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Monday, June 28, 2010

Amazingly gratified...

The Locus Awards were given out this weekend. They're the SF/Fantasy awards with the largest voting base, the readership of Locus, the monthly news magazine of the field:

http://www.locusmag.com/News/2010/04/locus-awards-finalists.html is the complete list of winners and nominees. I was surprised and thrilled to discover that my short story from SONGS OF THE DYING EARTH won best short story.

This is what I asked Gardner Dozois to read out at the awards ceremony.

We, the people who make Fantasy and SF, live in houses other people built.

They were giants, the men and the women who made the houses we inhabit. They started with a barren place and they built Speculative Fiction, always leaving the building unfinished so the people who came by after they were gone could put on another room, or another storey. Clark Ashton Smith dug the foundations of Dying Earth stories, and Jack Vance came along and built something high and glorious on it, as he made so much that was high and glorious.

Being invited to build a storey on Jack Vance's structure was an honour for me, just as I am certain it was an honour for the other authors who accepted the challenge. I see this Locus award as being as much an award for Jack Vance as it is for my tale.

I'm enormously grateful to George R R Martin and Gardner Dozois for extending the invitation, and for nagging, nagging, always nagging. The demanding emails. The threatening phone calls. The strangled cries in the night. The time my dog went missing with no clue as to his whereabouts but for a cheery note in Gardner's handwriting suggesting that if I ever wanted to see the pooch again I just had to please, just finish the damn story, what was I trying to do, give them both heart attacks? These men are fine editors who take their jobs seriously.

I am grateful to them, and to the Locus voters, and to Locus magazine. And most of all, thank you a thousand times to Jack Vance.




(I also recorded a small video talk about Roger Zelazny for his SF Hall of Fame induction. Which I may put up here at some point.)

Oh! And for those of you who want to read my story "The Truth Is A Cave in the Black Mountains", currently only out in STORIES, it's also online on the rather wonderful 52 Stories Website. One Free Story a Week. You can read it at http://www.fiftytwostories.com/?p=1338 and follow the site at: http://www.fiftytwostories.com/

Right. Back to words...

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Saturday, June 26, 2010

Sire! I have News!

Well, I'm not quite at the point where I'm ready to start blogging again. But it's now in sight.

And this is a quick sort of temporary post, for those of you convinced you'll never see me again, to assure you that I'll be back.

The biggest news right now is that The Graveyard Book just won the Carnegie Medal, the leading UK award for childrens' fiction. (More background at

Here's the Video of the announcement and my speech. I was ridiculously happy (and I still am, although I am now, sitting and typing this at my kitchen table in the US 27 hours after I got up in a London hotel to do BBC Breakfast TV, very, very tired). The speech isn't too long, and I meant every word of it.


I did a lot of interviews.

(Small, quizzical note: when Terry Pratchett won the Carnegie Medal, newspapers went out of their way to pretend that his speech had been an attack on Tolkien and J.K. Rowling. I was puzzled why journalists kept asking me about what I thought of Vampire Romance as a genre, given that I hadn't said anything about Vampires or gothics in my speech, and wanted to talk about local authorities in the UK cutting back on funding to libraries, but I gave the same answer I'd given to Entertainment Weekly -- at length -- here over at http://www.ew.com/ew/article/0,,20301186,00.html -- and watched it turn into things like http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/films/news/todays-vampire-ndash-a-needy-neurotic-wimp-2010057.html)

Lots of good articles, though:


Here's a portion of the BBC Breakfast Time show I did this morning:


And here's BBC Radio 4's FRONT ROW: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00sr3ls

....

Other news I should have posted in the last few days:

You can now read Sandman on your iPhone or iPad, using the Comixology app:


(This is the digitally recoloured and corrected version from the Absolute Sandman editions.)

and even more important because it will be gone soon:

There's Only One More Day Left To Hear THE MUSEUM OF CURIOSITY episode with Sarah Millican, David Eagleman and me as guests, and to find out what I donated to the Museum. Click NOW. Do not put this one off. It's really fun.


....

(Enormous thanks to the Webgoblin for Cabal Fortnight. Poor Cabal is having some health issues right now, which Lorraine talks about at:
and it's hard. I'm sleeping downstairs with him now, because he's not up to managing the stairs.

And then there is a rescue puppy named Lola, who we got to keep him company, and who I've not yet written about here properly.)

