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Saturday, June 25, 2011

WITS

Wits was wonderful. One of the most fun evenings I've had in a long time. Josh Ritter is an astonishing performer (make sure you watch his final song, right at the very end). Bill Corbett and Kevin Murphy were hilarious as they judged us from up in the balcony. Wil Wheaton and Adam Savage were the best possible phone guests. And I had a Brass Band backing me, courtesy of music director John Munson. And John Moe stopped the whole mad thing from spinning off into space.

I read a bit of American Gods. I read a poem. I sang a song. I sang a verse of the final chorus. I took part in two quizzes, two interrogations of phone guests, and at least one interview.

You can see the whole thing here:

(Edit - For some reason the embedded video was just giving a "this is blocked" message. Which is a bit irritating. I've taken it out and put a link in instead.)

Go to: http://www.livestream.com/minnesotapublicradio/video?clipId=pla_cb848b78-e077-416b-83bb-c8aeabaf368e

Accordion etc preshow ends around 15 minutes in. The show starts at 17:34...

An edited version will be broadcast on the radio at some point in the future.

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Friday, June 24, 2011

From the 19th floor, with dogs

I'm now three stops into this tour, and it's been a delight so far.

As I type this, I still have a beard.

Lev Grossman interviewed me at the 92nd St Y, and it was funny and glorious and he had amazingly shiny shoes and should have his own chat show.

The Big Gay Ice Cream Van was a huge success too.

Then I flew to Portsmouth New Hampshire, defying the rain gods, discovering that they have a submarine in a park that looks as if it is preparing to become a subterranean. Beautiful theatre, loverly people. The extra-loverly people at River Run bookstore should still have lots of signed books by me for sale and will ship them anywhere. I was interviewed on the Music Hall stage for NHPR's WORD OF MOUTH by the beautiful and funny Virginia Prescott, or as I will now always think of her, Crystal Ball-breaker.


Tonight it's WITS at the Fitzgerald Theatre. It'll be streaming and you should watch it. I guarantee strange things will happen.


Famed Periodical The Onion has started its campaign for a Pulitzer Prize. They asked if I'd make a video of me talking to the Pulitzer Committee for them, and I recorded this video.



I recommend watching the others - so far I'm a particular fan of the Ricky Gervais, the Mark Gatiss and the Ira Glass.

I'm in a hotel room in St Paul, along with two dogs, an assistant and a daughter, who all picked me up at the airport. It's odd being (sort of) home in the middle of a tour - normally I start here or finish here. This time I don't even get home to my house, so I am particularly glad that they all came out to see me.

I am not looking forward to getting Cabal into the lift (er, elevator) back down again. It went fine coming up, but he now knows what it is and will probably have remembered that he doesn't like elevators.


Neil Gaiman's photo The lovely @maddyg44 and two bemused  dogs up on the 19th floor. If you're going to be at #wits tonight they'll be there.
Neil Gaiman on WhoSay

...

The biggest news stories of the day: Gene Colan passed away. He never drew anything I wrote, we never worked together, I never met him. But I loved his art. Here's Mark Evanier to tell you who he was and what made him special.

...



And if you're thinking of going to Canada, or leaving Canada, then you should read this: http://cbldf.org/about-us/case-files/cbldf-case-files-canada-customs-case/. The latest Comic Book Legal Defense Fund case - they've agreed to help the Canadian Comic Legends Legal Defense Fund in defending a young man who had some Manga on his computer.

I'll write more about it soon.

In the meantime, if anyone tells you that mucky Manga shouldn't be defended, point them to http://journal.neilgaiman.com/2008/12/why-defend-freedom-of-icky-speech.html

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Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Happy Solstice. And Publication Day.

Today is the publication day of AMERICAN GODS - the Tenth Anniversary Edition and the Full-Cast Audio of American Gods. It's ten years and two days since American Gods was published (two days, because publication days are Tuesday. They just are. It is mysterious and inexplicable). Here's the journal from June 2001...

This afternoon - 4 pm Eastern Time -- is a live Webchat. I'm interviewed by Kurt Andersen, and answering some of your questions as well. (Damn. Was off being interviewed and missed the chance to post this. You can watch it again, though, at http://bit.ly/neilandkurt.)

In two hours it's the 92nd St Y talk, where I'm interviewed by Lev Grossman.

Right this minute I have a beard. I do not think there is going to be time to shave it off today. We will see how long into the tour it lasts.

The TOUR details are over at Where's Neil.

I think everything's sold out right now except the Saban Theatre LA event with Patton Oswalt interviewing me. The LA stop will be the last one of the tour and possibly the strangest, in ways I have not even warned Patton about yet. (The Late Late Craig Ferguson Show tickets in LA are also now all gone.) They are also down to the last dozen or so WITS tickets in St Paul. (Me! Josh Ritter! Songs! Heckles by Kevin Murphy and Bill Corbett!)

