his blog:
"The last time I got real stage fright was in about 1992, when my friend Polly Sampson took me up onto the stage before a Pink Floyd concert, and I looked out over 70,000 mostly empty seats, imagined having to talk to that many people, and was utterly terrified."

Three things that are incorrect. It's Samson, not Sampson. If he's a friend of hers you'd think he'd spell her name right.
Two...Pink Floyd did not tour in 1992, nor did they play any shows in 1992, so how could he be on their stage at any time in 1992?
Three...Polly Samson was not associated with Pink Floyd at all in any way, personally or professionally, in 1992.

This misinformation needs to be removed.


There you go. That's what I get for relying on memory rather than going and checking things -- honestly, it's one of the things that makes this blog endearing. Yes, the correct Polly's name is of course Samson, the gig in question was sometime between 1992 when I moved to the US and 1996 when I was in London filming Neverwhere and went to David Gilmore's 50th birthday party. In addition to which, I just checked (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hubert_H._Humphrey_Metrodome) and the capacity of the Minneapolis Metrodome is no more than 63,000. Ah well. ENticing though the opportunity to go back and fix it is, I think for something like that, I'll keep it as it was for reasons of historical wossname, trusting that any Pink Floyd people who would find my making mistakes offensive will eventally find this post, and will be able to sleep once more.

Hi,

A friend of mine told we you were going to do a signing in May 2006 at Millepages, a book store in Vincennes... I just wondered if you knew it.

D�lf, who was at the Fnac in Paris two years (that much ?) ago :)


First I've heard of it. I rather doubt I'll be in France in May 2006.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

I saw a Golden Eagle today, on a fence

I found myself yesterday evening in the West of Scotland, out of mobile phone range and unable to get online. Which, honestly, was rather pleasant.

I encountered, puzzled, some new security regulations -- you have to have your photo taken before entering the departure area of Gatwick Airport, which meant that, landing at Gatwick from Scotland, we got off the plane, then lined up, one by one, while the person at the front of the line stood in front of a camera, then we were given a piece of paper with a bar code on, we walked down a short corridor, handed in the piece of paper to someone collecting them, and walked out into the concourse going "what on earth was that about?".


NEIL! IN THE NAME OF ALL THAT IS GOOD AND HOLY TELL US WHAT THE FLAMETHROWER WAS FOR!!!*panicked with curiosity*

It is the mystery that lingers, and not the explanation. (I'll put the explanation, and a link, at the bottom of this entry, though.)

...

http://www.cafepress.com/speceng is John M. Ford's cafepress shop. He sells cool things including (with a cut to the CBLDF) a Map of Neverwhere. Well, sort of. (And you can read his Cosmology at http://nielsenhayden.com/makinglight/archives/007074.html#007074.)

...

One of the good things about being out of range of everything was I got to listen to a few podcasts that have been sitting on my iPod. I really enjoyed the They Might Be Giants Podcast -- http://www.tmbg.com/pod.html; had slightly more mixed feelings about the Ricky Gervais and Steve Merchant make fun of Karl Pilkington podcast at http://www.guardian.co.uk/rickygervais, but did laugh a couple of times. Having said that, I was impressed by the technical stuff in Ricky's podcast -- the pictures that came up, the subtitles and suchlike.

...

Meanwhile, Diane Duane wants feedback -- she's thinking of publishing a novel in a new way, and wants opinions -- http://outofambit.blogspot.com/2005_12_01_outofambit_archive.html#113446948274092674

...

More Year's Best appearances for Anansi Boys. http://www.bordersstores.com/features/list.jsp?list=best2005sf is Borders...

http://blogcritics.org/archives/2005/12/10/023315.php is blog critics...

http://jennydavidson.blogspot.com/2005/12/life-in-world-cant-be-so-bleak-aka.html is Jenny Davidson's list. (I like her blog.)

...

Dear Mr Gaiman, Greetings from Singapore! You kindly autographed two t-shirts for the Cat Welfare Society and even did a little clip on sterilisation for us when you were here. We're going to be auctioning the shirts off for Christmas at http://catwelfare.org/auctions starting 14th December. If you could mention it on your blog, I would be eternally grateful (not that I'm NOT already eternally grateful for the shirts, clips and for Sandman among other things - I may be greedy, but never ungrateful!). If you'd like to see the little grainy clip (from my little camera) it's at www.catwelfare.blogspot.com under Links.
A very Merry Christmas to you and yours. Regards,Dawn

I'd forgotten that I drew that cat cartoon on the shirt for you. I hope it helps a bit... ( http://catwelfare.org/celebs4cats/)

I thought you might be interested to know that in the MMORP game Urban Dead (urbandead.com), you have apparently made an appreance in the zombie infested city of Malton: http://www.urbandead.com/profile.cgi?id=286937. I suppose it's ridiculous to bother you to sign a book under such circumstances. Thanks for all the stories.

