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Tuesday, February 28, 2006

mentioning lynd ward

Lots of interesting things going on today -- the first few pages of art came in from Dave McKean on CRAZY HAIR, I sent more rediscovered SANDMAN photocopies to Scott Nybakken, and Lorraine came down from the attic in glee having found a school project I did aged eight entitled ANTS - ANGELS IN DISGUISE...

There's a great TIME OUT interview with Dave McKean up at http://www.timeout.com/film/news/959.html

Something that has been bugging me for years... Why is it, that in the early run of Sandman, there was an attempt to integrate it in the DC Universe, with the JLA appearance, but later on in the series (admittedly, after Vertigo had been established), instead of using Bizarro Superman and Lois Lane, you made them Weirdzos, almost as if you couldn't use the official DC version?

That had more to do with it being sort of in the DC Universe than it not -- after all, it might have been odd if the Superman comics in the Sandman world talked about Bizarro Lois Lane and so forth. But as originally written and lettered I actually had it as Bizarros (and, I think, Superman comics and characters) and changed it at the request of editor Mike Carlin.

There's a terrific book by Hy Bender called The Sandman Companion, which is filled with all this sort of information, and which、although it's still in print, they should probably re-release into the world, because people don't know that it's out there any longer. (Here's a PDF of four random pages -- http://www.dccomics.com/media/excerpts/1692_x.pdf)

Mr. Gaiman, just a note to remind you that the Readerville discussion of Stardust opens tomorrow! We're looking forward to seeing you there.

That's http://www.readerville.com/, for the curious. A very nice, book-y sort of a place.


Hi Neil,
Looking forward massively to Wolves - just wanted to add that there's an interview with you up on the NTS website now (
http://www.nationaltheatrescotland.com/content/default.asp?page=s3_1), and how nicely it all fits with the campaign to reintroduce extinct wild species (including wolves) into Scotland (here and elsewhere: http://www.bigcats.org/esa/wolves.html). So, "wolves in the walls" is less a pandemonium, and more of a prediction?
Also, are you coming back over to see it on stage for real? Though in the NTS brochure, it says that NTS/Improbable are aiming to take the show on tour internationally from spring 2007 as well as further round the UK in autumn 2006, so I guess there will be opportunities closer to you.
Hope you're getting a thaw in MN,

Louise


It's still below freezing, day in and day out, and the world is getting cabin fever. Or I am.
And I'll be in Glasgow to work on Wolves in the Walls at the Tramway during the preview period. I've loved writing the extra lyrics and words for it so far, and I wish I was over there with them all playing with wolf puppets right now... although that has rather more to do with the deeply chilly weather here than it ought to...

Hi Neil,

This seemed like something many of your blog readers might be interested in knowing about:
________________

Seeking Book Donations
The New Orleans Public Library
(New Orleans LA)
The New Orleans Public Library is asking for any and all hardcover and paperback books for people of all ages in an effort to restock the shelves after Katrina. The staff will assess which titles will be designated for its collections. The rest will be distributed to destitute families or sold for library fundraising. Please send your books to:

Rica A. Trigs, Public Relations
New Orleans Public Library
219 Loyola Avenue
New Orleans, LA 70112

If you tell the post office that they are for the library in New Orleans, they will give you the library rate which is slightly less than the book rate.
_______________

This is from:

http://www.nyfa.org/opp_detail.asp?%20type=Opportunity&id=95&fid=1&sid=54&oppid=9591

The New Orleans Public Library site is:

http://nutrias.org/

Many thanks and best wishes,
Tami Kaplan


Thanks, Tami.

Hi, Neil
Very sorry to bother you with this, but I submitted a similar question to the "site query" a while ago and haven't heard back. I tried using the search function on the new blog to look for your original comments on M. John Harrison's Light. I'd found them once just before the changeover using the old google search function on the old blog. No results this time. Also tried keyword laptop to find the comment about your new laptop and the results were a series of photos of you at signing events over the years. Not at all what I was expecting.
Thanks for your help.
Anna


It's very frustrating, isn't it? When it was decided that I'd get to keep blogging in Blogger, apparently that meant the site's new search engine wouldn't find anything on the blog any longer. Then for a few days there was a Google search engine up on the Search page, but for some reason it went back to being the other search engine, and there's no kind of warning that it doesn't search the blog up there.

Searching the blog is still really easy -- just go to www.Google.com, or a google toolbar, and type site:neilgaiman.com and follow it with the word or words you're looking for -- Harrison Light or laptops or whatever.

I hope they fix it soon.

...

Just to clarify for people, just above the Ask Neil box, where you can ask things (or let me know things) it says that I won't do your homework. What this means is that I won't do your homework. It also means that I won't help you write your paper or answer questions for your thesis. (I only mention this because every second request coming in right now seems to be asking me to help with homework. Or a paper. Or a thesis.) (Sorry.)

Mr. Gaiman, one thing I have long since wondered about, but have never found an adequate answer. Maybe you can help. How many words comprise a "Novel"? I have asked this question to English professors, other writers, and just about everyone in between, and I have never received a satisfactory answer. Please help. And keep writing. Your work inspires me more than anyone else. Even Stephen King.

Sincerely,
Justin


A quick Google tells us that if you're talking Awards Categories, if it's a mystery and it's up for an Edgar, it's a novel if it's over 22,000 words, while if it's a Romance it's 25,000 words for a YA, and over 40,000 for most other categories. In SF and Fantasy it's over 40,000 words to get a Hugo or Nebula for Best Novel.

But if you're just talking novels, then it's probably zero... for example http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lynd_Ward and http://www.bpib.com/lyndward.htm

Monday, February 27, 2006

Spear of Destiny -- now on eBay

Lorraine and I spent some of today going through various tubs and boxes in the attic and the basement, looking for Sandman stuff for the forthcoming Absolute Sandmans. Back when they shot the original art to make the black plate for the comics, sometimes it was over- or under- exposed, and either the blacks would join together and fill in, and we'd lose detail, or the finer lines would vanish completely, and we'd lose detail. Luckily, I kept everything I was ever sent -- or tried to. Lots of stuff has been sent back to DC Comics over the years for the various Companions and suchlike, and it hasn't always returned safely, so some things have disappeared. But the photocopies of the issues have mostly been kept, and they are, on the whole, good, clean, crisp black and white photocopies of the art, with clean black-on-white (as opposed to the white on black in the comics) Morpheus word balloons which means that we don't need to redo the ones that have closed up. But finding them, that's been the challenge.

Still, there's a lot of serendipity about, when you go rummaging through old tubs of papers. Every now and again I'll run into something I thought lost forever -- comics pages I wrote and drew when I was about 14, for example, or the drawing lesson Dave McKean faxed me before I began my 24 hour comic -- and I'll be pleasantly amazed.

Mostly it makes me wish that I had a couple of months to do nothing but go through stuff.

I think I'm going to reprint a few stories that have never been reprinted for the 2007 short story collection for kids I'm planning (Ray Bradbury said that he didn't mind if I called it M is for Magic, which is my tip of the hat to R is for Rocket and S is for Space, bless him) and I know that it'll be back to the tubs again for that.

...

Over at Locus Online --
http://www.locusmag.com/ -- there's a few interesting links. There's the extract from their 1991 and their 2005 interviews with me and Terry Pratchett up, for example. There's the locus poll and survey and the online-only SF poetry poll.

And then there are the things you find out about from their sidebars, like
this terrific interview with Poppy Z Brite.

Terry Gilliam has run off to join the circus, and you he talks about that and copyright and mentions reviving Good Omens in this article --
http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/686638.html

And, probably like many authors, I watch the reports of the current Da Vinci Code - Holy Blood, Holy Grail suit with interest. (
Here's the Guardian on the first day in court.) I kept thinking there was something familiar about the case, and finally realised that it was similar in many ways to when my old friend James Herbert was sued by Trevor Ravenscroft, the author of (the sort of non-fiction) The Spear of Destiny over what Ravenscroft felt to be copyright infringements in Jim's novel The Spear. A Google showed the court case mentioned in this Bookseller article, and in this case summary.

