Friday, June 20, 2003

I've just been talking to my friend, Jean. Ostensibly, it was me gloating about having spent far too much money on buying the new League of Extraordinary Gentlemen hardback. This led to a slight discretion about hating extras in collections (for example - the paperback version of Jimmy Corrigan, which has a 'previously unpublished' epilogue). This led, naturally, to wondering whether or not to buy the (eagerly awaited...) hardcover version of Endless Nights or to wait for the paperback and the (almost inevitable) scripts and sketchbooks and what-have-you. So, this leads to the question... Are there any plans to add anything to the paperback version of Endless Nights as yet? And do you support this really, fairly annoying practice?

Stephen Mellor.

P.S. Love all your stuff, love the journal and my girlfriend loves her stuffed toy Delirium.

Well, I'd never want to make anyone buy a book twice. On the other hand, I do like the fact that sometimes you get to go in and give people something that's better than the original serial publication of something. DEATH: THE TIME OF YOUR LIFE has an extra four pages in the book version, which it really really needed as a comic, but there simply wasn't room for them.

There won't be any difference between the paperback and the hardback of Endless Nights. That would be silly. (I can't think of any edition of mine where there's been much difference between a hardback and paperback, other than occasionally getting the chance to fix a few mistakes that slipped by.)

There will be a 24 page comic edition of the Miguelanxo Prado DREAM story taken from Endless Nights coming out when the book is published, which mainly exists so that retailers can sell it to people who have never read any Sandman and who aren't sure about buying a 160 page hardback as their first thing. (The theory being that once they've read that story as a taster, they'll be ever-so-much more willing to pick up the book.) It's not something that retailers are meant to be selling to people who buy Endless Nights as a "collectible" although probably some of them will -- it's just meant to be a tool for someone who's heard about Sandman but can't find anything Sandman related for under $15 out there, and doesn't want to just jump in sight unseen. (Also, it has a few strange little links with the Green Lantern and the Superman mythoi (that's the plural of mythos. Damn, this thing is educational.) Because the 24 page comic is 2 pages longer than the 22 page story, one of those pages will have some of Prado's pencils or character designs or something on them. I'll know next week.

A) On the subject of instrument jokes:

"What's the definition of a minor second?"
"Two oboes playing in unison."

. . . which is only funny if you know enough music theory to know what a minor second is. If you do know enough music theory to know what a minor second is, then it's very funny indeed. Promise.

B) On the subject of photographers:

You never did tell us what the two types of photographers are, did you? Will you, pleasepleaseplease?

C) On the subject of "Neverwhere," the dvd:

Do you remember Cat Pedini? She of the tatoo, designed by you, that looks like a flower and a fish, in a Delerium kind of way? Cat and I work together at the NY Ren Faire (where I also got to work with Jen The Puppet Queen, when she built the puppets for the production of "Comedy of Errors," in which I was Egeon). Cat and I have also partnered a few times for Stage Combat Certification testing (yep, she and I are officially, CERTIFIABLY, crazy enough to play with big, sharp, metal pokey things).

Cat and I are ha-yuge fans of yours. I, being your BBC Mole (don't tell anyone), happened to have been loaned the check disc for Disc 1 of the new "Neverwhere" set. So, Cat and I got together last night, far too late, after work and rehearsals, and watched Episode 1. Or, more accurately, we listened to you, watching Episode 1.

You were great, and we both had a blast. The only sad part of it was realizing how much better both you, and your book, were than the show.

Any chance of you ever issuing the script for sale? Maybe through "Busted!"?

Mark James Schryver

I will take your word for (A). On (B) -- I'll tell you all the next time I talk about photographers -- like the Wednesday May 16th 2001 entry at (No permalinks on the first 9 months of this journal I'm afraid). It won't be long -- I'm due for a "head shot", with a hair and make-up person, no less, in attendence, in the middle of next week.

(And while I was finding that old archive entry on my day being photographed at the House on the Rock, my eye strayed to an entry a few days later where I talk proudly about how the most people to turn up here in a day was 1200. We can't seem to do "new people" on the current statistics counter (or if we can I don't know how), but there were 274,996 people here in May. Crumbs.)

and on C) of course I remember Cat and her tattoo -- it's the only tattoo I've ever designed, after having nervously explained that, no, I was the writer, was she sure I shouldn't put her in touch with Dave McKean or someone. Last time I was in New York she showed me her wedding photos, and how the tattoo had turned out, and I was impressed by both of them.

Well, Episode 1 is kind of the lowest ebb of the BBC Neverwhere. Much of the fault for that was mine: I wrote an episode 1 for an hour-long episode, and then we had to cut it to half an hour.

Having said that, I liked the original edit of episode 1, and really didn't like what the BBC and various other people edited it into -- it felt like selected highlights. On the other hand, I'm very fond of bits of episodes 2 and 3, really like episodes 4 and 5, and was disappointed by the way the very end of episode 6 was cut and edited. Which was the main reason I wrote Neverwhere the novel. It was the "this is what I meant".

Releasing the scripts? (Blinks.) I hadn't thought there'd be much demand for them. And the novel's there, after all.

DreamHaven did the script book of the Babylon 5 episode I wrote, "THE DAY OF THE DEAD", as a CBLDF benefit, and I think wound up with a fair number of unsold copies at the end of the day.

* * *

Daniel Pinkwater is one of the world's coolest authors, and a Good Thing.

I occasionally send and receive e-mails from him and they always make me feel like someone sending messages to a rotund Zen Master. The following exchange is quoted by permission (as you'll see). This came in from him (F&Gs -- "fold and gathers" -- are the insides of a book without the covers:

F&Gs of WOLVES IN THE WALLS came today, and was waiting on the kitchen
table when Jill and I came in with six orders of well-done fried onion
rings. We turned pages and crunched onion rings and made moronic
full-mouthed sounds of pleasure and amusement. We could not finish the
onion rings, but we finished the book. Excellent! Bravo! We had a
good time.

To which I replied,

That put an enormous smile on my face.

I'm thrilled you both enjoyed it... or more than thrilled. Writing good
stuff for kids, that people who have stopped being kids like too, is
something that not enough people do: that you keep doing it is important,
and I feel anointed by onion rings...

And I added...

... for we have talked about the perfect timing of Laurel and Hardy in the past. (It's a wonderful little image someone e-mailed me a while ago, and I have no idea who or where they got it.) And he replied,

I have no evidence that people who have stopped being kids are able to
like my stuff--but many people who are old in years do. Thanks for the
dancing masters.


Would you mind if I extracted from our correspondence in my journal? I think
your last comment is extremely wise.

to which he said,

Extract away. But I have not yet made my last comment.

Something for which we are all extremely grateful.

But I love his comment about the difference between people who have stopped being kids, and people who are old in years. I'm struggling with a short story, currently called "Susan" but it may change before it's done, about that very thing.

And people keep writing to ask me to gather up all the books I've recommended in this journal over the years, and sooner or later I shall. But if you buy Daniel Pinkwater's FIVE NOVELS and Daniel Pinkwater's FOUR FANTASTIC NOVELS you will, by buying only two books, be the owner of nine novels by Daniel Pinkwater, including THE SNARKOUT BOYS AND THE AVOCADO OF DEATH, which may well be the world's coolest book (it definitely has the world's coolest book title).