You're welcome. I'm glad I have axe proficency...

Patrick Marcel wrote to mention that MirrorMask won the public prize at the Utopiales Festival at Nantes -- http://www.utopiales.org/.

Lots of Australians wrote to complain that Sony seems to be currently releasing MirrorMask in Australia secretly, or at least secretively.

...

Stardust should be shooting by April. The script moves a lot faster through the first couple of chapters of the book, is very faithful to the middle, and is a lot more exciting and nailbiting than the book was as it heads towards the end, but as I assured Holly, who called to ask, it's definitely not "Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Stardusts".

...








It was a man walking down a gravel path with something like a huge industrial version of this -- http://www.flameengineering.com/Red_Dragon_Propane_Torch_K.html -- an organic way to get rid of weeds.

(Oh, you say. Is that all? I thought it would be more exciting. Indeed, I say. Goodnight)

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Unlikely but true conversations

Today's unlikely but true conversation:


"What's that noise?" said Matthew.

"Er, a plane?" I suggested.

"I think it's pipes," said Jane. "Something in the pipes."

Matthew looked out of the window doubtfully. "Oh, it's okay," he said, relieved. "It's just a man with a flamethrower."

Friday, December 09, 2005

sleep now maybe?

I'm writing this in a hotel in London after spending most of the last 24 hours travelling (fog at London Heathrow added about four hours to an already long trip, all of it spent on an uncomfortable little KLM plane from Amsterdam and I cannot tell you how much I miss the direct flights from Minneapolis to the UK). Went to Pinewood after getting off the plane and saw some of the production design stuff for STARDUST and I was SO cool and blase and sort of "Er, actually I think perhaps the flying ship should have portholes rather than windows" that nobody could tell that inside my head I was going "OHMYGODIMADEALLTHISSTUFFUP-ANDNOWTHEY'REACTUALLYMAKINGIT-OHGODOHMYGODOHGODOHMYGODULP", so nobody knows that was what I was thinking and you won't tell anyone, will you?

And some of the Stardust casting discussions have that same level of unreality that the Beowulf Casting Discussions had, back in March when Roger Avary and Bob Zemeckis and I were chatting about whether we thought Hrothgar was more an Anthony Hopkins or an Albert Finney and why it might be more fun to go for an Angelina Jolie as Grendel's mother instead of a Meryl Streep and it felt just like sitting around with friends bullshitting about casting a movie, only with Beowulf we actually got everyone we wanted, and it would not surprise me if Matthew got all the people he wants for this.

...

Hi Neil:

I have one quick question, with you in England, your wife in Italy with Holly, your son on his own, Lorraine wrote in her Blog that she will be going to Los Angeles this weekend, who is taking care of Maddy?

Don't want to sound like I'm from Child Services but I'm just a little concerned!

Late - Jeanette


Not to worry. Mary arrived home a couple of hours before I had to leave for the airport. And Maddy, being Maddy, takes it all in her stride, and pointed out, as I was leaving, that the biggest advantage to me being gone is it means we still have two more episodes of Dr Who to watch, so there's an additional week before we run out of DVD....

Not sure if you saw this:

http://www.publishersweekly.com/article/CA6289956.html


That's really good news. Ottakars and Waterstones are very different bookselling chains with different selling philosophies. I'm glad we'll keep having them both around independently for a while longer.

...

Amazon.com has launched its "grownup school" at http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/browse/-/15336561/ with lots of top ten lists on it (mine was Mythic Fantasy, although truth to tell I listed ten books I like and then figured out what they had in common) along with discussion groups for books -- Anansi Boys has its own group and nobody's posted there yet.

...

I was about to post this and go to bed, when the email went Ding and I got an email from my friend Alisa Kwitney telling me that her father, Robert Sheckley, had died. It wasn't unexpected, and mostly I'm glad I heard from Alisa rather than reading it at Locus Online. Here's the SFWA obituary.

If you want to know why this matters, why Bob Sheckley mattered, not just as someone I knew and liked and will miss, or as my friend's dad, go and read his best SF novels, collected as Dimensions of Sheckley -- http://www.nesfa.org/press/Books/Sheckley-1.html or better still, a selection of the short stories, collected as The Masque of Ma�ana, http://www.nesfa.org/press/Books/Sheckley-2.html Go on. One day you'll thank me.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

out of limbo and onto Mastermind

I just a got a phone call to say that yes, I am going to the UK for Stardust-the-movie stuff -- up to Pinewood and then off to the country to work with Matthew and Jane on script things. Tonight. Which takes me out of the limbo I've been in for the last 48 hours. (Although Limbo, of course, no longer exists, which must be driving the celestial bureaucrats mad as they decide where everyone who was in Limbo should be going now...) I'll be leaving on a plane in a few hours, so Lorraine is running around like a mad thing, despite being a bit under the weather, throwing together a travel pack for me, gathering passport and sweaters and suchlike.

http://www.pandora.com is utterly addictive -- a personal radio channel that bases itself on an artist or song you like. I just discovered The Owls.

