Neil Gaiman
Journal Neil"s Work Cool Stuff & Things About Neil Message Boards Where"s Neil Search MouseCircus.Com FAQs
You are here: Home » Journal
Archives  |  RSS  |  Translations  |  Labels  |  Tumblr

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Happies and creepies

Happy Hallowe'en. (The photo on the journal is a today-only picture of me with a just-carved yesterday's pumpkin).

-Mr. Gaiman

I've written you before but you haven't responded, i'm sure a big famous writer like yourself is very busy (seriously, I know you are) but I would like to express my pleasure at seeing your article in the New York Times. I had the opportunity to read it at the breakfast table, and even in the morning surrounded by people, you were as always able to give me chills. What's more I've recommended the article to all of the Neil Gaiman fans I know, and they all went out and bought the copy of the Times, which means that you just put Dinner on my table (my father's an editor for the Times). Economics aside, i just wanted to thank you for another job well done



Thank you so much, to everyone who wrote to say they liked it or that they got gooseflesh over their morning coffee.

And for anyone who hasn't seen it, as I mentioned a few days ago, I wrote a small Hallowe'en Op-Ed piece for the New York Times. You can read it here (and this link should work without you having to sign in).

...

Over the last couple of days I got two messages saying they didn't like the way clicking on a blog link opened new windows, of which this is one:


I'm sure there are plenty of people out there who, like me, despise links that are hard-coded to open in new windows. It's unexpected behavior and I don't like web designers thinking they know what I want to do better than I do. If I want something to open in a new window, there are very easy ways for me to do this myself. Otherwise, it's just creating unwanted clutter. Other people like me may appreciate that Firefox has a preference setting that makes links like that open in new tabs instead of new windows. It doesn't totally solve the problem, but it makes it a little more tolerable.


and I got several dozen messages like this,

Dear Neil's web-elf:

Thank you. Holy crap, thank you, for the new window openy feature on Neil's journal. Thank you. Finally! That is all.

The internets are fun,
christine with an x


So unless the "please don't do this" groundswell grows very significantly I'll leave it as it is...

...



Hey Neil,

Just wanted to pass along that Stephen King listed the "American Gods" audio book as one of his top ten audio books.

http://www.ew.com/ew/article/commentary/0,6115,1551492_5_0_,00.html

-Dan


That's very kind of him. (his reading of Bag of Bones is one of my favourite Audio books, BTW.) I think of the two I prefer the Lenny Henry Anansi Boys audiobook, but George Guidall did an astonishing job on American Gods.

Dear Neil, You may be interested in AudioFile's "soundreview" of the Fragile Things audiobook, part of our Audiopolis podcast. It's a spoken review that incorporates snippets from the audiobook, and you can hear it here: http://www.audiofilemagazine.com/audiopolis/2006/10/fragile-things-by-neil-gaiman-read-by.html Best, Jennifer

...

Hi Neil, having had my head filled with work for the past few months I was greatly cheered and pleasantly surprised to stumble upon 'Fragile Things' and reading it certainly brightened up the dull Scottish autumn. It got me to check out your site for the first time in a while and I was immediately shocked and saddened to hear of John M Ford's passing. Furthermore, whilst catching up on the latest goings on in the worlds of my other favourite writers I stumbled upon the news that his friend, Robert Jordan, was also very ill. I just wanted to convey my condolences for your personal loss and ask if you know Mr Jordan yourself and indeed, how he is doing.

On a far lighter note, I was wondering if you knew if the BBC had any plans to re-air or release a DVD of Neverwhere as I would really like to see it again. It was responsible for sparking my interest in the fantasy genre and without it, I may never have enjoyed the work of such good writers as yourself, Jordan and Ford. Thanks


Jim Rigney, who writes under the name of Robert Jordan, was the first speaker at Mike Ford's memorial service. We'd never met before. I thought he was a real gentleman. We spoke for a while afterwards -- he seemed fragile, but in good spirits, or as good as possible, given the nature of the event we were at, and that we were both very conscious of having lost a friend.

(Here's his letter to Locus about his condition -- http://www.locusmag.com/2006/Features/03JordanLetter.html)

The truth is that the US release of Neverwhere on DVD is Region Zero, and not, as advertised, Region One, so you can watch it anywhere in the world. I'd love it if the BBC would release the original, obviously, although really I'd like it best if they could recut it, restore lost scenes, fix the look of it, and put in something that wasn't a big old cow as the Great Beast of London...

...

Here's a link to the Variety Bags and Boards review of Absolute Sandman -- http://weblogs.variety.com/bags_and_boards/2006/10/absolute_sandma.html

It concludes, This is arguably the finest of DC's Absolute editions, which have improved in quality from an already high level to the level of minievents for such recent volumes as Absolute Dark Knight and Absolute Kingdom Come. But Sandman is the state of the art; it's hard to imagine a more lovely volume being published by anyone. Grade: A+

Which is nice, but it also makes me realise we need to figure out how to raise the bar even higher for volumes 2, 3 and 4...

...

I'm really sorry to bother you with this, and obviously I'm mostly thinking you won't answer this, and it is deeply unimportant in the grand scheme of things (or even in the petit scheme of things) - but. I've just moved from the UK to the US, and I just want to get a damn sim card for my perfectly lovely mobile (which works here, no matter how many people insist that it won't) - and I'm being told by phone-selling people that they don't have sims in their phones (and therefore I can't just get a new sim), and god only knows what other confusing nonsense. And you're a grownup, and you travel between the two countries, and you take out your US sim and put in your UK sim (you said, you said!) and please could you tell me a) what network you've been pleased with in the US, and b) is there no such thing as a sim card in the US, do I really have to buy a new phone and use it exclusively while I'm here? and c) can I go home now if I promise to be really good?
Yours pathetically,
j


How odd. Yes, they have SIM cards in their phones here. Have you tried just walking in to a T-Mobile/Cingular/ etc shop and asking to buy a pay-as-you-go Sim card? (Or if you're going to be in the US for a while, you could buy the kind of monthly service that comes with a free basic phone and then just not use the free phone.)

I use T-Mobile in the US, mostly because AT&T used to charge for roaming if you went to the wrong side of the street.

...


And finally, this is for Holly, because it was her favourite show a long time ago (well, about eighteen years ago, but still)...

Monday, October 30, 2006

Important. And pass it on...

John M. Ford was pretty much the smartest writer I knew. Mostly. He did one thing that was less than smart, though: he knew he wasn't in the best of health, but he still didn't leave a proper will, and so didn't, in death, dispose of his literary estate in the way that he intended to while he was alive, which has caused grief and concern to the people who were closest to him.

He's not the first writer I know who didn't think to take care of his or her posthumous intellectual property. For example, I knew a writer -- a great writer -- separated from and estranged from his wife during the last five years of his life. He died without making a will, and his partner, who understood and respected his writing, was shut out, while his wife got the intellectual property, and has not, I think, treated it as it should have been treated. These things happen, and they happen too often.

There are writers who blithely explain to the world that they didn't make a will because they don't mind who gets their jeans and old guitar when they die but who would have conniptions if they realised how much aggravation their books or articles or poems or songs would cause their loved ones (or editors, anthologists or fans) after their death...

Writers put off making wills (well, human beings put off making wills, and most writers are probably human beings). Some of us think it's self-aggrandising or foolish to pretend that anyone would be interested in their books or creations after they're dead. Others secretly believe we're going to live forever and that making a will would mean letting Death in a crack.

Others make wills, but don't think to take into account what happens to our literary estate as a separate thing from the disposition of our second-best beds, which means unqualified or uninterested relatives can find themselves in control of everything the author's written. Some of us are just cheap.

All this bothered me, and still bothers me.

Shortly after Mike Ford's death, I spoke to Les Klinger about it. Les is a lawyer, and a very good one, and also an author. I met him through Michael Dirda, and the Baker Street Irregulars (here's Les's Sherlockian webpage).

Les immediately saw my point, understood my crusade and went off and made a document for authors. Especially the lazy sort of authors, or just the ones who haven't quite got around to seeing a lawyer, or who figure that one day it'll all sort itself out, or even the ones to whom it has never occurred that they need to think about this stuff.

It's a PDF file, which you can, and should, if you're a creative person, download here:

http://www.neilgaiman.com/journal/SIMPLEWILL.pdf

As Les says, your options are:

1) Recopy the document ENTIRELY by hand, date it, and sign it at the end. No witnesses required.