Right. I am off to the 92nd St Y. There will be a Big Gay Ice Cream Van there -- the official Ice Cream of the American Gods Book Tour (no, I do not know what this will mean either). (except that there will be ice cream.) This is Molly Crabapple's American Gods-Big Gay Ice Cream Poster


Right. Off to the 92nd St Y. Oh, I just noticed a Tweet from @Biggayicecream saying they will be serving American Globs and Loki Lime Pie tonight...

Click post on this and zoom.

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Thursday, June 09, 2011

A Fairly Humongous Doctor Who Q&A Mostly

I'm still at a friends' very empty borrowed house, working hard to get everything I have to get done written before I go on the book tour. I wish I had company. I used to do being alone better - now I pine after my wife, or my children, or even a dog. But I'm working, mostly undistracted, and that's a good thing.

The book tour is for the release in the US of my "preferred text" of AMERICAN GODS. It's the Tenth Anniversary Edition. It will be released on June 21st, a decade after the original was published, and it's about 20,000 words longer than the original, and has a couple of essays in it. If you get the ebook edition, it will also have a 17 minute long interview with me embedded in it, along with bits from the upcoming full cast audiobook.

Here is the photo of me we're using for the tour. It was done by photographer Allan Amato, and he made it look like an antique daguerreotype, because he is very clever like that.



This is the Tenth Anniversary Edition's cover. (It's a hardback. Did I mention that it was a hardback?)

Here's the Amazon link to pre-order a copy.

But better you should go to Indiebound at http://www.indiebound.org/book/9780062059888 and see if there is an independent bookshop near you which sells it, or to buy it from an indie bookshop online.

Most, if not all of the bookshops who are sponsoring the tour events will have signed copies of this edition of American Gods for sale once their event has happened (I will be signing towering mountains of books for each stop on the way), and most of them encourage you to order signed copies from them now - check the websites. If you want a signed copy, contact them. (The list of stops and bookshops and links to websites is on this blog entry, http://journal.neilgaiman.com/2011/06/tour-dates-from-vanishing-author.html)


...or buy one from Greg Ketter at http://www.dreamhavenbooks.com/ in Minneapolis, because once the tour is done I will undoubtedly wind up going to Dreamhaven and signing my way through whatever he has for me.

...


So many Doctor Who questions.

Fortunately, lots of them are the same questions over and over. Even so, there are more than I can answer... But I'll see how many I can do in the next two hours.

There are going to be Spoilers, so stop reading here if you do not want to read them.

Dear Neil,

How much actual research did you have to do (if at all) to make sure that you referenced the classic Doctor Who series mythology just right? With all those nods to previous locations and concepts in "The Doctor's Wife", it surely seems extensive. And how much fun was it to actually remember it all and insert it into your script? Did you find yourself re-watching old episodes at all, even if just for nostalgia's sake?

Not an awful lot. I was lucky in having Steven Manfred available to answer my questions, because he knows all answers, but when Maddy and I had started watching Doctor Who together in 2005 I'd bought an awful lot of DVDs in order to re-experience things I'd liked and to introduce her to them, and to have some Doctor Who to watch during those many long months that there weren't new episodes of Doctor Who around. The joy of showing her (for example) An Unearthly Child, The Three Doctors, The Five Doctors and City of Death was real joy for both of us. And I got to watch it and it brought it all back.

But most of the trivia and mythology was just sitting in the back of my head waiting to be pulled out. I like mythologies, and I knew what a Dalek was and what planet it came from, or what TARDIS stood for when I was five, before I knew who Thor or Anubis were.

And there was a lot of Doctor Who detritus that didn't get used in the final draft, stuff that went all the way back to the first Doctor and the David Whitaker Doctor Who and the Daleks book. (I was determined to get a mention of the TARDIS's Mercury Fluid Link in there, because it was the first bit of the TARDIS I ever knew the name of, along with the machine that made food that looked like Mars Bars but tasted like bacon and eggs, but neither of them got on screen.)

Which reminds me, I recently did an introduction for this reissue (it'll be out in August), which was where I learned of both of those things:



Is your bit of dialog between the Doctor and the TARDIS about her not taking him where he wanted to go a riff on Douglas Adams quote from Long Dark Tea Time of the Soul?

Not intentionally. There were several nods to Douglas in the script ("The junkyard at the end of the universe" being the most obvious) but that one was simply something that I'd thought since I was a kid. The TARDIS doesn't ever take the Doctor to a boring place where nothing's ever happened or is going to happen: it always dumps him somewhere at the right place or the right time for a story to happen. And given that most of the time he's not doing it, obviously she is.

Hi Neil,

Will there ever be a release of your script which will include all the parts which, for whatever reason, didn't make it onto the screen?

