Monday, January 16, 2006

Selling Out. At last.

I met John Witherspoon about 12 years ago, in a hotel lobby in Sweden. He was working as Tori Amos's tour manager, and we've been friends ever since. He and Chelsea Laird are now the working part of The Bridge Entertainment Group -- -- and the last time I was in LA he and Chelsea approached me with an intriguing idea: could they do an online store of stuff connected with me? I thought about it, and about all the things I've seen people who wanted merchandise that doesn't exist make for themselves over the years (Cafe press T-shirts and mousepads with Sam's I BELIEVE speech from American Gods, home-made Coraline lunchboxes, Neverwhere mugs and so on), and I said Yes -- it might be fun, and if nothing else I'll probably get some free mugs out of it.

So I'm delighted to announce that I've finally sold out, albeit to people I like. Right now, as you'll see if you go there, exists as a sort of combination of placeholder and solicitation for ideas. I don't know what people out there in the world would like to see on t-shirts or whatever, and it's not as if I'm going to be able to go out on the road and see what sells, so really Chelsea's trying to find out what you all think would be good to wear, drink out of, hang on your wall, take to bed with you or be buried in. What images, what quotes, what things. A calendar? Socks? (If, of course, you don't think there should be anything at all you should tell Chelsea that as well, and then this can be the shortest and least successful attempt at marketing since Samuel Pepys lost an entire consignement of "Kiss Me -- I survived the Plague" novelty hats, in a Pudding Lane warehouse fire.)

(Don't suggest Sandman things though. Suggest those to DC Comics.)


Dear Neil,I read your latest entry which mentioned Captain Confederacy. I went to the CC blog, read all that was in it, and I agree that it is horribly offensive and racist. I am not a reactionary liberal; I am a Black woman who has to deal with inaccurate descriptions of Black people and other people of colour on a daily basis.Will Shetterly does have the right to use his art as he sees fit. But, it is most definitely NOT silliness to view it as racist and offensive. I am a huge fan of yours* but I absolutely don't think this reaction is a joke, and I hope you don't see it as such.Thank you for your time.Bonnie RichardsonChicago, IL

* Why can't we use an apostrophe with that?? If yours is posessive, wouldn't it be correct as your's??

Actually, I think the biggest problem with Will republishing Captain Confederacy online at a page a day, rather than an issue at a time, is that it's a lot easier to take it out of context (because, at a page a day, it's just the page you're given) and for it at this point to, say, just read page 9, get to the final panel, and read it as unpleasantly racist, sexist nonsense. Which Captain Confederacy wasn't -- to put it simplistically, the racists were the bad guys, and it was pretty good science fiction set in a world in which the South had won and in which many people -- including the first Captain Confederacy (the second was black, female and, if memory serves, although it's been a long time, pregnant) -- were struggling to fix things that were fixed or different in our version of history.

You may want to use the comments on Will's blog if there are specific things you have issues with. He'll certainly reply.

As for yours and you'rs, like its and it's, it is mostly usage. Because we use it's to represent a contracted "it is" and you're to represent a contracted "you are" it avoids confusion if we don't even attempt to put an apostrophe in the possessive forms of "its" and "your/yours". It's faintly counterintuitive, though, which is why googling "your's" gives us over five million examples of places where people have tried. (Who's and whose is a similar one, although only a google only gave me 87,000 examples of who'se.)

Or as a quick-on-the-mark correspondent explains, "its" is the possessive form of "it" just like "his" is the possessive form of "he". Pronouns get there own special possessive words in English and don't follow the Proper Noun convention of adding "'s" or "s'". (I'd not even realised the finished version of this post had been published yet.)


About half of the stuff that comes in on the FAQ line is from people telling me they liked things, and it doesn't get posted on the blog because that's not what it's here for. But this one made me happy, and it's going up...

Mr. Gaiman,
I just wanted to say thank you for Anansi Boys. I had been given a copy for Christmas, but as a medical student leisure reading time had not been exactly forthcoming and it remained a very pretty addition to my bookshelf for several weeks. I came home yesterday afternoon following a long night on call at the VA hospital feeling that the entire world consisted of people who would die no matter what I or anyone else did, that compassion would be driven from my heart by the same cynicism displayed by the residents I work under, and that in addition to being a poor, rather dim excuse for a medical student I was also a poor, rather absent excuse for a father to my 6 month old daughter.
And so, once my daughter was laid down to rest last night I decided that I needed escape more than another dreary chapter on acute tubular necrosis. I had two options for escape: the two bottles of wine in the cabinet or Anansi Boys. Fearing the precedent the former would set I chose Anansi Boys. This book provided everything I needed last night. Escape. Reassurance. Optimism. Joy. I felt the need to say thank you for that.

You are very welcome. I'm just glad that it helped.