Monday, July 21, 2003

sundries, dry goods, knick-knacks, and animation

Johanna from the website writes to say:

Thanks for the mention! It completely made my day.

But I apologize to all your faithful blog readers -- their interest has caused my machine to fall over in a heap.
It will be back up as soon as I can get home and restart the webserver, this time with a rate-limiter.
(Just in case anyone has sent mail to you asking why they can't reach it...)

and that leads sort of logically on to...

Hello, Neil!

Your mention of MIT prompted me to finally post this question. I was one of the organisers of that event, and worked with the Comparative Media Studies group on the reading you did at MIT prior to that. Both readings were absolutely wonderful!

At the October 2001 event, you opened with a poem about your crazy hair. I was wondering if that poem has been printed or posted online anywhere. Sadly, I haven't had the chance to look for it. It was a brilliant piece of work, and I would very much love to read it.

Eva Palmerton

I love doing things at MIT. Astonishingly literate people, who always laugh at my jokes. One day, I ought to go back and do something else there...

Anyway. My remarkably goofy poem CRAZY HAIR is going to be published, as an "all ages" picture book, by HarperChildrens, with art by Dave McKean. The editor and the art director from HarperChildrens flew out and met Dave and me at the con, and, assuming we hit all deadlines, it will be published in Spring of 2005. Which seems a long way away, but is apparently pushing everything as early as it can be pushed. (Dave and I both sighed: coming from comics where things are printed the moment you're done, book publishing can seem to move at a glacial pace.)


Hi Neil!

Not a FAQ, just a comment or three. First, about the Slate article regarding "Googleholes": what a yawn. The author insists on ignoring a very basic principle: Google is not omniscient. If you want good results, use good search terms. Don't want Apple Computers when you're looking for a bushel of Jonathans? Search on [ apple fruit ], [ apple growers ] or [ apple -computers ]. Voila, no iMacs! Don't search on [ flowers ] if you want to know how to grow tulips! Search on [ tulips "gardening tips" ]. One would think the author never bothered to read Google's help section! Sheesh.

Second, more on Google: the Googlebot doesn't count words in a file, it reads just the first 100K of a web page. If you're looking to make the archives easily Googleable, make sure your chunks are 100K or less, and link, link, link! (Googlebot has a hard time finding things if they aren't properly linked, so make sure your webmaster includes good navigation!)

Thank you, as ever, for sharing so much of yourself with your fans. I really enjoy following your blog!

(Google Answers Researcher missy-ga)

Thanks Maggie. I don't mind if the archives are googleable to the outside world -- it's more realising that the "search" function on this website, which is Google driven, couldn't find any words after 100K into a page. And most months of archives are longer than that... so now we've realised why Google can't find some things, we can fix it (probably we'll let the archive be week or two weekly).

Mr. G,

I sent this question through once already, but it was the day before you said that the question box wasn't working, so you may not have received it. My apologies if this is doubling up.,, and a local Virgin Mega Store all agree that "Telling Tales" doesn't exist. Even the best comic book store in the whole world - Midtown Comics, 40th and 7th, in Manhattan - says that it's not available until August.

So, is this a Dreamhaven exclusive, temporarily (for how long?) or permanently? Or has the whole world just gone mad?

Mark James Schryver

Well, it definitely exists, as I was given one at the convention (which I passed on, unopened, to Scott from Entertainment Weekly, who was shadowing me, and who, Holly assured me before she flew home, she had closed on abandoning the whole overdone 'interview with some author' concept, for the far more intriguing and commercially viable "extensive profile of some author's delightful eighteen-year-old daughter" article. So that's a relief).

DreamHaven are a small bookshop in Minneapolis, so the moment the CDs arrived from the manufacturer they put them up for sale. Telling Tales was in the Diamond catalogue in June for August shipment to Diamond accounts (eg most comic book stores). I don't really know about Amazon and B&N: I'll ask Greg Ketter from DreamHaven when I get back...

I bumped into Bob Chapman from Graphitti Designs at Comic-Con, and we're going to chat next week about him possibly doing an American Gods or a Coraline tee shirt... I rather like the idea of putting Sam's "I believe..." speech on a tee shirt, for a start. If any of you have any better ideas, feel free to send them in.

You should add a book recommendations page here and it would be even better.

I should, I should.

Dear Neil,

At the Mirrormask (I can't type a backwards 'R' on my keyboard) and Afternoon Chat panels, Dave mentioned he was looking for 3-D animators. So first: where can someone write to Dave with their interest in working on Mirrormask? And second, where can someone write to Dave just to tell him how great he is?


I can't find Dave to ask him... so instead I phoned Kevin Kelly at Hensons and he's made an e-mail account. If you're an animator or a computer artist or 3D modeller and you want to work with Dave McKean on MirrorMask from pretty much now until next April, and you're prepared to live in the UK, and work enthusiastically on something amazingly cool for not very much money at all, probably, then send an e-mail to and give resume details and contact info. (Kevin's just created the e-mail account, so it may not be up yet. If it bounces, just wait a few hours and re-send.) Someone will be in touch.

I don't like the new main page of your website, the links to American Gods, Stardust, Wolves in the Walls etc, look like they are crowding your writing space, they should go somewhere else, people who are interested will know where to find them, we don't need to be hit over the head.

- An opinionated, but devoted reader

It has got a bit loud over on the front page, hasn't it? It's more the fault of time than Harpercollins -- we've always had a fairly discreet link on the front page to whatever was new out right now, but normally there's only one quiet thing there -- for six months it's been Two Plays For Voices, and before that it was Coraline. Now we've got Wolves in the Walls, the American Gods and Neverwhere and Stardust reissues, the link to the DC Comics Sandman: Endless Nights site... and it's only because I'm not sure where we should link to that there isn't a 1602 link as well.

I expect it'll stay crowded and loud for the next few months, and then they'll redesign it and things will start to go away, and I'll suddenly look very lonely, writing in the dark...

Incidentally, while the listings in the Exclusive Section aren't fixed yet, the Chthulu Autobiography is still up at and the Dave McKean essay is at (And, bringing it up on my screen just then, I just realised that the first line is wrong: I was actually 25 when I met Dave, and he was 22...)