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Friday, November 28, 2008

A small fit of madness, or a good idea. Not sure.

Right. I'm trying to get caught up on things, so first of all, just a few hasty links:

Steve Bissette (one of three authors of the book about me and the stuff I wrote) is running a small competition for bookshops at http://srbissette.com/?p=2101

The Graveyard Book has made it onto another few Best of the Year lists: http://www.briankeene.com/?p=887,
http://www.bartsbookshelf.co.uk/2008/10/19/the-graveyard-book-by-neil-gaiman/
Boing Boing Holiday Gift Guide list #1 (Books for younger people)
Boing Boing Holiday Gift Guide list #2 (Fiction) [Which reminds me -- Damien Walter did a great interview with Cory Doctorow at http://www.guardian.co.uk/film/2008/nov/25/cory-doctorow-little-brother]

http://www.animationarchive.org/2008/11/more-on-our-coraline-suitcase.html has the best list so far of mysterious Coraline boxes. (There appear to be eleven of them in the wild so far. Thirty nine have not yet been sent, or reported. I'm enjoying this.)

...

Reading Steve Bissette's blog post gave me an idea...

Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab just sent me an extra couple of sets of their Graveyard Book scents. (Eau de Ghoul seems extremely popular on their forum.) (And the very final handful of signed Snow Glass Apples booklets and vials can still be had before the Holidays -- for now -- at the CBLDF shop site.) I have a large pile of lovely two-sided Graveyard Book posters (one side Dave McKean's cover, one side Chris Riddell's cover) that Bloomsbury did.

And I thought, I should DO something with this stuff...

So what I'm going to do is this:

First I'm going to sign a bunch of posters -- probably about 50. Then I'm going to give them and the BPAL Graveyard Book scents to the wonderful Cat Mihos. And I'm going to tell her that we're running something that isn't exactly a competition, but is sort of smaller and more informal and a bit more easy-going. It's this:

From here until the end of the year (and further out than that, if the stuff holds out), if you do something effective to help get other people reading The Graveyard Book, tell Cat, and she'll send you a signed poster.

(Something effective in this case would include persuading your bookshop or library to do a Graveyard Book display, and taking a photo of it and sending it to Cat, teaching it in your school, reviewing it for your local paper or doing something equally as imaginative.)

If you do something Awesome and Amazing to get other people reading The Graveyard Book (for example, talking your whole town or city into having one of those months where everyone in the town reads the same book, and it's The Book In Question...) then you get a signed Graveyard Book poster and you get one of the BPAL Graveyard Book scent collections. And she'll probably throw in one of the Graveyard Book Neverwear tee shirts as well.

(Like this one.)

Possibly even give you a Kendra Stout Graveyard Mousepad.

(Like this one)


Send email, photos, cuttings from your local paper, proof that it was you and you alone who talked Oprah or Richard-and-Judy into doing The Graveyard Book on their TV book clubs, etc., to Cat Mihos, Furrytiger@Gmail.com . Do not send them to me. I will not have the swag. I will not be handing it out. I'm merely going to set this thing in motion and sign fifty posters -- twenty five on the McKean side, the other twenty five on the Riddell side.

Cat's decision is final. She'll blog the things she gets in as she goes along at the Neverwear Blog (http://kittysneverwear.blogspot.com/). And then every now and then I'll do a round up here.

How does that sound?

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Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Finally, a useful post

When it comes to Thanksgiving, there is only one thing I seem to be expected to do, and that is make the cranberry jelly.

And seeing I have to sit in the kitchen for another twenty minutes, and only stop to stir or skim sometimes, I thought you might possibly need to know about cranberry jelly. It's possible. This is the internet, after all. And real cranberry jelly tastes about a million times better than stuff in tins.

I learned how to make Cranberry Jelly from a wonderful cookbook called Beat This, by Ann Hodgman. (It's more or less out of print, I think, but new and used copies abound on Amazon.)

You take a pound of fresh cranberries, two cups of water, two cups of sugar (I tend to use less, as I like it less sweet), and a pinch of salt.

Wash the cranberries, removing any soft ones.

Bring the water to a boil. Add the cranberries, the sugar and the salt.

Boil for a long time. No, longer than that. About twenty-five minutes, skimming off the pink froth when you notice it, and stirring whenever you remember.

It's done when the cranberries get thick and syrupy: I use a cup of cold water and drip some in -- when the drop holds its shape, you're good.

Then you realise you don't have a jelly mould, but remember that there's always some tupperware somewhere, so you let the cranberry jelly cool off just a little (to avoid melting the tupperware. I know it's not likely. But I worry) and then pour it in. Leave it out until it's cooled enough to refrigerate, and then put it in the fridge. The next day, fill the sink with hot water, hold the mould or the tupperware dish under water for a few seconds, then turn it upside down onto a plate. (Ann Hodgman says here, "If it spills out in a big liquidy burst and gets all over everything, you didn't cook it long enough.")

There. Finally, a useful post.

[Edit to add: yes, I do know you can add orange or lemon zest, almond flavour, a dash of booze, sundry spices, and that you can even do what Todd Klein does and add apples and oranges. But I've always believed in keeping things simple...]

...

Henry Selick is interviewed about Coraline at Collider. It's a great little video interview.

While, still tanned from China, I talk about Family Christmas Traditions on a video at the Harpers Website.

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Monday, November 24, 2008

...is Nothing sacred?

Up until now the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund has defended Artists, Writers, Publishers, and Retailers. We've never had to defend a reader before.

I talk about it over at: http://splashpage.mtv.com/2008/11/24/neil-gaiman-on-the-obscenity-of-manga-collector-christopher-handleys-trial/

That's where the money the CBLDF raised from the eBay auction went (and thanks to everyone who contributed!). Katherine Keller writes an editorial about it at http://www.sequentialtart.com/article.php?id=1183. Then she puts her money where her mouth is at http://kadymae.livejournal.com/719901.html.

A basic CBLDF membership is $25. http://www.cbldf.com/SearchResults.asp?Cat=44 and there are people who really would like them as gifts. Honest. You get a membership card and everything.

And seeing I'm now recommending gifts -- Todd Klein documents the end of the story of his Alex Ross print at http://kleinletters.com/Blog/?p=2295 (and it's fascinating watching how something goes from not quite right to really very right), and then tells you how to order it -- or the third printing of Alan Moore's print or the second printing of my print (all signed in dark green ink) at http://kleinletters.com/Blog/?p=2385.

You can find out about the talk I gave the Open Rights Group at http://entangled.wordpress.com/2008/11/24/neil-gaiman-talked-about-publishing-in-digital-age/, with links to a recording of the talk and some transcribed bits of it.

And more Coraline boxes are showing up on the web... http://www.slashfilm.com/2008/11/23/a-magic-box-from-the-makers-of-coraline/ has one, with a video of its opening, while another, very different, is up at http://fashion-piranha.livejournal.com/40454.html. I'm almost envious...

[Edit to add -- http://geeksofdoom.com/2008/11/24/doom-deliveries-coraline-handmade-box/]

...


