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Thursday, April 29, 2010

Stopgap

This isn't actually the next blog entry. Well, it is, but it's just by way of a stopgap until I get an hour's downtime to actually write the next entry, the one that takes me from Chicago and the CBLDF to Stillwater and the UK, with volcanoes and suchlike on the way.

I'm on deadlines right now, which means that there's been nothing much happening except writing, and burning food. I'm getting to be really good at burning food. Baked apples mostly, which are things I can pop into the Aga (a big metal always-on oven out where I am staying on my own right now) and forget about until they've turned into black things that have to be soaked and scraped off the inside of the cookware.

The episode of Doctor Who I've written finished its No Longer at the End of Eleven Season One But Now Near the Start of Eleven Season Two rewrite last night and has gone off to the powers that be.

The Graveyard Book has been nominated for the Carnegie Medal. It's also nominated for a Kate Greenway Medal for illustration, for Chris Riddell, which makes it the first book in 30 years to be nominated for both the Greenway and the Carnegie. (To make matters more tense, Chris is up against Dave McKean for the Greenaway -- Dave was nominated for our book CRAZY HAIR.)

Here's the Carnegie Medal nominations and judges' comments: http://www.carnegiegreenaway.org.uk/pressdesk/press.php?release=press_carnegie_2010_shortlistcomments.htm

I've also started to get good at chasing sheep out of the garden.

In other news, the One Book One Twitter voting finished:

Jeff Howe of Crowdsourcing explains the idea here, on the voting page:

For anyone just joining us, One Book, One Twitter (#1b1t) is an effort to get everyone on Twitter to read the same book this summer. Usually such “Big Read” programs are organized around geography. Seattle started the trend for collective reading in 1998 when zillions of Seattlites all read Russell Banks’ book, Sweet Hereafter. Chicago followed suit with To Kill a Mockingbird a few years later.

This Big Read is organized around Twitter, and says to hell with physical limitations. Over the last few weeks, thousands of people from around the world nominated six books to include on the list of finalists.


He explains it further over at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jeff-howe/what-if-everyone-on-twitt_b_545080.html.

I've been keeping semi-quiet about it, because the first time I twittered about it people started suggesting I was flooding the votes (although American Gods was in the lead then), and I decided to make sure people understood I wasn't stumping for votes, either on the nomination or the voting process. But I think One Book One Twitter is a great idea -- a sort of worldwide book club.

The voting concluded a few hours ago, and American Gods won, and now I can talk about it. As an author, I'm half-pleased and half-not, mostly because American Gods is such a divisive sort of book. Some people love it, some sort of like it, and some people hate it. (As contrasted with, say, The Graveyard Book, which some people love, some like, and a statistically insignificant number of people hate.) It's not a book I'd hand out to everyone, because the people who don't know anything about what I've written and who hate it -- who might have loved Stardust, or Neverwhere, or The Graveyard Book or Sandman -- probably won't go and look any further.

(On Amazon.com, American Gods has 535 4 and 5 star reviews, to 128 1 or 2 star reviews: four people like it for each one that really doesn't. The Graveyard Book, for contrast, has 321 4 or 5 star reviews and 31 1 or 2 stars -- ten to one people like it.)

But it's happened, I'm kind of thrilled that I get to help kick off something this new, and I'm going to do all I can to help. Which, today, will consist of making sure I let all the publishers around the world who have AMERICAN GODS in print know about this, and, over the next few months, sending helpful or apologetic tweets to people who are stuck, offended, or very, very confused.

And possibly at the end of the reading period, if Crowdsourcing and the readers want, I could do some kind of Twitter Interview, answering as many of the questions as I can in 140 characters.

And Two Days Ago INSTRUCTIONS was published.

And, in case you missed it, here's a link to a site with the wonderful video that HarperChildrens and Brady Hall made from Charles Vess's pencils and finished art, and my reading of it from the Fragile Things Audiobook.

Okay. Back to work. Proper blog soon. With questions and answers and everything.

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Tuesday, April 20, 2010

What I Did to Celebrate National Library Week Part One: Vonnegut and Rollergirls

So...

when last seen, I was on my way to Indianapolis, where I gave the 33rd McFadden Memorial Lecture. I talked about libraries (because it was National Library Week) . This was a bit intimidating, as previous lecturers included John Updike, Maurice Sendak, E. L. Konigsburg, Lloyd Alexander, Norman Mailer, Margaret Atwood and Kurt Vonnegut (who had been an Indianapolis resident).