2) Type the document, date it, sign it IN FRONT OF at least two witnesses, who are not family or named in the Will, and have each witness sign IN FRONT OF YOU and the other witnesses. Better yet, go to a lawyer with this form and discuss your choices!


Having said that, the first option, a "holographic will" isn't valid everywhere -- according to Wikipedia, In the United States, unwitnessed holographic wills are valid in around 30 out of the 50 states. Jurisdictions that do not themselves recognize such holographic wills may nonetheless accept them under a "foreign wills act" if it was drafted in another jurisdiction in which it would be valid. In the United Kingdom, unwitnessed holographic wills are valid in Scotland, but not in England and Wales.

So the second option is by far the wisest.

Pass it on. Spread it around. And then, if you're an author, or even a weekend author with just a few short stories published, or one thin book you don't think anyone read or would want to republish, fill it out. Sign it and date it in front of witnesses. Put it somewhere safe. And rest easily in the knowledge that you may have made some anthologist, or some loved one, in the future, a bit happier and made their lives a little easier.

(Or better still, print it out and take it to your own lawyer/ solicitor or equivalent legal person when you get a formal will drawn up. As Les says, take it to a lawyer and discuss your choices.)

Feel very free to repost it on your own webpages, or to link to it above, or link to this blog entry -- it's http://www.neilgaiman.com/journal/2006/10/important-and-pass-it-on.html -- which contains all this information.

(And the same goes for you artists, photographers and songwriters, although a few words may have to be changed or added.)

[Edit to add, Les's template is appropriate for the US. If you're outside of the US, go and see a lawyer -- you can take Les's template with them to show them the sort of thing you have in mind. And if you're an estate planning sort of lawyer in a foreign land and you feel like doing a template document, send it to me and I'll put up a webpage here with all of them on.]

Sunday, October 29, 2006

The News from Earth-X

I've never been quoted in the Sun before, as far as I know.

I still haven't been. Not really.

When The Independent wrote about the M25 London Orbital Motorway last week, they quoted from Good Omens, accurately, as follows...

I prefer the answer given by the satirists Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman. "Many phenomena - wars, plagues, sudden audits - have been advanced as evidence for the hidden hand of Satan in the affairs of Man, but whenever students of demonology get together the M25 London orbital motorway is generally agreed to be among the top contenders for exhibit A."

The Sun has now done their own article on the M25, in which we learn that their reporter reads the Independent and that...

Satirists Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman offer this view of the road: “Many phenomena — wars, plagues and sudden audits — have been advanced as evidence of Satan, but the M25 is generally among the top contenders for Exhibit A.”

Which somehow manages to take a sentence that made sense and was (I like to think) funny, and rewrite it into something that is barely either. Although it is a bit shorter, and I'm sure that counts for something in The Sun's world.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

the news from earth two

Today I had an unplanned but extrememly welcome houseful of people, old friends in town for Mike Ford's memorial yesterday, and I kept them fed and watered, and showed them art, and took some of them into the woods in the autumn sunlight, and they talked and ate and discussed literature and it was a good way to remember Mike.

There's an article in the St Paul Pioneer Press about yesterday's memorial -- and it does that thing that newspaper articles do when you actually know something about what's being written, in that it's all sort of accurate, give or take a few mistakes, but it manages somehow to be about something from an alternate universe, where it's sort of like the world you know only different.

Over at Making Light there's a letter to the reporter, much like the one I would have written if I wrote to reporters, and a well-considered reply from the reporter in question.

And then it was over, and most of the people went. I checked my email, and learned that my Aunt Myra had died today. It wasn't unexpected, but it still stings.

There's too much dying going on right now. If you were thinking of dying this week, don't. Just don't.

Friday, October 27, 2006

old ghosts

I finished the New York Times piece I've been writing for their Hallowe'en edition.

It was due on Monday morning but wasn't ready, all I had were some false starts, and on Wednesday I sent them what I had so far, all 300 words of it, so they could get an illustration done. And then somewhere on Thursday the thing in my head started to pull together and finally it was starting to work, but I knew it would only make it if the last paragraph did what it was meant to and pulled all the themes together, and it did in my head but I wasn't there yet. And then, rather to my surprise, it was done, 1200 words long, just like they'd asked, and this afternoon the New York Times seem extremely happy with it (happy enough that the editor said if there was anything else I'd like to write about for them they'd like to print it, although that may just have been the adrenaline rush of actually getting the article talking).

...

I spent today at Mike Ford's memorial and the wake that followed. I gave the last of the eulogies, and it's done, and it's good, and he is still missed.

(Not unexpectedly, there were rather more people in Minneapolis, than at the UK John M. Ford memorial, which was described movingly here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/wormseyeview)

...

Over the last five years I've suggested to the webpeople behind www.Neilgaiman.com that I'd love it if clicking on a link in the blog opened a new window rather than taking you away from the blog, and each time I ask they've sent back emails explaining why this was impossible, in ways that sounded convincing.

I mentioned this, slightly wistfully, to the web-elf, who went off and did something technical and then, a minute later, let me know I should try clicking on a link in the journal. I tried. It opened a new window.

It is a fine thing for a website to have a web-elf. Expect a plethora of interesting improvements to the site in the weeks and months ahead.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

from audio to bats

Hi Neil, I just have a quick question that I hope won't be too much a waste of your time. I bought the Fragile Things audiobook on ebay, used, and the inside had two separate, plain black, cardboard sleeves holding the cds. No artwork inside. I couldn't find any pics online of anything besides the cover, so I was hoping you could tell me if that's how they're supposed to be? Seemed a little fishy and I don't want to find out later that I was ripped off. Thanks!

I went and checked. First I opened my FRAGILE THINGS audio box, and found the same thing. So no, you weren't ripped off. But you were right in being puzzled -- there should have been more inside. I called Harper Audio and we figured out that a combination of vicious deadlines and some checks and balances not checking and balancing meant that things that should have been in the box weren't.

The main thing that should have been in the Audio CD box for FRAGILE THINGS was the track listing and information. I'll get a webpage put up here at neilgaiman.com with it on, but in the meantime, for any of you with the FRAGILE THINGS audiobook, here's the PDF File with all the track listings and story info that should have been printed on the black CD holders in the box.

FragileThingsCD.pdf

Also the CCDB info is now in, so if you're using iTunes or similar, it should now be able to put up a track listing for Fragile Things audio.


Has anyone adapted Murder Mysteries for the screen? And if not, where can I sign up to be the first?=)
Owen C-B


I'm afraid David Goyer was the first, and he did a really excellent script for it, which I think he still wants to direct. Not sure if anything's happening with it these days, though. But as with any of the stories, you'd approach my agent, Jon Levin at CAA, and find out if the rights are available.

Neil --
Tony Long of Wired news recently offered an editorial (http://www.tinyurl.com/yk8z89)in which he takes offense at the nomination of Gene Luen Yang for a National Book Award for "American Born Chinese", a graphic novel -- Long argues that no "comic book" (his words) should be nominated for an award intended for a "real novel". What is your opinion about graphic novels being nominated for (and poteintially winning) major literary prizes?

Shawn


I suppose if he builds a time machine he could do something about Maus's 1992 Pulitzer, or Sandman's 1991 World Fantasy Award for Best Short Story, or Chris Ware's Jimmy Corrigan winning the 2001 Guardian First Book Award, or even Watchmen's appearance on Time's Hundred Best Novels of the 20th Century list. Lacking a Time Machine, it seems a rather silly and antiquated argument, like hearing someone complain that women have the vote or that be-bop music and crooners are turning up in the pop charts.

I like the bit where he says that he hasn't read the comic in question, but he just knows what things like that are like. It's always best to be offended by things you haven't read. That way you keep your mind uncluttered by things that might change it.

Hey, Neil.

i tried this last week, but something was twonky with the FAQ line, I think.

Anyway, I was wondering if I could beg a plug for the ALA Sandman Poster from you. With Absolute Sandman out I'm thinking fans might want one or two. Or may want to use it as a gift to encourage their libraries to keep their graphic novel collections growing.

The Absolute volume is breathtaking by the way. I haven't gotten my copy yet, but I had a glimpse of the Booklist review copy and it made my fingers all tingly like pretty comics usually do.