And now I need some sleep.



This is me, a few seconds ago, needing sleep, with a Carnegie Medal, for those of you who wonder what such things look like. Good night.

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Monday, June 21, 2010

this is the way "Cabal Fortnight" ends...

Web goblin here, one last time for the final post of what I like to think of as "Cabal: Year One", marking an appropriate completion to "Cabal Fortnight". It's been fun, as always. See you around on LJ and FB!

Cabal turns the reins -er- leash of the blog back over to Mr. G.
(photo most likely by Kyle Cassidy)



reprinted from Probably the last Dog Photos of the Year (27 December 2007)

It's been a strange year. On the 30th of April I found a dog by the side of the road. This is what he looked like then...



He was wet, a sort of off-brown colour, smelled dreadful and while he didn't seem very bright, he was extremely goodhearted.

It turned out he was very bright, he'd just spent his three years of life on a short chain in a farmer's yard, and no-one had talked to him, or expected anything more of him than barking at visitors as a sort of canine doorbell.

And this is what he looks like now... (with a very scruffy author this morning). (Photos by Holly.)


Cabal is one of the most beautiful dogs I've ever seen. What breed is he?


He is, as the farmer who gave him to me said at the time (and I doubted at the time, because I didn't know that he was white under all that) a White German Shepherd Dog (what we called an Alsatian when I was growing up in England -- the German Shepherd became known as an Alsatian in the UK during World War I in much the same way that French Fries became Freedom Fries in the US a few years back). There would be a lot more White German Shepherds around if the Nazis hadn't decided they were racially inferior and needed to be cleansed from the gene pool. Of course, the same could be said of my family.




For more recent Cabal news, the Fabulous Lorraine posted about him just yesterday.

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Friday, June 18, 2010

I've begun reminiscing events before they even occur. I'm reminiscing this right now.

Welcome to the penultimate post in "Cabal Week". I'm your host, the web goblin. (You may wonder why I keep identifying myself. It's because I'm still getting comments on the LJ feed, on Facebook, and on formspring -- where I've had great fun answering your questions -- from people who seem to believe that [a] these introductions are written by Mr. G and [b] that the below reprinted posts are current. Thank you all for the advice on how to help Cabal and Fred get along, but that issue is ancient history now.)

A reader requested more pictures of Pearl and Lola:

Cabal and his friend, Pearl,
visit a disadvantaged youth
as part of their volunteer efforts in animal therapy.
The young man later removed his oversized fencing mask
for the first time in the years since his parents were viciously murdered
by ribbon-twirling Olympic gymnasts.


Cabal and new addition, Lola, go for a wade and a swim, respectively.



reprinted from Sorry. And a short fillum. (10 May 2007)


I took Cabal to Dog Obedience school yesterday evening (at which he cheerfully disgraced himself in a variety of different ways). But it meant that I was armed with the tools to cope when, a little later in the evening, something like this started happening again...


reprinted from Why I Like Russia (11 August 2007)

Cabal the dog is braver than lions. He's braver than elephants and braver than generals. But, I discovered last night, he doesn't like thunderstorms, and turns into a worried two-year old child when the lightning strikes and the thunder roars. Which is why I got very little sleep in the small hours of last night.


reprinted from I just don't see it... (16 September 2007)

Mr and Mrs Wm. Stiteler -- AKA the Birdchick and Non-Birding Bill -- are currently in residence at my place in the US for the weekend, where Bill is trying to figure out why the upstairs Slingbox isn't slinging, and Sharon is checking the bees for mites (I think she may have to coat some 300 bees in powdered sugar, but don't quote me on this). Both of them are providing company to Cabal the dog. You would think that would be enough for them to do.

But nay. Far from it.

Someone wrote to Sharon's blog to say that my dog looked like me.

So Sharon and Bill decided to put it to the test. They just emailed me the results...



Nope. See? Nothing like me at all...

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Wednesday, June 16, 2010

I'm sweet and I'm cuddly. (I'm gonna kill Scully!)

Your humble web goblin here again. We're quickly nearing the end of "Cabal Fortnight".