Meanwhile, an animated short film based on a short comic by Gahan Wilson and me (one of the two "five finger exercises", along with "October in the Chair", that I did before starting The Graveyard Book). You can read about it at the Playboy blog. It was made as part of the Born Dead: Still Weird documentary on Gahan Wilson (here's an article about it, by director Steven-Charles Jaffe, also at Playboy.com), and you can find a selection of Gahan's cartoons up at http://www.playboy.com/arts-entertainment/features/gahan-wilson/index.html (and a note saying that in 2009 Fantagraphics and Playboy are going to be publishing "a deluxe hardcover edition with three slipcased volumes that contain every one of Gahan’s Playboy cartoons" This is a really good thing).

Well, it is if you love the macabrely funny, or the funnily macabre...

...

Meanwhile in another part of the forest, I'm simultaneously more impressed, and sometimes more frustrated with the G1.

No blogger app, yet? Not a problem. According to blogger you just send a text -- no content specified -- to go@blogger.com and it'll send you a code to allow you to claim your blog... so that should be simple. Except that if you send a text message from the G1 to blogger you get a message back telling you that you haven't registered and to send a text message containing the text REGISTER to go@blogger.com. And if you send a text message containing the word REGISTER you get another message back telling you to send a message containing the word REGISTER... You do this a few more time, with no change.

So you give up and log in to Blogger using the G1's browser, and discover that the ability to upload photographs to Blogger has been disabled, and then you give up.

The voice recognition software doesn't always recognise that I've even said anything, and its choices, when it does think I've spoken, aren't just mishearings, they're positively perverse:

Me: Call Mike Gaiman.

Phone: (offers me a choice between)
Dial 508 0972
Dial 508 9721
Dial 508 9720

Me: Call Dad Cell
Phone: (offers a choice between)
Call Hilary Bevan Jones at Work
Call Hilary Bevan Jones at Home

...it's not even like there's a match up between the vowels, the consonants, or the number of syllables. Mysterious.

But the things that work work so well. I'm now using it as my bedside clock-alarm and GPS. It's a great phone. I cannot wait for a Slingbox app, or a RealPlayer app so I can use it to stream BBC Radio. The Sky Map app, which shows the night sky and stars and planets and constellations of where you're standing and what you're pointing at, using the GPS system and a compass so that the screen shows what you are seeing, only with stars and planets named and constellations drawn in, is magical...

...
And finally, LEEDS UNITED: A musical video by Miss Amanda Palmer.

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Sunday, November 23, 2008

written to the sound of gunshots

It's cold here these days. The other night the outside thermometer said it was 7 degrees F, and the wind took it colder -- and winter has not quite started yet. Winter starts in a week, after the weekend that follows Thanksgiving, when the hunters get back into their cars and go home.

The gunshots start at first light on the weekends. I can hear them now. Bam. Bam. Bam.

The dog is now wearing his fluorescent orange cape at all times, and if I'm walking with him or alone I'll put an orange cap or a fluorescent orange knitted headthingummy on: too many people are out in the woods right now, loaded with beer and weapons, shooting loudly and enthusiastically at anything that moves that isn't orange.

We get local news stories at this time of year that range from the comic to the nightmarish and tragic about overenthusiastic hunters mistakenly shooting and killing horses, cows, goats, members of their families, each other, and, normally unintentionally, themselves. (And a few years ago, a lady inside a house, who got hit while indoors by a hunter who was outdoors (she survived).)

There was a farmer round here who took to painting the word COW in bright orange lettering on the side of his cows.

I've got NO HUNTING signs posted on my land, hoping it'll lower the odds on anyone here wandering off for a morning walk being accidentally shot, but most years I'll find one or two hides built at the edges of the land, if not on it.

So the dog looks like Krypto when we we go walking, and I look like a fluorescent orange version of Where's Wally/Waldo.

Only a week to go. Bam. Bam.

...

Hi Neil,

Love the new Coraline website. While the other girls are crazy over Twilight, I'm just as crazy for the upcoming movie! What I would really like to do is walk in the movie theatre with a Coraline t-shirt, maybe some tubesocks covered in buttons, and if I can fit all my hair into one - a blue wig, well maybe not that. Anyway do you think any merchandise will be made? I'm thinking a couple of t-shirts...one with a quote from the book on it or that G.K. Chesterton quote. Thanks for the inspiration for aspiring writers like me, making stuff up forever.

Hoo-lee-ah
from Tejas.


I don't know. I'll ask.

Hello Neil. I have a question that may only be due to some basic misunderstanding on my part, but I've searched and can't seem to find an explanation anywhere. Hopefully I'm not the only one confused by this.

In Stardust, at the beginning of the book, the Fair is described as being every nine years. But Tristran leaves during one such Fair, and returns one year later for another. Doesn't he?


Nope. He leaves before the fair and returns during it.

Neil,

As much as I enjoy your blogging, I'm always pleased when Maddy guest blogs. I remember fairly clearly Maddy's blogging during your visit to the Hellboy II set. It seemed to be hinted (or maybe I'm insane) that Maddy might appear in a DVD extra somewhere. For this reason, I went out and bought the three-disc version of Hellboy II (otherwise, I probably would have bought the single-disc edition). At any rate, I haven't plowed through all of the DVD extras yet (there seem to be kind of a lot of them), but I was hoping you could let me know... is Maddy an international superstar? Did she make a cameo on the Hellboy special features, or get mentioned in the commentary or something? Or did I get my hopes up for nothing? I'm a big fan of Maddy's guest-blogging and the Maddy anecdotes, so I was looking forward to this. At any rate, you should tell Maddy she has adoring fans.

Thanks,
Sandra Seaman.


I heard from Maddy that she's on the DVD being shown Wink (she was emailed this information by her friend Javier the extras director). I think the interviews with her are probably still in the Hellboy vaults.

Hello Mr. Gaiman~

An interesting thought just struck me...you know how they maintain houses of famous people eg. Bertrand Russell, Jane Austen, do you think they'll have one for you too when you die? Sorry about the morbidity...but I just found the idea quite amusing, and I do think people would flock to your house after your death. ^_^

Deborah


Oh god. Does that mean I have to tidy the place up?

Just seen this on the BBC website when they interviewed Joseph Paterson about Dr Who....

“My favourite character was the Marquis de Carabas from Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere.

"I love that character because he's so flamboyant but also darkly dangerous - and he's also 200 years old.

Looks like he would be an ideal Doctor!


It's certainly a fun rumour, and he's currently the bookies' favourite: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/entertainment/7739408.stm is the article.

Paterson's an amazing actor, and I loved working with him on Neverwhere. There were a lot of things I didn't like about the BBC Neverwhere, but he was always marvellous -- he got it and ran with it (here's the first few minutes of him on screen).



Whether he'll get to be the next Doctor Who... well, I know no more than you do. But I'd give him the job in a trice, if it was mine to give.

Incidentally, forty five years on from the first episode of Doctor Who (happy birthday, by the way) the BBC have put some archive files online.

...

Still playing with the G1. Starting to get more enthusiastic as I play with more and more apps -- there's a strange delight in going to Instamapper and looking at the patterns I make as I walk around, for example. Maddy keeps borrowing it to play Pacman and a game called AMAZED where you have to maneuver a ball around the screen by tipping it one way and another. I'm impressed with the bar code reader that tells me where I can buy anything cheaper locally, and would be even more impressed if it wasn't convinced I could buy Ellen Klages books at my local Walmart.