In addition, you can find out about the mysterious histories of the Spear of Destiny in this Wikipedia article which begins The Spear of Destiny, sometimes known as the Holy Lance, Holy Spear, Lance of Longinus, or Spear of Longinus, is claimed to be the spear that pierced the side of Jesus when he was on the cross

and finishes up with the rather awesome claim,

Spear of destiny on eBay Spear of destiny for sale now on eBay. New Bidders Welcome! for-sale-now.com/eBay/


One of those hypothetical questions :-p If you had to choose between working on comics and working on straight forward literature, which would you choose? Do you feel like one is more effective than the other? Thanks.

I don't have an answer, I'm afraid -- it's one of those "If you could only eat one food for the rest of your life would it be cheese or apples?" sort of questions that makes my eyes cross just thinking about it. Luckily, nobody's ever going to make me choose. And no, I don't think one is more effective than the other: it's cheese and apples...


Neil,I would like to know how often you write, I am working on my novel at this time and I was just thinking about how often my own personal favorite writer's create a different life on page. Well, with that said how often do you write? When you're working on a novel, how much of the novel do you work on in a day? Do you write a chapter a day or do you perhaps write two or three chapters? Okay, just a simple thought. Thanks Neil for all the writing and powerful words. Jeff Buford

When I'm working on a novel I try and write every day, and I'm perfectly happy as long as I've done over about 1500 words.

NEIL

NEIL YOU FAT LOAD

YOU CRASHED OUR FORUM

WHAT THE HELL DUDE

HOWEVER: The Books of Magic was a pretty okay book I guess.

Okay fine it was rockin'.

I hate that I cannot bring myself to hate you, Neil.



That would be the non-speaking Garfield cartoons I linked to at
www.truthandbeautybombs.com? Sorry about that -- I didn't mean to send people there to crash your forum.

In my defense, that's one of the advantages and disadvantages of the internet -- if something interesting gets discovered or linked to, it can go wider than anyone ever expected, and the next thing you know thousands of people who never knew that your site existed are stomping around, staring at interesting things on it, or downloading your song or your video, or whatever. And raging at people who point out that something's interesting and link to it isn't going to stop that happening again. Probably the best solution is never to post interesting things, and to stop other people doing it.

...

If you're in Manchester on Friday, there's a screening of MirrorMask with a Dave McKean Q&A afterwards.

And finally, thanks to all of you who sent me the link to me signing books, in Lego... http://www.flickr.com/photos/minifig/64851747/in/set-1195846/

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Octavia Butler...

I didn't know Octavia Butler well -- we met at the Conference on the Fantastic in the Arts in Florida and we ate together and talked, and she was incredibly tall and wise and imposing. We shared an agent, Merrilee Heifetz, but I loved her books and somehow thought of her as a permanent presence, although nobody ever is...

http://darkush.blogspot.com/2006/02/octavia-butler-died-saturday.html

Saturday, February 25, 2006

A pack of interviews...

It's SUNDAY TELEGRAPH day, it seems. I just noticed S. F. Said has done a feature on Dave McKean and Mirrormask, with an interview with Dave McKean and a little sidebar on me -- you can read it here, while there's an interview with Julian Crouch about the Wolves in the Walls here.

Vicky Featherstone tells me that the first two days of WOLVES in Glasgow have already sold out, which I mention mostly to remind anyone reading the blog who wants to go and see it in Glasgow or in London, that it's probably wisest to book your tickets early if you want to go to a specific performance. http://www.improbable.co.uk/show_example.asp?item_id=14 is the Improbable Theatre link. And the National Theatre of Scotland has its own website (here's the WOLVES page -- http://www.nationaltheatrescotland.com/content/Show_Wolves.html) and it's the NTS website that the first pictures from the show will show up on, so keep an eye on it.

(It's also going to be in Perth, Stirling, Kirkcaldy and Ayr.)

The Lyric Hammersmith site has an interview with me at http://www.lyric.co.uk/images/event/NeilGaim.pdf and its page on the show is at http://www.lyric.co.uk/pl150.html (the captioned show, for the hard of hearing, is the 27th of April).

Steve McGinty, who is one of those journalists like Nick Hasted or Michael Bonner who I've now been chatting to, on and off, for the best part of 20 years, and so the interviews tend to feel like conversations strobed across the decades, has his interview in the Scotsman today, at http://news.scotsman.com/features.cfm?id=290282006.

Not a question, just a note that on Monday 27th February at 11:05pm BBC1 Film 2006 with Jonathon Ross will be reviewing Mirrormask for its UK cinema release.

Thanks. Fingers crossed he likes it.

Hi,my question could sound strange but i would like to know what laptop you use to write and if yuo choose it for a technical specification.Thank you for your reply

My default laptop is a Panasonic W4, and I chose it because it doesn't weigh anything much, which makes it great for travelling around the world carrying a computer. I got it from http://www.dynamism.com/ and I notice that there're now even lighter models out there.

Now that Marvel announced John Romita jr. as the artist of you "Eternals" mini-series, I wondered how far are you in the scripts and what have you seen from Romita already? Thanks from Brazil,Fábio Moon

I've seen some glorious character sketches and designs (JR talks about it here), and I'm writing it now. As we speak. This moment, doing that thing where you sort of just write down tons of dialogue and what happens, and hope that you can go in and turn it into scenes and panels afterwards. Mr Curry has just discovered that the noise out on his balcony isn't the missing cat.


Hey Neil, I'm thinking you've probably already seen this floating around someone's blog, but if not, I thought I'd bring it to your attention. Bill Joyce drew a cover and wrote an article for the New Yorker about post-Katrina Mardi Gras in New Orleans for this week's issue, and both got bumped because of the Vice-President's recent little adventure in hunting.
~Mary~


What a moving image.

2 "how did they get it back?" questions: DeCarabas's leather coat (Neverwhere mini-series) and Orpheus's gold ear ring- lost after Thermidor, back on in Brief Lives

The De Carabas one will be a story (called, oddly enough, How The Marquis Got His Coat Back) if ever I finish writing it. Orpheus's earring is an untold story that I never found room to tell. The earring found its own way home, though.

hey neil,this is just a quick note to tell you about this interactive comic blog i'm uploading from tokyo since the beginning of this year.to escape the navelgazing trap, the readers are asked to give me assignments (ride a roller coaster, meet a local dj, talk about tokyo-related topics). a week later, they can read a comic about my efforts. http://www.livejournal.com/users/tokyoblog hope you like it - your assignments always being welcome!all the best from tokyo to deadlinia,dirk

What a fun idea.


I've been reading your blog via LJ feed for a year or two now and when I saw the note about 'Stardust' filming at Pinewood and in Scotland I nearly fell out of my seat - having done degrees in Video Production and Dramatic Writing I keenly want to start getting practical experience on film and television sets as a runner or PA (with an eventual eye toward being a writer and producer). If you have the time to send me any information on where or who I could submit a CV to in hopes of finding work on 'Stardust,' that would be terrific - I've already contacted Scottish Screen in Glasgow but haven't had a response from them yet as to whether or not they have information on the production, and I'm about to go hunting for information on the production company now... Thanks for your time either way, and best luck with the film! -- Rachel

I wish I could help, but I'm the wrong person to ask -- the best I can do is point you at the Pinewood Studios site. When I was a young journalist SCREEN INTERNATIONAL would have a list of what was filming where in the UK in the back, with production office phone numbers and the rest. I don't know if it still does, but it's certainly worth checking.

I know you're probably not the biggest sports guy in the world, but this video could make Jabba the Hutt cry:
http://www.youtube.com/w/Autistic%20basketball%20player%20causes%20mayhem%20at%20game?v=UBYPaNc57Ik&eurl=

Point taken...

Friday, February 24, 2006

Small Stardust News

Just got off the phone with Matthew Vaughn.

As of last night, and pending the Deal Being Done, it looks like Yvaine has now been cast in Stardust ("Small world," I thought, when he told me who it was) alongside the actor playing Tristran, and the film starts shooting on location in Iceland for a couple of days in March, then starts shooting properly on the 21st of April at Pinewood Studios and on location in Scotland. Some big star names, some people you've never heard of...

I think my favourite thing about this, right now, is the sort of happy feeling that comes from knowing that it's unabashedly a fantasy film with a real budget, and it will be shot in the UK and that barring an unforeseen disaster, it's actually going to be made...