And lastly I had meant to tell you: We tried our hands at a small press booth at Wizard World Chicago this past summer and had interesting results. Sales were okay, especially on the Alex Ross posters and Sandman (no surprise). Also, your Author Poster was a strong seller. The best reaction over all, though, was that everyone was so jazzed to see us there. Publishers came around to say how great it was to see ALA there and to ask how they could get into the library market, or better yet how to help their local libraries. Retailers came by to say hi and tell us about programs and relationships they had with their local libraries. And EVERYONE wanted to show us their library card.

It's really kind of funny because working at ALA, as with most non-profits, you know your job helps and it's a real weight off your soul. (Especially if you're like me and came to it from real estate.) But sometimes at ALA you forget how many people are really impacted by the work we do. Seeing everyone, kids and adults, so excited about their local libraries made me really proud of my job.

Anyway... thanks for the plug if you have time. Let me know if there are ever any posters you want or anything I can help out with.

Tina @ ALA



Sure, happy to put in a plug for a good cause...
http://www.alastore.ala.org/SiteSolution.taf?_sn=catalog&_pn=product_detail&_op=1358 is the poster of me with a sinister beard, and
http://www.alastore.ala.org/SiteSolution.taf?_sn=catalog&_pn=product_detail&_op=1226
is the P Craig Russell Sandman poster.

A Film students inquiry...

I am shooting my senior thesis project, its a 1940's detective noir combined with heavy fantasy elements, and was hoping you could tell me the name of the company that created the masks for your film "Mirrormask".

I will try and find your agents contact info, but wanted to see if this would find you first.

With my upmost respect,
Chandler Kauffman


A few of them were bought commercially in Venice, but the majority of them were designed and made by Dave McKean himself.


And finally,

Neil, please help save Bats!
I have been sending this message around to help save bats from being killed for decorations. I imagine people assume they were killed humanely or gathered after death, but that is not the case. Please help me get the word out!

HEY
All you goths and other happy freaky people out there.
I saw this petition online, and I think if we spread the word we can help out, as this product is probably aimed at our community.

A couple companies have been capturing and slaughtering healthy live Wild bats and selling them in glass cases on Ebay and places like that as decorations.

Go online and sign this petition to get them to stop, and spread the word. These are real live healthy bats, that are killed just for entertainment! If we are the target of this industry, we can stop it by petitioning, and refusing the product.
Help me spread the word all!
A.S. Rahne

http://www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/842577656



I'm not convinced that online petitions do any good, but I'm happy to at least draw attention to the problem for you.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Wil, 3D Grendel, and Mike's memorial

About twenty people wrote in to let me know the following (this was the first),

Neil--Wil Wheaton has been singing praises of all things Sandman and he has a very touching story about his first encounter with Dream and the other Endless up here:
http://wilwheaton.typepad.com/wwdnbackup/2006/10/dream_country.html
I have to say, his experience is rather similar to my own. Sandman really opened my eyes to a whole new realm of possibilities, comic-wise. Your novels had the same impression on me and... Well, I suppose Wil Wheaton's entry has made me realize I've never actually thanked you.So, thank you Neil. Thank you for creating magical worlds in which your readers can explore and get lost in, if even for a few hours.Also, I thought your blog readers who may not necessarily read Wil's blog as religiously as I might enjoy the read.
Thank you again. KaasDawson, Minnesota

That really is a touching story. I knew Wil liked Sandman, I didn't know that it had mattered to him like that.

Wil's Suicide Girls review of Absolute Sandman is now up at http://suicidegirls.com/news/geek/18801/ (Do I need to warn anyone that there are pictures of ladies not wearing very much at the Suicide Girls site? The last time I linked to a Suicide Girls article I had people writing in to ask me to put NSFW warnings up. So.)

(The bookslut review, with Jessa's reaction oddly enough very similar to Wil's, is at http://www.bookslut.com/blog/archives/2006_10.php#010119)

Meanwhile, from the Hollywood Reporter (http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/hr/content_display/film/news/e3i9mMlg9kPyExGMcYiFzCKlw==) I learn that BEOWULF is also going to be widely released in 3D next year (and that it's now being released on Nov 16th 2007). (It'll be released in 2D as well, of course.)

I like the description of it as a "digitally enhanced live-action film" too.

A reminder that I'll be talking and reading in Conway, Arkansas on November the 14th http://www.uca.edu/cfac/wrsp/speaker_series.html and then, on November the 16th I'll be doing the same sort of thing at San Jose http://sanjose.org/visitors/events/dates.php?id=15292 .

Finally, if you're in the Minneapolis area tomorrow, Friday the 27th, it's Mike Ford's memorial and a Wake -- details at http://community.livejournal.com/nemesis_draco/ and I'm not sure that I've posted anything here about the John M Ford Book Endowment Fund at the Minneapolis Public Library -- http://elisem.livejournal.com/907925.html -- but it certainly bears repeating...


"For every $500 dollars deposited in the endowment funds, the Friends
purchase a book for the library system annually with the interest
earned on the endowment. This really is the gift that keeps on giving.
You can specify what genre or library location/branch the books are
intended for. Some people just specify "where most needed". We prepare
bookplates and have them inserted in each book before they are
shelved. Patrons will see Mike's name each time the book is opened! I
think it is important for people to know that these funds are
'permanently restricted' to the annual purchase of books. The money
will never be diverted to other use."


And as Tom Galloway reminded me,

In addition, John Scalzi and Jo Walton have each auctioned off a
galley or sold unpublished stories for the benefit of the fund.
Currently, Lois McMaster Bujold is auctioning off the galleys of her
upcoming novel The Sharing Knife: Legacy, which otherwise won't be
available until next spring. Auction closes 11:59:59 pm Central,
Friday, October 27 and is taking place at
http://carbonel.livejournal.com/47830.html

short short shorts

An editor at Wired Magazine had an idea. Could they get writers to give them six word short-short stories?

I was one of the people who gave it a try. You can read the results over at...

http://wired.com/wired/archive/14.11/sixwords.html

I think my favourites are

Machine. Unexpectedly, I’d invented a time
- Alan Moore

and

It’s behind you! Hurry before it
- Rockne S. O’Bannon

and

Osama’s time machine: President Gore concerned.
- Charles Stross

and also

The baby’s blood type? Human, mostly.
- Orson Scott Card

blinking morning thoughts...

Up too early to take Maddy to school (I think I'm now on normal Neil time and 6:50 am is now a painful sort of place to be) and I found myself profoundly grateful to Fred the Cat. When I had the new garage built (because a groundhog had dug out the foundations of the very old one, and the concrete floor had caved in) I'd hesitated on putting in heating, but then it looked like Fred would probably wind up outside this year, so I had underfloor heating and a cat door put in. And today, with temperatures only a hair below freezing, I realised that this had been a wise idea. In a month or two, when temperatures drop down into weird Midwestern winter range, I think I will be even more grateful to Fred. And, I suppose, to the groundhog.

Anyway, this is just a quick post to link to an IGN interview with Henry Selick, in which he talks about the film he's making of Coraline (The official site is http://www.laika.com/entertainment/ and click on projects and then Coraline). I got a nice note from him while I was on tour, promising to get me Coraline film stuff soon, which I am very much looking forward to seeing, and will either talk about what he sends on this blog or not talk about it, depending on what Henry asks.

One of the things I like best about Henry is his honesty. He's not very good at doing the Hollywood things of telling people what he thinks they want to hear, and says what he thinks instead. This is probably one reason why he's now making movies in Portland rather than in Hollywood. So he's probably much too honest here ("I certainly hope they don't put it out in the middle of the summer blockbuster season. We'll get creamed.") but more power to him... http://movies.ign.com/articles/741/741162p1.html is the interview.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

A three pipe problem

The odd bit is not losing a post. The odd bit is losing a post. I mean, I have no idea where it is. It's not even in drafts. And I quite distinctly remember writing it and posting it. (Shakes head in an extremely puzzled sort of way.)

I even have a chunk of it sitting in notepad, which I shall now cut and paste...

........

Yesterday's flying option worked brilliantly, especially when I learned that traffic was backed up so badly on I-94 that it would have taken me five hours to get to Madison and another five hours to get home again, so Dr Dan's small plane solution saved me about 8 hours. I went in, talked to Peter Straub and Gary Wolfe in front of a large audience, learned that I was very nearly part of a literary movement called "The Mountain Behind the Other Mountain" (Gary did all the work at keeping things going while Peter and I pontificated and burbled) scribbled very fast on people's books, and then flew home.

Also Susan Straub gave me a copy of her new book (It's called Reading With
Babies, Toddlers and Twos
.)