Thanks in advance,

Paul


I don't think that would be very practical,mostly because scenes replaced scenes. So the scene where they go and see the Beatles was replaced by the Planet of the Rain Gods, which was replaced by the "I've got Mail!" scene.

But if I do a novelisation I'll see how much of that stuff I can recover. (Also hard because the first few drafts were a story with only Amy in it for the end of the first Matt Smith season, the rest of them were a story with Amy and Rory in it for the start of Matt's second season...)

Hi Neil,

Just for the record, your episode was good. I mean, really bloody brilliant. I mean, well you know. Nice. Just so you know.

Now to my question. Is there like a "council" that reviews your basic script idea, and also follows up on your work as you write your script? Doctor Who is a huge story and it's obvious that the tolerance for contradictions is quite high but it I guess it still have to fit more or less, and also follow the storyline of the season. I always imagined there is six really old folks of undeterminable gender sitting in a house from the middle ages filled with strange contraptions, drinking tea and jelly babies, spending their days writing correspondence on old typewriters but I'd settle for a couple of expert senior advisors or something.


Regards
Anders Sjölander


No. There's Steven Moffat. I'd run things past him when I had questions, and he'd reply fast and sensibly., and his original note to me was "I want to see where you go with this, and not fence you in" and he stuck to that. There was Piers Wenger, executive producer and Beth Willis, also Executive Producer, and they'd normally have small suggestions but important ones. Beth is terrific at not being an SF person and making me explain things I thought everyone understood. There was Brian Minchin and Lindsey Alford (who replaced Brian, when he went off to do Sarah Jane) who were Script Bosses, who would get everyone's notes -- Steven's and Piers's and Beth's, add in their own and then come back to me with lists of suggestions on the scripts, or sad wise words about how much something would cost.

Draft after draft we'd try and figure out ways to say things faster, do things faster, tell the story in 42 minutes.

Let me try and think of an example.

Okay. The Corsair. The first time I started writing about him, back in the not-yet-even-first-draft, I wanted to make sure that the direction I was going was okay with Steven Moffat, so I dropped him an email with the following bit in it:

Doctor: He was called The Corsair. Didn't have a name. Just The Corsair. That was...and he used to travel off exploring the limits of Time and Space.


Amy: What happened to him?


Doctor: One day he never came back. Well, that's the trouble with Time and Space exploring. You never know if someone didn't come back, or if they just haven't come back yet. I daresay there are people still waiting for me...


(He sees Amy's expression. He just said the wrong thing...Tries to pick up the thread.)


I – I met him. He had a tattoo of a snake, an ouroboros on his arm. After every regeneration he'd get that tattoo. I spoke to him once.


Amy: Oh yes?


Doctor: I said, take me with you. I could go with you out there. I could be your assistant.


Amy: So that was how you got your start? Traveling with him?


Doctor: What? Oh, no. He laughed at me. I was twelve. Can't really blame him. So this was... aeons ago.


To which Steven replied,

Love the tattoo and the arm and the recycled monsters - but we can we make the Corsair sound less like the man the Doctor modeled himself on? Answers too many question that should be left alone. He's the Doctor, he does what he does for reasons too vast and terrible to relate.

Which when put like that was absolutely unarguable-with. So by the time I got to the first-version-with-Rory-in, the scene read like this:

The Tardis is in flight. The Doctor’s running around the console, pushing things, turning switches, preparing for a tricky journey. Still talking...
THE DOCTOR
...when we needed to get a message to the High Council, we wrapped our thoughts up in — that must have been why it came to me. Nowhere else for it to go. Whoo - There’s a living Time Lord still out there, team. One of the good ones. And he's in trouble.

The Tardis JOLTS, hard, and now it sounds as if the cosmic engines are PUSHING against something -- the sound is off... The Tardis engine makes a really bad sound. Amy is towelling off her hair.
RORY
It sounds like it’s going up a hill in the wrong gear...
THE DOCTOR
It sort of is. We're out at the edge of the universe right now so we're sort of bending a few laws here... Laws like the Conservation of Reality and... (To Tardis) Come on, old girl.
AMY
I thought you said there weren’t any other Time Lords. This just started blinking. Shall I push it?
THE DOCTOR
Not a good idea. Molecules might get all... unmoleculed. The Time Lords are all gone from this Universe. Which is why we’re leaving it.

AMY
This Time Lord. What’s he like? Or is it a Time Lady?

The Doctor keeps leaving the control panel to talk to her, then heading back to it to make an adjustment.
THE DOCTOR
He’s called The Corsair. Fantastic bloke. Hearts in both the right places. Time Lord High Council couldn’t stand him either...
(to Tardis)
You can do it. Push!
RORY
So what happened to him?
THE DOCTOR
Went off in a TARDIS, never came back. Problem unique to Time and Space exploring. You never know if someone never came back, or if they just haven't come back yet.
THE DOCTOR (cont’d)
Lovely man. And occasionally, lovely woman. He had a tattoo on his arm. A snake, eating its own tail. Incorporated it into every regeneration. Said he didn’t feel like himself unless he had the tattoo. We’re completely and utterly stuck here. She needs more thrust.