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Don't tell a soul...

http://www.hiddenpassageway.com/ delights my inner 12 year old like nothing else I can imagine. But we must keep this one between ourselves...

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Still in Deadline World

I'm still in Deadline World, which is getting old fast, and no nearer to seeing the end of it than I was a week ago. It feels like I'm clambering up a sandy cliff-face, of the kind where, when you're half-way up, you realise that you're going to have to keep climbing as fast as you can just to not end up sliding back down to the bottom.

In the meantime, lots of interesting emails and things coming in from people, most of which I'm not getting a chance to properly look at. Still, fascinated by this story of two Homeland Security officers getting a bit, er, overenthusiastic in a Maryland library -- http://www.detnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060218/NATION/602180437/1020
The bizarre scene unfolded Feb. 9, leaving some residents confused and forcing county officials to explain how employees assigned to protect county buildings against terrorists came to see it as their job to police the viewing of pornography.

After the two men made their announcement, one of them challenged an Internet user's choice of viewing material and asked him to step outside...

--which arrived at the same time as several people sent me the link to http://savehuck.com/ one asking whether this made me want to give up my green card and British citizenship and apply for US Citizen status, just in case, and no, it doesn't (Not any more than this -- http://www.neilgaiman.com/journal/2003/07/actually-its-called-permanent-resident.asp
or its sequel,
http://www.neilgaiman.com/journal/2003/08/and-i-shant-get-shirty-when-they-say-i.asp
did.)

The Playaway now has an online store -- http://store.playawaydigital.com/
and I think still has a challenge in either getting their price point down, or getting people, book-crossing style, to share their Playaways, but it's a great fun invention. Anansi Boys is at http://store.playawaydigital.com/s.nl/sc.10/category.-110/it.A/id.104/.f
while Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy read by Stephen Fry is at http://store.playawaydigital.com/s.nl/sc.10/category.-110/it.A/id.101/.f (and I note from the plot description that this is somehow an alternate universe version of the story with an extra passenger on the Heart of Gold, or that's how it reads...).

And this is cool. It's cool in a sort of "I'll never actually get around to using it, but had I a lot more time, and got out to see more live music, well, you never know" sort of way -- http://www.fabulist.org/archives/2006/02/podbop.html

MirrorMask should be out in the UK on March the 3rd. If you want to see the cool Dave McKean things on a Big Screen, your chance is coming...

And finally, if you've ever wanted to hear Zora Neale Hurston singing -- http://www.floridamemory.com/Collections/folklife/folklife_cd.cfm.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Another One Down...

I've spent the last couple of days out at the cabin, writing stuff. Just finished a novelette (I think that's what they're called -- it's a 10,000 word short story) that's both a story for a story collection edited by Jack Dann and Gardner Dozois called Wizards, and Chapter (I think) Four of a children's book called The Graveyard Book.

It mostly got finished because, when I'd written a little of it, and thought it was rubbish, I read some of it to Maddy, and she really liked it and wanted to know what happened next, so I had to keep going. Never underestimate the effect of daughters on literature.

I ought to go back to the cabin tonight and keep writing, but I've just been told that there's a conference call I have to be on tomorrow morning, and seeing one of the good things about the cabin is that cellphones almost don't work out there, I think I'll sleep in my own bed tonight.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

I am now an author with a huge painting in his bedroom....

The painting in my bedroom is finished, and has been screwed onto the bedroom wall. I wanted something colourful and huge and filled with life and magic and peacefulness, and it's all of that.



And a couple of photos of me in front of it this morning, for scale. (Note facial scruffage became a beard last week.)




(Photos by the artist's mother -- http://homepage.mac.com/cbickman/Home/Menu3.htmlPosted by Picasa

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Long Underwear Land

The weather in this part of the world can sometimes change the way you think in peculiar ways. Take, for example, your correspondent this morning, looking at the outside thermometer on the kitchen wall, and beaming. "It's nine degrees," I announced happily. "Brilliant. It's warming up." (That's minus 13 C).

Last night, according to the thermometer, it went down to minus twenty-one (-30C). When it's that cold outside the cold creeps into your bones, and going outside becomes more than a little problematic, and yesterday I didn't leave the house and crept off, with black long underwear beneath my jeans, to write in the attic.


Today, at nine degrees, it's almost springtime...

...



We won Best Weblog, and Lifetime Achievement, which is rather nice. Thanks to all who voted. (And some of the people I voted for won things too. Hurrah.)

...

An old friend of mine is currently serving in the US army in Iraq, and she wrote a personal letter in reply to the comments about Baghdad and Sandman 50 the other day...

I’d have to say that Baghdad isn’t exactly doing all that well. I’ve flown over the central city several times via Blackhawk……and I don’t think this city looked nearly this much like Detroit after a championship loss (or win, for that matter) twenty years ago. There doesn’t seem to be a single block w/out destruction visible from the air. It isn’t just the damage we’ve done (although we have done and continue to do our share)….

It’s the IEDs….the mortars….the destruction of water treatment plants by AQIZ so that people won’t have any potable water….the destruction or simply the overload of sewer lines, so that sewage runs in the streets—that is just as likely to have been caused by too many people having crammed into a small area as a terrorist blowing up a plant or by our tanks having driven over pipes.
.
The utter lack of garbage pickup…..which if someone suggests it, leads at best to twice-weekly neighborhood burns. Hence the phrase you may have seen elsewhere re Baghdad burning—one never knows if those plumes of black smoke are from the aforementioned IEDs, mortars….or mass garbage burnings. Things are burned for light, because there is only electricity a few hours out of 24 after the bad guys have taken out the power lines or even power station again. Burned for heat, because there isn’t enough kerosene during this cold (definitely below freezing at night!) weather.

Roads: overpasses crumbled, due to poor infrastructure to begin with (and no-one keeping it up) or a VBIED or (once again) tank traffic.

Walls: see above, except for the tanks. Unless one just has to go through “that wall, right there.”

And really, now—there are multiple explosions every day. These explosions usually kill or injure someone; they *always* cause physical damage where they are located.

Having said all that, much is being rebuilt and/or built in the first place. The city wasn’t built so very solidly in the first place, and the population explosion (two thirds of the population of Fallujah came here, for example – does anyone really think they *all* went home afterwards?) combined w/ongoing damage makes it occasionally feel like the tide comes in on a regular basis and wipes out everyone’s efforts…..

So I guess I can understand where the good captain was coming from, I just don’t want people *underestimating* what the residents of Baghdad are facing. If he isn’t going out in the streets, and is passing judgement based on the buildings of Victory Base Camp…..well, he isn’t seeing their lives. I’m not outside the wire much, but I pay attention to what I can see and what people are saying.

That’s my rant, I’ll stop now. This will be a beautiful city and great tourist destination someday. Really it will! The most incredible full moons over sparkling waters, reeds lining the canals, glittering lights leading up to mosques…. And skies that can go on just forever, at night with stars so sharp they poke your eyes.

(I asked her if I could quote this, and she said yes, and added, Seriously, my concern at ever being quoted—and you are someone I trust re this issue—is that statements are kept in balance. This environment is created and sustained by such a multiplicity of factors; when I see stateside reporting focused purely on terrorist damage (a la Fox) OR damage we have done (say, truthout.org), especially when the reconstruction efforts by MNC-I (the coalition forces) and NGOs (non-governmental agencies) alike are ignored or disparaged, I just want to slap someone upside the head.)

Thanks, Lys.

Looking at the last page of Sandman 50, while the kid is clambering across a bomb-site, the intact buildings and power lines in the earlier panels was meant to indicate a city that was still standing, not a wasteland, but I can see how people might assume that the rubble he's climbing over in the last panel was meant to represent the city; it wasn't.

...


Mr. Gaiman, First off, thank you for continuing to update your wonderful blog (though, I do prefer the old design). My question, while not the most appropriate because it does not pertain to one of your books, is about Martin Millar's forthcoming novel, Lonely Werewolf Girl. The only place I have ever read about this novel is on your journal, and, when I search google for more info on this book, I only get directed back to you. Even Millar's website (martinmillar.com) does not have any info on this book. Can you tell me if and when this book will ever be published? And, if possible, where I can find more info on it? Thank you for your time. Kelly Shaw Milwaukee, WI

I definitely want to get more variety added to the site design. For now, we're still focussed on the content -- there's now a sitemap (at http://www.neilgaiman.com/sitemap), and more video content at http://www.neilgaiman.com/exclusive/Video, but there are strange mysteries (I don't understand about the "Contests! Win Free Stuff Here!" part of the site.

