Saturday, March 29, 2003
The Science Fiction Foundation and the British Science Fiction Association will be hosting a conference along with their Annual General Meetings, on Saturday April 5th, In London. I mention this because a) it's interesting, b) this will be the first public screening of the film I made last year, "A Short Film About John Bolton". The event is free to the public, Ian Watson and Kim Newman will be speaking, and below is a link to some more information...

Following the success of Signs of Life last year, the SFF and BSFA
will be hosting another free event, The Goldfish Factor, at The St
Bride Institute, Bride Lane, EC4Y 8EQ on Saturday 5th April 2003,
11am- 6pm. Guests are Ian Watson and Kim Newman. The day will include
AGMs for both organisations, and conclude with a screening of A Short
Film About John Bolton by Neil Gaiman.

Amazon has solicitations for what looks like prose versions of the original Books of Magic miniseries, John Ney Reiber's first storyarc, and The Children's Crusade. You're credited as writing introductions for at least the first two. Is this accurate, and if you've seen the books, how close are the adaptations?

-David Snyder

I certainly wrote an introduction to the first one. They're very solid, fairly close YA adaptations of the comics into books, done by Carla Jablonski, who I had hoped to meet properly when I was in Edinburgh last year, but I was doing a signing when she came over to say hello, so we didn't really get to meet properly. She's also an actress and aerialist.

Hi Neil,

I thought you might be interested in this curiosity:

I love the conflicting 'expert' opinions on what the doodad actually is.

And thank you for maintaining an online presence with your fans. I feel like I know you now, and that makes your stories much more enjoyable - and "Babycakes" much more disturbing. :)


You're right -- it's the conflicting opinions that make it so much fun. I would hazard that it's a transtemporal assassination kit. But I might be wrong.

As I began to mention last week, the most irratating thing about the gemstar ebook was that I couldn't use it to read books that people send me via e-mail, to copyedit or read through my own stuff, or to read public domain material. All you can read with it is stuff you've bought through gemstar. The previous generation of ebooks, the rocket reader, would show you what you gave it, as well as reading bestsellers and so on, and the only time I ever found myself liking the idea of them was when Teller e-mailed me to let me know he would be reading the manuscript of American Gods I'd e-mailed him, on his rocket reader, along with Moby Dick and several other large books, while on exercising machines, in hotels across India, while filming a Penn and Teller special there. I love books, but I also loved the idea of Less To Carry.

The Rocket reader used to have lots of public domain and so forth material, all of which vanished from the websites (FOR YOUR CONVENIENCE!) when they became Gemstar, and went down really to a fairly small selection of available books for sale, so when I was given mine I soon realised there was almost nothing I wanted to read on it. However, I see that Gemstar are now planning to reintroduce the idea of being able to read your own material on the Gemstar eBook. It's probably too late to make something so marginalised useful again, but it shows that they've realised that the other way wasn't working. Details at:

For those who don't want to wait, and have unused eBooks sitting on their bookshelves, the following helpful message includes a way to make them more useful again:

Dear Neil,

You mentioned that you have a Gemstar ebook reader, which comes with stupid, offensive software that only allows you to import bought books rather than public domain books.

(Okay, I don't think you used the words 'stupid' and 'offensive', but that may be a British thing.)

There is a way around this: you can download the old RocketLibrarian software for free and use that to import books. Here's a how-to guide that I nicked from somewhere and adapted:

1. Go to: and download the Rocket Librarian.

2. Install the application onto your computer.

3. Open the Rocket Librarian. Press the Insert key and you can import a HTML or plaintext title from your computer; use Control+Insert and you can import a text from a URL.

5. Fill in title and author information.

6. Right click on the title that now appears in your book list and choose EXPORT TO FILE, then save the book wherever you prefer.

7. Close the Rocket Librarian and open the eBook Librarian that came with your RCA 1100.

8. Click on TITLE, then IMPORT TITLE.

9. Navigate to the book you just converted with the Rocket Librarian. Then just follow the normal procedure for sending the book to your reader.

I haven't tried it, since I have one of the old models (and love it dearly) but it should work, as I've heard from other people who have done this.

Hope very much that helps, as you are one of my favorite authors (along with Lois McMaster Bujold, Patrick O'Brian, Dorothy Sayers, Ernest Bramah, Donald Westlake and Jane Austen) and ought to have all manner of good things, including free ebooks to read on the train.

Best wishes,

Katrien Rutten, the Netherlands

You know whenever Terry Pratchett and I get together, we always wind up, at some point in the conversation, often between mouthfuls of sushi, wondering why the USA has never declared Donald Westlake a National Treasure.

And, because I haven't ridden on the Brighton pier ghost train since I was a boy (when it was very very tame indeed) and now, it being history, I never shall, I post this, for all the people, like me, who wonder what they were missing...

Just to say hi (which now counts as twice I suppose)and this..
My girlfriend sandra and I (who you might or possibly not remember from your coraline reading in london..the stories long but when you asked who sandra was, i said she was the lovely lady on right and you said 'ah' and still asks me why you did that..i don't know what shes bothered about...) recently (as in about november 2001) took a ride on the afore mentioned ghost train. She likes horror, i don't. It was was actually quite special. The first half lulled you into a false sense of security with things that you would expect in a run down pier attraction..battered rubber masks and string etc.... then, justy as you were dissapoted, got full on acid trip freaky...with a butchering murderer guy animated by wildly flaring strobe lighting in a clinical rrom with a bloody mess on the autopsy table, and a disturbingly almost real prisoner-corpse being shocked into animation and life and smoke about two feet in front of you. The worrying thing seemed very real, and as we were the only two on the ride that night, you were left wondering if it had been all some strange hallucination. Either it was very clever, lulling your defenses down then shocking you...or the train had a darker secret. It looked very real...and we never got to go back and see if it was how we remembered it.
Now I feel like a paranoid muldertype. Have fun.
P.S the guys at Gosh comics near the british museum say hi.