The iSkoot Skype app is fairly wonderful, iMeem is great (but the phone's okay-but-not-great speaker quality means I'll probably never actually use iMeem on the road, now I've tried it out... better sound reproduction and a speaker jack would be on my list of must-haves. Along with better battery life if you're actually using any of the things that make the G1 more than just a cell phone). Now I'm just waiting for the iris recognition software... ("Oh no! Not only have they cut my eyes out but now I can't get to my address book!")

...

Miyazaki fans and Ursula K LeGuin fans will want to know about this auction.

I keep meaning to post a link to this article on TOR Books and libertarianism and SF.

And on the Entertainment Weekly blog, Marc Bernardin writes a really nice little heartfelt thing on twenty years of Sandman.

There is an award for adult novels that children or young adults would enjoy. Here's a list of recent books for children and young adults that adults would enjoy.

...

And finally, I'm thrilled that The Graveyard Book made it into another end of year round up -- Michael Berry's in SF Chronicle:

The Graveyard Book, by Neil Gaiman (HarperCollins; 312 pages; $17.99; ages 12 and up) On the night a mysterious stranger kills his parents and sister, a toddler escapes from the house and finds sanctuary in a cemetery. There he is adopted by a ghostly couple, accepted by the other revenants in residence and given the name Nobody Owens, or Bod, for short. Bod's coming-of-age has its moments of wonder, terror and tenderness, and Gaiman hits exactly the right notes every time. This is a book that should be passed from brother to sister, child to parent.

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Friday, November 21, 2008

on not doing an Alan


There's an official CORALINE trailer out....

It's out in English, but this version of it is it in Italian. Because everything sounds better in Italian.

A few of you have written in asking if I'd done an Alan Moore and taken my name off the film, or if I'd had a falling out with the studio, as my name isn't mentioned in this trailer, just Henry Selick's -- and no, not at all. Nobody's name except Henry's is mentioned in the trailer, and that has more to do with Focus wanting to make sure that if they invoked The Nightmare Before Xmas, people wouldn't then assume this was a Tim Burton film, and go and see it -- or stay away -- based on that. (On the international poster -- above -- you won't find my name or Henry's.) I suppose it's a marketing decision.

I chatted to Henry today, and am really looking forward to seeing a finished film -- the last twenty minutes of the thing weren't done the last time I was sent anything. And it has music...

Incidentally, the Coraline Movie edition is now out, with an essay by me in the back, and another by Henry Selick...



I've now assembled the same list of passwords for the CORALINE website -- www.coraline.com -- that everyone else with access to a search engine has:

stopmotion : the Biggest Smallest movie ever made.

buttoneyes : Meet the cast...

moustachio : Bo Henry, art director of Coraline, shows off his remarkable moustache tricks.

armpithair : Every hair in the film was placed there by hand...

puppetlove : Director Henry Selick explains what it must be like for the puppets in the film.

sweaterxxs : Micro-knitting. That's right: micro-knitting.


...

A small collection of MAD fold-ins are up at http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2008/03/28/arts/20080330_FOLD_IN_FEATURE.html. I cannot imagine a better time-waster than if someone were to put every Mad Fold-in up on line. I could click my way through them forever...

...

I've started playing with the T-mobile G1. First reactions -- I like it, mostly. It feels good in your hand. It's reasonably intuitive. (Bizarrely, when it isn't intuitive and I've had to head into manual land, the phone's software and the PDF of the manual do not always agree with each other.) I've had fun making ring tones, creating galleries. The way that your contacts list is also your Gmail contacts is mostly terrific (although it won't let me create entries that have the same email address as someone already on the list).

The things I don't like about it so far seem huge and obvious: no Blogger app (when there's a LiveJournal app and several others) seems a huge omission, seeing it's from Google; it can't read or open PDF files yet; you can send it pictures and watch them as a slideshow, but you can't save them; the built in Gmail app can't do anywhere near the things that the gmail program on my N73 can do; the camera is about the same standard as the iPhone's, which is to say, a bit meh. I like having a real keyboard but wish it was a tiny bit bigger -- I find myself typing with fingernails. Battery life is fine unless you've got Wifi on.

More reactions after it's been on the road with me and been used for a bit.

...

Hi Neil,

I just had a quick question on the Who Killed Amanda Palmer book. I have the album already (and have listened to it countless times. It's beautiful).

I was going to go and order the book, but when I went to the site, I found that the book seems to only be in packages. I was wondering if there are any plans to sell the book alone, or whether I should buy one of the packages. The extra CD could make a nice gift.

Thanks,
Nate


Let's see... the book is being designed right now, then it goes off to the printers. The people who bought the package version will get theirs first. Depending on where in the world it's printed, this could be a couple of months before anyone else. Then, when copies come in from the printer, they'll go on sale -- probably in the early Spring. I think.

Neil!

I'm re-reading American Gods, and I'm at the point where Shadow first meets Sam. At the diner, Shadow reads a newspaper story saying "local farmers wanted to hang dead crows around the town to frighten the others away; ornithologists said it wouldn't work, that the living crows would simply eat the dead ones. The locals were implacable. 'When they see the corpses of their friends,' said a spokesman, 'they'll know we don't want them here.'"

Neil, I don't have Time Enough for Love here at school, but wasn't there something very similar to that in that story? Was your dead crow story a little Heinlein homage?

And OMG - just realized that Sam's last name is Black Crow, and that story was about crows. Wow. Sneaky of you.

Chris



When I'm driving through small-town America I make a point of buying local papers in towns where I stop, and reading them, preferably in local coffee shops. I read that in a small town as I went, and thought "It belongs in my book". So I put it there.

Dear Mr Gaiman,
I recently finished reading M is For Magic, and I have a question about the story Chivalry. Sir Galahad was considered the holiest of Arthur's knights; so, how coul he have obtained an apple from the garden of the Hespiredes? The Hespiredes were a part of greek mythology which was actually a religeon based on monotheism. So, how could he get something that his religeon said didn't exist? I am sorry to bother you with this question, but it has sparked my interest.

- a young and curious reader


He had to travel a long way.

I don't think that the existence of mythical things would have been a problem for a mythical early Christian, of whom Galaad would have been one, or even a huge problem for real early Christians: in The Golden Legend, which was the most popular book of stories about saints, collected in the thirteenth century, Saint Nicholas (the one who became Santa Claus) went up against the Goddess Diana.

Then again, Narnia, a most monotheistic world, had, in addition to a Leonine Son of God, more than its share of nymphs (just like the Hesperides) not to mention such gods as Bacchus and Silenus (and Santa Claus again) wandering around. So I would not worry about it, were I you.

I loved the link to the Sandman Death 20th Anniversary Bookends you put up.
When should they be coming out and how much of a dent will they put on my wallet, please?


According to a quick Google, http://www.toymania.com/news/messages/9960.shtml says they came out in September, and they will cost a wallet-twinging $295. (Ouch.) There are only a thousand of them.

This one has almost nothing to do with you Neil, but since his website is still in the makings I thought you could perhaps forward this to him.
I was very sad (like a child whose told there won't be a Christmas this year) to learn that Dave McKean's appearance this weekend in Buenos Aires was canceled.
In the event's blog they posted Dave's email in which he mentioned he couldn't make it because a date was changed (which sounds reasonable). But it remained unclear if it was the date of ANIMATE (the Buenos Aires event) which was changed, or if it was one of Dave's previous engagements.


