Friday, October 29, 2010
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
Posted by Neil Gaiman at 2:37 PM
Hm. It already seems impossible that Lola was ever that small. Or that it was that warm here or that the trees had leaves on them.
I was thrilled to see Stephen King endorsing the instant All Hallow's Read tradition at http://www.stephenking.com/news.html (thank you, Steve), and to see the Washington Post blog take it up (and ask for #booksthatfreakedmeout on Twitter).
I finished reading Mary Ann in Autumn (here's the Harpers page for it, with lots of extras). It's as sharp and as timely and as humane as all of the Tales of the City books, and a ball that Armistead Maupin tossed into the air in the very first of the books finally comes down here. (And I went and checked my copy of Sure of You to see if he had done what I thought he had done, and he had.)
Monday, October 25, 2010
Posted by Neil Gaiman at 2:44 PM
I loved this:
I have no idea whether this is the proper way to comment on blog entries. If it's wrong then just pretend that I didn't send it. :-)
A comment to the latest blog entry:
"You know, there aren't enough traditions that involve giving books."
When I and my husband moved in together, we joined our libraries. But we had one problem: all the books we both liked, and now had two copies of. In the beginning, we didn't do much about it. I mean - what if you decide you don't belong together anyway, then you want to take your books with you when you split, right? But after a while, we decided that we wanted to get rid of the duplicates - as a sign that we would live together forever, and not ever need two copies of Neverwhere again.
So we arranged our wedding according to this idea; we gave each of the guests one book (or cd) from our duplicates, so that they could share this decision with us. Also they got a good book - obviously it was a book that both me and my husband liked (Well - with the exception of The Sword of Shannara, which we would have given away both copies of if we had found anybody who wanted them. :-) and would have it as a memory of our wedding.
And yes, we've lived happily ever since (nine years now), I don't ever see the need of reacquiring any of the duplicates we gave away, and I like it as a ceremony; it had a lot more meaning to us than most kinds of wedding ceremonies.
Regards (and thanks for all those great books!)
Dear Mr Gaiman,
After reading your post about more book giving traditions I just wanted to point out (as I imagine a lot of other people will as well, but just in case they don't) that there is a Norwegian tradition of giving/reading detective/crime stories at Easter, known as påskekrim; this literally means 'Eastercrime'.
Solveig Felton -- Swedish, not Norwegian, just in case you actually read this far and wondered.
P.S. Thank you for writing! While I don't love everything you write (sorry!) I like most of it enough to always be willing to try a new book of yours and I love some of it to the point of plotting excuses to give the books to my friends.
And the idea of the All Hallow's Read has got some wonderful responses from bloggers. Monica Edinger talks about it over at the Huffington Post:
...while The Bloggess not only blogs about it but includes a photograph of herself in the bath in The Shining at http://thebloggess.com/?p=8787
To clarify, I'm not proposing that you give books or comics instead of chocolate bars or razor-stuffed apples (if you're in a country that hands out candies on Hallowe'en). (Although some some people do that, and with success -- I've already heard from people who have gone down to charity shops and walked out with boxes of vintage R.L. Stine books that they plan to hand to kids).
I'm proposing something slightly different.
That you give someone a scary book this Hallowe'en.
You certainly don't have to give everyone you know a scary book. Just pick someone, or a few someones, you care about. Then give them a book this week that'll scare their hair white.
Saturday, October 23, 2010
Posted by Neil Gaiman at 7:05 PM
(Also for those of you who think that it's not proper blog post unless it has Dog Photos: Here are four photos by the Birdchick from today: one of Cabal, two of Lola, and one she took of me down by the beehives getting silly with the smoker.)
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
Posted by Neil Gaiman at 10:03 PM
At first I was suspicious. I've seen a lot of late 1960s and early 1970s SF television, and whenever a bunch of creative people are taken off by a private plane to a mysterious location, they are normally either brainwashed or replaced by exact duplicates who are sent back to society with a mysterious and probably fatal agenda.
Private plane. Check. Mysterious location. Check.
So I spent much of the journey to, and the first day at, Campfire convinced it was all much too good to be true, and expecting that when I went back to my room there would be my exact duplicate waiting in the wardrobe, holding a silvery gun...