At the end of the lecture I was presented with the Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. Award for Literature, a national literary award created and administered by the the Indianapolis-Marion County Public Library "In celebration of those whose literary works uniquely document and define the human condition". The award itself made me ridiculously happy, as it's a beautiful sheet of metal with a Kurt Vonnegut self portrait on it, and Vonnegut was a writer who meant the world to me growing up: The Sirens of Titan was my first Vonnegut book, read when I was about ten years old, and it changed the way I thought. (We chatted only once, when he was in London, on the phone. He didn't want to do an interview, but was happy to talk, so we talked.)

This is me backstage holding my Kurt Vonnegut Literary Award.

Then I had dinner with a Roller Derby Team (and some of their significant others and offspring). It's the Naptown Roller Girls. They've been sending me wonderful things for a while now, and using the Octokitty from Coraline to bring them luck. Read all about it at Joan of Dark's blog http://joanofdarkknits.blogspot.com/2010/04/meeting-neil-gaiman.html (and she's just posted http://joanofdarkknits.blogspot.com/2010/04/mr-debauchery-talks-about-meeting-neil.html from the lovely people who were my ride to and from the dinner). I had a wonderful dinner, and even got to wear Joan's husband Dill's hat, which I am assured has its own Facebook page.

This is Naptown Roller Girl Joan of Dark. You may remember her from this blog back in January 2009, when she invented a coffee named after me: http://joanofdarkknits.blogspot.com/2009/01/neil-gaiman-needs-coffee.html


I was up more or less at dawn on Saturday, and I went to Chicago for the CBLDF event (the CBLDF has a spiffy new website at http://cbldf.org).

Oops. Someone just arrived to interview me...


And I'll finish this the next time I get a second.

NEXT INSTALLMENT: Chicago! Stillwater! The Wrath of the Volcano God!

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Thursday, April 15, 2010

Useful Information. Plus added Creepy Doll...

I've been waiting for the new CBLDF website to go online, but it's not quite up yet, so I'm just going to cut and paste their press release.
The CBLDF Salutes Chicago With A World Class C2E2 Showing!

This weekend the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund lands in the windy city with an incredible array of events and exclusives for our supporters at the inaugural edition of C2E2! Join us for An Evening with Neil Gaiman, Signings with Tony Harris, exclusive new prints by Gaiman and Harris, and the launch of the CBLDF Exclusive Benefit BPAL fragrance Banned in Boston!

An Evening With Neil Gaiman

On Saturday, April 17, at 7PM Neil Gaiman will be giving his only reading in 2010 to benefit the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund in the Arie Crown Theater at McCormick Place! The last time Neil Gaiman performed theatrical readings was ten years ago on the "Last Angel Tour." On that tour, he crisscrossed the country, giving sold-out readings of stories and poems, both new material and beloved tales. That was ten years ago. In those ten years, Mr. Gaiman's published such books as American Gods, Coraline, and The Graveyard Book. He's made movies and operas. He even started keeping a blog. A generation has grown up who have not seen an evening with Neil Gaiman -- until now.

For One Night Only. Neil Gaiman. Only for the CBLDF, and only at C2E2!

Tickets for An Evening With Neil Gaiman are available at C2E2 Registration at McCormick Place on the 2nd Floor or the CBLDF booth 933, starting Friday. Admission is $20 for C2E2 Badge Holders and $35 for the General Public not attending the convention. For more information, please visit: http://c2e2.com/en/Events/Neil-Gaiman/

Exclusive Neil Gaiman/Tony Harris Print & Harris Signings!

To commemorate Neil Gaiman's triumphant return to Chicago, Tony Harris, the award-winning artist of STARMAN, EX MACHINA, and WAR HEROES has illustrated an all-new print based on the unpublished poem "In Reilig Oran," which Gaiman will premiere for the first time at "An Evening With Neil Gaiman!" Unsigned copies of this gorgeous full-color 11 x 20 print will be available for a $20 donation to CBLDF at C2E2.