Dave McKean said...

Hi Neil,

Please post this, as I certainly do feel very bad letting people down:

I agreed to go to Animate in the summer and had to organize a military
operation of friends and family to take care of our son Liam during
the proposed week, as he is appearing as Gavroche in Les Miserables in
London and has to be accompanied to and from the theatre each day he's
on, and also be available on 12 hours notice every day in case another
actor drops out.
We managed this, so both Clare and I could make the trip to Buenos
Aires, a city we've always wanted to visit.
Unfortunately, the date was changed by the organizers, and so we had
to re-arrange.
More importantly, it became obvious that the festival was now
colliding with a variety of previous commitments falling in the latter
half of November, so I decided with great sadness to withdraw this
year.
I hate letting people down, and I was really looking forward to the
trip (though not the 24 hours travelling each way, I admit!).

Hopefully there will be another event, an animation or film festival,
that will allow me to visit the city in the future. Or maybe we'll
just go for a holiday, and do a signing in a bookstore.

Thanks,
Dave


(I think it's worth pointing out that ten-year old Liam McKean -- owner of the original Pig Puppet -- is in Les Miserables in London. If you happen to go and see it, check if he's in your performance. Get his autograph. Mention pigs. Make his day.) And that reminds me...

Hi Neil,

I thought you might like to let people know that Dave McKean is on the BBC4 programme "Picture Book" talking about his illustations for David Almond's 'The Savage' and how he was inspired by Comic Book's art. The programme is airing (again) at 19.10 on Saturday and 3.30 on Sunday, and is also currently available on the BBC i-player. http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00fhnb6/comingup

Thank you again for all the stories,

Marjorie


You're welcome.

Hi,

Just read that you completed "the Dying Earth story." Huh? Is there a new collection of Dying Earth stories coming out? Is it an homage to Jack Vance's work, or what?

Did a search for "dying earth" on your website and saw no other mention of it.

Thanks,
Chris

It's for this.

...

And finally, Larry Marder talks about why the drawing we did together is so special at http://larrymarder.blogspot.com/2008/11/neil-gaimanlarry-marder-drawing-up-for.html.

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Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Beyond tea

If you can't afford to have me for tea (and at those prices, who can blame you?) it might be wiser to just bid for me playing the drums...






(I do not play drums. Even when I was in a band I did not play drums.)

It's one of an amazing bunch of things that have just gone up on ebay from the CBLDF, who appear to have released everything cool they've been sitting on this year all at once. You want a character from the Sandman 20th Anniversary poster? You want the background from the Sandman Anniversary poster? The last of the "altfanthingie" Jill Thompson tee shirts? You want the Sandman-Hellboy crossover drawn by Mike Mignola and me?


In addition to the drawing by me and Mike, there's also drawings by me and Jeff Smith, Colleen Doran, Paul Pope, Larry Marder, Jim Valentino, Amanda Conner, Darwyn Cooke, David Gianfelice, Eduardo Risso, Jeffrey Brown (I think this one may be my favourite), Kyle Baker and Nikki Cooke... You want one? You know someone who would like one for Christmas, Chanukah, Kwanza, Mithrastide, or I'm-An-Atheist-But-I-Don't-See-Why-I-Can't-Have-A-Party-And-Presents-Day?

Then you go to this ebay link, and go shopping for the Holidays...

...

And when all of those things are done and gone and sold, M+E designs will still be there, Emma Straub and Michael Fusco, making amazingly cool posters.

Also, I got a happy call from my editor to say that The Graveyard Book is now in its seventh week on the New York Times children's list. (Two weeks at number one, then a drop to number six, and the last four weeks sitting cheerfully at number four.) I haven't wanted to say anything for fear of jinxing it, but it makes me much happier to still be at number four than it ever did to get to number one. Number One meant that I went on tour and we made a lot of noise; seven weeks later, Number Four means that people are telling each other about the book, and buying it on word of mouth, and that makes me happier than anything.)

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You could also try BUTTONEYES

There. After a few days of mostly sleeping I'm alive again, although I feel a bit like someone took a glue gun to my lungs. I just threw a whole peeled lemon, a dried cayenne pepper from the garden, some honey and hot water in a blender, and drank it all down, and I think it helped.

Nothing exciting to report, or rather, I cannot remember any of the things I'd planned to write once I had a brain again.

The auction has eleven hours to go. Right now you can have afternoon tea with me for eleven hundred dollars. I suspect that if there's no way that you can make it to New York, and are prepared to wait, the tea could be made to happen somewhere else.

Coraline was all over USA Today yesterday, which was nice. My only concern is that the images that are getting out all look really sweet, and not creepy... I liked The Other Mother and the Omelette though. http://www.usatoday.com/life/l081116_Coraline/flash.htm?gid=781 gives you the gallery. (The omelette one is the third.)

On the other hand, Coraline.com (and theothercoraline.com ) have both got spookier, and have strange and marvellous little films up. With keys to access... one of which I found at http://www.despoiler.org/2008/11/17/my-funny-coraline/. (Yes, I suppose I could just have called Focus and asked, but how much fun would that have been? Also I'd feel guilty about posting the info here if I did.)

Hi Neil! I'm a huge fan with 2 quick questions.

Absolute Sandman Vol 1 appears to be sold out on Amazon and Chapters / Indigo with no mention of availability. Is there going to be another printing soon or should I be desperately searching bookstores for a copy before it's gone forever?

On a related note, are there any plans to release an Absolute Absolute Sandman containing all 4 volumes, with any special content?

Thanks so much! Love your books, love your blog!

I checked, and when you wrote this Absolute Sandman #1 was indeed out of stock everywhere. But before I could write to people and ask, it was already back in print and back up on Amazon. (This is the link) (I notice it's now at full price, not 37% off, like the others, which may well mean that once they sell out of the first printings of Absolutes they'll stop discounting them. Which, if you're putting off buying them for the future, might make a difference.)

(And in the half hour between my checking it was there and now it's already gone Temporarily Out Of Stock at Amazon. I assume they didn't order enough to cope with back orders.)

There are definitely no plans to ever do one 2500 page book. (I feel guilty enough watching people carrying two of the Absolutes in signing lines: a 36 lb book would just be wrong.) However, I can assure you that the Sandman and Death bookends are heavy enough to cope with holding the Absolutes in place. (I'm using mine for other books, but they're definitely working bookends, not ornaments.)

(And brain has trickled back enough to remind me to post this: http://blog.newsarama.com/2008/11/16/update-on-carla-and-lance-hoffman/ -- and to send my best wishes to Carla and Lance for a speedy recovery.)

..

Stop Press: My assistant Lorraine just walked into the office with a G1 phone, for me to play with...

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Monday, November 17, 2008

tea for two (or three, I suppose)

I'm sleeping a lot, coughing a bit, sleeping a bit more. During the waking bit I'm mostly listening to Radio 7 or podcasts, and the best podcasts are from The Moth, the storytelling thingummy based in New York I discovered last year shortly before I found myself on a stage telling the story of how I got home from Hamburg in 1977.