And I don't know. It may never have found a publisher. Sometimes that happens. Right now I'm just glad that Soft Skull are going to be reprinting The Good Fairies of New York, and hoping that it works for them and they bring a lot more of Millar's work back into print.

...

The Quotable Neil site is filled with useful quotes for writers this week.

http://quotableneil.blogspot.com/2006/02/nice-meaty-one-for-writers-out-there.html

...

Some years ago I posted a link to a video made from 15 second camera films of a song by Fredo Viola, called Sad Song. ( In http://www.neilgaiman.com/journal/2004/07/in-which-author-is-briefly.asp). There was a brief aftermath, in which Fredo found himself with an unexpected bill for many thousands of dollars because of the web traffic, although on the good side he also wound up with some unexpected gigs making film music and suchlike because of it.

He's just done his first live gig, and has film footage of it up at http://www.fredoviola.com/dactyl.html.


Hey Neil,It's entirely possible I missed this, but I can't seem to find it, either on your site, or in any information from DC.Will the Absolute Sandman books also feature the 2 Death books, Dream Hunters, and Endless Nights (Dust Covers?), or will they be strictly the original series?Much thanks,-Kev.

Absolute Sandman won't include the things you've listed, but it may include stuff that hasn't been seen much before now. I suspect the Death books will wind up, along with some other content, like the Jeff Jones short story and the Death Gallery, in an Absolute Death, in a year or so.

...

Marcus at Blackwells sent me a tape of the Lenny & Me Event last November, along with a press-out TARDIS, which Maddy took great joy in assembling last night. We're starting to get serious about the podcast page, instead of just putting up links to audio stuff.

Michael Zulli let me know that he's revamped his website at http://www.michaelzulli.com/main.htm. He didn't as me to mention that he has three new oil paintings up on eBay, but I shall anyway -- click here to check them out.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

The nature of change...

A few morning quick ones...

For those of you in the UK --

Hi, For those who thought that the Ottakars special edition of Anansi Boys was a bit pricey...they are offering it at half price - £20 at the moment. Suzanne

Which makes it a bit of a bargain, actually.

About the new edition of Good Omens... when you say "additional material" are you just talking about authors' notes, the pieces you & Terry wrote on each other, etc? Or does this edition have new material to the text of the story &/or footnotes?Curiously yours, Nathan Henderson Claremont, California

Nope. No new text or footnotes, although we fixed a few typos that had crept into the Ace edition over the years. The book's still the book, unchanged. The new material is an introduction, an FAQ, a thing on Terry by me and a thing on me by Terry.

Neil, I have been trying to get my husband to read Good Omens for almost as long as I have known him (10 years this summer). He would be the first one to tell you that he is not what you would call a "reader", but we have discovered that he does enjoy listening to audio books. He enjoyed listening to American Gods, and we have Anansi Boys all set up on the iPod to take with him on a trip later next week. So I am writing to see if there are plans for Good Omens to be made in a audio book with the re-release this summer of the hard covers. Thanks (and I hope that there will be so I can stop nagging, I mean encouraging, him to read this book) Jessica

There are plans afoot for not one but two audio versions of Good Omens, one in the US, one in the UK. As I know more, I'll announce it here -- look for them towards the end of the year.

This isn't really a question but I couldn't work out how else to send this - just thought you might just like to know that The Pillow Fight Club was started by brits ... I could tell you more, but then I'd have to kill you (only kidding!? as black-suited swat-men burst through my window)
best
London's foremost were-wolf poet (true, honest)

I now can't wait to hear from London's second most prominent werewolf poet (which sounds like a Martin Millar novel). (Which reminds me, The Good Fairies of New York is being reissued in June, using the introduction I wrote for the Italian edition.)

Dear Neil, I'm writing this with concern for your well being. I hope you're not suffering from a medical condition known as the George Lucas Syndrome. The most obvious symptom is the compulsion to endlessly go back to work you've done in the past to change and fix things. There's no cure for it so far, we can only stale the progression with high doses of angry fan mail, although the results are inconclusive. You might say that this being your work, you can do whatever you want about it, but you see, that's another one of the symptoms. I hope I'm not being presumptuous or offensive.This is about the Absolute Sandman and the things you're "fixing" in it. I'm just pointing out that if you change anything in the text that's more than a typo, someone out there might care about that particular quote and be upset with its modification. I could give you many reasons why Vader's original "Bring me my ship" was a lot better than "Tell them to prepare the ship for my arrival", as an example.
With love and respect, Thya

If anything needs to fixed, it will be. We're recolouring the first 18 issues, and may do some colour fixes beyond that (Brief Lives is particularly problematic, not because Danny's colours were bad but because the colour separators in Ireland didn't follow instructions.) There are a lot of Morpheus word balloons that are hard to read that we may simply have Todd Klein re-letter, for example. But nothing's going to be "improved" or rewritten or even changed, if that's what you're worrying about, unless it was an error at the time and we simply couldn't afford to fix it then.

It's astonishing how much better the art in Sandman #1 looks recoloured. There are sequences that didn't quite make sense before that now flow really well. The colouring process of the time involved people with scissors cutting things out, and the colour processes at the time were for cheaper paper that the inks soaked into (as opposed to the nice white paper in the books that the ink sits on and glows). And our colourist at the time was, I imagine, up against deadline issues, and in those days the colourist couldn't talk to the artists, and once something was coloured it couldn't ever be fixed -- now we're colouring with today's range of techniques, for today's paper. (Compare, if you have them, Preludes and Nocturnes with The Kindly Ones, just looking at the colour, to see what I'm talking about.)

Danny Vozzo coloured every Sandman comics from #23 on (except #50), so it's not like we're bringing a stranger aboard, and Danny's also using the original colour schemes for things, unless they were just plain wrong (so someone wearing a green shirt will still be wearing a green shirt, unless the script had asked for a red shirt for plot reasons and we got green by mistake. A brown car will still be brown, but the blue London bus in #1 is now a red London bus). We're also not planning to add any digital dinosaurs in the background. (Although there's one panel of John Constantine in Sandman 3 where he looks about three feet tall that I'd love to have redrawn. But I won't.)

Incidentally, the stories will be going into Absolute Sandman in order of publication, wherever possible, so the short stories from Fables and Nocturnes will be back in the places they came out, rather than all together in one place.

Hi Neil, I hope your deadlines are going well. Anyway, with all this talk of the Absolute Sandman books, I was curious about the possibility of including a supplemental volume that contained all of the scripts from the series similar to what Alan Moore did for the Absolute League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen. Something like that would be very nice. If that wouldn't be an option, would you want to do something like collect the scripts in a separate collection? Thanks. Rob

We've chatted about it in the past -- Fantagraphics wanted to do a Sandman script book about ten years ago. One of the reasons it's never happened is that there aren't any copies of the scripts to Sandman #2 or Sandman #5 in existence as far as we know. (And there are only paper copies of Sandman #1 and #4, although that's not really a problem.) Scott Nybakken suggested reprinting the script to Sandman 19 (Midsummer Night's Dream) in the back of the first volume, and I expect we will.

Also, bear in mind that each Sandman script was at least 10,000 words long, so the finished script book would be about 800,000 words long -- which, would be rather unlikely to come in at less than thousand pages...

...

Here's Stewart Lee's diary on the problems with taking Jerry Springer: The Opera on the road.

February 3 In my new capacity as sin-eater for the religious guilt of the entire world, I fulfil a lifetime's ambition by appearing on the Today programme, with a member of the Muslim Council to discuss the Danish Mohammed cartoon controversy. Everyone's anxious to draw parallels with the opera's persecution by the Christian right, but the Danish cartoonists wandered into a world of protected religious symbols they didn't understand. We have used a set of icons whose implications we appreciate, within a tradition of Christian imagery. And you can now buy Virgin Mary snow-globes in Vatican Square, so it's a bit late to start getting all protective.

...

I heard from an old friend that the Protestant Cemetery in Italy, burial place for Shelley and Keats (among others) is literally crumbling and may have to close its gates for good -- here's the article http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20060213/ts_afp/afplifestyleitaly and here's her livejournal entry, with glorious cemetery photos http://maudelynn.livejournal.com/285199.html.