Harris will also be appearing at the CBLDF booth (933) to sign copies of the print, and his graphic novels. Harris will also be creating one commissioned piece of original art per day. Harris appears at the CBLDF booth:

Friday - 4:00 to 6:00 PM
Saturday: 12:00 to 2:00 PM
Sunday: 12:00 to 2:00 PM

All New ECHO Print by Terry Moore Premieres in Chicago!

Terry Moore, the award winning creator of ECHO and Strangers in Paradise premieres a brand new print to benefit the Fund at C2E2. A beautiful 11 x 17 presentation of the original black and white line art from the cover of the upcoming Echo #22, this print is only available for donation to the CBLDF!


Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab Releases Array of New CBLDF Benefit Fragrances!

The Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab, creators of unique fragrances based on literary and artistic works, are coming to Chicago in force with a variety of new fragrances to benefit the work of the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund at booth 951! New fragrances include BANNED IN BOSTON & the NEVERWHERE family of scents. Details include:

BANNED IN BOSTON

"Banned in Boston" was a phrase coined in the 19th century that was used to describe material, be it a motion picture, photograph, literary work, or other work of art, that contained objectionable or obscene content. Boston city officials and the Watch and Ward Society took their lead from the Comstock Law, which prohibited obscene materials from being distributed via the US Mail service, and formed their own strict censorship guidelines. Provocative or offensive material was prohibited from distribution or exhibition within Boston city limits.


The effect was much like that of the RIAA's Parental Advisory tags: if something was Banned in Boston, it only served to pique interest and spike sales or attendance.

Obscene, lewd, lascivious, and decidedly objectionable. A filthy, post-coitus scent: sweaty and sweet, laced with laudanum, splashed with booze, and stained by tobacco.

(Please note: the Banned in Boston label is NSFW)

NEVERWHERE

ANESTHESIA

A scent that slips through the cracks: peppermint, lavender, bergamot, and mandrake.

MR. CROUP
Pompous and predatory: tonka bean, black musk, bourbon geranium, and crushed porcelain.

DOOR
Golden honey, nicotiana, blue chamomile, and cistus.

THE FLOATING MARKET
A cacophony of curious scents: copaiba balsam, petitgrain, citrus rind, sinicuichi accord, betel nut, wasabi root, coconut palm, and wattleseed layered atop innumerable strange herbs, spices, and woods.

HUNTER
Leonine amber, tanned hides, clove, and clary sage.

LAMIA
Deadly elegance: pale orchid, vanilla amber, black currant, white peach, champaca, coconut, Arabian myrrh, Burmese vetiver, and oude.

THE MARQUIS de CARABAS
A splash of bay rum, leather, dusty black wool, massoia bark, and opium residue.

NIGHT'S BRIDGE
Stone and darkness.

THE RAT SPEAKERS
A snuffling, brown scent: earthy patchouli, sage, russet sandalwood, grimy leather, fig leaf, and lemongrass.

MR. VANDEMAR
Dark and gangly, with a glint of razor-sharp stainless steel behind it: opopponax, costus, black pepper, black sandalwood, and polished metal.

THE VELVETS
Smooth inky musk, cathedral incense, ylang ylang, violet leaf, rose-infused amber, red sandalwood, and iris.

The Neverwhere scents are part of an ongoing not-for-profit project, and proceeds from the sales of all Neil-inspired perfumes go to benefit the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund
, which works to preserve and protect the First Amendment rights of the comics community.

Of all of those things, the most important is probably:

Tickets for An Evening With Neil Gaiman are available at C2E2 Registration at McCormick Place on the 2nd Floor or the CBLDF booth 933, starting Friday. Admission is $20 for C2E2 Badge Holders and $35 for the General Public not attending the convention. For more information, please visit:http://c2e2.com/en/Events/Neil-Gaiman/

Which is to say, all the tickets that could have been sold over the internet have been sold, a little over a thousand of them. There are still a few hundred left, but they are only available tomorrow and Saturday from C2E2 registration (you do NOT have to be going to the C2E2 convention for this) or from the CBLDF booth (you kind of do, as it is inside the convention).

And no, I don't see a penny from any of this: the reading or the print or the scents. It all goes to support the CBLDF, which is the organisation that supports freedom of speech in comics, and looks after creators, publishers, retailers and readers of comics in first amendment matters.




...