I wish I had something fun or witty to say here, but my day job is totally sucking my brain dry today. I had planned to go to Amanda's ninja gig in Bethesda after work tonight but, even assuming I could leave on time, I think I'm going to be too drained. *le sigh*

That said, there's a chance that I'll get a second wind and being feeling witty later, so if anyone wants to ask me a question anonymously, I could try to do something along those lines. (UPDATE: I appear to have #neilwebfail'd formspring at the moment. Oops. Sorry, formspring!) (UPDATE: And now it's back, and has stayed up for the past half hour, so perhaps we're out of the woods.)


HEY GIRL, I MADE YOU BREAKFAST IN BED
BUT YOU WERE SLEEPING SO I ATE IT.
it was so good.



reprinted from like cats and dogs (7 May 2007)

Hi Neil! As I'm more of a cat person, I 'feel' for your cats! Are they jealous of your new dog? ~ Cancan =)


Jealous? No. Princess is alternately furious with me and desperately affectionate, Coconut (Maddy's cat) is mostly blase but also a bit more affectionate, and Fred is plotting on ways to get revenge on the dog for having treed him yesterday evening. It's the kind of thing I could be really funny about, but the truth is it's rather worrying -- the dog is convinced he needs to protect us from Fred, and has only actually barked twice since we got him, each time inside the house to warn us that Fred was walking around outside and might get us if Dog didn't protect us, meanwhile Fred on seeing the Dog arches his back like a Halloween card cat, swells to twice his size and makes strangled yowling noises to indicate his extreme displeasure. As far as the two mostly-house cats go, I think we'll be fine at getting them more or less to tolerate each other. Fred, however is a law unto himself, and it's going to be interesting.

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Despatches from an Alternate Universe

I know. I'm not meant to be blogging until the stuff that people are waiting for is all done, delivered and accepted. But a friend just sent me this headline...

Comic book rivals in court over ownership of three superheroes

A British comic book author has taken a rival to court in the US, claiming that he stole three characters that are now worth millions.

...which seems, along with most of the reporting and commentary, to have come from an alternate universe.

So...

In 2002 I took Todd McFarlane to court over non-payment of royalties, copyright filings claiming he'd written the comics I'd actually written and various other things. The jury found in my favour on all 18 of the issues they had to decide on, and as a result of that jury decision it was confirmed that I had a copyright share in the characters and stories I'd written (they weren't work for hire, and none of my rights had been signed away).

It was an issue of creators' rights, and actually wound up establishing some copyright rulings that have proved very beneficial to comics creators. As I said in interviews at the time, any money received from the case (after paying lawyers' bills) goes to comics charities.

Shortly afterwards, McFarlane's comic company declared bankruptcy, following the Tony Twist case, and a $15 million judgment against Todd. Eventually Todd settled with Twist.

This left me one of the biggest creditors of McFarlane's bankrupt comics company. Because they've been in bankruptcy, he's paid me nothing since the 2002 court case.

Now, some years later, McFarlane's comics company is coming out of bankruptcy, and an accountant whom Todd and I have mutually agreed on is trying to sort out exactly how much money I'm owed.

There are some knock-offs of the characters I've co-created that Todd published and made toys of over the years, and I felt they were derivative of the characters I'd created (or in one case, one actually was the same character I'd created). Todd didn't want to pay anything at all on them so he (not me/my lawyers) took it back before the judge. Nobody "stole characters" and there's no argument over "ownership of characters" going on. We're now waiting for a ruling on if those characters are (in my opinion) derivative or (Todd's opinion) not of the characters I co-created and have an established copyright interests in. It's not an "epic battle". The epic battle was fought and won in 2002.

Either way, it'll be good to get it wrapped up, and to get payment from McFarlane on the many things it's already been established that he owes, and to be able to write a couple of large cheques to some comics charities. And then forget all about it, once again.

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Monday, June 14, 2010

he's certainly no Buck

Mr. G would like me to announce the following:
EXCLUSIVE WORLD PREMIERE
Neil Gaiman: The Truth Is A Cave In The Black Mountains
Illustrations: Eddie Campbell Music: FourPlay String Quartet
Concert Hall
Sat 7 Aug, 8pm

In a world first, Gaiman will read aloud his previously unreleased story The Truth Is A Cave In The Black Mountains, in the spectacular surrounds of the Concert Hall. Sydney Opera House has commissioned the renowned artist Eddie Campbell to illustrate the story and FourPlay String Quartet to create an entirely new underscore to the story.


The best way to stay on top of such events is to subscribe to the feed.


