Tuesday, April 01, 2003
Hey Neil--

Just a quick not to let anyone on the blog know - Paul Zindel died on March 27th in New York City of cancer.

He was from my hometown (Tottenville, Staten Island) and taught locally as well, and throughout his career he always kept in touch with the kids of the neigborhood, who, along with his own unique childhood, were such an inspiration to him. To me also.

I only met the man once, and he shook my hand with both of his -hat's the kind of person he was. A student of mine grimly told me of his passing, all the while clutching a young adult book Mr. Zindel had recently written. Paul actually dedicated the book to him and a few of his grammar school friends. That was the kind of man he was, also.

His was a very unique voice, and I will miss it.

I met him at ALA last year -- he was the recipient of the Margaret Edwards award, for a lifetime of writing for young adults, and he made a speech and told us about his life, and I thought he was funny and very nice. His family were really proud of him as well: they glowed, and he glowed because they glowed.

Thanks for letting me know...


I heard that you are going to be at some kind of convention in Chicago within the next month (today's 03/31/03), but I didn't see anything listed under the "where's Neil" section. Is this true and if so, could I get some more info on it?

followed by

Wow! I feel stupid! I submited a question yesterday about a convention I had heard about in Chicago... well, I just re-read the message I had recieved about it and instead of saying April, like I thought, it says August. So... I'll just wait for posted info at a closer date. Sorry about that!

Not a problem. I won't be in Chicago in August at a convention, though - I do, at most, one big summer convention a year, and this year it's San Diego. On the other hand I will be making an appearance in Chicago in June, connected to the Chicago Humanities Festival, and will possibly be back there in OCtober or November to do something at the Festival proper, and I'll post the info on that here when I have it.

Dear Neil,
I had a similar problem as Holly when trying to choose which University I would go to. I was stuck trying to pick between Nottingham and York. I eventually decided to settle the problem by going to the Uni with the least iron content, because if a big magnetic meteor ever hurtles towards the Earth then you don't want to be in a place with a lot of iron. Or Manchester.


Right. I'll remember that....


I am currently studying John Keats in graduate school and upon reading a poem immediately thought of you. So (as I cannot go through the book and decide for myself because I lent it to my cousin) I was wondering...Are you referencing "To Autumn" in the title for Season of Mists?

Sort of. Although I always misremember it as beginning, "Season of mists and mellow frightfulness...", which somewhat colours the poem in ways Keats might not have intended.

This one came in from someone with an MTV staff e-mail, and it feels like it's being asked for a reason. Where has Neil's work (Sandman or otherwise) been taught at a university level, to your knowledge? Thank you...

Is that something I should keep track of? I tend not to, I'm afraid (and on the whole universities, wisely, don't warn the author when they're teaching his works. Live authors are always a potential source of embarrassment, because they can say "No, it's not about that at all." Philip K. Dick became the best beloved SF writer of many academics when he was no longer writing, or indeed, living).

Anyway, if anyone has taught or been taught my stuff (Sandman or otherwise) at university level, send in the details on the FAQ line, and I'll post a list here.


There's a Mammoth Treasury of Thrilling Tales review here at the Toronto Star and there's one at the New York Times, which doesn't seem to be coming up properly for me, so it's:

Edited by Michael Chabon.
Vintage, paper, $13.95.

''As late as about 1950,'' Michael Chabon writes in his introduction, short fiction meant stories with plots -- ''the ghost story; the horror story'' -- and not the ones we run across today, ''plotless and sparkling with epiphanic dew.'' Sick of his own epiphanies, Chabon invited category brand names like Elmore Leonard and Stephen King to break bread with Nick Hornby and others not known for hatching science fiction, mystery or adventure plots. The result is an uneven, somewhat gentrified ''Treasury,'' the self-consciousness of the exercise making it more fun in parts than as a whole. Michael Crichton writes pitch-perfect noir, but his loner-detective tale doesn't add up to much. Aimee Bender misfires with her cozy, as does Sherman Alexie with his zombie cannibals. There are thrills, though. Rick Moody's mournful, postapocalyptic thriller about a drug that lets people relive memories -- and alter the remembered events -- manages to feel personal while recycling Philip K. Dick. Chabon blends alternate history with Jules Verne to gripping effect. Karen Joy Fowler's and Neil Gaiman's acute tales skirt the edge of the supernatural. And Dave Eggers's story about tourists climbing Kilimanjaro seems suspiciously short on plot, but long on character and place, which anywhere else would be a compliment. Matthew Flamm