The Compound turned out to be a really nice local restaurant.
I left Campfire reinvigorated, excited about art, and looking forward to getting back to work and happy to be writing again. I saw some old friends, made a number of new friends, learned so much about so many things, and was happy.
These are two of the new friends I made -- Aubrey de Grey (on the left) and Dr Sarah Marr (who blogs at http://scidoll.com). Aubrey, who has a beard that rivals the young Alan Moore's, is an astonishing speaker and advocate for treating aging as a curable disease, and I spent most of the four hour flight from New York asking him hard questions and enjoying his answers. Their website is http://sens.org/, and I'm hoping to write more about Aubrey and Sens.org at some time soon. (And Sarah's promised me my own special link from here to sens.org when I do.)
Meanwhile, Lola has grown several inches and put on many pounds (mostly by eating both of their dinners, I am convinced) and is beautiful and fast and incredibly smart.
A couple of quick reminders: If you know what W00tstock is, you won't need to go to http://w00tstock.net/ to have it explained. If you don't know, you should go to http://w00tstock.net/ and read what you find there.
On November 2nd, I'll be standing in for Wil Wheaton at the Austin Texas W00tstock. There is much information on the evening and ticket-ordering information at http://www.austintheatre.org/site/Calendar/250633393?view=Detail&id=24581 I believe tickets are going extremely fast. And if you don't want to see me, there will be other people there, people of talent and humour. And if that isn't enough, I'm afraid Paul and Storm will almost certainly sing their Captain's Wife's Lament song.
Friday, October 15, 2010
Posted by Neil Gaiman at 6:48 PM
Also, a reminder, as it is now out in paperback in the USA: you can watch (or listen) to me reading the entirety of The Graveyard Book for Free at http://www.mousecircus.com/videotour.aspx
Saturday, October 09, 2010
Posted by Neil Gaiman at 3:52 PM
She arrived in 1992, a friend of some friends, just to help put the books on the shelves into alphabetical order, shortly after I moved to the US bringing my books with me, and she's never left. She's had to learn new skills, and face her fears (bees! airports! grumpy authors!), and is absolutely amazing.
This is Cat. (After a quick Google Image search I snaffled this picture from her myspace thingummy. Whenever I have seen her she has been much more dressed than this.)
She's not full time. Mostly, she's not my assistant. On the whole she goes on the road with people like Lady Gaga or the Jonas Brothers, making things good for them and their crew. We made friends when she was working for Tori Amos, seven years ago, and she taught Maddy how to bowl with lemons.
She's marrying Drew. This is Drew:
This is Kitty and Drew.
I'm in Baltimore tonight for the wedding. I will wear my amazing black velvet and stripy thing that Kambriel made me (as seen at http://kambriel.livejournal.com/289161.html, which also contains mermaids, for those of you missing party photos from the last blog entry, and also in http://kylecassidy.livejournal.com/622744.html, which has a wonderful photo of Kyle and me and my daughter the ineffable Holly Gaiman).
Thursday, October 07, 2010
Posted by Neil Gaiman at 10:27 AM
The hotel that the New Yorker was putting me up in had the best view in the world, even if you were in the bath:
On Saturday, I went and had free ice cream with Daniel Handler (as announced on this blog). I would have liked to meet author Lemony Snicket, but unfortunately he was mysteriously detained and Mr Handler showed up as his representative.
The dodo skull was a present for Countess Cynthia Von Buhler, whose birthday it was. She's an illustrator and artist who also throws parties, and that night was her birthday party, and she had also decided to celebrate Amanda's and my engagement.
This came in this morning from the Hurricane Intermediate School.
WE are a 6th and 7th grade public school library. A student came to us with the book Stardust and showed to us on pg. 69 that the word F**K is in the story. If this is not what you want your students to read please do not purchase this book for your library or home.
Very wise advice. Although I am not sure why if you do not want your students to read it you should not buy a copy for your home. Also I have no idea why you sent that to me. But that's certainly one reason why Stardust isn't marketed for the 6th grade. It's an adult novel that was given the YALSA award for being an Adult book that teens like, and was republished as a Young Adult title in the US, but not as a children's book.
And on the subject of upsetting or offending people,
one sentence in Graveyard Book said “mass graves is a good place for munching a meal".it is insulting to Chinese！
I know you are just for fun, but I cannot bear it!