The Skippy Interlude seems to have generated a lot of mail (including a portrait of Skippy by r.k. milholland at http://www.somethingpositive.net/skippy.jpg) along with several death threats, most of them for her.

This one made me smile....

On The Skippy Show

Come now Mr Gaiman, methinks the author doth protest too much. Certainly the Voice of Neil Gaiman dot com is that of a maundering middle aged writer with an affectation for black clothing and fountain pens, but the cast of characters has been vast, varied and well tested from the beginning. Looking back at the archives we see that the caped crusaders of the CBLDF made an appearance after only 5 days of attempted writing about the cruel world of copyediting. At day eleven we get a Penn and Teller reference, Thea Gilmore links are popping up in the first month of the Journal proper, and by 2005 we've got Lenny Henry guesting!
You may claim that none of this blog has been focus grouped, but even a cursory look shows otherwise. The Fabulous Lorraine is a long time and much loved cast member, but I think we can all see how the writers meeting went:

Ratings Consultant 1:
What can we do to amp up this "Lorraine" character?

Neil:
Well, I mean she's not a "character" as such, she's just this very nice person who.

Ratings Consultant 2:
A band! What if we put her in a band?!

Neil:
Well, really she is in a.

Ratings Consultant 1:
Perfect! I love it, but what can we do to pack in the boys? Sure we've got the comic angle, but we need more!

Neil:
I don't see, really, how..

Ratings Consultant 2:
How about the band is sponsored by NASCAR?

Ratings Consultant 1:
Hmmm, almost, but maybe, no, wait, I've got it! The band is sponsored by a corset manufacture!

Ratings Consultant 2:
Brilliant! Love it! Gotta run! I've got a meeting on the coast, Neil, see what you can pull together by Tuesday.

Neil:
Um, well..

Then there's the garrulous Maddy, a perfect hook for the tween market, the exotic Holly touring far off Italy for those gap year teens and even a computer science grad student name Mike for those of us who are, well, computer scientists. We've even seen a recent make over of the Author himself from black jacket and jeans, globe-trotting, jetsetter to dressing gown and slippers, Mini-driving eccentric. I'm honestly not sure what meeting the Arthur Dent idea came from, but let's see what the kids think! Love the blog! Love it!


...

as did this

Look what you've done! http://trend.icerocket.com/trend?query1=bitchcakes&label1=&query2=&label2=&query3=&label3=&days=90

I'm sorry. It's not my fault. I loved News Radio. (And hope one day, if I'm good, for seasons 3 and 4 to come out on DVD.)

While I'm in the UK I shall be boycotting Sainsbury's and Woolworths,with enormous enthusiasm and enjoyment. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/4507636.stm will tell you why...

On the subject of freedom of speech, round two of the CBLDF auction -- complete with lots of original art and a Neil Rat -- is at http://search.ebay.com/_W0QQfgtpZ1QQfrppZ25QQsassZcbldf

And finally,

Hi Neil, I just thought you might be interested to know that I'm going to be on Mastermind soon, with The Sandman as my specialist subject. Nick Duffy
Preston, Lancs

The cockles of my heart have just been thoroughly warmed. Good luck. I hope you win.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

The Skippy Show

I see from USA Today that Christopher Robin is being replaced by a "tomboy girl" in order to appeal to the youth of today. http://www.usatoday.com/life/television/news/2005-12-06-winnie-the-pooh_x.htm. Undoubtedly Disney have done lots of marketing research on this. As we learn from the article, "We got raised eyebrows even in-house at first, but the feeling was these timeless characters really needed a breath of fresh air that only the introduction of someone new could provide," says Nancy Kanter of the Disney Channel.

Here at www.neilgaiman.com we're painfully aware that, after five years of me blogging, we're alienating a whole new generation of blog-readers for whom a middle-aged male author maundering on about writing stuff is, frankly, pretty stale. We need a breath of fresh air, just like Winnie the Pooh. Therefore the rest of this blog entry will be written by Skippy, a fictional six-year-old tomboy and computer genius, with a small number of endearing catchphrases.



Neil--Just a quick bit about prices for the 92Y event, specifically for the poor student types (myself included) among your readers. I called yesterday to inquire about the student price ($12.50) and was told that it is not possible to puchase tickets at the discounted rate in advance. The only way one can get the student rate is to go to the Y an hour before the show and buy them then. Thought your readers would appreciate the information. See you in January, Circus

Whoo gosharootie, Circus. Still, I think we've all learned something from that. Hugs!