In other news, I'm heading off tonight to Indianapolis for a reading/talk/lecture/not a signing tomorrow (friday) (http://www.imcpl.org/mcfadden/), and when I leave Chicago I go to Stillwater, where I will be doing a reading and answering question and not signing... (http://www.clubbook.org/neil-gaiman.html). Both events are free, although seating will be first-come first served...


Am burning the Indelicates new album to CD to play in the car on the way to the airport. It's called SONGS FOR SWINGING LOVERS and is downloadable from http://corporaterecords.co.uk/artists/The+Indelicates/Songs+For+Swinging+Lovers/ on the pay-what-you-will basis that seems to be starting to feel like a movement. It seems like most of people I like who make music have fled their labels over the last year and have no intention of ever going back.





...

And, with the assistance of Hans the Woodsman, I've been having too much fun making art today: You just need a really creepy doll, a badger skull from the woods, a wooden prison, a lone bulb and some paint...








I am not yet entirely sure where we will put her or what we will do with her. Possibly I will simply place her wherever Jonathan Coulton will be staying the next time he's here.

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Wednesday, April 14, 2010

In Which My Matter Duplication Ray Is Almost Perfected


I ought to be blogging either about National Library Week (at least mentioning the National Public Radio interview I did with Euan Kerr) or about the events coming up later this week in Indianapolis, Chicago and Stillwater.

But instead, the important thing that I am currently feeling guilty for not blogging is Pearl. So I am going to tell you about Pearl.

Pearl is a bitch.

Pearl is most definitely not my bitch.

Pearl is, like Cabal, a White German Shepherd. She belongs to my assistant Lorraine's friend and riding partner Melissa. Melissa's moved recently, and won't have a place for Pearl for a few months, and is no longer comfortable with Pearl being where she was (her living conditions without Melissa were less than optimum). Lorraine asked whether I'd mind Pearl coming here for a bit, and I told her I didn't...

She's a really sweet, er, lady dog.

In theory, she's meant to be in the dog-run outside. Probably when I go on the road, she and Cabal will be there at night together.

In practice, while I'm here, she's inside with me and Cabal. He's not entirely sure what to make of this: he likes the company, likes having a friend, but she mucks up the pack order when we go for walks, and she's always hungry, so he can't idly nibble some food when I put it out for him, wander off, come back, nosh a little more, and continue until he's eventually eaten it all, because whenever he tries nibbling and sauntering away she enthusiastically eats all of his food.

I've never had to take care of two dogs before.

So far what I've learned about taking care of two dogs is this:

They are astonishingly hard to photograph. See that photo at the top? It took dozens of failed pictures in which neither of the dogs were facing the same way at the same time. Mostly I couldn't even get them into the same picture.


Pearl, in the red collar is looking at us in both of these pictures. She's a little thinner-faced, pointier than Cabal: vulpine rather than lupine. And her tail is curlier than Cabal's, although you'll have to take my word for it.

This morning there was a slow, rumbly thunderstorm. One of the White German Shepherds in my bedroom was extremely scared and needed to be very close to me along with a great deal of reassurance that the world was not actually ending. And one of them wasn't bothered.

And that's Pearl.


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Thursday, April 08, 2010

Just Happiness

This is an animation of Charles Vess's art, turning Pencils into Paintings, with me saying the poem over it, to promote the book of INSTRUCTIONS we've done. And it is so beautiful. I am really proud of the job that the Harper's team did on this. I want to make everyone watch it.



For those having RSS problems, or who cannot see an embedded video here, the direct YouTube link is at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dWRvqO1MjIs. You can also go to http://www.mousecircus.com/extras.aspx and click on it there. And there are other goodies on that page too.

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Tuesday, April 06, 2010

How to Mortify Your Daughter

Several days spent writing and recovering from travel. My dog is good, my bees are happy, I'm writing (scripts mostly), I'm eating healthy foods and walking and really life is enormously enjoyable and has very little in the way of adventures. The wildest thing I am doing currently is not shaving.

Matt Smith's debut episode of Doctor Who arrived on Saturday, and Maddy and I prepared to watch it. But Maddy, who is now fifteen and a half and has a driving permit, had gentlemen callers, three of, who were not going away. Eventually I wandered into the TV room and said "I'm putting on Doctor Who now, if nobody minds," and since they were all sort of affable and I was mad-eyed and unshaven and possibly dangerous, they said yes.