Which was probably half the length of the first version of it I'd written with Amy, and I still needed to get that information across in a fraction of the time...

Hi Neil,

One of the things which struck me the most was how well you'd written the Eleventh Doctor (as opposed to the Tenth). My question is this:

How different was the portrayal of the Doctor when it was originally written? Were there any lines that you would have had the Tenth Doctor say, which you removed or changed to be more in keeping with Matt's portrayal of the Eleventh Doctor?

Thanks,

Ben


Good question. I think my very first draft was for a sort of a neutral doctor who probably sounded a lot more like David Tennant's Doctor than anyone else because he was what I was used to (see the dialogue above) - but then, Matt hadn't been cast when I wrote it. So I just wrote it as best I could for "The Doctor" and tried not write it for any particular Doctor. By the time I got onto the second round of rewrites, putting Rory in, I'd seen a series of Matt and Karen and Arthur. I knew what they sounded like. So it was easy to imagine them as I wrote and revised. Some of the Doctor's lines changed a bit -- I wrote the "bunk beds are cool" stuff here for example, -- but not as much as you'd imagine. A lot of the Doctor's dialogue you saw on screen was there in the first draft.

As an exercise I'd try and imagine lines of the Doctor's dialogue said by Patrick Troughton or Jon Pertwee or Tom Baker or Colin Baker or Christopher Eccleston (and the rest) and I felt happiest if I'd written a line I felt any of them could have delivered -- each in his own unique way. "Fear me, I killed all of them," for example.

Over the course of the entire run of Doctor Who, what do you think has been the most valuable moral/message that the show has offered the world?

You can think your way out of your difficulties.

Where did Idris come from, and why was she in a Victorian party dress?

She came through the Rift. And she'd been at a Victorian party.

There is clearly a possibility that some time, some writer will write another story where Idris comes back, either with Suranne Jones or someone else.

How would you feel if you found out it was going to happen for sure? How would you feel if you found out it was never going to happen?

If it happens that Suranne (or someone else) ever comes back as Idris/Sexy (and it's not very likely, but nothing is impossible) I hope it's done in a way that makes me proud and surprises me.

Dear Mr Gaiman,

thank you for your offer to answer questions on your Doctor Who episode.

What I did not quite understand: Why was it suddenly so easy to leave and re-enter the universe? And if this was so easy, why was it impossible to enter another? Why, actually, all this pining over Rose if it would have been enough to get rid of the swimming pool, as it were, to see her again?

I am sure I missed or misunderstood something and am looking forward to your explanation.

Many thanks,
Wibke

It wasn't easy getting in or --especially -- out of the bubble-universe. They burned up TARDIS rooms for thrust to get in and get out. But they made it.

However, there's a huge difference between a tiny bubble-universe stuck to this one, and an entire-alternate-universe-new-reality. One's still attached to this universe, with a rift-crack between them, the other's an entirely different order of created things.

It's actually nothing like that, of course, but I hope it makes things easier for you.

The Corsair is intriguing. Really, honestly utterly intriguing, with that name and the tattoo and anything, and I was wondering if you/the folk in charge of Doctor Who had plans for who he was - past exploits! what he did! what /she/ did! - or anything? Because otherwise I will probably have to end up writing fanfiction. Gods help us.

If I ever do a novelisation I'd love to write a few flashback scenes for the Corsair. I suspect that his Tardis looked like a small sailboat, wherever it could. And he laughed a lot.

In early drafts he was part of the Time Lords' Universal Survey Team ("Surveying the Universe?" "It's a big place. Someone has to keep track of it.").

Dear Neil

To what extent has your Doctor Who episode drawn on the rich tradition of Doctor Who material outside of the televised stuff – the audio dramas, the novels?

Many thanks

Jon


With the exception of the David Whitaker book, not at all*. I used to love the Dalek World books, and liked the "Dr Who Annuals", but they were far from continuity, and I knew that even as a small boy. I read a Telos book by Paul McAuley that I wrote an introduction for (it's mostly up at http://journal.neilgaiman.com/2007/05/nature-of-infection.html) but the Big Finish Audio and the New Adventures etc were things I knew existed but never investigated.

*Edit to add, and the Piccolo Books The Making Of Doctor Who, By Hulke and Dicks. I bought my copy in 1972 and must have read it a hundred times before my thirteenth birthday.

Hi, you asked for Doctor Who related questions, so: I'd heard that your episode was supposed to be part of series 5 and was shunted to series 6. Were any major changes required to make it work in the sixth series? And, rather cheekily, as I'm sure you get this kind of question all the time: What advice can you offer to an 8 year old boy who loves to write?