Alpha, the SF/F/H Workshop for Young Writers runs July 19 - 26, 2006 in Western Pennsylvania. The deadline for manuscripts is March 31, 2006. This year, author guests are Wen Spencer, Timothy Zahn, Dora Goss and Tamora Pierce along with a large staff of writers. Twenty students (ages 14 to 19) are accepted based only on the merit of their submission stories. If the $900 fee poses a hardship for some students, we try to arrange scholarships. This will be our fifth year. More details on our website at: http://alpha.spellcaster.org

Gee. If I wasn't six years old and completely fictional, I'd be there like a shot. Oh, bitchcakes.

I was at the Dreamhaven signing on the third and when someone asked "What's next?" you mentioned a lot of news that I hadn't heard of yet, but you left out your next book of short stories. I was wondering if there was any update on that?

Whoo. Mr Neil says it's going to be called Fragile Things and will be out late next year and he and Morrow editor Ms Jennifer Brehl are busy puttin' all the stories together and findin' all the ones that he forgot about and fussin' about the order they go in. Gosharootie, you should hear them argue about what goes where. I asked my cute computer, Blinky, and it put those stories into an order in milliseconds. But do they ever listen to me? Bitchcakes, no. Hugs!

Dear Neil,I followed the link in your FAQ to the Greater Talent Network. It reminded me of James Michener's comments in his autobiography about working as a speaker and how much he hated it (apparently he felt the Agency was tight fisted in practice). I wondered whether you enjoyed speaking engagements more and whether you got bored with repeating the same basic topics?Your Sincerely Paul Barnier Australia

The main reason Mr Neil signed up with Greater Talent Network is to have someone to charge ridiculously high prices for him to come and speak, so as people won't keep askin' him and he can stay home and spend more time writin' them funny ol' stories. But when he does give talks, gosharootie, they're always different, because he can't remember what he said last time. I wish I could get them folks at Greater Talent Network to sign me up, and make cute dolls and toys of me and Blinky the Computer.

Hey Neil, Just something that occurred to me. Looking at the pictures you posted on the 2nd. I don't mean you to take this the wrong way... but it looks like you're posing for a publicity shot :) Is that almost an instinctive thing by now? Pointed camera 12 o'clock... assume the position!Regards, Mick

I'm all bored of talking about Mr Neil. Let's talk about me. I'm funny and charmin' and cute, and not all like that ol' fusspot who always looks like he's posin' for a publisicity shot. You know who ought to be havin' her photo taken? That's right! Me! Skippy! Yay! Hugs!

Hi, Sorry to bother you with such a trivial question (I scrolled through the FAQ's to see if it was answered), but why live in Minnesota?I don't mean to be rude at all (and really don't expect a response) but do you find inspiration there? I always picture highly successful writers/artists as living in places that are always warm, sunny, and tropical. It's silly, I know.Thanks.Take care. Sincerely, Celeste

He just likes places that are out of the way. I tell him, go to Hollywood, I tell him. That's where the big bucks are. Or somewhere with palm trees anyway. He don't listen. He just sits in the cold and watches Doctor Who with Maddy (they're just watching the Boom Town episode right now). Gosharootie. What an old fusspot he is. Next week he'll be leaving and Blinky and I'll be taking over the Journal entirely, along with a whole new cast of characters, including Johnnie the Jolly Juicer, Minko the Magic Mink and Beppo the Popcorn Boy. Hugs!

...

There we go. Thank you, Skippy. I'm currently in an odd sort of limbo, waiting to find out whether I go to the UK tomorrow for some script meetings. How odd. And the thing that's puzzled me most about Sony putting dodgy software on their audio CDs that then went and hid itself on people's computers, was what were all the antivirus programs doing while this was happening? Glad someone else wondered about it too.

And tonight's good news is that CBGBs is keeping its lease for another year -- http://www.ny1.com/ny1/content/index.jsp?stid=1&aid=55477 .

Labels:

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Woman Allegedly Hires Hit Man for Cheese etc

An anonymous correspondent sent in http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/12/06/AR2005120601038.html. You should read it. The obvious moral here is that anyone stupid enough to believe that cheese is a drug worth murdering for will also hire undercover policemen to murder for it. Or something like that.

I need to close some tabs -- so, at a bit of a gallop...

Here's a spoiler-filled Reading Group guide to Anansi Boys from the Atlanta Journal Constitution.
Anansi Boys is on more Best of Year lists -- Grand Rapids Press, CFQ (article in Dark Echo about how the list was made), Washington Post Book Review (did I post it already?), and is also at number one on the Locus Bestseller list.

The Endless are a band and a good one, and not just because I like their name, and I've been playing their new CD a lot recently -- http://www.theendlessband.com/.

http://www.raintaxi.com/auction/ is the Rain Taxi tenth anniversary auction. Some wonderful things in there.