Over at http://www.superherohype.com/news/featuresnews.php?id=4830
is an interview done at Comic Con in July with me and Charles Vess
about Stardust. Watch as Mr Vess and Mr Gaiman finish each other's
sentences...

You can listen to Pete Atkins talk about the Rolling Darkness Revue
at http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=6362633

Pete is half of Hill House Publishers, who assure me that they've
mended their ways after a 2006 during which they were very bad at
letting people know what was going on. They've put a web page up
letting people know what's happening -- and it looks like a lot is happening -- at
http://hillhousepublishers.com/hh-break01.htm. I'm still receiving
some scattered reports of people who are waiting for information or
replies from them though, so let me know if you're in that category and
I'll do my best to make sure they get back to you.

Neil,

Thanks, first of all, for posting the announcement for the panel about your novels that I'm chairing at the College English Association. Could you please let your readers know that the deadline has been shifted to November 30?

The website for the original announcement is: http://www.h-net.org/announce/show.cgi?ID=153105

Thanks!

Tim Peoples


You are welcome. I hope you get terrific papers.

No question, just a hello, and a link to a story I wrote that isn't exactly about you, but features you, let's say. It's part I of a two part story. The second part will be posted soon. Here's the link:
http://www.postmodernsass.com/blogger/2006/10/head-like-hole-part-i.html


It was when I read the second part of that that I remembered why I am so glad not be in academia. I hope you get a book that works well for everyone.

..........

but there was a lot more of it than that, and now I don't remember what other things I posted. Heigh ho.

Probably mysteries add a small amount of spice and savour to life, like salt or a splish of balsamic vinegar, so I shall not worry about it. Unless it happens again.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

And she's not too sure about lighter-than-air travel, if it comes to that

I was chatting to my friend Doctor Dan last night, about what I was doing today, and being glum about the six hours of driving that I have to do to get to and from Madison when I need to get an article finished. And Dan said "It's only 45 minutes in a plane," and offered to fly me down in his plane. (Dan flew me all over Northern Minnesota and Wisconsin when I was researching American Gods.) So I shall be having a small adventure on my way to Peter Straub and Gary Wolfe and the Orpheum.

"If you blog about this," said my assistant Lorraine, "Can you say something about how your assistant Lorraine took this news remarkably well, all things considered?" By which she means, I think, that she has decided, after some discussion, not to form a human shield by lying on the driveway in order to stop me doing something so utterly foolish, and instead will spend the rest of the afternoon somehow magically keeping the plane in the air. Lorraine is unconvinced by planes at the best of times, and suspects that one day someone will discover that heavier-than-air travel is impossible.

In the meantime, a couple more Fragile Things reviews have arrived -- http://www.baltimoresun.com/features/booksmags/bal-id.bk.fragile22oct22,0,4994869.story?coll=bal-artslife-books

in which Victoria A. Brownworth concludes,

The singular characteristic tying each of these very disparate tales together - the whimsical and the grisly, the satirical and the profane, the outer space aliens and the literary (and literal) carnivores - is that they all come from the realm of the deeply dark. Readers will be reminded most in these stories of that master craftsman yet to be superseded, Ray Bradbury, to whom Gaiman dedicates this book (and his tale "October's Chair," in which the months of the year come to life, pays homage directly to Bradbury). Bradbury had the ability to cruise seamlessly between fantasy and sci-fi, horror and ghost tale. Few who have read him will forget such classics as The Martian Chronicles (Gaiman does a nice twist on that with "Girls at Parties"), The Illustrated Man or Something Wicked This Way Comes. Gaiman has that same ability to move from one genre-within-a-genre to another and not leave the reader who prefers horror to sci-fi, fantasy to realism, in the dust.

There is a commingling of styles and outre vignettes in Fragile Things that demands that the reader try yet another, then another, like alien canapes at a Trekkie party. These are gothic tales of high caliber and with Fragile Things, Gaiman appears to have yet another best-seller in the making.

and in the Lexington Herald Leader -- http://www.kentucky.com/mld/heraldleader/entertainment/books/15813835.htm -- Jim Grayson says (among other things),

And then, when you start to think Gaiman simply dips into one genre for this piece and another for that, he throws you a poem like The Day the Flying Saucers Came, in which not only do flying saucers invade, but the fairies are released, the gods go to war and the machines revolt. Go ahead and try to pigeonhole that.

But for all their fantastic, amazing or horrifying trappings, these are stories about people. We read about people so desperately bored with their lives that they'll try anything to spice things up. About adolescent boys trying to overcome their awkwardness in the face of that most fearsome of creatures: the adolescent girl. We read about love and loss and family and home.
And perhaps more than in his previous books, but never in a self-aggrandizing manner, we read about Neil Gaiman. He says at least one story is autobiographical, but several others have an intimate sense to them, suggesting that the author has been in these places before.


Also, here and there and in some unexpected places, we read about ourselves. Is that not the mark of "respectable" literary fiction?

Both of which reviews were pleasant things to read on a Sunday morning, but sort of frustrating when your head is not shaping the thing you're trying to write in the way you wish it would, and soon you have to get on a plane and talk about horror. ("You want horror... I'll give you horror. The deadline's tomorrow, that's blinkin' horror...")

And a few links to Fragile Things reviews I don't think I've posted -- here's Entertainment Weekly, -- http://www.ew.com/ew/article/review/book/0,6115,1537735_5_0_,00.html, and writer-editor Gavin Grant for Booksense at http://bookpage.com/0610bp/fiction/fragile_things.html, and this David Hebblethwaite one from Laura Hird's New Review site http://www.laurahird.com/newreview/fragilethings.html.

And next week I may finally get to see a cut (temp effects and temp music, but probably pretty much the film as it will be) of Stardust (http://www.stardustmovie.com/ but there's nothing new up there yet. Soon, though.) . Will report back when I've seen it.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Much too long a post

Our new webmistress, Sara, let me know that there's a whole lot of new FRAGILE THINGS related stuff up on the front page of Neilgaiman.com (it's http://www.neilgaiman.com/ for those of you who are reading this on a feed somewhere and then just scroll down). (It includes a video of the whole of the Cody's reading.)

This just came in from Mark Askwith, at the Space Station in Toronto --

I picked up the Absolute Sandman last week (insert weight joke here), and I was so blown away by the book that I made a nice little item on Sandman which aired this week, went on the website today, and will no doubt get turned into one of those 'flow' items I make...
http://www.spacecast.com/hypaspace.aspx

(Click on the Neil Gaiman and Sandman link.)

And this from Suw Charman at the Open Rights Group (of which long term readers of this blog may remember that I am patron)...

Hi Neil,

It's been a long time since I last emailed to update you on the
progress of the Open Rights Group, but we've been really busy with a
number of projects. We gave evidence in Parliament to the APIG DRM
Public Inquiry, submitted a paper to the Gowers Review of Intellectual
Property, and have been holding regular Copyfighters Drunken Brunch
and Talking Shops at Speakers Corner (where you can come along and
harangue the crowds on a topic of your choosing, should you ever feel
like it). We've done a ton of press about things like DRM, the music
industry's ideas for an 'ISP tax' and their demands that ISPs hand
over customer information, intellectual property law reform, privacy,
cryptography and a lot more. And I've been speaking at a lot of
conferences trying to get the ORG message out to as many people as
possible.

In fact, ORG has grown now to the point where we need a full-time
Executive Director, and that's why I'm emailing. We're looking for
someone who's passionate and professional, who can recruit lots of new
supporters and expand our campaigning activities, and I was hoping
you'd be able to blog about this so that we can cast our net as widely
as possible. There's a lot more detail on the ORG site:

http://www.openrightsgroup.org/2006/10/12/org-seeks-full-time-executive-director/

As for me, well, the last 15 months has been amazing and I'm happy to
say that I'm staying with ORG as a Board member, so I can continue to
help steer ORG in the right direction.

and a request from John Hudgens, director of American Scary, a documentary about Horror Hosts (including yours truly) --

The first screening this weekend is 9pm Saturday night at the Hollywood Film Festival, which is being held at the ArcLight Cinema on Sunset Blvd. Tickets can be ordered here: http://www.arclightcinemas.com/(z5t4coeaejvjgn45c2sfls55)/visMovieInfo.aspx?MovieName=AMERICAN+SCARY&CinemaID=1001

The film can also be seen 7pm Sunday night at the Austin Film Festival - that screening is at the Alama Drafthouse Lake Creek in Austin, TX. It also screens this coming Thursday night down there as well. More info on that is here: http://www.drafthouse.com/online_tix/show_details.asp?show_id=3826

And of course, the movie website is http://www.americanscary.com


...