Maddy was mortified. She loves Doctor Who, but was certain it was the kind of thing that sixteen year old boys would hate, given that it was English and weird and, well, the kind of thing her dad liked. And she was worried that they wouldn't know what was going on.

I, on the other hand, knew that Steven Moffat had intended it as a good place to start, and was not worried.

The result was four people watching on the sofa, one of whom was deeply embarrassed by the whole affair (and, indeed, texted the young men with her on the sofa after twenty minutes, desperately apologising in case they weren't enjoying it). I loved the episode -- I'd spent some months telling people that Matt would be excellent (Admission: I'd seen his audition tapes and completely understood why he'd won the part) and that they should trust Mr Moffat -- and when the episode was done, I got up and thanked them and went into the office next door.

Two minutes later, a baffled but happy (and for the first time in 70 minutes, no longer embarrassed) Maddy shot in to the office to tell me that the gentleman callers had -- unbelievably -- liked it! And they had wanted to know if it was going to be on weekly, as they would like to come back and watch it again! Which left Maddy wondering which episodes she should show them to give them background on the show. Blink, and The Girl in the Fireplace, and Dalek, of course, but what else...

I did my best not to say "I told you so". Also did my best not to think it.

Now happily rewriting my episode to change it from being set at the end of this season to the beginning of the next. I think it'll be fun...

....


From Barnes and Noble.com. Not sure if I ever posted this, but here it is anyway...



...

I just read on Mr. Gaiman’s journal about some of the events he is doing for National Library Week. Since these events have limited seating, I thought Mr. Gaiman might wish to mention that anyone around the world can watch him speak via Internet streaming video on April 12, from 6 to 8 during the ALA-JCPL videoconference. More information at http://gaimanatjcpl.org

Just a thought if you want to pass it along.

Thanks,
RON


The Ron is Dr. Ron Critchfield, Director of the Jessamine Public Library, which I talked about on this blog here: http://journal.neilgaiman.com/2009/11/local-man-in-hate-mail-outrage-shock.html You can read about this at http://www.atyourlibrary.org/join-neil-gaiman-live-internet-event. So, yes.

Videoconference to kick off National Library Week. Come and join the fun...

...

I haven't talked about Dick Giordano's death here. You can read about Dick from Karen Berger's point of view at http://vertigo.blog.dccomics.com/2010/03/29/in-memorian-dick-giordano-by-karen-berger/ and Steve Bissette's at http://srbissette.com/?p=8588.

As DC's editor in chief, Dick gave Dave McKean and me our first big break, by welcoming us into the DC Comics fold with Black Orchid. He was kind to two unknowns, and took us seriously.

As an inker, he was phenomenal. He inked several issues of Sandman over the years, and pinch-hit on one issue where the inker took off on holiday three quarters of the way through, mimicking the style of the absent inker while adding his own touch to it.

He was a gentleman, I loved working with him, and he was one of the few legends of comics who deserved every accolade he got. Also, he was magnificently deaf. Although he always seemed to get much less deaf when he was interested in what was being said.
...

Which reminds me: BATMAN: WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE CAPED CRUSADER has been nominated for a Hugo Award. The complete list of Hugo nominees can be found at http://www.thehugoawards.org/2010/04/2010-hugo-award-nominees-details. Congratulations to all the nominees.

My poem "Conjunctions" has been nominated for a Rhysling Award, for best short poem. http://www.sfpoetry.com/rhyslingarchive/pages/rhysling10.html (This nomination makes me very happy. It already won a Sofanaut Award, and there are links to buy the issue of Mythic Delirium with it in, and to a reading of it at http://time-shark.livejournal.com/353501.html.)

...

I didn't get to post anything while it was going on about the problems with SF World Magazine and imprint: I'm pleased that they seem to have sorted things out on their own. The world of Chinese SF and Fantasy is one that matters to me personally these days, and these are people I know and care about. I wish them the best of luck.

...

The House on the Rock American Gods Hallowe'en Weekend Event is moving forward: Panels, signings, costumes, riding the carousel, much wonderfulness: I know that some of the team who worked on the Fiddler's Green convention back in 2004 are working with the House on the Rock people to make this the best it can be.