Kitty took this photograph of Cabal and Pearl:



Her friend, Cyn Moore, who makes the Dream pendants for Neverwear, loved the photograph, and created a painting from it:



And now, on to the reposting. Tonight I reach deep into the vault and bring you excerpts from three different entries.


reprinted from For anyone who ever wondered what I look like not in black... (3 May 2007)

Lots and lots of people writing in suggesting dog names. (And convincing me that he really is a white German Shepherd Dog.) Several people wanting to know how Dog's getting on with the cats. (Princess and Coconut -- Maddy's cat -- are wary but fine. Fred, on the other hand, thinks Dog should go back where he came, and keeps him under remote surveillance while reporting in to Feline High Command. Dog thinks we need protecting from Fred, and has made it clear that he is willing to give his life if necessary in saving us from the menace of a small much-battered black cat. It's going to be interesting...)


reprinted from Trousers (4 May 2007)

A deluge of messages, many hundreds of them, and all of them are dog-name suggestions. Some of them I've tried, but they don't seem right -- they sound wrong coming out of my mouth, or, mostly, they are terrific names but don't quite fit him, or, in a few cases, Maddy doesn't like them. (I wanted to go Arthurian, but the front runner, a Maddy pick, currently seems to be Thor.)

(Dog update. Vet today: Dog weighs 78lb and still needs to put on a little weight; is now microchipped; is also on antibiotics to deal with early stage Lyme Disease, and got all the various shots he needed. Also taken into the vet at the same time: Fred the Cat, who, with half of his face shaved and drooling thick slobber from being car-sick, looked like something from a horror movie, the sort of movie that makes you shake your head and wonder whatever happened to subtlety in horror.)

I've walked more in the last two days than I have in months.


reprinted from Responsibility, I expect (5 May 2007)

Hello there, Neil (if I may be so bold),
About the Dog and its name... I had already found it odd before, but now with the deluge of suggestions, it's itching my brain:
What was the dog's name before it was yours? Didn't the former (and farmer, ha ha) owner tell you? Shouldn't you be calling Dog whatever it was? I mean, dogs usually recognize their names, unlike cats (as far as I know, feel free to correct me on that)...


They do if they get called it, but I don't think anyone ever actually spoke to him. He was just tied up in the farmyard. He doesn't react in any way to his former name (it was "Buck") -- if he did, we'd happily keep it the same.

I'm having fun teaching him to sit. (It'd work better if he was more easily bribeable, though. What kind of dog doesn't like treats?) First obedience class Wednesday night.

King Arthur's dog was Cafall and Caval and Cabal and many variants thereon. I'm leaning to Cabal...

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Friday, June 11, 2010

RT @neilhimself: Possibly not entirely unexpected news

Week one of "Cabal Week", aka "Cabal Fortnight", aka "Cabal: Year One" fittingly ends here.

Cabal: Noble, valiant steed Cabal will carry you across
        this river, m'lady.
Amanda: Aww, does Cabal-dabble need some muzzle scritchies?
Cabal: ...



reprinted from Possibly not entirely unexpected news (2 May 2007)


I seem to have acquired a dog.

I got a call today to say that the owner of the dog I found on Monday had called the Humane Society and collected him. I was happy Dog was back with his family, but found myself rather sadder than I would have expected -- I realised I'd half hoped that maybe no-one would claim him.

The call went on to say that the dog's owner, a local farmer, who kept him chained up in the yard, and couldn't walk well so couldn't walk him, thought the dog was a nuisance, always getting out and heading onto the freeway and sooner or later he'd cause an accident, and, when the Humane Society lady mentioned that the person who found him rather liked him, he told her that if I came over and picked him up I could have him.

So I did.

The farmer said he thought the dog was a white German Shepherd. I think he's a German Shepherd labrador cross, but I'm probably wrong.

We seem to be getting on very well so far.

I was planning to blog about an amazing morning with bees and haircuts and about how Jouni is illustrating How To Talk to Girls At Parties.

But this entry is just about the dog, who doesn't quite have a name yet, and wouldn't stay still to have his photo taken, so eventually I dragged him into the office and turned on Photobooth...



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Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Andre may have a posse, but Cabal has a cabal.

I realized yesterday that, due to quirks of scheduling, I've spent more time with Cabal than I have with Mr. G. On the other hand, Cabal isn't as good about updating his twitter.