I wrote back and explained that
I am sorry, for what book I have read was translated into Chinese, for the sentence that you wrote as "Plague pits is good eating" translated in Chinese means that "ten thousands of men were torture to dead and buried in pits" and it happened in 1910s to 1930s when Chinese Government at that time was very weak, and the country was colonized by some westen countries and Japan, our government could not protect his people, so the workers in factories that invested by foreign countries such as coal miners died many during that time!
By now I know it is translator's fault, not of yours.
Chinese translation shows below:
"Plague pits is good eating" in Chinese that I translate means “鼠疫坑很好吃”is not insulting.
and the translation in the book that the translator wrote "万人坑很好吃" is insulting
Ah. Apologies to any offended Chinese readers (although given that this blog is usually cut off behind the great firewall of China I do not know if anyone will read it.)
Over at http://americanindiansinchildrensliterature.blogspot.com/2010/04/what-neil-gaiman-said.html Debbie Reese correctly called me out earlier this year on something particularly stupid and offensive I said last year when I was asked at ABA about why I hadn't set The Graveyard Book in the US. I think I mostly was trying to answer with my Author Head rather than my Being Interviewed Head -- trying to describe how I perceived my potential cast of characters in a European Style graveyard in a small US city (like the UK one in The Graveyard Book). I remember thinking at the time that it was a remarkably stupid thing to have said, but stupid things come out of your mouth when you're being interviewed, and you press on.
I was put out of sorts by Deb's initial post (mostly because I was reading it going "but that OBVIOUSLY wasn't what I meant"), and was idiotically grumpy on Twitter, but when I was called on it (by Pam Noles), and finally looked at the actual words recorded, I realised that people were perfectly sensibly taking what I said to indicate that I thought that a) the US was pretty much unpopulated before the arrival of the white colonists in the 17th century, and/or that b) I was being dismissive of the slaughter of Native Americans, or simply that c) Native Americans were somehow inconsequential in the history of the Americas. (None of which was my intention. But intentions only take you so far.) And you don't use a phrase like "dead Indians" without summoning, wittingly or unwittingly, the shadow of the phrase "the only good Indian is a dead Indian".
People have asked how I would have felt about the phrase "a few dead Jews" in the same place in the interview, which made me feel additionally guilty, as one of the things I missed about The Graveyard Book was that I didn't actually put any Jews in my graveyard. I wanted to, but couldn't make the history and the burial customs work.
Probably I should write a Graveyard Book story with some secretly buried Jews in it, and some dead Native Americans a very long way from home.
Anyway, apologies to all concerned, particularly to Debbie Reese.
My sister sent me The Graveyard Book to read for Halloween. I just finished it. I enjoyed it until I got to the "extras" at the back of the book.
Why did you feel the need to mention Stephen Colbert in your Newberry Medal Acceptance Speech? Now it is forever in print at the back of the book. What a shame. Your stories will live on long after nobody knows or cares who he ever was. I think you should be much more far-thinking before you clog your speeches and especially your books with flash-in-the-pans.
Why. Er. Because I wanted to? Because it made my son happy that I was on his show, and there is nothing flash-in-the-pan about your children's happiness? Because it's a Newbery Acceptance Speech given in 2009, and it talks about 2009 things? Because Mr Colbert quotes J.R.R. Tolkien's description of Tom Bombadil?
Here's the link to the Colbert Report episode in question. See if it changes your mind, miffed correspondent. I'm in a slightly fragile state (wearing the suit I just wore through my Dad's funeral) and he is very kind.
|The Colbert Report||Mon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c|
One of the things I particularly enjoy about your work is that it usually feels like you have a consistent and relatively complete world worked out around the story you're telling. I've been working on such a world in my head for months, and it's at the point where said head will explode if I don't write it down soon, but my problem is I don't know where to start. When you start working on a story set in a new universe, where do you find it easiest to begin?
Begin with the story. Always begin with the story. (Unless you're Lud in the Mist.) The world is there for the story to happen in. Here and now, you don't need to tell the history of the world before you start telling a story that happened on the Isle of Man. You tell the story and let the background and the history creep in where it's needed. The same goes for worlds you've built yourself.