There's a review of Noisy Outlaws etc. at the Globe and Mail. It occurs to me that one reason why it's not been getting many reviews is possibly that, with limited review space for children's books, a book with a 52 word title might simply not get mentioned because it takes up too much space.

This is my favourite ONION article in a while, partly because I suspect it may approach the truth -- Terrorist Has No Idea What To Do With All This Plutonium.

IGN are giving away a Neil Innes song for Christmas -- http://filmforce.ign.com/articles/673/673761p1.html.

Thought you might be interested in this article if you hadn't seen\heard about it as of yet. Though not comic book related, this ruling in Illinois certainly gives me hope that perhaps there are still some people out there who "get it." And, certainly video games have, in many ways, garnered a bit of the same stigma as comics for some reason of late. So I figured I would pass this along for the CBLDF front. Keep fighting the good fight!http://www.gamespot.com/news/6140739.html

I think that's a case the CBLDF was signed onto as an amicus, and it's good news indeed.

Monday, December 05, 2005

an early night...

Up at the crack of dawn this morning to take Maddy to school. She doesn't like me taking her to school normally, because it's embarrassing, what with me driving her in the Mini, but today, Mary in Italy with Holly and my assistant Lorraine taking Lisa Snellings to the airport, I crawled out into the grey world and took her to school. Wearing a thick dressing gown and big slippers, because I wasn't getting dressed at that time in the morning for anyone. It was strangely poetic that the passenger door decided to freeze shut (it was minus 2 F), meaning that Maddy had the entire journey to school to confront the dread embarrassment of the idea that, on arrival at school, I would get out of the car in dressing gown and slippers and then she'd have to get out on my side. We negotiated, and instead of dropping her off outside the school, I found a discreet spot in the car-park, and she slipped out there, pretending as hard as she could that she didn't know me.

Did Talk of the Nation with Neal Conan in the afternoon -- I've always done it at KNOW in St Paul before (except for http://www.npr.org/templates/rundowns/rundown.php?prgDate=18-Sep-2003&prgId=5 when I was in DC in September 2003), but all their studios were in use today, so I drove to Eau Claire instead, to WHWC, and did it there instead. http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5039319 if you want to listen to the conversation.

The first time I ever did Talk of the Nation it was around 1993, and I was on with Scott McCloud. We were meant to be talking about comics, but at the beginning of the interview, the then-host said that he'd read some of my comics (he named Death The High Cost of Living and Signal to Noise) and he didn't think that women would like them, which meant that the entire phone-in consisted of women comics-readers calling in to tell the host exactly what they thought of him.

Just got a note from the press officer at Tartan Films in the UK letting me know they'll be releasing MirrorMask in the UK in late Feb/early March 2006.

Dear Neil,
I know a lot of Aussies read your journal and some of them might be able to make it to one of the limited screenings of Mirrormask at the Hoyts Entertainment Centre at 505-523 George Street in Sydney starting from the 8th of December. Exact screening times are yet to be confirmed, however it is definitely showing. I guess that petition at Continuum worked.
Tully.


...

Hi Neil,
How did you achieve that really cool effect with the blue eyes in the photo you posted in your blog?
Cheers,
Michael
p.s. I just finished Anansi Boys today and I really enjoyed it. Oh, and thanks for the lime. You gave it to my wife, Kat, at the Manchester signing. We've still got it and are contemplating how to preserve it.


It's an accident, but a cool one, and was only in that photo. The glasses have a slight blue tint to them anyway, but I'm facing the snow, and they're bluishly reflecting back snow, branches and a photographer in such a way as to look like eyes -- the "pupil" is reflected legs...

Hi Neil

I have looked in many places but can find no answer to the quesion "What was the lime for on your desk at the Mnachester signing?" I meant to ask at the time but blurted out something tedious instead.
These are the little things that eat away at my fruitless days, any hope of an answer?
cheers
Rebecca


If the message before yours is to be believed, it was for Kat.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Oh Lore

It was -1F when I got up this morning. It's warmed up a little but not so you'd notice, even though the sun shone brightly all day -- when the wind gusted it filled the air with blown snow from roofs and branches, which sparkled as it tumbled through the air, like cheap glitter. It looked wonderful from inside-where-it's-warm.

Lisa Snellings (the link is to her limited edition gallery -- perfect Xmas presents for your more dangerous loved ones) has now installed the statue in its nook -- repainted, added onto, and even more magical than it was before. It moves. It looks really lovely. My stairwell is no longer empty. I'll post a photo or two.