(A quick search found it up on the web at http://www.pen.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/2104/prmID/1064)

Anyway, the Moth is a marvellous thing, and needs to be supported. Tomorrow night is the annual Moth Ball. You can read all about it at https://www.themoth.org/ball .
If you're in New York, you could go. It is hosted by

John Turturro

and

Garrison Keillor

and Salman Rushdie will be getting an award. It looks like a marvellous evening of storytelling. There will be wonders and things in a silent auction as well.

And then, in conjunction with the ball, there's an online auction, to support the Moth. Nine things are up for auction.

One of them is me.

Not literally. I mean, you don't get to keep me.

It's afternoon tea. At The Players Club.

Here's the link to the auction:

Enjoy Afternoon Tea with Neil Gaiman at The Players in Gramercy Park

There's two days to go on the auction -- it ends at Nov. 19, 2008 at 11:59 PM EST. Right now you can get afternoon tea with me for a bid over $350.

I hope whoever wins it is nice.

[Edit to add:
Hi Neil,

I am seriously considering bidding on the afternoon tea at the Players in Gramercy Park, and I was curious as to when this event would occur, to make sure I can attend (and not be out of the country due to work). Perhaps I'm blind, but I didn't see it indicated in the auction. Help?

Thanks,
Jeff

P.S: I'm fairly confident that I'm a nice person, and can probably even get a few friends to vouch for me!

That's because the actual when-it-happens of it all is something that will get figured out between the winning bidder and me, and depend on where they are and where I am. The idea is to be able to make it work for whoever bids.]

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Meanwhile the nude ladies continue to dance about

A small happy birthday post to somebody living and somebody dead.

This is the dead person. I think this may be the funniest 8 minutes of someone staring at you and telling you about his experiences as a coal miner and novelist ever filmed.



And here, from twenty years ago, are both birthday boys. "Independent wealth. And blackmail."

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prevarication and other great words

I've got something that's probably only a bad cold that caught up with me after five months on the road, so I was asleep last night by about nine... and awake this morning at six.

I finished typing the Dying Earth story for Messrs Martin and Dozois, who were sitting on an otherwise completed book drumming their fingers against their tabletops in a worried manner and waiting for me to finish touring. It's an odd story but it made me happy, and, while I get to do some Jack Vance impressions (no-one but Vance can do Vance properly) I got to do me too.

Again, tabs to close and plenty of them.

Or in one case, tabs to keep open. I'm now hooked on http://www.oldbaileyonline.org , reading my way through the ancient legal cases, loving the details and the names, occasionally marvelling at the difference in times and moral codes and modes of justice. (Like this: http://www.oldbaileyonline.org/browse.jsp?id=t17140908-26&div=t17140908-26 which reminds us of the value of freedom of speech...)

A slightly odd Batman article in http://www.usatoday.com/life/books/news/2008-11-17-batman-gaiman_N.htm -- I'm not exactly misquoted, but I'm not sure I'd entirely endorse any of their conclusions.

(I don't think I've ever had an Alex Ross cover on anything I've done, and it was lovely to see it...)



....and, now that it's been shown full size on the back of Previews, I don't think there's any harm in putting up Andy Kubert's cover, in its original uncoloured version. (which is the one I can find on my computer.) (If anyone grumbles I'll take it down.)



...

I've been pondering the word prevaricate on and off for a number of years. I'd used it once in Sandman to mean someone not making up their minds, and Emma Bull, reading it, said "You mean procrastinate. Prevaricate means to lie." And I changed it before it saw print, realising that if she thought it was being misused, so would many other readers. Then, eighteen years later, I read an article on how to hang Rothkos which contained the sentence "Rothko was always prevaricating over how his art should be shown," said Waldemar Januszczak, art critic for the Sunday Times, and decided to research.

I think it's a word with shades of meaning, and while in the US it tends to get used simply as "to lie" (as in "All politicians prevaricate"), in the UK it's more often used as a synonym for Equivocate -- i.e. to avoid giving a straight answer... even to tergiversarate. And it's the equivocation, with its implications of putting off a decision that then shades over into meanings that aren't simply "to lie".

And after writing that I just found some people arguing with each other about that on a French/English board, as if it's a new meaning that's just come along. It isn't. The Big Oxford English Dictionary that I need a magnifying glass to read lists as Prevaricate definition #2 "To deviate from straightforwardness; to act or speak evasively; to quibble, shuffle, equivocate." And it gives examples going back to 1651. (Squints. Checks with magnifying glass. Nope, 1631.)

...

Joe Gordon asked if I could mention this excellent Vertigo Encyclopedia interview up at the FPI blog, which I do, partly because I still feel guilty for not ever reading Alex's book A Scattering of Jades, copies of which were pressed on me in proof by friends, and which, like so many books people give me, never made it off the to-be-read pile.

Berkeley Breathed's favourite strips are up at http://www.berkeleybreathed.com/pages/favorite_strips.asp.

A few people have sent me links in to the Io9 article on How Sandman Changed the World. It's over at http://io9.com/5086663/5-ways-that-sandman-changed-the-world if you want to read it. I guess I have the same problem with it I do with a lot of Io9 stuff -- it's an article that reads like someone was assigned it, and sort of blogged it out in a bit of a hurry without any research or real thought. I don't think that Sandman actually did any of the five things he lists it as having done, and a lot of the things presented on the page as if they're facts are opinions, and dodgy ones at that. (Which sounds remarkably ungracious, considering it's a blog entry that says nice things about Sandman. If so, blame it on the author being in bed with a cold.) (And, before people write in asking about the "lost Sandman role playing supplement", and before it makes it into Wikipedia, the Mayfair Games Sandman event someone talks about in the comments is more or less entirely fictional. I think I had a chat about a potential Sandman game with Dan Greenberg, who wrote the DC Magic supplement, but it went no further and Mayfair went down soon after -- I've never before encountered the idea that the two things were linked, and no Sandman game was ever written, made, solicited or cancelled.)

On the other hand someone sent me a link to this article on children's literature at http://www.firstthings.com/article.php3?id_article=6403. It's a fascinating essay which I agree with parts of, disagree with parts of (I really rate A.A.Milne as a humourist, children's writer and playwright, and my five-year-old love for the Winnie The Pooh books is all-consuming), but love his journey from premise to conclusion. If we are in a golden age of children's literature, it's probably mostly because of Sturgeon's Law. There are a lot of books being written right now, after all.

Also ran into this article by Roseanne Cash on songwriting (which I suspect applies equally to writing of all kinds) which I really enjoyed: so much of the magic is made by turning up and crafting something, simply by doing the work, and it's so hard to convince people of that, and it doesn't make the magic any less for it.

The Independent has its 50 best books for Winter up as a slideshow at http://www.independent.co.uk/extras/indybest/arts-books/the-50-best-winter-reads-1017075.html (click on the picture of the Ali Smith book to start it). The Graveyard Book is one of the books, I'm happy to say, and it's also on Amazon.co.uk's Years Best SF and Fantasy list.


And Meg Cabot says nice things about The Graveyard Book, and dispels rumours on her lovely chatty blog.

...

About seventeen years ago the phone rang. "You're nominated for a World Fantasy Award for best short story," I was told.

"You should make sure that Charles Vess is nominated too," I said. "He drew it. And as a comic, it's not just the writer. It's both of us."

There were a couple of phone calls, and when the nominations were announced, Charles had been added to the list.