No major changes, but lots of minor changes. If it had been in series 5 it would have been scarier, I think, as it would have been Nephew playing a lethal game of Hide and Seek with Amy through the house-occupied TARDIS. And it would have had a much darker ending, as the Doctor and Amy buried Idris's body, and then talked about mortality and endings while the Doctor made a daisy chain.

(I'd advise him to read a lot, and also to have adventures, and to read books like http://www.dangerousbookforboys.com/ and put the things he reads into practice, because one day he will need things to write about, and experiences are the raw material from which the imagination builds.)

So why, really, was the name of your Doctor Who episode changed from "Bigger on the Inside" to "The Doctor's Wife"? It seemed a deeper, more meaningful title before. I read somewhere you saying it might be misread as "Bugger on the Inside", but I took it as a joke.
D.D.


If it's a joke, it's not one of mine. The very very VERY first title, before I ever set down to write it, when it was still just an idea and a pitch, was "The House of Nothing". And House really was going to be a house, with tubes and things running inside it. But I was told there were already some creepy houses in the series, and I liked the idea of a creepy intelligent planet more. And then for two years the title was "Bigger on the Inside" until we got to the point, about 6 weeks before it was shown, where we had to actually tell people what the title was. (I'd taken an enormous amount of Hide In Plain Sight pleasure in using the "Bigger on the Inside" label for this blog whenever I'd talked about the episode.)

The trouble was, in the last couple of months, we had started to worry that the "Bigger on the Inside" title simply gave too much away. We wanted people to have that first "Oh my god -- she's the TARDIS!" moment unspoiled, and worried that once they had the title and the cast too many people would simply figure it out.

"The Doctor's Wife" was a fake title used in the 80s by Doctor Who producer John Nathan Turner to try and find if there were leaks in his office. And this was a story about someone who was married to his ship, and someone who was his wife and mother and girlfriend and best friend all in one, the only person who would always be there for him on all his adventures...

So we changed the title to that.

I loved the idea of the Corsair, and was a little disappointed to not getting to see him/her and sad that he died (which was surprising, in a good way, since I had only heard of him a few minutes before).
Anyway, the Q: since the Corsair died in the junkyard, we can assume he was not in the Time War, right? At least not when the Doctor locked everyone up and left. And the same goes for the other "hundreds of Time Lords" that House killed. So do you hope/plan/expect/think it's possible to see the Corsair or others showing up in the Doctor's future-their past?

(Bonus Q: will we ever be able to read what the Zero Room or the Swimming Pool scenes were like?)


They're dead. They died thousands and millions of years ago on an asteroid in a tiny bubble universe.

(Bonus Answer, if ever one day I novelise or novella-ise the story, then I expect so.)

While House was traumatizing Amy, what was happening to the real Rory?

Bad things.

I wrote some of them. There was the scene where Rory was trapped in the Zero Room, for example, with no way out, and knowing that human beings in closed Zero Rooms go mad, and the one where he thought that Amy was waiting around the corner trying to kill him, and House gave him a knife. Then there was the Hall of Mirrors, although that was a scene with both of them...

But Rory coped fairly well with House's head-messing. He's been around a long time and coped with a lot.

While in the end, time and budget and locations meant that it was easier and more practical to do what we did and show what we showed.

Did it still thrill you to see your name during the opening credits sequence or has that particular thrill been dulled by being a professional writer for so long?

It felt just as good seeing my name on that screen as you would imagine it did.

Which is to say, not as good as marrying Amanda or being there when my children were born, but about equal with winning my first Hugo Award.

G'day Neil.

I've heard that some people (although with all that twittering perhaps we should call them sparrows) have been giving you a hard time over the "PULL TO OPEN" issue.

When you think about what a *real* Police Box was used for, it's quite obvious that the doors needed to open outward. *Obvious*. Anyone who say otherwise has never used a tiny toilet cubicle where the door opens inward and you have to climb up on the bowl in order to open the door to let yourself out:-)

That said, I've always taken the "PULL TO OPEN" to refer to the little hatch containing the phone (which we saw the Doctor do in "The Empty Child" when the phone rang), rather than the whole door. After all, the public wouldn't have been trusted with unfettered access to the contents of the Police Box (they might steal the copper/bobby/peeler's lunch!), but they would have needed access to the phone to access the "ADVICE AND ASSISTANCE AVAILABLE IMMEDIATELY" promised on the notice.

Would you like to briefly speak (type?) about the issue, and have your final word on the subject, in your blog, so that the non-sparrows amongst us know what's going on?

Steve


"Pull to Open" obviously refers to the phone hatch, yes. But Idris was right: It IS an instruction, and Police Box doors did open outwards.

