Friday, March 07, 2003
Hi Neil,

I'd just like to echo your doubts about the web server's statistics. Perhaps you just skipped mentioning those of us who are "Down Under", but I access your site pretty regularly from Sydney, Australia, and I know for sure that my brother in Japan is a regular reader also. Anyway, that's about all... just thought you might be interested in the feedback.

All the best, John (B).

Sorry about that. 0.23% of the sites readers were Australian in Feb (as opposed to 0.02% who were from New Zealand) while top of the Asian Ranking were (in order)
Philippines, Japan, Israel, Malaysia Hong Kong Singapore and Indonesia. If people are interested, I'll stick up the March stats when they come in.

(And yesterday Australia was .96% of all traffic, so you're catching up.)

So I work in a teeny tiny bookstore, right, and we don't have Coraline! And it's one of my most favorites. So I'm trying to convince my boss to get a few copies for the store, and she asks me: "Well, what awards has it won?" And I tell her: "Well, a lot."
I don't suppose you could make a pretty little list of all the awards that Coraline has won or been nominated for? I'd be uber grateful, and I could brag about you more efficiently!

It was only published last July, and award season tends to be summer. But let's see -- it's currently on the Carnegie Medal longlist, it's nominated for the Booksense Award (independent booksellers award) as best Children's Book, and for an AUDIE award, ditto. It's nominated for the Torchlight Award. It made at least six major "year's best" lists last year, according to Locus, who keep track of these things. It's on the Bram Stoker Award preliminary ballot. It's nominated for a BSFA award. There's probably a few things I've forgotten. Hope that helps.

This just came in from the eternally helpful GMZoe:

Was just in shops today and saw Archer's Goon is now on shelves. I know this is one of your favorites which has been out of print awhile. I thought journal readers might like this review from the British Fantasy Newsletter from 1984:

Archer's Goon by Diana Wynne Jones. Reviewed by Richard Grey
The field of fantasy, paradoxically, lends itself to unoriginality: It is all too easy for an author to borrow a templet from Robert E. Howard, Tolkien, Lovecraft, or from folklore or mythology (often on a 'pick one from column A' basis) and ignore the possibilities inherent in the license to print one's own worlds that fantasy can give. Thus it was with mingled delight and surprise that I read Archer's Goon; although it is set in a standard English town in 1983, the fantasy world it creates is truly original. Seven people - brothers and sisters - run the town from behind the scenes: One 'farms' Technology, another 'farms' Transport, a third Crime, and so on. Howard Sykes and his family only find this out when Archer, the oldest, sends a 'Goon' around to pick up the two thousand words Howard's father has been writing regularly for one of the Family; two thousand words of rubbish that have apparently kept all Seven stuck in the town for thirteen years (or is it twenty-six? Have they really lived the last thirteen years twice?). But which one has been receiving them? And why? As Archer and his siblings launch a war of attrition against the Sykes family, Howard sets out to find what - and who - is behind it all. Archer's Goon is an arresting and impressive book; it deserves to be read more widely than it probably will be. Highly recommended.

I'd forgotten that some of the BFS reviews were by Richard Grey, which tended to be my default pseudonym whenever editors complained that there was too much written by Neil Gaiman in any given issue of a magazine, which used to happen a lot, in a number of publications, back when I was young and prolific (there was one issue of the British Fantasy Society Newsletter that went to double-length back then, mostly, the editor told me at the time, to use up the enormous surplus of book reviews I'd done for her).

Every now again, lines from reviews written under my own name in the BFS newsletter will turn up as blurbs on books published today, as if I gave them yesterday. Which makes me pleased on the whole that most of the book review columns I had in various publications back in the 80s were pseudonymous, and the rest are mostly forgotten.

hello neil,
i read your journal almost everyday, i find it interesting and entertaining. i really enjoy how perfect you write each entry. when i read it, with an english accent in my head, i find that each entry is so smooth, well written and for a lack of a better thought, so conversational.(i dont know if that makes sense). the journal feels as though you are "talking" to me. so my question(s) is this: how many drafts of each entry do you write? does someone proof read it? do you write how you talk? or are you that excellent of a writer that the writing of the journal just comes naturally? i really enjoy all of your work. the comics, the novels, and even, though it may not seem like work, the journal.

bill meakim

I'm pleased you enjoy it. No, no-one ever proofreads the journal, although if I make an egregious enough typo several hundred people will happily -- eagerly -- write in to tell me so. I used to try and make the posts perfect before I posted them (which meant I'd at least reread them before pressing post). Those days are gone: I tend to bang it down, press post and publish, then notice I didn't actually write a sentence in anything resembling English, and open it up, edit it and repost. I think I write more or less how I talk, although I say "um..." a lot more than I write it, and will occasionally in conversation drift off in the middle of a sent....

...anyway. If you poke around on the site I think there's some audio stuff of me doing readings, and answering questions in Q and As, so you can hear for yourself.


Almost two years ago I wrote a poem called CRAZY HAIR for my daughter Maddy, as part of an e-mail exchange we were having. I think I wrote it in a sushi restaurant in Fort Lauderdale. Maddy did a few drawings to illustrate it as a present for me, but decided I had written too many peculiar things in it and gave it up as a bad job.

I heard from my agent today that HarperChildrens have bought it to be a Dr Seuss-like children's book. I told Maddy this evening. She eyed me suspiciously. "I hope you don't think I'm going to draw the pictures," she told me. "Because I'm not."

"No," I said. "You don't have to draw the pictures."

I think I'll research college funds, and use Crazy Hair to start Maddy's. It seems only fair -- she started it (by writing an e-mail to me which began "Dear Mr Crazy Hair").


Heard all the One Ring Zero authors CD. It's lovely stuff, hard to pin down. My favorite song is probably the one with Daniel Handler lyrics "Radio", but there are a lot of really good songs on there, and they all feel different. Most of them are sort of bouncy -- I'm reminded a little of early They Might Be Giants, in that it's sort of eclectic, literate pop and no two songs sound anything alike (and if you don't like one, there's another one along in a minute). The song that they made out of the lyrics I gave them, "On The Wall", is just a voice, piano and cello, and reminds me a little of the songs on the Costello-Brodskies "The Juliet Letters".