Which was something I found myself remembering when I read,

The Canada Council for the Arts won't add Canadian illustrator Jillian Tamaki's name to the official list of nominees in the text category for this year's Governor-General's Award for children's literature.

"We're a little bit late in the game" to either discuss the issue or make the addition, Melanie Rutledge, head of writing and publishing for the Canada Council, said Wednesday evening. But "we'll take it under consideration going forward. ... We're always wanting feedback like this."


It's for Skim, a graphic novel [Jillian] created with her cousin, author Mariko Tamaki. The book, published by Groundwood Books/House of Anansi Press, is one of five titles short-listed for the $25,000 G-G prize in children's literature (text), with Mariko Tamaki cited as the sole creator. If you give a writing award to a comic and ignore the art, you're being foolish, short-sighted and fundamentally failing to understand what comics are or what comics writing means.

And it's never too late to fix things.

Now, before I head off on some barking mad Jeremiad against short-sighted Canadians, I shall drink some chicken soup and go to sleep.

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Thursday, November 13, 2008

Mister Fuchs and his flower

I've finished the BATMAN half of the story (the actual cover of which can be seen, small, on the back cover of Previews). Now onto the DETECTIVE half, in which much will be explained. Now typing out the last of a short story. Last night was a late birthday dinner, during which Maddy pointed out that when she's 26 I'll be 60.

Much lemon-and-honey and chicken soup is being drunk. And The Graveyard Book (and the P. Craig Russell Coraline Graphic Novel) are on Kirkus's 2008 Year's Best list.

Hi Neil,

My 4th grade class has created a quite splendid (if I do say so myself) mural of The Graveyard Book. I've a post with some images from it and their responses to the book here:
http://medinger.wordpress.com/2008/11/14/in-the-classroom-the-graveyard-book/


I loved the mural -- and even more than that, I loved the description of reading The Graveyard Book to a fourth grade audience. Thanks so much!

Hitmouse wrote in to say:

Ursula Vernon, writing on The Power of Comics: http://ursulav.livejournal.com/831148.html
She was at a reception for Ahmed Fadaam.


And it was an astonishingly powerful entry that I think everyone should read.

http://www.lasvegasweekly.com/news/2008/nov/13/presence-author/ is a nice account of my day in Las Vegas last week. (That's meant to be a sketch of Death, by the way, not of the young lady in front of me.)

Hey Neil,

I wanted to let you know that a review and photos I took at the 92Y discussion with Chip Kidd are up at QuietColor.com

A Conversation With The Dream king:
http://quietcolor.com/qc/?p=1790

I am a longtime fan and have had the pleasure of meeting you on several occasions at various NYC reading and signings over the years. I had to skip the post discussion signing this time to cover another event (Conor Oberst at Terminal 5). Therefore, since I didn't get to say it in person... Thankyou, to you and Chip for an enlightening, entertaining, and inspirational evening!

If you have a chance I would love for you to take a look at my website www.maniacpumpkincarvers.com I carve really intricate, custom pumpkins each fall.

Thanks again,
Marc Evan


Those are some remarkably carved pumpkins. (Even a pig!)

Thanks Marc. We get to see what Chip was wearing in those photos, which I think is important. Posterity needs to know. (There's a wonderful description of the event up at Tor.com -- http://www.tor.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=blog&id=8526#more -- which reminds me that you can always remember how to spell fuchsia if you bear in mind that the flower was named after a German botanist named Fuchs.)

Have any of your books been translated into Chinese and if so, where can I get one for my son-in-law for for Christmas? I've searched the web with no luck and also checked in 2 bookstores in Hong Kong last week with no results. Thanks. He and my daughter are huge fans and have been at a couple of your book signings in the Twin Cities.

Yup. They're now pretty much all out in complex Chinese characters, and are in the process of coming out in simplified Chinese. Let me look...

Here's a DangDang.com link to Stardust. And here's an Amazon.cn link to some books by me. (Simplified Chinese). And here's a link to Coraline and American Gods in Complex Chinese characters (and another to books by me).

Does that help?

...

Nearly forgot: An interview with me about Coraline and the upcoming in February Coraline film from Wired online:

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On Seeing Amanda Palmer

Late last night I recorded the eulogy I wrote on the back of the LP of Who Killed Amanda Palmer and emailed it off into the void. I think Amanda and her team are going to do something with it at the live gigs but am not entirely certain what. Whatever it is, you really want to go and see Amanda Palmer live. Honest you do.

She's a wonderful performer, is assisted by the mysterious Australian dancy-performance-arty foursome The Danger Ensemble, and will be signing for everyone after each show (where you could tell her that I sent you and thus impress her with the magical power of this blog). Also she is very likely to perform "I Google You" and (perhaps more importantly) to do some Dresden Dolls songs as well as solo songs from the Who Killed Amanda Palmer CD.

The tour details and links and suchlike are all up at http://amandapalmer.net/tour
but, in case you were idly wondering if she was going to be anywhere near you:

Fri Nov 14 '08 (8:30 PM)
Asheville, NC
The Orange Peel

Sat Nov 15 '08 (8:30 PM)
Raleigh, NC
Lincoln Theatre

Sun Nov 16 '08 (7:30 PM)
Atlanta, GA
Variety Playhouse

Tue Nov 18 '08 (6:30 PM)
Washington, DC
9:30 Club

Wed Nov 19 '08 (8:00 PM)
New Haven, CT
Toad's Place

Fri Nov 21 '08 (7:30 PM)
New York, NY
Webster Hall

Sat Nov 22 '08 (8:30 PM)
Philadelphia, PA
Theatre of Living Arts

Boston two-night stand:
Mon Nov 24 (7:30)
&
Tues Nov 25th '08 (7:30 PM)
Boston, MA
Paradise Rock Club

Sat Nov 29 '08 (8 PM)
Millvale, PA
Mr. Small's Theater

Sun Nov 30 '08 (TBD)
Toronto, ONT
Mod Club Theatre

Tue Dec 2 '08 (8:30 PM)
Ferndale, MI
The Magic Bag

Wed Dec 3 '08 (7:30 PM)
Chicago, IL
Metro

Fri Dec 5 '08 (9:00 PM)
Minneapolis, MN
First Avenue

Sat Dec 6 '08 (9:00 PM)
Denver, CO
Bluebird Theater

Sun Dec 7 '08 (10:00 PM)
Aspen, CO
Belly Up Aspen

Mon Dec 8 '08 (8:30 PM)
Murray, UT
Murray Theatre

Wed Dec 10 '08 (9:00 PM)
Vancouver, BC
Richard's On Richards Cabaret

Thu Dec 11 '08 (9:00 PM)
Seattle, WA
Showbox at the Market

Fri Dec 12 '08 (8:30 PM)
Portland, OR
Wonder Ballroom

Sat Dec 13 '08 (9:30 PM)
Sacramento, CA
Harlow's Night Club

Mon Dec 15 '08 (8:00 PM)
San Francisco, CA
Bimbo's 365 Club

Tue Dec 16 '08 (9:00 PM)
Los Angeles, CA
Henry Fonda Theatre

...