As someone who has only seen one episode of Dr.Who—and I absolutely loved "The Doctor's Wife"—I would love to get into the series, but I'm not sure of a solid jumping-off point. As you've drawn me into this universe of sentient machines that bear more than a passing-likeness to ex-Coronation Street characters, could you give me some advice on where to begin with the other canon material?

Sure.

Episodes I've shown people to lure them in:

BLINK

THE GIRL IN THE FIREPLACE

DALEK

THE EMPTY CHILD/ THE DOCTOR DANCES

HUMAN NATURE/THE FAMILY OF BLOOD

Classic Episodes like Douglas Adams' CITY OF DEATH.

Although you might just want to start with THE ELEVENTH HOUR and come forward. Or start with ROSE and come forward. (I don't think I'd recommend starting with THE UNEARTHLY CHILD and coming forward, but it more or less worked for me..)

Why an Ood? Didn't seem like it needed to be one. Did you just like them?

I really do like the Ood.

Originally Uncle, Auntie and Nephew were all patchwork monsters, with Nephew the least human of all them.

Last July we were at the Make Sure This Comes In On Budget draft, and Steven, Beth and Piers were determined to save all the CGI I'd put in and all the TARDIS stuff, so my original plan for Auntie and Uncle and Nephew to be three new different patchwork aliens got modified.

I made Auntie and Uncle look more human, and less obviously patchwork, and I was offered my choice of any existing monster in the costume department for Nephew. I picked the Ood because it was perfect for what I needed - they have a history of being mentally taken over, and I loved the idea of the eyes and translator ball glowing with green House-light, as opposed to the red possessed Ood eyes we'd seen on their first appearance. Nephew never spoke, so a silent, possessed Ood seemed perfect. And it was a shout-out to Russell Davies. And it seemed like it might be fun to make the Ood scary again...

It also gave us the whole fiddling with the Ood translator/hearing the Time Lords scene, which we didn't have before that, and made the episode much better.

Making television - and especially making Doctor Who, where you have to imagine a new world (in my case a new universe) with every episode - is always a negotiation between dream and reality. (That was the same email in which I learned that we weren't going to have the scene in the Tardis Swimming Pool because Karen Gillan couldn't swim.)

There's always a Make Sure This Comes In On Budget Draft, as the realities of "Anything You Can Imagine" come face to face with "This Is What We Can Do". In the case of Doctor Who, the producers found money in seat cushions and borrowed money from other episodes to make it as close to the thing I'd dreamed as they could.

And scenes were being rewritten and modified because we couldn't afford to do the thing I'd originally asked for until we were actually shooting. That's the way of television. It was true in Neverwhere. It's true in everything you watch.

And that's why an Ood.

Why didn't you make it so the old control room we saw was from the 1980s? I was so sure that was what it was going to be.

Because I did not have the ability to ask the producers back then to leave their sets up until I needed them. Whereas I did have that ability with the Ninth Doctor's Console Room. I could ask them to keep it for me until we needed it. And they did. They lied to anybody who asked why it hadn't been taken down, and they kept it up.

Did you have House destory the David Tennant Control Room to show you hated it? Now it doesn't exist.


Of course it exists. The TARDIS keeps it archived. House deleted it, but I have no doubt that, once they were in a place where that could happen, the TARDIS undeleted it, tidied it up and put it somewhere out of the way, along with the other things she keeps close to her chest.

And hated it? No, I loved it. Here is a photograph of me loving it.


...

I'm done. Work beckons, and so does bed.

But if you've made it this far...

Some of you may not know that there is a 2011 American Discworld Convention, with Terry Pratchett as Guest of Honour, next month in Madison. The Website is http://www.nadwcon.org/. They have a few memberships left, but they are almost gone...

Goodnight.

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Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Useful stuff, mostly

I promised I'd tell you about Audiobooks, didn't I? It was The Master And Margerita and The Third Policeman (both of which I'd read before, but liked the idea of listening to) and then I tried The Man In The Iron Mask (gave up not that far in - the pace was just wrong for exercising to, and I kept wanting to point out to Dumas that yes, he was being paid by the word, but really...). I'm now listening to The Pickwick Papers, which I'm enjoying to a degree that surprised me. I read it as an 11 year old, but it's more fun 40 years on.

...

The 92nd Street Y, realising that they'd sold out and that people were still calling them for tickets to the event on the 21st of June, where Lev Grossman is interviewing me, have just got in more staff for the night and opened up their not-normally-opened balcony. Which frees up another 200 seats. You'll want to get in quickly, I suspect. But as of right now there are tickets.

http://www.92y.org/shop/event_detail.asp?productid=T-LC5AE34


If you're in LA on the 28th of June, you may already be going to see me being interviewed by Patton Oswalt at the Saban Theatre.

Remarkably, I might be appearing on the Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson that same day. I am very nervous about this. I've not been on a chat show since I did the Colbert Report two years ago, where we wound up talking about Lord of the Rings. It's a pity that there isn't something like a recently revived beloved-in-childhood British SF TV show that both Craig and I had in common...