Right. Off to trudge through the snow and write some more.

The new Good Omens photo...


This is the photo of me and Terry Pratchett at last June's Book Expo America that will be used on the new paperback of Good Omens (whenever that comes out) and on Harper's website. It's by photographer Miriam Berkley (http://www.publishersmarketplace.com/members/MiriamBerkley/ -- page down to see the cool thumbnails. Including one of me about 18 years ago). For once, in a Good Omens photo, Terry isn't wearing white... Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Absolute Sandman Request

I just got an email from Scott Nybakken at DC Comics. Scott is editing the ABSOLUTE SANDMAN series, and there are a few pages where the black plate on the film is damaged or not easily usable.

I mentioned to him that there are people out there with original Sandman art pages, and that some of you reading this might have the pages he needs... So he sent me a list.

Neil -- Here are the pages we'd like to get good copies of the artwork on for PRELUDES & NOCTURNES:
SANDMAN #3 -- pg. 3
SANDMAN #4 -- pgs, 1, 3-8, 11-17, 19-23
SANDMAN #7 -- pgs. 1-2, 8, 13-14, 19-21, 24
SANDMAN #8 -- pgs. 1-10, 13-15, 17-18, 21, 23-24
Thanks, Scott

If any of you have any of these original pages, can you get in touch with Scott Nybakken,
Scott.Nybakken@dccomics.com? (Also feel free to repost this in the places that comics original art collectors might be likely to see it.)

(NOTE: this is original art, hand-drawn by Sam Kieth and Mike Dringenberg we're looking for, not old copies of the comic.)

I'm sure that as he works his way through the book, he'll need more pages from later (especially Sandmans 15 and 16).

...

And my preview copies of the new editions of GOOD OMENS arrived today. Two beautiful books with red endpapers (and a picture of Aziraphale and Crowley on the endpapers, for people who buy the book with the other one on the cover) and rather a lot in the way of additional material. Here's a picture of both covers side by side.



There doesn't actually appear to be an online method of buying a particular cover (short of going to a small online retailer like DreamHaven's
www.neilgaiman.net and simply letting them know which cover you want), as each case of books will contain equal quantities of each book, and they share an ISBN. But they are both lovely.

Publication date is the 28th of February, but I'm sure copies will trickle out early.

...

And I see that my friend Amacker Bullwinkle is in trouble again -- http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2006/02/15/BAGCJH8EI11.DTL. Go Amacker. Yay pillowfights.

Trademark and Mailbag

First of all, if you're in the US, you may want to read this -- http://www.authorsguild.org/news/threatens_free_expresion.htm -- and then, if you're interested, contact your Senator. (Today, I'm afraid.)

Writers of fiction and nonfiction inevitably incorporate trademarks into their work, sometimes to comment on the particular business using the trademark, but frequently the use is merely incidental to the nonfiction or fiction writer's story ("Tom went to a McDonald's, had a Coke, and waited for the Harley to arrive.").
Just as fair use provisions of copyright law permit writers to make certain uses of copyrighted works in their own works, so do fair use and related provisions of trademark law permit writers to use trademarks in their works. One of the important protections for writers using others' trademarks is section 43(c)(4)(B) of the Lanham Act, which excludes noncommercial and news reporting uses from several types of liability under trademark law. The new law would weaken these protections, exposing writers to greater potential liability for their use of trademarks.


A couple of the CBLDF cases in the last few years have been where corporations felt that comics creators had infringed their trademarks, even for purposes of parody or comment (for example
http://www.cbldf.org/pr/001130-starbucks.shtml , which revolved around this parodic image...)

...and speaking as someone who would like people to exist in a world in which trademarked products can be mentioned in fiction, I'm concerned.

A few from the mailbag...

On the subject of weird underground maps, have you come across the anagram one? http://www.unfortu.net/anagrammap/
It puts a whole new complexion on trips across London :-) With the usual grovelling fan-girl thanks for writing stories I want to read...!Helen

and


Hi Neil,Regarding the musician's tube-map: of course you know this already, but in 1992 artist Simon Patterson made a similar alternative tube map (replacing the station names with those of footballers, philosophers, saints and actors). It's in the tate-modern. http://www.popartuk.com/art/simon-patterson/tsa939-large.asp
cheers Ritske

and

You may be interested to know that you're up for a blog award. A life time achievement award, even.
http://fistfulofeuros.net/afoeawards.php

Or not.

It's an honourjusttobenominated. And in such illustrious company.


Hey, Neil. Facebook says that you're on the faculty of UChicago. Is that you or just someone else with the same name and using your picture?Also, are you ever going to write a story around that Sandman line about a man inheriting a library card to the library of Alexandria? I'd love to read about it and I know I'm not alone.

Well, I suppose technically I'm a
University of Chicago Presidential Fellow in the Arts from last year, but no, I don't have a Facebook account.

And one day I may, or the story might just live in people's heads and slowly grow itself.


Hello Mr. Neil,First I would like to say I enjoy every bit of your work I've ever encountered. A question: My best husband in the world got me Mirrormask for Valentine's Day and we just got done watching and I want to know would you mind if I made myself a Really Useful Book? I wouldn't sell it or anything (and I think to be Really Useful the book has to be personal), it would just be for me and maybe my kids someday. Do you mind? Thank you for everything, Rebecca

Anything anyone wants to make for themselves is always fine. (There's only a problem when you start trying to make things for sale.)

Incidentally, Dark Horse Books made Really Useful Books -- you can see one at http://www.emerchandise.com/product/BKMRM0001/s.xPocmGsO along with MirrorMask figurines and suchlike)


Hi Neil,With the recents announcements about Absolute Sandman, I imagine materials will becompiled or created soon for these volumes. Considering that much of your readership (including myself) can probably consider themselves completists in that they seek out all your work, I figured I'd chime in to ask about possibly retaining the nifty extras (a full script of yours) & introductions from the various existing trade editions. Also any thoughts as to what extras you'd like to have included?Sincerly,Yair

I don't think the extras in the trade paperbacks wil be repeated in the Absolute Sandman volumes, mostly because I'd assume people probably have the books with the introductions in. We're looking at putting new stuff in, and we're not yet sure what it's going to be -- I'm going to try and find things like the original proposal and notes, perhaps the script to Sandman #1 for the first volume. Right now Danny Vozzo is recolouring the first 18 issues of Sandman to take advantage of modern printing techniques and to fix things we weren't happy with at the time.

It's going to be a four book set, by the way, of about 600 pages per book, and I believe they'll come out over a couple of years.


Neil,I am currently writing an essay on your Fairyland in _The Books of Magic_ as compared to Tolkien's ideals in "On Fairy-Stories" for the upcoming issue of ImageText about your works. I wanted to cite the speech you gave at Mythcon 35 (reprinted in Mythprint, October 2004), but have been unable to locate a copy, and have only read the speech online (at the Mythopoeic Society's site). I emailed the Mythprint editor, but they referred me back to you, as you have the rights (and said that you may have the speech up online). I really only need the title of the speech and the correct place from which to cite it. Do you happen to know the title, issue number, and page numbers for the reprint in Mythprint? That would probably work. Thanks in advance for your time and help. Sincerely,Brandon W. Hawk

No idea about the Mythprint details. But the online version of the speech is up at http://www.mythsoc.org/gaiman.htm. (It's the one where I talk about C.S. Lewis, Tolkien and Chesterton.)

As a fan of C.S. Lewis' Narnia series, I'm pretty sure I know C.S. Lewis' reasoning behind dropping Susan at the end of the series. (I know that much about the man's view of Christianity and humanity - though I also Googled to make sure). But after hearing about your story "The Problem of Susan" I had to read it. Unfortunately, it's one of your stories I don't get. Normally this doesn't bother me too much - I get less and less these days it seems. And regardless I've found your work entertaining since Sandman. (A Quibble: in "Sandman: Ramadan" you showed modern Baghdad almost entirely destroyed. It wasn't and is doing pretty well considering.) But if you could summarize what you meant I would be grateful. Though not quite as grateful if you can get a book out this summer...CPT Eric Lehmann

Elvis Costello once said words to the effect of "People ask me to explain the songs. If I could have said it in different words, I would have written a different song," and I know what he means. But I talk about "The Problem of Susan" a little in the Onion interview out-takes at http://rollick.livejournal.com/423627.html, and it may help. (Just as the Mythopoeic Speech I linked to above may help. Or not.)