Dear Mr. Gaiman (or the man behind the curtain holding Mr. Punch's strings):
I have been a big fan of your work for many years, especially your collaborations with Dave McKean. I was very pleasantly surprised when Signal To Noise was recently re-issued, as my old paperback copy was becoming more than slightly battered. If I had to pick a favourite work of the two of you collaborating, that would be it. Such a wonderful book. Okay, now that I've finished with that, I have a question: I have never heard the BBC adaption, and would very much like to -- is it still available for purchase anywhere? I've searched the internet and don't seem to be able to find it. Are there any plans to re-issue it?
Hopefully yours,

Ken Abell


There are some left at http://www.allenspiegelfinearts.com/product.html. (Dreamhaven Books now have their www.neilgaiman.net site back online, but they didn't seem to have any there.)

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catching up, a little at a time

Good morning.

Slowly coming out of a too-much-travel induced haze, a day at a time. The weather is vaguely evil -- spatters of frozen rain patter and tap against the window-glass. Am typing this in bed, and truly, it's just an enormous link-dump, higgledy piggledy with little rhyme and less reason:

A Publishers Weekly summary of the 92nd St Y event: http://www.publishersweekly.com/article/CA6613285.html

The Bookwitch interview with me: http://bookwitch.wordpress.com/interviews/neil-gaiman-%E2%80%9Ci-worry-that-i-might-be-respectable%E2%80%9D/
Pat Nugent's interview -- and review of The Graveyard Book -- in the Irish Sunday Tribune

http://www.tribune.ie/arts/article/2008/oct/26/ghost-story-the-graveyard-book

http://www.tribune.ie/arts/books/article/2008/nov/09/enter-sandman (It has my favourite photo caption ever: Neil Gaiman: his relentlessly eclectic attitude has caused difficulties with fans, which made me flash back on conversations with headmasters as a boy, which all seemed to begin, "Gaiman.. it's about your attitude.")

An audio review of The Graveyard Book at Green Man Review - http://www.greenmanreview.com/book/book_gaiman_graveyardbook_audio.html

The second of my 2000AD Future Shocks (from September 86) is up at http://forbiddenplanet.co.uk/blog/?p=10100
I think it was the fourth comic story I'd ever written, and for quite a while it was the only one I was satisfied with. Looking it over now, I'd noodle the dialogue a bit, but it's still a nice idea.

People sometimes ask me where they should start with my stuff. Geeks of Doom has a suggestion list:
http://geeksofdoom.com/2008/11/10/a-beginners-guide-to-neil-gaiman/

A while ago I mentioned that I started my day by checking Locusmag.com, the online version of Locus, and got this question:

Why is locusmag.com such required reading? Caveat: I've been an sf pro for nigh unto two decades (ye gods! can it truly be 20 years?), and when I started (before this pesky internet thing existed), Locus (the magazine) was definitely where the news was. But with the growth of the web sites and blogs (and not to break my arm patting my own back, but SFScope.com, too), it seems to me that locusmag.com is sort of a backwater, occasionally posting links to items elsewhere. Their indexes of past information are great, but why do you find it the first stop to find out what's going on?

--Ian


It's mostly due to taste -- I mostly like the links they point to, their news although sparser than other places tends to be real news (I assume they learned their lesson about ever using Wikipedia as a source for anything last week), I'm of an age where when Locus says someone died it's probably someone I know or have met, and partly because it's still the online segment of an SF oriented magazine done by actual journalists with real reporting and criticism in it. SFscope (since you mentioned it) seems to reprint every press release vaguely having to do with SF or fantasy -- it's stuff to winnow through, and I don't want to winnow. There's too much winnowing to do on the web already. I assume that on most days there won't be any news on Locusmag, and I like it that way. Also, it has essays by Cory Doctorow, reprints of bits of interviews and criticism, bestseller lists (within the field and without), and links to things that mostly aren't stupid.

Incidentally, they've put the last issue of Locus up online as an experiment -- you can read the whole interview with Ursula K LeGuin, of which the online extract is merely an extract: it's up at http://issuu.com/locusmag/docs/1k45kdsx87

Back to links...

Paul Levitz tells you how to do a letter-writing campaign that has a chance of working. Probably applicable to fields other than comics as well...

Authors and Cats in the Guardian: this blog gets a shout out (and then, there's the famous photo of Princess and me in the back of the illustrated STARDUST).

I am a children's librarian on our local county mock newbery committee. We have all read and loved The Graveyard Book, but are wondering if it can be included, due to Mr. Gaiman's status as a British citizen.

We have heard a recent rumor that he has become an American citizen. Is this true? If so, you'd make a large group of librarians very happy.

Sincerely,
Sharon Kalman
Children's Librarian
Paramus, NJ Public Library


Nope, I'm not an American citizen. We've had to apologise to the American Book Award people a couple of times for this one, but I'm glad to say that librarians can be as happy as they like, for it's irrelevant to the Newbery. According to http://www.ala.org/ala/mgrps/divs/alsc/awardsgrants/bookmedia/newberymedal/newberyterms/newberyterms.cfm:


TERMS

1. The Medal shall be awarded annually to the author of the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children published in English in the United States during the preceding year. There are no limitations as to the character of the book considered except that it be original work. Honor Books may be named. These shall be books that are also truly distinguished.


2. The Award is restricted to authors who are citizens or residents of the United States.

3. The committee in its deliberations is to consider only the books eligible for the award, as specified in the terms.


See point two? I'm an American resident. Do not worry.

A few people sent me the link to http://www.37signals.com/svn/posts/1392-carbon-copies-i-write-dead-people -- pencils made from dead people. I thought that pencils were graphite, not just any old carbon, and wonder how well you could actually write with dead people, or how much of the ash would actually go into the pencils. I do like the idea, though.

A video review I was sent of Coraline: http://kidsknowstuff.com/2008/11/coraline-by-neil-gaiman/

A reminder that many of the shops I signed in on the last tour still have signed copies of The Graveyard Book (and, sometimes, other books) -- and here's an online store with some signed ones as well.

Todd Klein's Blog has the details of his next print on it -- with another entry with more details at http://kleinletters.com/Blog/?p=2268. (I have to sign the second edition of my Todd print today... Green Ink sounds good.) It also has the picture of the actual cover of Absolute Sandman 4 (as opposed to the one on Amazon).

Right. Enough for now...

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Wednesday, November 12, 2008

looks around blearily...

I got home half an hour after my birthday was done. Spent yesterday mostly sleeping -- at least, I remember nothing about yesterday other than the moment I looked out of the window and realised it must have been snowing for a while and I hadn't noticed, and watching Sarah Jane Adventures with Maddy, and saying the dialogue a few seconds before the characters did, with the right intonation and everything, which left her suspicious that I'd seen the episode before and left me explaining that, no, I just knew how they went.

I have oodles of links to post and tabs that need closing, but I think I'll save that for a post later tonight, and now take the dog for a walk in the snow: I realised, this morning (at the Dentist's, being fitted for a new sleep apnea mouth-thingummy) that I've been on the road since July, and that my exhaustion is my own silly fault, and that Next Year, except where unavoidable, or where already committed, I will stay in one place more or less and write.

Miriam Berkley (http://www.publishersmarketplace.com/members/MiriamBerkley/) found some photos she took of me back when Sandman started. Sometimes it doesn't seem like twenty years since the first issue of Sandman came out. And then I see a photo of me at just-28, and it does, every minute and every year of it.

(Me, twenty years ago, wearing the first of a long line of black leather jackets.)