You can get free tickets for the Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson at http://www.1iota.com/show/view/The_Late_Late_Show_with_Craig_Ferguson You want tickets for the 28th, easily spottable because it has a photo of me up on that day.

Seattle have put tickets on sale for the 26th, where I will be interviewed by Maria Dahvana Headley, author of Queen of Kings, a book I really enjoyed. Per the University Bookstore's website,

Two types of tickets are available for the Neil Gaiman event: Orange tickets cost $29.55, include one signed copy of American Gods: The Tenth Anniversary Edition from the University Book Store, and grant admission to one person to the event. Signed books will be distributed at the event. Green tickets cost $5, and admit one person to the event. To purchase tickets, please call 1.800.335.READ or email steshab@uw.edu. Tickets available now.
...

I got an email this morning asking me about Doctor Who, in response to an article in the UK magazine Private Eye (Private Eye always makes you feel like an insider, but as with the few other Private Eye articles I've read over the years that I've actually known anything about what was being written, their Doctor Who one was a mix of true things, things that weren't actually not true, and solid-sounding gossippy things that were actually not true at all), and I thought, you know, The Doctor's Wife airs today in New Zealand, which is a good cue to put out a call for questions.

So next blog entry I'll spend answering your questions on my Doctor Who Episode. Ask questions here.

...

I tend to throw most of my Comic-Book Fundraising Support behind the CBLDF, because legal cases are expensive, and the First Amendment is vital. But there's another important charity too, The Hero Initiative. As described on their website,

The Hero Initiative is the first-ever federally chartered not-for-profit corporation dedicated strictly to helping comic book creators in need. Hero creates a financial safety net for yesterdays' creators who may need emergency medical aid, financial support for essentials of life, and an avenue back into paying work. It's a chance for all of us to give back something to the people who have given us so much enjoyment. For more information, visit www.HeroInitiative.org or call 818-776-1918.
And that's a really good cause: helping those who have themselves given so much pleasure, entertainment and magic to so many. As you'll read over at http://heroinitiative.blogspot.com/2011/06/putting-band-back-together-gaiman.html
we've made something special happen in the next Hero Comics Anthology. Sam Kieth and Mike Dringenberg and I get back together for the first time since Sandman 4, published in March 1989, 22 years ago.

Which is a bit like getting the Beatles back together for another song, while they were still alive anyway, and about as unlikely.

Sam and Mike make beautiful art around my creepy little tale of a seaside landlady and her unfortunate guest. Here's page 1.

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Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Tour Dates From a Vanishing Author

Sorry that I've been away. I am a bad blogger.

I've been putting off blogging until I had the details of the June AMERICAN GODS TENTH ANNIVERSARY tour, and the last date came in today. (Yes, I know I've mentioned some of these before, and some of them have been up on WHERE'S NEIL. But this is all of them together in one place.)

There's still some information I don't have. I am pretty sure that we'll do most of these events GRAVEYARD BOOK tour style -- do a really long event with lots of talking and reading and being interviewed and audience Q &A, with me pre-signing a few thousand books. It's possible that some of the events may actually have proper signings -- you'll need to ask them.

And an apology - the Washington DC date is already Sold Out. It sold out as soon as it was announced by the Press Club.








New York City – Tuesday, June 21 at 8:00pm. (Was sold out but they have opened the balcony so there are seats again.)
Address: 92nd Street Y, Kaufmann Concert Hall, Lexington Ave @ 92nd Street.
(Link:
http://www.92y.org/shop/event_detail.asp?productid=T-LC5AE34)

Portsmouth, NH – Wednesday, June 22 at 7:30pm.
Address: The Music Hall, 28 Chestnut St., Portsmouth, NH 03801
Hosted by RiverRun Bookstore,The Music Hall and New Hampshire Public Radio.
(Link:
http://www.themusichall.org/calendar/event/neil_gaiman)

Washington, DC – Thursday, June 23 at 6:30 pm SOLD OUT. SORRY.
Address: National Press Club, 529 14th Street, NW Washington, DC 20045
Hosted by Barnes & Noble.
(Link:
http://www.press.org/neilgaiman)

(The Press Club will be selling signed books, though, through their website.)

