Saturday, May 17, 2003

It's a very nice hotel room. But still...

Dear Mr Neil,

I'm not sure if this will be a horrible waste of your valuable time, but i thought, judging by the other websites you have posted in your journal, that you might find this one amusing:

it seems entirely pointless.

I was trying to find a site telling me how to roll a coin along my knuckles. American Gods got me hooked on coin tricks.


That is possibly the most compelling pointless site I've ever encountered. It's quite wonderful, and very odd. Thanks for pointing it out.


Several e-mails in from journalists this morning asking me to comment on the British List of One Hundred Best-Loved Books Actually Read By Human Beings Who Read For Pleasure (full info at,6109,957852,00.html) because Good Omens made the list. (One question to me began "As the author of Terry Pratchett's Good Omens, would you say..." which manages to be blithely offensive to both of us, on several different levels). 140,000 people voted, and the final list looks like a list of books people take down from their shelves for pleasure, to read and to re-read.

It's not the bookshelf in the front room that you keep to impress the neighbours, it's the shelf in the bedroom with books that you look forward to reading again when you need the company of an old friend. I'm glad to be part of it.

Talking about which...

>(Whereas Polish and Portuguese I would, especially when tired, start hearing as English, in "Mayor Snorkum will lap a pie chain" fashion.)<

I believe you are speaking in EricFrankRussellese!
A very easy thing to do. Fun is listening to someone speaking perfectly good English, but their accent is so thick you STILL can't understand it!
Hope you are having fun.

JT (Hitmouse)

and indeed I was. "Mayor Snorkum" (and the title of the entry, for those with RSS feeds, and yes, Mike, I'll find out about putting up the titles on the blogger) were quotes-from-memory from one of my best-loved books, Eric Frank Russell's NEXT OF KIN, aka Plus X and aka The Space Willies, although I think that the latter two versions may be shorter than "Next of Kin". It's almost definitely out of print. It will make you laugh, and discover your inner Eustace. (The disclaimer at the front of the book, if your edition has it, is worth the price of the book.)

Okay. I checked. It's in print. Alan Dean Foster's review calls it the funniest SF book ever written, and says that it was inspired by an actual incident in a Turkish POW camp. Which must be the "Road to En-Dor" incident of Jones and Hall, which Penn Jillette and I have wanted to make into a movie for many years. What a small world.

Next of Kin. What for will the cake be laid by Snorkum?


Am starting to feel ever-so-slightly battered and a bit fragile. On the road too long, I think. Looking forward to getting home next week and resting for a few days, and not waking up in a different hotel room each day.