It's worth remembering that Ramadan was written and drawn in 1992, after the Gulf War, not during the current events, and that it was drawn back in the days before Craig Russell could simply have done a Google Image search for Baghdad. I think he did a pretty good job, considering.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Small Valentine's Day Poem

Roses are red,
Violets are purple,
Which is a very hard word to rhyme
And makes me happy that on February the 14th we don't traditionally have to give each other oranges.

Monday, February 13, 2006

mostly links, really

Lots of people seem happy with the strange Garfield link (which I owe to Bill Stiteler). At least, I thought to myself after posting it, nobody actually has a real life like that, adult men bullied by their ginger tom cats...

Neil, I bought a lovely copy of Anansi Boys it was hardback, nice dustjacket and it had what I thoughtful little bookmarking ribbon bound into it. Now you're a cat owner. I spent every minute I was reading Anansi Boys dreading the next attack by our psychotic little ginger tomcat who also thought it was very thoughtful for you to produce a book with a cat toy attached. My hand is cut to ribbons so I'd just like to say, you think you're funny but you're not.

p.s. Berkley the ginger tomcat would also like to say, can you please attach a goldfish to the next book?
...

Lots of other people helpfully suggesting methods of accepted internet practice but currently dubious legality that would allow me to watch lots of UK TV, none of which I feel comfortable with enough to put into practice.

The FAQ line had some real troubles over the weekend -- I think it's all sorted out but if you sent something you think was important between Friday evening and Sunday morning, you may want to resend it.

Did a questionaire for the Guardian this morning that was practically an Internet meme -- it'll run in April, and once it does I'll put the Questions and Answers they didn't use up here. (Some old ones are at http://browse.guardian.co.uk/search?search=rosanna+greenstreet)

Another glimpse of the immediate future -- http://mblog.lib.umich.edu/~rdivecha/archives/2006/02/the_world_of_sm.html -- that left me pondering Chip Delany's comment, made over thirty years ago, that today's technology is tomorrow's handicrafts, mostly because it seemed so cutting edge and antiquated at the same time, like making virtual clay pots.

Hi Neil,you may have already seen this lovely thing - the "Tube map of music".
http://blogs.guardian.co.uk/culturevulture/archives/2006/02/03/going_underground.html
What am I, number 9623 to send it? If so, sorry! Cheers,Katharine

Nope. You were the first. I think I like the idea of the thing more than the execution. Still, I wonder how long it'll be before people start doing the SF Authors tube map, or the Comics Artists tube map...

Right. Tea break over. Back on my head. With a lot of Penelope Houston who I only just discovered (yes, rather late, I know) playing in the background.

...

(Later. I forgot to post this, so here are some links.)

I don't know how long they'll keep this up but there's an article on the National Theatre of Scotland, with bits of WOLVES IN THE WALLS info at http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2090-2034161,00.html (although the masks aren't papier mache, they're mostly burlap, foam and glue, although you wouldn't believe it).

And to close a few tabs -- ponder whether throwing bottles with messages in is littering http://apnews.myway.com/article/20060204/D8FI0E7G4.html, why some Australians
are gullible http://www.smh.com.au/news/National/Nigerian-scammers-fleece-Australians/2006/02/01/1138590558732.html, whether Toxoplasmosis forces people to buy fuzzy cat toys or books with ribbons in them http://news.yahoo.com/s/space/20060211/sc_space/mindcontrolbyparasites, me being interviewed in Oxford last year http://www.oxfordstudent.com/ht2006wk4/Features/comic_relief, and a lost Hooke manuscript straight out of a book I meant to write about the nature of time and London and the early days of the Royal Society -- http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/story/0,,1705687,00.html, -- called Time in the Smoke.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

dreadlines

Today I crunched through the snow down to the gazebo in the bottom of the garden and scribbled -- I roughed out an article for the Guardian on the odd relationship between films and comics, that persisted in being a shapeless bunch of jottings no matter what I scribbled, I mapped out the plot of most of Eternals #1 as a sort of page-by-page-breakdown but didn't quite finish it, and I wrapped up an extremely long short story that's part of The Graveyard Book that I now need to type up and do a second draft on, while also getting comments in from people on the rough draft short film script that I finished the first draft of the other night...

It's the whole thing of deadlines being cowards, and not spacing themselves out sensibly, but hiding behind things and leaping out at people all at once.

Oh well. I should be used to it by now. And I hope the Guardian article will behave tomorrow.

For now, I can report that the Slingbox is indeed a remarkable toy and a wonderful one, and it works as advertised -- I was lucky enough to have an ethernet connection near the TIVO, which meant setting the Slingbox up was relatively easy (except for having to figure out how to open a specific port in the router, which actually was very simple except for me somehow deleting the house's internet service on the way, but I fixed it), and I can now watch my TV (and more importantly, control and watch whatever's on the TIVO) from anywhere in the world I can get a decent internet connection.

Or in the corner of this computer screen. (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/10546353/ for more info.)

Having said that, I tend not to miss American TV in the same way I miss UK TV, and so as soon as I had the Slingbox set up I started fantasising about setting up a TIVO-equivalent and a Slingbox in the house of someone in the UK with broadband who wouldn't mind a small heap of electronics in the corner; and then I began wondering how long it would be before someone filled warehouses around the world with cheap hard disks and slingbox-like gadgets and allowed you to subscribe to whatever TV you wanted from wherever in the world...

I meant to post a link to some wonderful cartoons at http://www.truthandbeautybombs.com/bb/viewtopic.php?t=4997 -- Garfields with all the animal dialogue gone, transformed into a perfectly paced, rather sad strip about a man whose life is wasted and a cat who says nothing, but they seem to be vanishing from the page...

Friday, February 10, 2006

Five years stuck on my eyes

There. The first part of the first bit of deadline madness has been finished. Two more to go. And somewhere in there I managed to completely lose track of what day and date it was, which means that this blog's fifth birthday came and went yesterday and I didn't even put up a Happy Birthday post.

You know, I've never managed to keep a diary, despite my best intentions. Every now and again I'll run across an almost-empty diary with the first three pages filled in. Even my attempt to keep a private Moleskin diary, chronicling my travels, was doomed to failure and neglect. But this thing I'm still doing, and it's still fun.

One reason I know I'm keeping it is that people are still reading it. So thank you all, for that.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

deadline packs

The nice thing about being madly busy on a deadline is that I can answer a few questions and make it look as I'm still industriously blogging. (The me-and-Maddy-Dr-Who-DVD-Marathon continues, though. We're up to the fourth Doctor. Tonight we wrapped up The Talons of Weng Chiang, and tomorrow we start the Douglas Adams City of Death.) Also wrote a very short story for Wired Magazine.

One message saying someone had found MirrorMask onsale already at his local Wal-Mart.

Lots of messages saying things like,

I just wanted to let you know that you were mentioned on the TV Show "Bones" tonight (airs on FOX at 9pm eastern time...you might still be able to see it out where you are). Here is the episode summary:
http://www.fox.com/schedule/showinfo/bones/bon_113.htm

Basically the victim was a comic book fan and one of his friends was telling the FBI that he gave his whole "Gaiman collection" to his girlfriend (in the past). And she mentioned how much he (the character) loved your work. I thought it was pretty awesome.

Cheers!


and lots of other messages saying things like

A quick note to your readers wanting to get at something that used to be on a web site:

Always try http://web.archive.org/, the Internet Wayback Wachine. It has incarnations of neilgaiman.com from before it became the site you know today:
http://web.archive.org/web/19990125101526/http://www.neilgaiman.com/
or
http://web.archive.org/web/20000304130048/http://www.neilgaiman.com/

Which of course includes the recently removed older photo of you:
http://web.archive.org/web/20030602111404/www.neilgaiman.com/images/home/image_top.gif
Craig Steffen


I loved the idea of doing the CSS thing (http://www.csszengarden.com/?cssfile=/184/184.css&page=0) and letting people create "skins" for the blog, but the reply I got from our webmistress, Stephanie, was As for the reader’s suggestion: I’m told this is extremely difficult to implement as this was not considered before the site was created, and involves the integration of many different web technologies. Also, every "skin" submitted would have to be tested on all major browsers and platforms as we did for the current site to make sure it looked correct for each user. Coupled with that, it would require hours of testing for each skin created to fix any bugs. Which seems to be a polite way of saying no.