Hye Neil...

Was wondering...
Is it true that some of the materials inside Fragile Things have been published before in Smoke and Mirrors?


It shouldn't be, although it may seem that way to people in some places in the world.

The UK version of Smoke and Mirrors has stories that aren't in the US version, for reasons having to do with me being a twit and not predicting that eight years later I'd regret saying yes. (The long story: one of them, "Eaten", was taken out of Smoke and Mirrors by my US editor. The others were stories I sent to the UK when they were talking about publishing a chapbook with some stories not in Smoke and Mirrors in it, to help promote Smoke and Mirrors. And then minds were changed and the three stories wound up simply being in the UK version of the book.)

So then, as discussed in this blog, I had a conundrum, which I solved in the simplest possible way by saying that taken together the US and UK editions should be the same.

So the UK edition of Fragile Things doesn't contain the stories that were in the UK edition of Smoke and Mirrors.

The US edition contains the stories that weren't in the US edition of Smoke and Mirrors.

So if you have a UK edition of Smoke and Mirrors and a US edition of Fragile Things, then three of the stories will repeat.

(Contrariwise, if you have a US edition of Smoke and Mirrors and a UK edition of Fragile Things then there are three stories you won't have read.)

It's not a problem in the US or the UK, or it shouldn't be. It probably is a problem in places like the Philippines or Singapore -- the "open market" places where you're as likely to get one edition as another.

Kim Newman; you forgot (or didn't want to) mention that Kim was in Sandman, or at least someone who looked a lot like him interviewed Richard Madoc. (And obviously you know this or I've made a huge mistake)

have fun

Marcus


That's the trouble with Kim. There's more to him than you can easily squeeze into one short post. I'll have a look around for the article I wrote about Kim as an introduction to one of his short story collections, and maybe put it up here. And yes, I put him in Sandman 17. (You can read the script in Dream Country.)

Dear Mr. Gaiman,

I don't know if you've seen this yet, but I thought you might be interested to hear that, according to voters at Comic Book Resources, you are one of the most loved comic book writers of all time (you even beat out Stan Lee!). I would just like to say congratulations, as if you don't get that enough I'm sure, and I look forward to reading Fragile Things (it is currently sitting on my desk, taunting me with its literary goodness).

-Alex


Well, I would have voted for Alan Moore or Stan Lee. I suspect that things are skewed because I have a web presence. But that's kind of them.

Dear Mr Gaiman,

Call me dense if I'm mistaken, but are there two separate published editions of The Absolute Sandman?

The cover shown on Barnes & Noble...

http://search.barnesandnoble.com/booksearch/isbnInquiry.asp?z=y&EAN=9781401210823&itm=1

... is different from that shown on Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/Absolute-Sandman-Vol-1/dp/1401210821/sr=8-1/qid=1161273172/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1/102-4799024-9083320?ie=UTF8

One says published by DC Comics, the other Vertigo, yet they appear identical otherwise. I googled (always google before asking!), but only found the same question, and no answers. I think I'm missing something here... Thanks if you can help.

X


Well, Barnes and Noble shows the slipcase. Amazon shows an early mock-up of the cover, before the actual art and design was settled. Neither of them shows what the book looks like.

I put a post up on the blog when my copy came, with lots of photos of the Absolute Sandman in it -- http://www.neilgaiman.com/journal/2006/08/my-table-in-pictures.html
which should give you an idea of what the book looks like. Although not what it weighs...


Just curious how you choose what tribe to use when describing characters of yours who have Native American ancestry. I've noticed on two occasions that Cherokee seems a popular choice: Samantha from AG, and Santeria from "Bitter Grounds", Fragile Things. Sorry to say but the choice of Cherokee feels rather cliche. It seems like every Indian you see on TV or in the movies is Cherokee. The running joke in Indian country is that the Cherokee must be some beautiful people because most folks who claim a fraction of Indian in them more often than not have a little Cherokee blood in their family tree. As a full blood Indian fan of yours I have a suggestion. Next time say the character is from my tribe, the Blood Tribe from southern Alberta, Canada. The name just sounds right up your alley.

Curtis Eaglespeaker


I thought there were rather a lot of different Native American tribes and characters in American Gods, weren't there? I suspect Sam traced her Cherokeeness to a friend of mine who was Cherokee, and who was one of my beta readers.

The Santeria lady in "Bitter Grounds" on the other hand, traced her ancestry to me noticing that, as you say, it seemed that every white American person I met who claimed Native American blood claimed to have Cherokee ancestry (including three separate people who told me that they were descended from Cherokee Princesses). (And what exactly is a Cherokee princess anyway?)

As you say, the Blood Tribe is wonderfully named.

Talking of iPods, what's on yours, dear? And how big is it (the iPod that is)?

I mean, is it stuffed full of history's music, or do you upload audio books and podcasts as well? And how about video? I tend to prefer paper books, myself, on a long journey unless the audio is brilliantly executed. But I do love to listen to podcasts of interviews or favourite radio programmes. The BBC are quite good in that department, but could be better. Imagine if they really opened up their vaulted archive to the digital age. T'would be a wonderful thing.

I better shut up now.

There are two iPods in use --the Nano I was given by Paramount to mark the start of Beowulf shooting and the new iPod 80GB I bought a few weeks ago, to replace the two-year-old 60GB (which is the one from which I now want to pull the playlists).

There's a ridiculous amount of music on it. Also a lot of radio -- all the Jack Benny Shows, along with Burns and Allen, Hancock's Half Hour, and Round the Horne. And, like you, I wish the BBC would open its archives...

I put a little video on it, to see if I could (all of it ripped from DVDs with handbrake). Some Sergeant Bilko episodes, Tristram Shandy, and The New World. I watched a little of it on the last long plane journey, but decided that I really didn't like holding and watching an iPod for hours.

Hi Neil,

In reference to your mention of Puca Puppets production of Coraline, here's their press release and itinerary.

Cheers,
Adrian


Press Release
For Further information please contact Niamh Lawlor 087 7800 931 or pucapuppets@eircom.net

Produced by Púca Puppets in association with Éigse Carlow Arts Festival.
Coraline
Adapted by Púca Puppets from Neil Gaiman’s novel.

Coraline is a bright and curious only child who loves exploring. So when she finds a secret door in her new house, she can’t resist the temptation to see what lies behind it. There she discovers a parallel world that is uncannily like her own – but also quite different. She befriends a smart-talking cat and performing rats, and meets counterfeit parents with buttons for eyes, and evil on their minds. What follows is nothing less than a battle for Coraline’s soul.

Fusing puppetry with atmospheric lighting, music and sound effects, Coraline takes its audience into a dark dream-world of vibrant characters and images. Suitable for both older children (10 years+) and adults, it explores themes of true and false love. A fairy-tale for the 21st century – it appeals without patronizing, thrills without terrifying, and, like all myths, operates on several levels to challenge and delight.

Throughout the production process in workshops and previews Púca Puppets have consulted with members of their target audience in the making of this show.

Performances:
...

Project Arts Centre, Dublin 16th-28th October, Tel: (01) 881 9613 / 881 9614 www.project.ie Ticket prices €7 €10 €14
Mermaid Arts Centre, Main St Bray Co Wicklow Tel 01 272 4030 November 1st 11am and 4pm
Tickets €10 www.mermaidartscentre.ie
The Source Arts Centre, Thurles, 9th November 2pm and 7 pm, Box Office 0504 90204, Tickets €10, €12
Solstice Arts Centre, Navan, Tel : 046 909 2300, www.solsticeartscentre.com 16th 17th November 10.30 am and 2pm, 18th 4pm and 7pm. Tickets €10 / €7


(I'm working my way slowly back over the last few weeks of unanswered stuff)...

Hi, Neil, this is a little off topic, but I thought it would be right up your alley. I am in England for the year studying abroad, and my fantasy-and-macabre-loving artist best friend has given me a mission: to find a teacup, and preferably also a saucer, to bring home to her. This comes with the disclaimer that the teacup and saucer have to be in the very least odd-looking. Do you know of any shops in Blighty or the rest of Britain that sell strange/wacky/interesting teacups? I would be most thankful for any help.