Ever since the Compleat Death was announced, people have been writing in wondering why it wasn't an Absolute Edition. People really like the Absolute Sandmans (and I was reading through Absolute Sandman Volume 4 last night, and being really impressed by the size and detail -- particularly on reproduction of the Michael Zulli pencils in The Wake, which are remarkable -- and I could really see why). And, because people kept writing in to me and asking about it, I started wondering why we'd have an edition that would be a different size and shape again from the Absolutes. Recently I talked to people at DC about it (especially as, following the critical and commercial success of the Absolute Sandmans, it was becoming apparent to them that it might make sense to keep these things in the same format) and, at the last possible moment, Paul Levitz came down on the side of keeping the editions consistent and keeping me -- and, I hope, you -- happier (thank you Paul). So, no Compleat Death in March. But there will be an Absolute Death later in the year...

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Sunday, November 09, 2008

Pickles and Pears

The performance on Saturday Night was fascinating. I hadn't been to the rehearsal, so had no idea what to expect. Essentially, it was eight excellent voice actors (I'd credit them all here, but I didn't grab a programme) performing on each side of the stage while the panels appeared on a large screen. They did "Three Septembers and a January" (the Emperor Norton story) and "The Golden Boy" (The Prez story), and did them extremely well. It made me wonder what it would be like to try and do a bigger story in that format-- "The Doll's House", or "A Game of You", perhaps. Not sure that everything worked but most of it did, and the stuff that didn't work is fixable...

And on Sunday morning I slept until I woke up. Which was a wonderful, happy-making thing.

...

Argh. And that was as far as I got on this yesterday (Sunday).

So the best bit was Chip Kidd interviewing me at the 92nd St Y. Best interview ever -- partly because it was the very last thing of the tour (hurrah) and partly because Chip is a brilliant interviewer. He's funny and smart and makes a comfortable space to talk in -- I'm not sure how to explain it beyond that. If you're a TV network looking for an interviewer, you should hire Chip Kidd. (http://www.goodisdead.com/index.php?/chip_who/)

And then was a signing that went on for a very long time, but again, the knowledge that it was the last one of the tour kept me going -- and everyone was so extremely nice... but I was sort of trashed by the end, and very happy this is now over.

My Nokia N73 started randomly turning itself off last week. It now seems to have more or less given up the ghost. When I get home I'll try updating the software, but I think it's definitely New Phone time. (Hoping that the G1 that Google offered to send is waiting for me when I get home tonight...)

So thank you all so much for all the Birthday Wishes -- all the individual ones, and the ones at
http://www.groupcard.com/c/neil_gaiman...

And before the end of my birthday, I will get home. Hurrah.

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Saturday, November 08, 2008

from Logan airport

Let's see. I gave the talk in Las Vegas (enormously fun, especially the Q&A bit. Incidentally, for anyone who was there, I checked and the news story I mentioned occurred neither in Pittburgh nor Detroit, but in Philadelphia). Then from there I found myself whisked to a room at the top of a Casino, sitting at another table and signing more books for the people who had funded and helped the Book Festival, and for those who had sprung for an expensive ticket. It was a lot like a normal signing only nobody could hear anything over the music, so if I signed your book to Brian and it should have been to Ryan... er, sorry.

Then I spent most of the day on a plane. (I was meant to be working. Instead, in what is becoming a familiar refrain on this blog, I slept.) Last night I saw Thea Gilmore and Nigel Stonier supporting Joe Jackson (they were wonderful), and met their son Egan again: he's now bigger and blonder.

Now typing in Logan airport -- I've flown up for a family event. Hoping that everything goes according to schedule and I can make it (my cousin Scott's bar mitzvah) and get back to New York in time for the event tonight. I bet I can. It just adds a little excitement to the day.

Charlie Fletcher did the kind of interview in Scotland last week that left me worried that he wouldn't have any interview material as we'd spent the whole time chatting happily. I shouldn't have worried -- his interview is up at http://living.scotsman.com/features/Neil-Gaiman-interview-One-foot.4674238.jp, although I think he would like you to know that he didn't write the headline.

The Dangerous Alphabet confuses the New York Times reviewer (well, she describes it as "funny, frightening and confusing all at once"). "The humor seems better aimed at older kids than the publisher’s recommended “5 and up.” Call me a goody-two-shoes, but I won’t be reading the words “Q is for Quiet (bar one muffled scream)” to my kindergartner anytime soon," she says. Still, it seems like the kind of mixed review that would let people who would like the book know it was out there...

Here's a complete version of the Manchester Creepy Doll (although I am a bit invisible, for reasons that will become obvious):



And finally, an article about tonight's event in New York (and a bit about tomorrow's event) as well as an interview with Charles Brownstein of the CBLDF:

http://blog.wired.com/underwire/2008/11/neil-gaiman-com.html

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Thursday, November 06, 2008

from Las Vegas

Just did a lovely signing -- only about fifty people altogether, which meant that I got to talk to everyone and draw in their books, admire their tattoos and so forth. Really pleasant.



Thank you for all who voted. Consider me retired now from the Hottest Daddy Blogger and Blogitzer categories.

A fun cartoon of Michael Chabon and me at http://www.lasvegassun.com/news/2008/nov/06/comic-book-literature-unmasked-festival/. I like how sleepy I look and how wide-awake he looks. (It makes me a bit sad that I leave Las Vegas and then Michael arrives, and we miss each other this trip. He's one of the world's best people to chat to.)

An interview with me at The Scottish Book Trust: http://www.scottishbooktrust.com/

My friend-the-Emmy-award-winning-writer Michael Reaves talks about how much he hates me on his blog. But I'm linking to the whole blog, and not just that entry (it's called "Why I Hate Neil Gaiman" and is easy to find) because it's all fascinating: Michael is battling Parkinson's Disease, and talks about that, and about other things. http://waretheblog.blogspot.com/

...and here's a tidbit that may help unravel some of why I was in China in September. I don't know if that's a final title (probably not) and the second two books are probably going to be solidly based in this blog (on the theory that of the 1,212,333 words I've written since it began, some of them might be of interest to the world. I think one may be partly about writing) and in case people were wondering, it doesn't mean I'll now write three non-fiction books; it'll probably be a non-fiction, then an adult novel, then an all-ages book, then another non-fiction book...

And more on the subject from MTV: http://splashpage.mtv.com/2008/11/06/neil-gaimans-tells-of-his-adventures-in-china-with-a-monkey-on-his-back/

...

Michael Crichton is dead. I read and liked some of his books (mostly the pre-1980s ones), some of his movies, and the first season of ER; I don't have any real anecdotes or insight -- we chatted a few years ago at a Harper Collins party, I liked him and oh my god the man was tall. He towered above a room of authors as if we were children. Over at the Guardian Maxim Jakubowski pens a much better appreciation than that, although I knew what he meant when he said,
we once shared a lift in the Random House building in New York some 15 years ago, and I was too dumbstruck by his sheer height to even introduce myself as he had to bend over at 90 degrees to fit his frame into the elevator.


...

The Dave McKean "Mythical Creatures" stamps are slated for June of next year according to the Royal Mail website. (I wrote short-short-stories to accompany them.)

...

If you're in the UK you can listen to me reading on the audible.co.uk podcast (but not if you're not).

And Keplers video- interviewed me (while I signed books) and are giving away a Headstone...

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