Hello,

You recently posted (entry: Deadline Doom) about the Danish cartoons depicting Muhammad, and mentioned that Danish Muslims, "...took the pictures, along with some more that they apparently made up..." Do you have an article or other source with more information on the fake cartoons? It's not that I don't generally trust you as a source, but it's not in the you link to below that line, and I'm curious about it.

Thanks,

-Christina


Google news gives a lot of links -- here's one from the BBC http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/4693292.stm while google gives a link to a blog with the images on at http://gatewaypundit.blogspot.com/2006/02/islamic-society-of-denmark-used-fake.html

By the way, I really enjoyed this article on the matter by Christopher Hitchens -- http://www.slate.com/id/2135499.

Hi Neil, I just got rejected from a creative writing class at my college and wanted to know--has this, or anything similar, ever happened to you? I have this rather strong conviction that I am a writer, but if I can't so much as make it into a class, I'm not sure if I've got much hope of ever being published. Any personal experience with the whole rejection ordeal that might help me put this in perspective? If you've got the time, it'd be quite heartening to hear. Thanks very much.

Normally I'd suggest you use the neilgaiman.com Search facility, but currently it seems more than a bit dodgy -- at least, it's not searching the blog itself, so you're best off using a google with site:neilgaiman.com and then whatever you're searching for. In this case it would be Creative Writing, which would take you straight to http://www.neilgaiman.com/journal/2004/02/on-writing.asp, which may help...

Mirrormask was advertised on Columbia House Video's website. I was ready to buy it, when I realized there was no mention of close captioning. I checked technical details & there's no mention of whether the movie is subtitled on the DVD. Do you have any ideas where I might be able to find this out? I don't want to buy something I won't be able to comprehend... thanks in advance, and thanks so much for writing those wonderful books. I gave our local independent bookseller (Randy Glumm of Waystation Books) my copy of Anasazi Boys & am hoping he likes it as much as I did.

I did a quick google and found http://www.cduniverse.com/productinfo.asp?pid=6998674 where I learned that the DVD Features are:

Region 1
Keep Case
Wide Screen
Audio:
Dolby 5.1 - English, Portuguese, Thai
Dolby Surround Sound - French
Subtitles - Chinese - Optional
Subtitles - English - Optional
Subtitles - French - Optional
Subtitles - Korean - Optional
Subtitles - Portuguese - Optional
Subtitles - Spanish - Optional
Subtitles - Thai - Optional
Additional Release Material:
Commentary - Director/Writer
Featurettes:

1. Neil Gaiman
2. Dave McKean talks about the film
3. Beginnings
4. Cast & Crew
5. Day 16
6. Flight of the Monkeybirds
7. Giants Development
Questions & Answers


So it definitely has English subtitles.

Is there any chance of which you are aware that "The Wolves in the Walls" may be staged in the US? That is absolutely one of my favorite of your books, and I could see a stge production being a lot of fun.
Thanks,
Christy


According to the Improbable Theatre website -- http://www.improbable.co.uk/show_example.asp?item_id=14 The Wolves in the Walls will tour again across the UK in Autumn 2006 and will travel to the USA in Spring 2007


Hi Neil,

I'm a staff member at a university doing a presentation of American Gods at a luncheon we have once a month to share books we love with others. During the discussion, I was hoping to play an audio or video clip of you reading from American Gods (I'm in IT and I'd love to show faculty how easy it is use computers in their classroom). I found a link on the site to an audio clip at a CBLDF function, but the link was down. Just wondering if there might another place I could find such a clip?

I know not every question get answered, but I still want to go ahead and say thank you. If it goes well I hope to do another presentation on your children's books and one on Anansi Boys.

Thanks again,
Shannon Phillips
Charleston, SC


Sorry that the link is currently dead -- I don't honestly know why the audio and video clips from the old site (http://web.archive.org/web/20030605122755/www.neilgaiman.com/audio/audio.asp) aren't currently up and available. I've written to the webpeople and asked about it, and I hope we can get it back up soon enough for you to use it.

(Actually this might be a good time to put up a general sort of a call for good quality recordings of me doing readings and suchlike -- if you have any, either stored away, or up on your site, let me know what you've got.)
...

Charles deLint reviews Anansi Boys at http://www.sfsite.com/fsf/2006/cdl0603.htm. It's a fascinating and, I suspect, perceptive, review, with a really interesting idea about narrative voice.

And finally, http://www.sacurrent.com/site/news.cfm?newsid=16086463&BRD=2318&PAG=461&dept_id=484045&rfi=6 is a review and roundup of a few of the recent books on comics out there...

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Mostly useful things...

If you're in Scotland, or in the London area, then you might like to know that tickets are now on sale for the WOLVES IN THE WALLS musical pandemonium. http://www.improbable.co.uk/show_example.asp?item_id=14 for details, ticket prices, all that. Previews are from Weds 22nd to Tues 28th, in Glasgow, with a proper first night of Weds March the 29th in Glasgow at the Tramway, and then a first night in London at the Lyric Hammersmith on April the 12th..

According to the Improbable website:

This promises to be visually spectacular, musically infectious and darkly comic. For everyone over 7 who is not a scaredy cat.


The cast will be Cora Bisset, Cait Davis, Ryan Fletcher, Ewan Hunter, Iain Johnston, Frances Thorburn, Jessica Tomchak, Jason Webb, which I mention here partly because I know there are a fair number of Cora Bisset fans out there (several of them wrote and told me so the last time I mentioned her), and partly because I'm really excited because it really is a strong cast...

...

http://www.thesun.co.uk/article/0,,2-2006060229,00.html

Did you see the above article in the Sun. More nonsense about beowulf


Thanks. Sigh.

The Tomb Raider beauty, who has a home in Buckinghamshire, felt studying characters’ speech was the best way to help her develop a northern accent.

She needs it for a voiceover role as the Queen of Darkness in a film version of old English poem Beowulf.


But she doesn't play the Queen of Darkness no matter what it says on imdb, and she doesn't have a northern accent (she has an extremely cool Old English accent). And, of course, she performed her part in Beowulf last October.

There's a lot more accurate Beowulf information (some spoilers, though, I have to warn you) in this Aint It Cool News Report -- http://www.aintitcool.com/display.cgi?id=22409 -- than in any of the more "legitimate" newspaper reports I've seen so far.

...

Frank Miller is hosting a screening of SIN CITY, as a benefit for the CBLDF, in Berkeley this coming Sunday. According to the press release...

Immediately following the screening, Comic Relief, Berkeley's legendary comic bookstore will be hosting a reception where Miller will be in attendance for a short question and answer session. The reception will be free to those presenting ticket stubs from the event and card-carrying CBLDF members. The Comic Relief reception will begin at 9 PM and end at midnight.

Tickets for this special benefit screening are $15, and are available at the theater box office and from the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund's table at WonderCon. The screening will begin at 7 PM.

The Act 1 & 2 is located at 2128 Center Street (just east of Shattuck), Berkeley, CA 94704. Their phone number is 510.464.5980.

Comic Relief is located at 2026 Shattuck Ave, Berkeley, CA 94704. Their phone number is 510.483.5002 and can be found on the web at www.comicrelief.net


...

My "Amazon Connect" page is up -- I did a few "five favourite" lists at the bottom of the page.

...

The original "American Gods" journal is now back up at http://www.neilgaiman.com/journal/archive/archive.html so you can read this blog from February 2001 on, if you want. I just realised that this coming Thursday is the blog's Fifth Birthday. No idea what we're going to do to celebrate, mind you.

...

I miss the picture of you at your desk from the old website. Can you post it again? Pretty, pretty, pretty please?

I've looked around on a few elderly hard disks, but I couldn't find it. Luckily, everything is still pretty much the same out at my writing cabin, although the fridge is new and the computer has got smaller. So this is yesterday's version:


...