I occasionally grumble* about the way that I have hundreds of thousands of blog readers and Never Get Anything Cool, while people I know who have blogs on, say, birding or being gothic folk singers, get eg. oodles of free amazing high-tech birding implements or even free corsets, so I feel that I should go on record as stating that I just got much cool stuff -- a thank you from Penguin for mentioning The Meaning of Tingo on this blog a few months ago came with a copy of the Tingo, along with a large book called "THE LORE OF THE LAND: A GUIDE to ENGLAND'S LEGENDS, from Spring-Heeled Jack to the Witches of Warboys" by Westwood and Simpson. (I opened it, read that, in the case of a suicide buried at a crossroads in Chalvington in the 1750s, An oaken stake driven through his body grew into a tree, and threw a singular shrivelled branch, the only one it ever produced, across the road. It was the most singular abortion of a tree we ever saw, and had something extremely hag-like and ghostly in its aspect.... the tradition was... looked on as fabulous, until about twenty-seven years ago [c. 1827], when a labourer employed in digging sand near the roots of the scraggy oak discovered a human skeleton, and was in love.) Someone named Gina also sent me a copy of Trickster Makes the World, which I'd mentioned wanting here (thank you Gina).

In addition, "Ivory Bill" Stiteler came over, bringing with him a number of iPod accessories for me to try out. (Capsule reviews -- the Invisible Shield is a must-have for an easily-scratched Nano; the Sportsuit Convertible and armband are going to be great for plane travel; I really wanted to like the CEO Billfold Wallet (like this, only a billfold) but found myself only foreseeing difficulties with it (including the way one would have to keep taking the Nano in and out of the wallet to charge and update it, and keep taking your wallet out all the time to adjust your Nano...).

Incidentally, in Cuckfield, where my daughter Holly was born, The Lore of the Land tells us that a rich old lady "had been notorious for a bitter lawsuit in which she wrested ownership of the estate from the woman commonly thought to be her neice by proving the latter was not really her brother's daughter but had been bought by him in a pub in Dublin to provide himself with an heir." She came back as a ghost, of course, but it's that little fragment that caught in the back of my head.



(*It's not really a real grumble. It's just a something-to-make-your-assistant-who-is-very-happy-with-her-band's-corset-deal-roll-her-eyes-at-you grumble. This isn't actually a request for Stuff. There's too much Stuff here already, and Not Giving Me Stuff is more appreciated than Giving Me Stuff. Most of the people who give me books or CDs or DVDs simply add to my vague feeling of guilt at not having time to get around to everything I'd like to, honest.)

Friday, December 02, 2005

Walking in a winter whatserland

It's really getting chilly now, 16 degrees F (about -9 C) as I type this, but it's been clear and bright and not too windy, the kind of weather in which it's good to go for walks in the woods. Here are a couple of photos of me and Maddy on our walk along the side of the creek, which is not yet frozen. On the other side of the creek the beavers are busy, and trees are coming down, but they haven't yet decided to work my side of the bank, which is a relief. Yes, I needed a shave.





Soon it'll get even colder and the snow will get deeper...

Lisa Snellings arrived here. She's given me a Harlan Ellison rat, and says that if I post this she doesn't have to blog tonight.

http://www.startribune.com/stories/384/5759626.html just showed up, which was extremely nice.

(And some of you may remember that I promised something cool for the Philippines... http://www.fullybookedonline.com/home.html for details.) Posted by Picasa

Back in Blogger for a bit

On Monday I'll be on NPR's TALK OF THE NATION, with my Children's Author badge on. ("Did someone fall through?" I asked the producer cheerfully. "Nobody at all," she said. "Neal Conan just enjoyed talking to you last time.") Chris Paolini and Tamora Pierce will also be guests, I believe.

...

Just had a long chat with Kelly Jones at Harpers, the webmistress. They're solving some of the problems with blogging on the new website currently, and we're figuring out what the roll-out date for the New Incarnation of this website is going to be. (I make this version number three. Which means I suppose that the next one is the Tom Baker Incarnation of the website, except then someone always has to point out that Peter Cushing played the Doctor in the movie and spoil it for everyone.) I suggested that it might be fun to have a better, downloadable to your iPod etc, video section of the site -- if anyone has any good quality videos of any of the readings or Q&As I've done, get in touch with Kelly and maybe we could put them up.

Good news on the CBLDF front -- Four of the seven counts against Gordon Lee have been dismissed: http://www.cbldf.org/pr/archives/000282.shtml Four out of seven counts against Lee were dismissed before Judge F. Larry Salmon at a pretrial hearing in Rome, Georgia. Prosecutors dismissed both felony counts (1 & 2) of Distribution of Material Containing Nudity or Sexual Conduct (OCGA �16-12-81), as well as the two misdemeanor counts (6 & 7) of Distribution of Harmful to Minors Material (OCGA �16-12-103) to alleged John Does. Three misdemeanor counts (3, 4, & 5) of Distribution of Harmful to Minors Material to the alleged victim were the subject of arguments not yet ruled upon.

It's a start. It also cost $40,000 to get this far.