Tangential Note: Kitty, she of Neverwear, would like it known that the Cabal postcards, bearing the winning images from the contest, will be a bit delayed, as she is currently working the Lady Gaga tour.


OH HAI. I HAS STICK.



reprinted from Infernal Devices (1 May 2007)

The Dog is fine -- we called the Humane Society and he's impounded for a week (which means I couldn't go over and say hullo and take him for a walk). Fred is back from the vet. We still have three goldfish.

...

Dear Neil,

Can you or someone please post pics of that "cool dog" you found? First, I'd just like to see him. Second, maybe (maybe!) someone will recognize him!

Thanks,
Chris

Sure. He wasn't easy to photograph, mostly because he kept moving. This was the best one I got yesterday (you can't really see the wolfy ears, but they are there)...



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Monday, June 07, 2010

Welcome to Cabal Week!

Greetings from your humble web goblin!

While Mr. G is busy meeting deadlines and fulfilling obligations, I will be posting pictures of Cabal and re-posting Cabal-centric entries.

(NOTE: "Cabal Week" is not actually scheduled to be a week long. As mapped out, it will run for a fortnight, covering a single narrative arc I like to think of as "Cabal: Year One".)

Neverwear ran a contest earlier this year to create a graphic depiction of Cabal. I liked the nominees so much, I decided to create a new set of journal sidebar images, which will randomly rotate for the duration.


photo most likely by Kyle Cassidy



reprinted from Some animal thoughts... (Monday, April 30, 2007)

On the way home from the recording, driving through the rain, just as I pulled off the freeway to head home, I saw a large, pale dog on the side of the sliproad. I went in a couple of seconds from a first glance thought of "Oh, he's just wandering around and knows exactly what he's doing," to, on a second glance, "He's absolutely terrified and if he isn't actually lost he's really scared of all the cars and in danger of bolting onto the freeway."

I pulled over, crossed the road and hurried across to where he was. He backed away, skittish and nervous, then came over to me, shaking. No collar or information, just a choke chain. And big. And very wet and very muddy. With cars going past, I decided the wisest thing to do was to put him into my car while I figured out what to do. The car was the Mini. I opened the door and he clambered in. The dog took up most of the Mini that I wasn't in and a fair amount of the Mini that I was in. Big dog, small car.

I phoned my assistant Lorraine, and asked her to let the local Humane Society (really nice people with a no kill policy) know we'd be coming in soon with a dog, then I drove home, narrowly avoiding death on the way (it's amazing how much you can't see when a huge dog fills the car and your field of vision). I ran around the garden with Dog until he'd tired me out. (I really hope he'd just got lost, and his family are looking for him; it would be hard to imagine someone abandoning a dog that cool.) Then I put him into the back of a car much bigger than the Mini and took him to the Humane Society, where they fawned all over him. ("I think he's a husky-wolf cross," said the Humane lady who took him, and she could be right.)

I think he's probably a survivor too.

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Saturday, June 05, 2010

Not dead yet

I know. You thought I was dead. Or the blog was...

I hope you are doing well.

You don't need someone to write to you to tell you how busy you are... you are living it... but inquiring minds wish to know... is the blog dying? Is it gasping it's final breaths before giving up the ghost? Should we send flowers?

From a non-twitterer (non-twit?)
Just curious,
Kristina


and

Dear Neil,

We miss you.


Sincerely,
Your blog readers.


I miss you too.

I promised myself I would get on top of the deadlines that are currently on top of me before I started blogging again. I thought it would be about ten days. It's now pushing six weeks. So much to blog...

Soon. Two scripts, one to finish and hand in, the other needing one more rewrite, with people sort of waiting and starting to hold their breath and tapping the tabletops with their fingertips and muttering about production schedules. Writing as fast as I can. Then I blog once more, as my reward to myself.

In the meantime, This is Lola. She's about 4 months old. A lot more about her, and where she comes from when the blog resumes:




...and since I'm here, if you're in New York on Tuesday June 15th, please come to this: http://www.neilgaiman.com/where/details.php?id=88 and see me and Joe Hill, Kurt Andersen, Jeffrey Ford, Walter Mosley, and my co-editor Al Sarrantonio read from STORIES, and talk about fiction and such. Signed books will be available. It will be fun.

(Our first reviews for STORIES are in... http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/news/la-ca-sirens-call-20100604,0,3929896.story and http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2010/jun/05/eric-brown-science-fiction-roundup)

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