Well if it was teapots you wanted, I'd point you to the coolest teapots in the world, at http://www.andytitcomb.com/current/current.html. (Last time I linked there I crashed the site, though. So don't all click on it at once.) If I wanted an odd teacup and saucer though I would probably poke around junk shops, or possibly just go to to ebay.co.uk and search for teacup.

...

And finally, Teen in flying bra crash is charged with littering... and if that's not enough, Central Valley teacher gives x-rated handout

Seeing Old Friends

I know it's up on Where's Neil, but this is a reminder that on Sunday at 4:00pm I'll be in conversation with Peter Straub and Gary Wolfe at the Wisconsin Book Festival, at the Orpheum Theatre. We'll be talking about Horror, I think.

http://www.wisconsinbookfestival.org/schedule//events.php?eventdate=2006-10-22
and http://www.humanities.wisc.edu/programs/otherprogs.html

There. Now I shall get out of bed and take Maddy to School.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

peace and love and all that stuff...

I'm not yet back on anything approaching Neil time - I'm still waking up naturally at around 6:30 am. And so I've been taking Maddy to school, which she enjoys, so she brings me cups of tea in the morning to wake up with, and I'm asleep by ten at night. Very odd. I keep wondering who I'm turning into. ("I'm sure I'm not Mabel...")

And I keep forgetting things, in a sort of cheerful post jet-lagged haze. Like posting this, for example, which I wrote yesterday and forgot..

...

I was 22 when I met Kim Newman, and he was 23, and even then much older and wiser than I was, and already on the way to becoming a well-known and well-respected and quite fearless film critic. When people say I'm prolific (I'm not) Kim is the standard I compare myself to: someone who can write a short story or a review or a novel in the time it takes to type it, and who not only can, but does.

We wrote a book together, taking separate halves (he finished his long before I finished mine), and then we wrote dozens of humour articles for sundry magazines, respectable and otherwise (the otherwise paid much better) together and with other writers (mostly the hilarious Eugene Byrne with occasional contributions from Phil Nutman and Stefan Jaworzyn), under the bank account of "The Peace and Love Corporation".

We haven't seen each other or even spoken for years, although the bank account still exists, and contains several pounds, and Eugene, as custodian of the account, emails us both every year and lets us know that it's still there. Our current plan involves not ever taking anything out of the bank account and then, using the miracle of compound interest, in several thousand years' time OWNING THE GALAXY, before being wiped out in the stock market crash of October 3719.

Which is all by way of preamble to me noticing this morning with a certain amount of tredipidation that Kim Newman had reviewed Fragile Things for The Independent, and my subsequent happiness that the review was fundamentally a very good one. (And if you think that knowing Kim for 23 years might have got me a free ride, or even a good review if he didn't actually believe it, well, you don't know Kim Newman.)

http://enjoyment.independent.co.uk/books/reviews/article1888662.ece

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

wet and puddly

It's a wet grey day. I'm not yet back on an American schedule yet, which is working to my advantage, as I got to take Maddy to school this morning many hours before I am normally awake.

Lots of people sent me nice and helpful explanations of how to export a playlist from iTunes, which wasn't really what I needed, since, for some reason known only to Apple, iTunes won't export or save iPod playlists. Other people have sent in links to various podmanagement programs, which I'm currently playing with, as neither of the ones I normally use, Senuti and Xplay, are much use for what I want to do here. Irritatingly, all the ones that seem like they might work are only available for downloads in trial versions that don't let me test them properly. I'll report back, once I've got one working...

Over at http://www.greenmanpress.com/news/ Mister Vess has put up some images he's currently working on, all Stardust related, which make me incredibly happy -- and they'll also make happy anyone who got a set of the limited edition Stardust prints in a box big enough to hold more than it contained, because it means Charles will finally finish the set. He's chosen to make one of the illustrations a drawing from Hellflyer, the Tristran Thorne adventure I've not yet written, as well, which gives me an odd bubbly feeling in my tummy and really makes me want to drop everything and write it.

Meanwhile, the first new photos from the Stardust movie have surfaced in, of all places, a Spanish magazine, and scans are up at:

http://pfmagazines.iespana.es/2006-10_Metropolis/01.jpg
http://pfmagazines.iespana.es/2006-10_Metropolis/02.jpg

People keep sending me Iggy Pop's rider instructions. And seeing that it's genuinely funny, and some of you may not yet have seen it...
http://www.thesmokinggun.com/archive/1004061iggypop1.html

It occurred to me some weeks ago that the solution, for spammers, to increasingly better spamblocks, would be to create spam that people wanted, just as the solution to advertisers complaining that people are learning better ways of skipping and avoiding ads is to start to create ads that people really want to see and then people send to each other. Like this one -- http://www.bravia-advert.com/paint/thead/ (via Olga of http://fabulist.org/).

And finally, a small Gothic Archies piece of loveliness -- http://vids.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=vids.individual&videoid=1276207069

Monday, October 16, 2006

Short Theatrical Post

Just a short note to congratulate Vicky Featherstone, Julian Crouch, Nick Powell, all the cast and musicians and folk at Improbable and the National Theatre of Scotland on The Wolves in the Walls getting the Best Show for Children and Young People prize in the TMA Awards, the only UK nationwide prize for regional theatre.

http://www.whatsonstage.com/dl/page.php?page=greenroom&story=E8821160917530

Despite the fact I've been travelling much too much I'm still trying to figure out whether I can nip across the Atlantic to see any of the current tour (http://www.improbable.co.uk/show_example.asp?item_id=14) with some new cast members and a new song or two.

(I also really want to see the Púca Puppets production of Coraline, currently on in Dublin -- http://www.project.ie/cgi-bin/eventdetail.pl?id=486, and then touring. A quick google shows it'll be in Meath - http://www.solsticeartscentre.com/november.html and I'm sure there's a list of where it will be when, but I can't find it. I've found a photo from the show, here.



Lisa Snellings wrote to remind me that she's having a Halloween Sale over at http://www.lisasnellings.com/halloweensale.html and is donating money from the poppets to the CBLDF. (The current case is up at http://www.cbldf.org/pr/archives/000308.shtml)

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Um. Er. Um. Tea...?

There. Eighteen hours after getting on the plane I was home safely and at last, to find that winter has already begun. Not the real winter, of course. That will be here soon enough. But it's cold already when the sun goes down, and the leaves, which were all shades of flame and gold when I left, have almost all fallen now and are piled in leaf-mounds.

Piles 0f mail waiting on the kitchen table from the last few weeks, including the galleys of M is for Magic, the upcoming short story collection for kids with illustrations (and a lovely cover) by the amazing Teddy Kristiansen. Lots of things to get written and email to reply to. But I'm in an odd sort of too-much-travel-and-signing-and-now-I've-stopped-moving fugue state, where I sit down and then notice it's two hours later, and I didn't do anything as far as I can tell except perhaps make a cup of tea in the meantime. (Even this post has taken hours and hours to write, and my nearest and dearest have given up on trying to have conversations with me as a bad job, due to the way that I seem very pleased to have successfully said "Umm...." and sometimes "Er... is there any tea?" and such and then trail off into bemused and jet-lagged and tour-lagged silence.)

Fred the Now On His Ninth Life Black Cat has his own house. Well, it's the new garage with a cat door and a big pet pillow and cat food and water in the corner. He seems to like it, except I think he's sort of bored in there, so he's taken to following me when I walk around the woods, in a series of mad stalks and dashes-past, happily wandering along for a mile or more in a most uncatly manner.

I loved iCon -- the enthusiasm of the people at the convention was refreshing. They were welcoming and exactly like SF fans anywhere else in the world. It's a young fandom (in contrast to the complaints in the US and the UK about the "greying of fandom"). ICon has "lectures" rather than panels, though, chiefly because, I was told, they don't have normally have more than one guest, and the con scrapes by financially by selling tickets to the various events and with limited sponsorship. It's an interesting format, the lecture thing, and I wonder if it will change when they start getting more guests. There's a sort of puzzled excitement from a few people I spoke to at the idea that they are just now starting to grow their own fantasy writers (I met four of them for lunch one day, all with fantasy novels first published within the last year or so, and told them anything they wanted to know about writing and publishing).

(I need to apologise to the people who were at iCon but couldn't get a ticket for the talks, some of whom wrote in to me asking if I could post the text of my lectures here, and I'm afraid can't as I just got up and started talking, so I'm afraid you're at the mercy of what people post on Youtube.)