There's an ebay auction going on with cool stuff -- http://search.ebay.com/_W0QQfgtpZ1QQfrppZ25QQsassZcbldf. Check it out. You may find a present for someone there...

Let's hope that the last Funky Winkerbean storyline was a good omen. (It starts at http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/fun/funky.asp?date=20051113).

...

I need to close some tabs. Here's an interesting story about a plagiarist -- http://www.nypress.com/18/48/news&columns/RobertClarkYoung.cfm ; an article on "why none of the Greats of comics are women" -- http://www.artnewsonline.com/currentarticle.cfm?type=feature&art_id=1924 -- an article which manages not to mention Posy Simmonds, who is, in my opinion anyway, easily up there with the Grand Masters they list (and better than several who actually made it into the exhibition) but who is English and exists under the radar of the kinds of people who write such articles or put exhibitions like this together (her current story, Tamara Drew, is being serialised in the Guardian starting http://books.guardian.co.uk/tamaradrewe/page/0,16538,1577172,00.html -- beware, the archives page is a bit higgledy piggledy, and the archives is the only way to get from episode to episode).

Hi Neil,

You may be mildly excited to hear that Anansi Boys features in the recent Yossarian Awards, which were voted on and given out recently at my desk. The Awards are a bit like the Whitbreads, but without the glamour, media attention, celebrity judges, slap up awards ceremony or even prizes. Apart from that - exactly the same.

http://www.ottakars.co.uk/Internet/yossarian/default.jsp

Best wishes,

Yossarian


He's right, you know.

Being or becoming Harpo

On Monday, January the 9th 2006 at 8:15pm, I'll be In Conversation at the 92nd ST Y in New York, as part of the WIRED Speaker series -- tickets $25, $12.50 for students. There's a green advert that Wired have done I'll link to, which makes me look astonishingly like Harpo Marx. Or perhaps I've always looked like Harpo Marx and have just never noticed it before. Or possibly all of us, as we age, drift inexorably to a state of perfect Harpo Marxness.

(Damn. Well, I could upload it and link to it if I were doing this in blogger. And I'm sure there's a way to do it from this thing. I just don't know what it is. Of course I still have to cut and paste this entry into blogger once it's done, and could do it then, but it feels like that would be cheating.)

Still, there's a website -- details -- http://www.92y.org/shop/event_detail.asp?productid=T%2DLC5WR01

(Edit in Blogger. Sod it. It's just not funny if you can't see the ticket advert. Here's the pdf file of the advert. www.neilgaiman.com/journal/14.01_wl_Gaiman_v2.pdf. Harpo all the way.)

I was just reading the details of the Mirrormask DVD at the DVD Town website you posted, and I was shocked to see that in the details section the DVD is listed as being non-anamorphic widescreen. This can't be true, right? I mean, no one in this day and age could possibly release a DVD that is not anamorphic. It's something so easily done these days on even consumer-grade DVD authoring software.

If you have time, could you find out from whoever would know whether this little detail is true or false? Whether it is anamorphic or not would greatly affect the shelf-life of this release.

Thanks!
Mike


I assume that's a goof from DVDTOWN -- everywhere else has it listed as 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen -- for example http://www.moviesonline.ca/movienews_6497.html. (The Amazon listing at http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000BT97AO/qid=1133462936 doesn't say anything either way, though.)

...

There's a mysterious package downstairs from Lisa Snellings. It's about the size of a large fridge. I suppose it probably contains The Statue (the story of The Statue is in http://www.neilgaiman.com/journal/2005/02/nook.asp) now all repaired and ready for her to turn up and install it back in its nook once more.

But then, knowing Lisa, there could be anything in that box. It's huge. In the middle of the night it could open, and something -- anything -- could scurry out...

Assuming it is the statue and not a scuttling murdery thing, I'll try and put photos of it all installed up here. Given that, when properly installed, it moves, I may even put up a small moving picture of it... if I can figure out how to do that on this system.

...

My friend, artist Kelli Bickman, pointed me at her new website, www.kellibickman.net. I love her stuff, although I find myself remembering fondly the days when she was a starving young artist and you could get a painting off her for a smile and a jam sandwich. Now they cost thousands, and she's doing books and notecards and things. There are many lovely pictures on the site, and a fun quicktime -- very quicktime -- film of her painting.

...

Hi Neil,
I hope all's well with you. Anyway, I've a question which I could not find the answer to in your FAQ nor over the web.

After much searching, I recently managed to purchase a Sandman #1 for a fair sum of money but after payment, as I was heading home, I noticed that there's the words New Format printed below the issue number. So now I'm wondering if the issue I have isn't the first printing and that if there was an edition printed before this in an "old format".

Would you know what this New Format means?

Many thanks.

-Kerry


New Format means "not printed on that cheap yellow newsprint with the old dot Sparta printing process but instead printed on nice white paper with a printing technique that will itself be superseded any year now by the kind of colour printing that they have in comics today."