The House on the Rock has announced it, and put packages up at its website: http://thehouseontherockjournal.blogspot.com/2010/03/event-packages-on-sale-now.html

(It mentions seven different hotel/motels in the area, in addition to the House on the Rock's own Inn. For the curious, The Red Barn is alluded to, although not named, in American Gods.)

More information as it comes in, and I know much more will be coming in, but I didn't want anyone to be taken by surprise, or to find all the packages had gone before I announced them here.


Hi!

I just saw the details for the House on the Rock Halloween party! I'm going to try really hard to be able to come, but I had a question for you.

It says on the site that you will be judging the costume contest. A contest like this would be right up my alley, but I wanted to know if there were any rules I needed to keep in mind?

Do you have to be a God or can you be one of the other types of mythological figures/creatures (or just any character from the book)? Does it specifically have to be someone you mentioned in the book, or can it be any God from any mythos?

I like to start costumes early, so I wanted to go ahead and check with you before I get started trying to find pieces. :)

Hope to see you this October!

~Aryn Keeney



I do not know. I'll find out...

...

An article that's either very sensible or sort of redundant over at the New York Times, about parents in stories. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/04/books/review/Just-t.html
Possibly redundant, because long before people were writing stories down, there were stories that began with parents dying, and the children setting off on their own in the world, or with parents trying to kill (or kill and eat, or, sometimes, molest) their children, and with the children escaping to safety.

Remember that in the first edition of Grimm's Fairy Tales, those stepmothers were plain old mothers...
In the introduction to ''Snow White,'' we learn that ''the Grimms, in an effort to preserve the sanctity of motherhood, were forever turning biological mothers into stepmothers,'' while an annotation tells us that in the 1810 manuscript version ''there is only one queen, and she is both biological mother and persecutor.''
as I mentioned in a review of Maria Tatar's wonderful Annotated Brothers Grimm at
http://www.nytimes.com/2004/12/05/books/review/05GAIMANL.html

...


Hi there!
Something I've been wondering about for years but never had anybody to ask - what is involved in the editing of an anthology of stories by other authors? What kind of hand do you have as editor in the new Stories collection? I've noticed in many situations that the editor or compiler often gets the most cover credit for a collection of stories by otherwise very popular authors and as an avid reader, I'm just curious. I think the new collection looks great (lots of people I love to read represented in the author list) but should one pick up a book because of who edited it too? Or just because of who the authors of the stories are?

Thanks!
nancy


I think both are true. There are anthologies I've read because of who edited them, and anthologies I've read because of who was in them. But they don't occur in a vacuum -- I'm more liable to read an anthology edited by someone whose work I like if I know something about the authors and think it might be a decent book.

Growing up, I read the Judith Merrill SF collections because I'd read one (SF 12), loved it, and decided I could rely on her taste. The same was true, a little later, of collections edited by Terry Carr. All I knew about him was I liked the kind of stories he put into his books. Not all of them, but enough. But I read the Michael Moorcock BEST OF NEW WORLDS collections because I loved Michael Moorcock -- and discovered writers like M. John Harrison and Tom Disch.

There are still a few anthologists out there with really good taste. It's not uncommon for people to tell me that they first ran across a short story of mine in a book edited by Ellen Datlow because they read every anthology she edits.

Neil,

How does it feel to be a candidate for being one of Time Magazine's 100 most influential people in the world?

http://www.time.com/time/specials/packages/completelist/0,29569,1972075,00.html

Are you really that influential? If so, what do you do with your influence over the world?

-Casey


I think it's the hair, and the TARDIS pin. All over the world, people are going, Hmm. I wonder how you get hair like that? Soon I will start a fashion revolution.

Honestly? No, I don't think I'm that influential.

And finally, you can keep voting over for me (and for the rest of the nominees) at the TIME Most influential 100. They do not seem to mind multiple voting, and you can use their slider to rate how influential people are, with 1 being the lowest and 100 being the top. (Currently Jeff Zucker from NBC is the least influential person on the list at 7 points and South Korean singer Rain is the most influential at 95 points.)


...

And finally,


Dear Neil,

I was wondering if you would be letting us know what you're reading at "An Evening with Neil" on Saturday, April 17 beforehand. I am hearing impaired and would love to go but it would be more enjoyable if I could read the work before or read along (quietly, of course) during. I understand if you can't reveal ahead of time but since I couldn't find any information about it online, I thought I'd at least ask.