And finally -- February the 14th is, of course, A Very Special Day. It is, as I'm sure you know, Jack Benny's thirty-ninth birthday. And to celebrate -- and to try and get Jack Benny on a 39 cent stamp -- there's going to be a 39 Man March on Washington. Although I don't think you have to be male to be on it. And I don't think there have to be thirty nine people on the march. Details at http://www.jackbenny.org/stamp/39_man_march.htm

Monday, February 06, 2006

deadline doom

Writing away on about three different deadlines right now, so the blogging is probably going to suffer for a week or so. (Traditionally I either follow a post like that by disappearing completely or by posting twice as much.)

Hello, Neil. Thought you'd like to know that Powells.com has posted the winners of our annual Puddly Awards (http://www.powells.com/prizes/puddly2006.html) -- and "Anansi Boys" came in second (after "The Kite Runner").
What's more, "American Gods" and "Good Omens" both made the list, making you the only author with three simultaneous titles. (The only *other* author with more than one title is Terry Pratchett, for "Thud!" and, of course, "Good Omens.") In addition, both "American Gods" and "Anansi Boys" were in the top fifty employee votes. I've suggested adding an "Author of the Year" Award, but the Powers That Be haven't made a final decision yet. At any rate, congratulations!

And one for, at the least, librarians...

Hi Neil,I was at ALA's YALSA website, and I discovered something great! YALSA is adding a new booklist, called "Great Graphic Novels for Teens." YALSA is currently accepting nominations for the first list, which will be released during the ALA Midwinter 2007 conference. You can see the titles that have been nominated at http://www.ala.org/ala/yalsa/booklistsawards/greatgraphicnovelsforteens/nominations.htm. It looks like only librarians can submit nominations, but I thought you and your readers would still be interested. :-)~Amanda in Charleston, SC

Hi Neil,
You may or may not have heard about the controversial issue on the publication of a comic by Danish newspapers portraying the prophet Muhammad. Now i know you dont usually talk about any political or religous issues on your site for obvious reasons, and my question doesnt aim at getting an opinion. What i wanted to ask is what do you think about this issue in a more general sense, as in a comic sparking riots and protests. How do you, as a leading figure in the comic business, feel about the power of comics, now that you've heard or seen what they can do at a global level. And do you think more people will start taking comics, in general, more seriously after these events, or am I just being too optimistic. All the while i'm not trying to undermind the issues that have taken place. I live in Lebanon, and was in a close proximity of the riot as it was happening.



Okay, for those who haven't been watching the news (or for those reading this blog long after these events have been forgotten), a Danish paper, on discovering that depicting the prophet Mohammed in pictoral form was considered blasphemous by Moslems, decided to challenge that idea and commission local cartoonists to draw cartoons with Mohammed in them. The cartoons, at least the ones I've seen reproduced, were fairly sophomoric. Then a Danish Islamic group, considering this blasphemous (see above), took the pictures, along with some more that they apparently made up, through the Middle East, in order to get people upset. (Here's an article -- http://media.guardian.co.uk/presspublishing/story/0,,1698394,00.html)

It was demanded that the Danish government apologise -- which, as I understand, after initially declining to, they eventually did, while making it clear that they didn't own or control the newspaper in question.

Around this point, several newspapers in Europe decided to demonstrate their right to Freedom of Speech by reprinting the cartoons. Different European countries seem to have had various attitudes to the cartoons -- some of them viewing it as a freedom of speech issue (which it is) and others regarding it as a being sensitive to the feelings of others and not getting bombed and torched by a dangerous minority issue (which it also is).

What do I think? I think a bunch of things, many of them contradictory and some of them fuzzy (which is the main reason I don't do much on politics in this blog). I think the main thing I think is that doing something purely calculated to offend people, a small minority of whom have shown no compunction previously about killing and harming people who've done similar things, is something that you had only better do if you are prepared for all of the consequences. That doesn't have anything to do with freedom of speech, that has to do with cause and effect, in a post-Satanic Verses world.

(In Beirut, the leader of Hizbullah said the row would never had occurred if a 17-year-old death edict against British writer Salman Rushdie been carried out.
"Had a Muslim carried out Imam Khomeini's fatwa against the apostate Salman Rushdie, then they would not have dared discredit the prophet, not in Denmark, Norway or France," Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah told Reuters last night.)

I don't really think this is about the power of comics, other than the power that images have to transcend language. (It's worth noting that the three of the images that upset people the most were apparently created by the people who were showing them.)

Do I support the ability of a free press to print whatever it likes? Hell, yes. Do I think it was wise, sensible, or even sane to print or to reprint those particular cartoons? Not particularly, no.

Do I think reacting to the cartoons by burning down embassies, killing people, or, in the case of the UK, threatening more suicide bombers, is an even vaguely sane reaction? Of course not.

(Most of the placards appeared on Friday, running through permutations on several themes. They read: "Butcher those who mock Islam", "Slay those who insult Islam", "Behead those who insult Islam", and "Kill those who insult Islam". Some evoked previous al-Qaida suicide bombings: "Europe you will pay, your 9/11 is on the way", or "7/7 is on its way", "Europe you will pay, fantastic 4 are on their way", and "Europe you will pay, Bin Laden is on his way". As well as the rhyming "Europe you'll come crawling, when the Mujahideen come roaring", there were splenetic varieties: "Freedom go to hell", "Liberalism go to hell", and "Freedom of expression go to hell".)

(The Fantastic Four are on their way?)

I keep wondering what would happen if, hypothetically, Dave Sim decided to turn the life of Muhammed that he wrote in the back of Cerebus (in Islam My Islam -- http://www.cerebusfangirl.com/artists/islampt2.html) into a comic, and he drew it with pictorial representation of Muhammed in it, and around the world Death Threats Were Issued, and Canadian embassies were torched...

Probably best not to think about it. Be a good comic, though.

...


You probably already know this, but MirrorMask will be showing in Ireland on Saturday the 18th Feb as part of the Jameson Dublin International Film
Festival. http://www.dubliniff.com/films/show/4

I didn't, but I do now.

...

Hi Neil,I think the new format's spiffy, though if it were my blog, the sight of me smiling up at me from the margins of every post would be a bit disconcerting.Since you've posted about Peter S. Beagle before, could you *please* include this public service announcement in your next entry?**TO PETER S. BEAGLE FANS IN THE CHICAGO AREA**Mr. Beagle has offered some time out of his packed schedule this coming week to meet with some fans for dinner in a Chicago suburb on *Saturday the 11th*, with the possibility of a reading afterwards. If you're interested in being in that group - and can commit to attending! - please e-mail me at laney23ster@gmail.com ASAP.Thanks a lot!Mae

You're welcome.

Hi Neil!Seeing as a certain Mr Mckean has no site of his own and seems to be more difficult to track down than yourself, I hoped you would see fit to put me out of my misery.Being one of the few who still live in England, my hopes of ever seeing Mirrormask seem to be rapidly depleting... is it EVER going to emerge over here, either on DVD or through theaters? Also is there any word on Mr Mckean finally releasing his short films???I need answers dammit! I was made to sit through pearl harbour, don't you think I've been through enough?... the world owes me at least 2 hours.P.s. congratulations on a wonderful library of brilliant work! I'm a huge fan.Kindest regards Dave.

I spoke to Dave McKean yesterday, and he's working on completing his short film DVD currently. He's finishing a number of old films -- he just completed THWACK!, a Mr Punch-inspired film he shot in about 1997 -- and thinks it will be done soon.

MirrorMask should be released in the UK within the next six weeks, I believe.

Hi Neil,I was wondering, have you ever considered doing an audio blog or a podcast for your site? Thanks,~Anna/llama

I've never wanted to do an audio blog, but am toying with the idea of doing a podcast of old readings -- it might be fun if I can find recordings of reasonably decent quality. I know I don't have any, but there are people who do.

Until I do...

RE: Your Attack of the Show appearance. For those readers who missed your interview on Attack of the Show, the video of the segment is hosted right here: http://www.g4tv.com/attackoftheshow/blog/AOTB/post/554198/Neil_Gaiman.html

And finally,

Why aren't there ever any pictures of you in glasses?

I think there are lots of them around, aren't there? I'll try and find a recent bespectacled photo...



(This one was taken by Kelli Bickman recently when she came out this way to paint a mural.)
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