Thursday, December 01, 2005

A whole post in Kupu

Okay. I'm going to write another entry in the new interface, and I hope not lose it. Then I'll cut and paste it into Blogger.

I'll play with it by putting in lots of links and things...

Of all the hoax/art/fiction sites I've been sent I think this has to be one of my favourites... http://www.by-accident.com/ (thanks to an email from Jonathan Carroll).


Hi Neil,

I have a question for you about conceit. (No, not that kind.)

Since you so often work in the realm of the fantastic, how do you know when you've got the germ of the story versus just a clever little concept that won't hold up. Is there something other than trial and error that helps to distinguish between an original witty idea and a flat back-patting non-starter?

I ask because almost everything I've ever written makes me worry about whether I love conceits far too much, or whether I am simply recognizing them as nice little starting places. Is my relationship with my ideas doomed?

Thanks for all your words on the craft,
Bonnie


I'm not sure. There's definitely something that tells you whether an idea has legs or not -- but for me, it's still, often as not, trial and error. My two favourite stories of the last few years, "A Study In Emerald" and "How to Talk to Girls at Parties" both started as conceits that didn't work, that I put aside, ready to abandon, and then thought, days or weeks later "Hang on, what if I...?" and they both wrote themselves extremely fast after that. Both of them would have been abandoned though if they hadn't had good, insistent editors (Michael Reaves and Jonathan Strahan respectively) and the need to get a story out of unpromising fragments.

It's not a science. It's an art and a sometimes it's a craft. The most important thing (and I know I say this a lot but it's true, or at least it's true for me) is finishing things, because that's when you find out if they worked or not. The rest of the time it's just hoping. And if you stop writing when a promising beginning runs out of steam, maybe you need something more in the planning stages. Or maybe you just need to soldier madly onward and see what Chance and Necessity (the mother, it must be remembered, of invention) provide.

Hi Neil,
Perusing British Movie Mag TOTAL FILM today, I noticed mention of Mathew Vaughn and Stardust, but more importantly, that he was adapting it with Jane Goldman. Is this the same Jane Goldman (surely the one and only) of 'Mrs. Jonathan Ross' fame? She of the flame red hair, whom you once described in print as curving 'like a Raymond Chandler simile'? That, I think, is really rather cool. Is it a help to her or a hinderance that you are good friends. Or does it just mean she has to work extra hard to make sure it's perfect? Being that Jonathan will no doubt give her a very hard time if it ain't up to spec, knowing how much he (and I believe she) love your work.

Kepp up the goodness. Waiting, as ever, for the next thing you write.
Neil Snowdon

Same Jane Goldman. I've known Jane for about 18 years, and really like her writing -- in addition to her X-Files Companions and her sensible books of advice for young teenagers she wrote a really solid first novel called Dreamworld, and a much better second novel that she still hasn't finished but which she's showed me some of and which I loved (and wish she'd finish). I suggested Jane, rather nervously, to Matthew as a co-writer for him last year, when he was asking for suggestions, and was pleased when, after talking to a number of writers, he chose her.
I'm having a script meeting with them in about ten days from now, and will report back.

Just caught this at dvd town about Mirrormask- has cover art and details. Can't wait...
http://www.dvdtown.com link here

Joshua Scott


That looks like the cover all right. Let me see if I can copy it in here...

Nope. Can't. Ah well. I'll ask them to fix it in the morning. (And I won't put the image from http://www.dvdtown.com/media/coverart/big/17613.jpg up here, because I'm trying to stick to what I can do in Kupu, not what I could do in blogger. Sigh. Sorry.)

Hey Neil love your stuff. Just a question. What's the name of the model you used for Death? I forget her name.

Mike Dringenberg based the look of Death on a friend of his called Cinnamon. The models on the covers of the comics were a variety of professional models over the years hired and shot by Dave McKean.

(There was a gothic model who used to pad her resume and interviews with fanciful stories of being the original model for Death, and also had the various covers up on her website claiming they were her, but seems now to have been shamed into taking them down, and, at least on her website, no longer lists anything to do with Sandman or Death or Dave McKean on her resume, so I'll not embarrass her further by naming her here.)

...

Just as I think my inner fanboy is dead, Mark Evanier posts the upcoming DC Comics stamps, and I get all excited: http://www.newsfromme.com/images4/dcstampsbig.jpg

...

And finally, an email from the lovely Alison Barton in Melbourne to say...

Ahem, Neil. We have pleasure in announcing that Mirrormask is now due for a
limited cinematic release in Australia. Cinema Nova next Thursday and I understand it
will also be showing at the George in Sydney. As you can imagine, there is a
wee bit of excitement over on this side of the pond presently.
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My current crusade is to make sure creative people have wills. Read the blog post about it, and see a sample will.