...

Several people wrote to let me know that Amazon.com actually honoured their original price posted and sent them copies of ABSOLUTE SANDMAN for $14. I'm very pleased for them.

(For some reason Amazon don't have the actual cover up.)

And here's the first review of Absolute Sandman I've seen so far -- http://comics.ign.com/articles/738/738962p1.html

...

In Cambridge (not the English one) there's a competition going on -- The Massachusetts Center for the Book invites fourth through twelfth graders to participate in Letters About Literature, an annual reading promotion that invites students to write about an inspiring piece of literature.

One of last years' winners, Adu Matory, wrote about how Anansi Boys had inspired him, and here's his winning letter -- http://massbook.org/lal_letters/LAL2006_Matory.pdf. (Well done, Adu and good luck. I hope you become a film director one day.)

...

More reviews for Fragile Things -- here's Mark Graham's review in the Rocky Mountain News:

The wide variety of selections shows Gaiman's influences and his amazing range as one of the world's most popular fantasy writers. Some stories are frightening; a couple are laugh-out-loud funny; some are downright strange.... Readers will be hard-pressed to find a better collection this year.

The most interesting and thoughtful review so far was Gary Wolfe's in Locus, but the reviews are only in the print version of Locus (that's this issue --http://www.locusmag.com/2006/Issues/10Profile.html)

Which reminds me to point out that the order-a-taster-or-Free-Locus-issue-with-me-in-it-and-special-subscription offer from previous years is still valid.

https://secure.locusmag.com/2005/Issues/02SubscribeGaiman.html (this is a big interview with me)

https://secure.locusmag.com/2006/Issues/02SubscribeGaiman.html (this is me and Terry Pratchett talking Good Omens 16 years on)

(Which I mostly mention because if you're serious about wanting to write SF or horror or fantasy, you need a subscription to the print version of Locus. It's as simple as that.)

...

An audio interview from the Bookcast podcast series -- http://www.thebookcast.com/recent.php and you'll have to look down the list until you find the Fragile Things interview.

...

The first chapter of Victoria Walker's The Winter of Enchantment is up at the Fidra Books website -- http://www.fidrabooks.com/WinterEnchantment.html

...

I'll try and get to the backlogged FAQ line mail over the next few days. Sorry.

My assistant seems to have acquired a temporary puppy, which she will be delivering to her bandmate Malena in LA this Hallowe'en. It looks a bit like a frogbat, and a bit like a cartoon of a dog from a hundred years ago. http://lorraineamalena.blogspot.com/2006/10/all-i-ever-learned-about-dogs-i.html

And a small final request -- does anyone know of a program that will export a playlist (not the songs in the playlist, just the playlist itself) from an iPod? iTunes won't, and while I've got a few programs for getting under the hood of the iPod on a PC or a Mac, none of them seems to want to do that.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

buoyed by the what of a what?

The computer seems to have restarted itself last night while I slept, eating a whole blog entry I hadn't quite got around to posting. Sigh. I'll try and reconstruct it (or write a whole new one) tonight.

I talked about Jerusalem, which I think may turn into a ghost story, and about the astonishing number of young ladies who want their bosomry signed by authors, which is apparently something that they are particularly keen on out here. ("We asked Orson Scott Card when he was here," one of them sighed, wistfully, "but he said as a good Mormon he could not sign any body parts.")

In the meantime, here's a USA Today review of Fragile Things. "They are fiercely playful and very grim, wisps of whimsy and wonder buoyed by the happy heart of a tragic poet. "

Monday, October 09, 2006

tabs? you want 'em, we got 'em.

I'm really impressed so far with ICon -- there's an excitement and a sort of a life among the people there that you don't see as much at the UK and US conventions I've frequented, where a percentage of the people are a little bit blase, who mostly won't completely fill the hall for Opening Ceremonies and just bubble and bounce and are excited and happy and exciteable. It seems to be bounce and bubble all the way here, and It's very much its own thing. Lots of fun Sandman-related oddments on display as well -- I loved that the main doors to one of the halls are guarded by paintings of the Guardians on the Gate. Not done anything touristy today apart from travel from the airport to the hotel to the convention. Which isn't really very touristy at all.

Dear Mr. Gaiman,

Practically a year ago (which is two days from today), you came over to Vancouver for your 'Anansi Boys' tour. My friend and I asked you the silliest question of all: Mr. Gaiman, why do you always wear black?
It's always bugged me that I asked such a stupid question.
Well, over the weekend, a weight was lifted from my shoulders.
The theme of one of our public libraries is comic books and graphic novels. They had a little piece of paper with your picture on it and some info on you.
They stated that you always wear black because you're into the gothic aesthestic.
Well, now I can write to them and tell them that the reason you wear always wear black is so that all your clothes will match, making it easier for you to assemble an outfit. And if they question my resources, then I can tell them that you told me so yourself.
I'll take care to refer blacksocks.com to them as well.

I guess in a way, that question that we asked didn't prove to be so useless. Thanks! (I do hope you were telling the truth that night.)

-alyssa


The fun thing about being among old friends in the UK at Fantasycon a few weeks ago was when someone reminded me that "that was back when you were still wearing grey, dear," and I realised I'd almost forgotten that I spent several years in grey before I went black, and mostly gave up because there are too many shades of grey (blue-greys and brown-greys and all sorts) and I could never get them to match...

Right. I promised I'd close some tabs... so here in no particular order are...

A chunk of a new art spiegelman project -- http://www.vqronline.org/articles/2006/fall/spiegelman-portrait3/

They're discussing lots of stuff by me at blogcritics -- here's the opener -- http://blogcritics.org/2006/09/28/140129.php -- and a Coraline review http://blogcritics.org/archives/2006/09/24/042601.php...

Some hackers and a voting computer -- http://www.wijvertrouwenstemcomputersniet.nl/Nedap-en

A review of Fragile Things from the Times -- http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,923-2390657.html
and at SFREVU -- http://sfrevu.com/php/Review-id.php?id=4272
The San Francisco Bay Guardian - Very long link, here
and Newsweek's The Checklist -- http://msnbc.msn.com/id/15176521/site/newsweek/
and a Seattle review http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/books/2003290956_gaiman06.html?syndication=rss


An interview with Terry Gilliam about Good Omens (really, if someone would just give Terry $65,000,000 he could get going. Do you have $65,000,000 you don't need? Check your pockets. Maybe it's in a drawer somewhere. No? Look harder.).

Oh, and about that Terry Gilliam flash mob -- a full report is at http://ccinsider.comedycentral.com/cc_insider/2006/10/terry_gilliam_v.html

(See what a nice man he is? Now maybe you'll look harder for that $65,000,000. It might be in a jar somewhere.)

A few people have now written to alert me to http://www.h-net.org/announce/show.cgi?ID=153105 and to ask me to pass it on:

Special panel at the 2007 College English Association Conference
March 29-31, 2007
New Orleans, LA
...This panel seeks 10-15 minute papers that explore unexamined questions about Gaiman’s novels. Although this panel will be open to any subject regarding Gaiman’s novels, special areas of interest include:

# Theory of the fantastic
# Use of traditional formats in a postmodern world (e.g., American Gods as road novel, Stardust as pre-Tolkien fairy tale)
# Deities and faerie creatures as metaphors
# The interaction between reader and text/the real and the unreal
# Gaiman’s portrayal of America (broadly defined)/Gaiman’s portrayal of England
# Literary theories applied to Gaiman’s novels (e.g., psychological, feminist, reader-response, etc.)

Abstracts should be 200-500 words, and should be submitted by November 1 at the following website: http://english.ttu.edu/CEA/conftool/index.php

For more information, please visit the following website: http://www2.widener.edu/~cea/conference2006.htm


Here's a transcript of the RU Sirius radio interview... http://www.10zenmonkeys.com/2006/10/04/neil-gaiman-has-lost-his-clothes/

And then there's me chatting to Jessa Crispin at Bookslut - http://www.bookslut.com/features/2006_10_010057.php. Which is much too chatty I expect, but has the virtue of me forgetting very quickly that the tape recorder was on, and drinking lots of green tea, and Jessa asking things people don't usually ask.

If you're bored of interviews with me by now (I am) then here's a lovely piece on Alan Moore by Paul Gravett -- http://enjoyment.independent.co.uk/books/features/article1770034.ece

If you aren't bored of stuff with me in then Lucy Anne is collecting links to interviews and things over at http://del.icio.us/thedreaming and doing a fine job of it too.