Minneapolis/ St Paul - Friday, June 24 - 8:00pm
WITS at the Fitzgerald Theatre, 10 E. Exchange St.; St. Paul MN
With Musical Guest Josh Ritter
John Moe and John Munson in charge
(I think there's a real signing after this one, although there will, I hope, also be pre-signed books for those who do not want to wait.)
http://minnesota.publicradio.org/radio/programs/wits/
There are still some tickets at
http://fitzgeraldtheater.publicradio.org/tickets/box_office.shtml

(Local controversy about WITS including how much I am being paid to appear and
who I am giving the money to at http://minnesota.publicradio.org/collections/special/columns/polinaut/archive/2011/05/gaiman_to_make.shtml)


Seattle – Sunday, June 26 at 7:00pm.
Address: Town Hall Seattle, 1119 8th Ave. Seattle WA 98101.
Hosted by University Book Store.
(Link:
http://www.bookstore.washington.edu/events/events.taf?page=201106
Technically their tickets go on sale on the 21st but call 1800-3357323 (University Bookstore) & they'll take your order for tickets &/or the book. They'll also take your reservation.)

San Francisco – Monday, June 27 at 7:30pm SOLD OUT. SORRY.
Address: First Congregational Church, 2345 Channing Way, Berkeley, CA
Hosted by Booksmith
(Tickets:
http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/179279
info: http://www.booksmith.com, and http://berkeleyarts.org)

Los Angeles - Tuesday, June 28 at 8:00pm
Address: Saban Theatre, 8440 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills, CA 90211
(Tickets: http://rarebirdlit.myshopify.com/products/neil-gaiman-at-saban-theatre.
Info on www.sabantheatre.org and www.rarebirdlit.com)

Given the jaw-dropping speed with which some of these events have already sold out, or have nearly sold out, I suggest getting tickets early if you're thinking of going, and not putting it off until later.

....

The American Gods illustration above is from http://ka-ha-si.blogspot.com/2011/05/storm-is-coming.html and I loved it.


...

AUDIES 2011

I was thrilled to learn that the Audiobook of STORIES won the Audie Award for Best Short Story Collection -- congratulations to readers Anne Bobby, Jonathan Davis, Peter Francis James, Katherine Kellgren and Euan Morton.


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Here's a really fun DOCTOR WHO interview that Charlie McDonnell did with me when I was in Cardiff last year:



Charlie is really nice. He also makes great videos and I like his music.

...

This is a great list of Things You Should Think About Reading in Genre: http://yetistomper.blogspot.com/2011/05/for-win-guide-to-2011s-best-of-best.html

...

Right now I'm hiding out in a house borrowed from friends, more or less off the internet (on a very old, slow, practically unworkable steam-driven local internet that probably still has valves, or even sprockets) to get some writing done for people who are waiting patiently for things.

It's fun, beautiful, I swam today for the first time in ages, tomorrow I have promised myself a run on the beach (if I put it down here it has to happen). But mostly I'm just writing.

Last week my glorious wife came out to the Midwest to visit me at home. (So far this year I've always gone to Boston or Brooklyn to be with her, or we've coincided in Mexico and Tasmania and such.) It was wonderful just spending quiet time together, and being with her and with my son Mike, his lady Courtney (Mike just moved to Chicago from San Francisco) and my youngest daughter Maddy.

We cuddled and talked and walked and talked and caught up, and on Monday we failed to go off with Sharon and Bill to inspect the bees because we were still cuddling and talking (fortunately I can check Sharon's Birdchick Blog and see that everyone's doing fine). I'm so curious about the Russian bees. We've gone from three Russian hives to two (we combined two hives into one, using the newspaper method).

And then, all too soon, it was over. It gets harder to say goodbye to Amanda each time, and we're still figuring out how two busy people who are on the road too much can be together as much as possible. We spent time on this trip staring at our calendars and working out times and ways we could match velocity. At some point this year we may go on the road together, we've decided.

It's going to be really hard when she makes her next album, and goes on the road for 18 months to promote it.

For now, you can get an idea of Amanda's schedule over the next few months, and some hints at a couple of not-yet-formally announced events of mine, including a London one, at http://blog.amandapalmer.net/post/6092365751/my-new-evil-plans-tour-dates-in-states-uk

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Former Web-Elf Olga Nunes' plans to take over the world, or at least make art in it, continue to grow. I love the photo at http://olganunes.com/2011/05/post.php, (along with the ad from Kevin Smith's podcast for her LAMP project).

Matt Cheney's Sandman reactions and thoughts continue to be worth reading and following. The latest is "Soft Places", the Marco Polo story: http://www.boomtron.com/2011/05/sandman-neil-gaiman-meditations-fables-reflections-soft-places/. I hope he collects them one day.

Also pleased to see that they are inspiring discussion and thought. Cheryl Morgan takes Matt to task for a comment in an earlier review, while writing (from my perspective, anyway) the most perceptive and accurate summary of Wanda's role in A Game of You I've seen so far at http://www.cheryl-morgan.com/?page_id=10825.

Right. I need to go and make art.

...

Here's a photo from the last time I was here, eighteen months ago, with Amanda and Cabal.

He was teaching her Yoga on the beach.



And finally, Weird Things Customers Say In Bookshops. One bookseller's list. So funny. So sad. So strangely similar to things booksellers have told me all around the world. Read it and sigh.

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