Thanks in advance,
Karen


This is the reading/Q&A I'll do in Chicago on the 17th -- details, tickets and such at http://www.c2e2.com/en/Events/Neil-Gaiman/.

I'm really sorry, Karen. I can't really help you. I wish I could, as there's about two hours to fill, but...

1) I don't know what I'll be reading and

2) at least 4 of the things I will probably be reading are as yet unpublished.

I'm thinking of reading "Chivalry", because I stopped reading that aloud about a decade ago, and always used to start readings with it, so it would be sort of nostalgic for me, and it's fun. So you could read that.

I can tell you it will be unpublished and uncollected things for the most part, with a smattering of old favourites. And that the Q&A will be me answering questions that have come in from the audience on cards.

And that I'll do my very best to be as audible as I can be.

(Sometimes I've done readings with someone signing what I was saying at the other side of the stage. I've always loved this. Want me to investigate it as a possibility?)

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Friday, April 02, 2010

Four Hives Of Bees and things on my kitchen table...


I'm home.

When I left, it was winter. I've come home to the kind of Spring that means that Summer is just rumbling around like someone shuffling his feet waiting to be invited into a room: temperatures in the 70s, everything green and warm and welcoming.

The best news is that all four hives of bees survived the winter. I wasn't sure that they would -- was pretty certain that the red hive (which swarmed last year) would be empty (it wasn't), but all the lessons from the previous year had been learned, and luck was with us. (Sharon Stiteler wrote about the bees here, while I was on the road.)

My dog and my daughter were both very happy to see me home again. One of them has started driver's ed. and has a driving permit.

(I didn't put up the picture of me and Neil Jordan far above London on Tuesday. Here it is...)



There were many amazing things waiting for me when I got home. I haven't even finished opening the mail from when I was away -- there are two large tubs sitting in the kitchen, not to mention random boxes, envelopes and just things. Things I have discovered in the mail so far include:

THE SORCERER'S HOUSE, by Gene Wolfe.

A proof copy of STORIES, edited by Al Sarrantonio and me. The US edition looks like this:


(I am so very proud of this book, from Tom Gauld's wonderful cover on. Contributors are, in story order, Roddy Doyle, Joyce Carol Oates, Joanne Harris, Neil Gaiman, Michael Marshall Smith, Joe R. Lansdale, Walter Mosley, Richard Adams, Jodi Picoult, Michael Swanwick, Peter Straub, Lawrence Block, Jeffrey Ford, Chuck Palahniuk, Diana Wynne Jones, Stewart O'Nan, Gene Wolfe, Carolyn Parkhurst, Kat Howard, Jonathan Carroll, Jeffrey Deaver, Tim Powers, Al Sarrantonio, Kurt Andersen, Michael Moorcock, Elizabeth Hand, and Joe Hill. And the stories are remarkable.)

An advance copy of Instructions, my poem illustrated by Charles Vess.

My Dalek from WETA. Here seen in my kitchen, not entirely assembled:


And here seen with my dog, all assembled and plotting to take over the world.


More kitchen table things tomorrow...

....

Over at Neverwear, there's a 24 hour preorder on Molly Crabapple's print of my poem DESERT WIND, during which time it's on sale for $28 rather than $38. It's really lovely
Click on it to see it bigger:




Molly blogs about it at http://mollycrabapple.com/2010/04/01/my-poster-for-neil-gaiman/ while Nicola Black, who designed it, talks about the design process at http://nicolablack.com/2010/04/neil-gaiman-desert-wind-poster/.

Cat Mihos, who owns, runs and is the presiding genius of Neverwear.net, has the print up for sale, along with an interview with Molly, at http://neverwear.net/store/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=4&products_id=44. To repeat, it'll be $28 until 4.00pm PST tomorrow, when it goes up to $38. (And then, judging from previous prints, it will stay $38 until Cat notices they are running very low at which point it will go up to $75.)

(I don't know if it's a limited print, like the Jim Lee 100 Words one, or the all but sold-out Jouni Koponen The Day The Saucers Came, or not.)

...

Just found that I am a contender on the ranking of influentialness on TIME Magazine Most Influential Person of 2010 list. I do not think I am very influential, but here's the link, to vote for me or for anyone else. Or, more importantly, just to see a picture of me with a TARDIS pin on the Time Magazine Website.

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