17 rules anyone who wants to be a professional illustrator (or a freelance anything) should know... http://megillustrations.typepad.com/beetlegrass/2006/08/anniversary.html

There's a March 2007 theatrical production of Mr Punch in Los Angeles -- details at http://www.rogueartists.org/projects/mrpunch.php

And a Discworld Cake: http://homepages.tesco.net/~janefisk/discworld/discworld.htm

Sunday, October 08, 2006

"Farewell, good blog readers"

I think I like travel best when I've been at home long enough to get restless. Right now I'm not even settled in at home, and in ten minutes I leap into a car and head off to the airport, and, while I'm looking forward to seeing somewhere new and meeting new people, I'm not yet used to being home. (Yesterday I juiced all the Haralson apples, and I cooked lots of Hen of the Woods mushrooms, and I stood in the autumn sunlight and tried to explain to Maddy why I thought this was the best time of year of all, which I couldn't do without going all Bradbury.) (She's currently reading Stardust.)

It looks like I'll have an internet connection when I get there, so I'll finally do the close-all-the-tabs post. Meanwhile, http://www.crankygeeks.com/2006/10/cranky_geeks_episode_30_with_s_1.html has the Cranky Geeks episode.

Here's me talking to Euan Kerr on All Things Considered.... http://minnesota.publicradio.org/display/web/2006/10/05/gaiman/

And here's the Newsday review of Fragile Things. http://www.newsday.com/features/booksmags/ny-vert4918761oct08,0,131203.story?coll=ny-bookreview-headlines

(I'm starting to think it might be fun to make a chart of the stories that get picked as the best and the worst. So far the reviews seem to have no clear favourites or dislikes...)

Um. I quote, "And now my daughter comes to tell me I have to leave for the plane right now. Farewell good blog readers, farewell," and then she added, "Maddy told me to say that.)

Friday, October 06, 2006

Eight and a Half.

The tour is over, or almost. Tomorrow I get on another damned aeroplane to be Guest of Honour at Icon. I get back to the US on Saturday.

And then I have all sorts of plans, mostly involving trying to a) get caught up on writing and b) exercising and losing the weight that you accumulate around your middle from too much being on the road and not eating at home and not getting to walk as much as you want to.

Fred the Cat... let's just say that he's used up eight and a half of his nine lives. And against the advice of various sensible people he just came home from the vet, who was happy to send him home to us. I may tell the story at some point, or I may not. Right now, I'm just happy to have my idiot cat back again.

FRAGILE THINGS went onto the New York Times List at #14. Hurrah, and thanks to everyone who bought a copy.

Next post will probably contain dozens of links, because I need to close some tabs.

In a case of bizarre and magical good news, Absolute Sandman is shipping early to your Local Comic Store ("It's like a delay, only the book ships earlier" as the headline says.)

And it's a perfect day outside: a blue sky, sunny and warm with a chill in the shadows, golden leaves, mushrooms in the grass and red Haralson apples on the tree that need to be picked. By next week it could be winter...

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

zoom. zoom. arg. zoom.

According to Mark Evanier,

I have it on reliable authority that a flash mob is being organized for tomorrow (today -- Wednesday) in New York in front of the studio where The Daily Show with Jon Stewart tapes.
The epicenter of this particular flash mob is the noted director and animator, Terry Gilliam. Mr. Gilliam is not on tomorrow's Daily Show but for reasons I won't pretend to understand, he's going to be outside the studio tomorrow around 4:45 in the afternoon for 30-45 minutes. He'll be chatting with anyone who's around and passing out flyers for his new movie, Tideland, which opens on Friday the thirteenth.
The Daily Show studio is located at 733 11th Ave. at 51st St. The person who tipped me off to this reminds all that The Daily Show will be letting audience members in for their taping so it's important to be polite and to not interfere with that. If I were in Manhattan, I'd be there for it. If one of you goes, let us know what happens.


...

Typing this on the run -- Yesterday I went and talked to Google, and had lunch with some Google people and Blogger people. Then on to Keplers, where I was given a big stone lion by the Mythopoeic Society and signed and signed. I didn't sign anything particularly odd, but was given, as a gift from someone at the signing, one of the original signed editions of Harry Clarke's FAUST with the colour plates, a book I have always coveted and do not own, which was a wonderful happy thing.

The MP3 interview with R. U. Sirius is now up at http://www.rusiriusradio.com/2006/10/03/show-68-neil-gaiman/

The McCloud Family Roadshow's first Winterview is up at http://community.livejournal.com/mccloudtour/25597.html.

...

Robert Anton Wilson is sick and needs help making the rent. That doesn't seem right, does it?http://www.rushkoff.com/2006/10/robert-anton-wilson-needs-our-help.php

I don't think there's anything right about authors in poverty. Then again, I don't think there's anything right about anyone in poverty.

....
Neil:Have you seen this yet? John Scalzi is auctioning off a private printing of his to-be-released book "The Last Colony," with the proceeds going to the John M Ford Book Endowment.
http://www.scalzi.com/whatever/004513.html
Jo Walton has expressed interest in "stealing" the idea and running an auction of her own. At the risk of being presumptuous, it seems like the sort of thing you might be interested in.

Absolutely.

On a personal front, more Really Bad FredThe Cat News, which I may write about here in the next few days.

Right. Running for a plane...

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

brilliant...

Quick post to say that the Cody's event was my favourite thing of the tour so far. A two hour reading for 550 people and a Q&A, and I'd presigned 400+ books. Which meant it was done before midnight, and I actually got some food and everyone got something more like the CBLDF Guardian Angel Tour than like a book signing.

(And on thursday you can see me on Cranky Geeks -- details at http://www.crankygeeks.com/2006/10/cranky_geeks_episode_30_with_s.html)

Very happy to say that I have a son out here with me for a couple of days.

Right. Kepler's tomorrow. Er, later today. Details at http://upcoming.org/event/100697/. It looks like it will be very interesting.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

no jeans?

What are the odds that, if I was sent a box of clean clothes to wear, a box that was waiting for me in New York, I would somehow manage to pack most of the clothes that were inside back up in the box along with the awards and books and CDs I'd been given, not to mention the already-worn UK-trip clothes, and then send that box with my clean clothes in it home, and that I would only discover the awful reason why my suitcase was so light on a Sunday morning in San Francisco?

No, it's okay. You don't have to work it out. As of this tour, the odds that I would accidentally send my clean clothes home again unworn are 100%, but if you spread it out over all the tours I've ever done it's nowhere near as bad as that, because I've never done it before. Probably around 3% or less. But I had better buy new black jeans and another tee shirt tomorrow morning, or I will have nothing to wear on Tuesday.

I'm here in San Francisco and know that I need to get caught up on the blog and things -- many of you have sent useful things that I ought to have posted, but I've been on the road and you know how it is. (Actually you probably don't. But mostly it's about trying to grab sleep instead of blogging.)

Still, a couple of things I should post.... http://news.independent.co.uk/people/obituaries/article1772294.ece is John Clute's obituary for Mike Ford. It's good, although I think that Theatre was probably the driving engine of Mike's work, rather than the American Dream. And that all of the great bon mots really did just come tumbling straight out -- they were always replies to something, with never a hint of "here's one I prepared earlier" about them. Good to see 110 Stories mentioned as an important poem.

(Here are some DDB photos of Mike.) (Yes, those were his own eyebrows.)

I'm now listening to the Gothic Archies Tragic Treasury, with occasional breaks for Nouvelle Vague (a gift at the Washington event, and a CD, I realised when I put it on, I'd already heard a couple of tracks of and enjoyed)

(At the bottom of the Guardian article there are two Gothic Archies songs -- http://arts.guardian.co.uk/filmandmusic/story/0,,1872149,00.html)

...

Tomorrow's event at Cody's should be fun -- lots of reading and a fair amount of Q&A. Other than that it's all going to be from Fragile Things I haven't decided what to read yet, so if you've got requests, send them in on the FAQ line...

(I won't be reading the introduction, although you can hear the first 5 minutes of it from the audiobook up at http://www.neilgaiman.com/works/books/fragilethings/fragile_things_excerpt.mp3/view)
<< Previous [Home] Next >>
Archives  |  RSS  |  Translations  |  Labels  |  Tumblr

Now Available!


Now in Paperback


My current crusade is to make sure creative people have wills. Read the blog post about it, and see a sample will.