Thursday, October 24, 2002
So the way things are looking, I'll be going to the UK for a few weeks in late November to make "A Short Film About John Bolton". Had a transatlantic conversation yesterday with my producer and his team which was really fun. Time to start thinking seriously about casting.

Not just doing this to escape from the midwestern weather, which has turned unseasonably cold and horrid in October for first time since 1993, when the World Fantasy Convention was also held in Minneapolis over hallowe'en, and it rained and snowed, was bitterly cold and unpleasant. It took 9 years to get the World Fantasy Con back to Minneapolis, after a number of Hallowe'ens in the unseasonable 70s, and now the world's finest fantasy writers and artists and editors will converge here and grumble about the weather again.

I'm finishing the latest polish on the Fermata script, about to write the third part of 1602, and, of course, off to Chicago for the Humanities Festival. If there's anyone out there who wishes they could have been at the Coraline reading in Berkeley, this is the second complete Coraline reading for an audience. All the pre-ordering tickets have gone -- but this really doesn't mean that the tickets have sold out. I've learned from the last two Humanities Festivals that tickets are kept back, and are available at the door, after the pre-orders have gone. tells you that

Tickets for this event are no longer available for advance ordering. If you wish to attend, tickets will be sold at the site 30 minutes prior to the event for $6 (cash only), based on availability. Call the CHF Ticket Office at (312) 494-9509 to inquire about status.

You don't have to be or have a child to come. It's listed for ages 10 and above because it's LONG. 4pm to 8 pm, with a half hour break in the middle. There may be one, possibly two more readings of Coraline in the future, possibly when it comes out in paperback, and then I'll be done.

I think Nick Lowe's essay (which is interesting to me mostly for the powerful anger of the prose) breaks down when he acknowledges that Tolkien's ring comes ultimately from traditional sources, don't you? Because then you start thinking about it and realize that everything he describes is something that storytellers have been doing for millenia, and there's a reason that things last so long. He could just as well sneer at Homer (Poseidon in the Odyssey being a perfect example of a Universal Plot Generator) as all those silly sci-fi authors. The real reason those authors are bad cannot be because of their plots, when those plots are basically the same as hundreds of very good books. I can't see why he wasted his time getting so angry about this anyway--there sure are plenty of wonderful plotless books out there for him to enjoy.
On a completely other note I just want to say I'm very pleased that McSweeney's and Neil Gaiman, two literary things that I like, have gotten together Two years ago I don't think I would have believed it could happen.

I think the Lowe article is a funny polemic, and a fine warning against laziness in plotting. Not sure it's of much use beyond that, nor that it was meant to be.

Hullo Neil,

I am a Spanish reader of you (sorry for the bad writing, then). I just read the things that the American Attorney General, John Ashcroft, wrote about "Coraline" and another children's books and I have to say, as a foreigner-latin-european, that I love your sense of humor, you anglos.

Because that's a joke, doesn't it?



It certainly does. That was not John Ashcroft.

Hi Neil,
With your name mentioned again in "Carbon" on Tori's new album, some people think that "To Venus and Back" was the only album in which you were not mentioned. And though I understand that she didn't mention your name, I found that the lyrics to her song "Concertina" reflect the story you told in DreamHunters. The note to you in the back of the CD booklet also references Dreamhunters. Am I totally off the mark here? Or is there a connection between song and story?
Just Curious.

I think you may be reaching for something that isn't there. On To Venus and Back I was in a song called Zero Point , which never made it onto the CD and was too long to be a B side, and back then there wasn't a Scarlet's Web for the Tombigbees to go to. (Scarlet's Web is the online place Tori's made for the CD which contains lots of background material in addition to several songs that were recorded for Scarlet's Walk but which didn't make it onto the album. I think you'll need a Scarlet's Walk CD to access it.)

You might want to remind your readers that their local library *might* have Victoria Walker's books... I thought your description sounded interesting, and not having $300 to spare, searched online and found The Winter of Enchantment after a short search. It's worth a try, at least! Jennifer

Good idea. It's amazing what you can get through an interlibrary loan.

Hi Neil,

You've been awfully quiet on the whole subject of online comics, aside from the cute little McCloud Clan anecdotes. Now that has just opened (and of course, the established & all it's other sister sites), I was wondering what your thoughts are in regards to publishing on the web? And if we might be seeing any online comic work from you in the near future?

Obviously, online stuff at the moment will never pay as well as the publishers of traditional graphic novels do now, but having a "big" name (in addition to a huge, multi-media fan base) like yourself would do wonders for the awareness of online comics.

Well, just a thought anyway.


I have great arguments with Scott about online comics, which tend to end up with him saying, "But by the time you get to panel 36 my first panel is now larger than the entire known universe, so you see I couldn't do it on paper!" and me going "But why do you want a panel larger than the known universe anyway?" but by that point in the conversation Scott has a strange light in his eyes and is starting to levitate and expound...

And then he shows me a selection of online comics ("Now this is a work of genius. Of course, it's a good thing you have broadband, otherwise you couldn't actually read it until tomorrow...") and I cavil and scoff until he shows me something I like, which he does quite often, and then I'm impressed.

I can't imagine I'd ever do online comics for the sake of doing online comics. If ever I had an idea for a comic that would only work if it was online, and didn't involve characters falling for a very long way or panels larger than the known universe, and that wasn't a novelty act, I might well do it.

And pretty much the only comic I ever drew is, of course, already available online, and had been for some years, that being the story of Heliogabolus.

Lacking Scott, I don't go and read online comics for pleasure. I have too many piles of unread paper comics to read, and they make me feel guilty by being things that take up space on the floor in boxes. Online comics do not make me feel guilty. Yet.


Talking about guilt, I've put in place a blurb moratorium for the next year. I'm not giving any more blurbs. Recently, every day would bring another book or three, each with a nice note from the editor or the author or both asking me to read it and endorse it, too many books to read, let alone read and tell the world how good they were, and if I liked them all and said so then it would become meaningless anyway... and something snapped. So I shall treat everyone equally and say no to everyone and feel one huge pulsing miasma of guilt rather than a dozen specific guilts a week. Which is a great improvement.