Sunday, November 02, 2003

"The Adventure of the Orkney Werebot"

And several people asked...

Reading a recent journal entry, I saw question and reply regarding trade paperbacks vs. mass-market paperbacks, and I have to show a bit of ignorance here: what exactly do these terms mean? I understand these are two different markets now, trade and mass-market, but what markets are these? I apologize if this is a silly or picky question, but I ended up curious (and eager to sweep away that fog of befuddlement)!


P.S. Good luck with Fred the Cat ; )

Sorry about that. Mass-market paperbacks are what most people think of as paperback books. Smaller than a hardback in every way. A Trade Paperback is a paperback that's taller and wider than a regular paperback, sometimes the size of a hardback or somewhat smaller, but with paper covers. (I looked for a helpful explanation on line and didn't find much: has some definitions and sizes. So does

Of course, paperbacks, and books, come in all sizes. Harry Stephen Keeler fans feed our shameful addiction from Ramble House, in a size convenient for slipping into your inside pocket.

Hello Neil. I have an over read tatty 1st edition of Good Omens and was wondering where the picture of you and Terry on the dust jacket was taken. It looks very much like West Norwood Cemetery or the gardens at Hever Castle. I would like to relive the picture with my daughter (me as Terry because of the beard, although I do look dashing in black)who is a second generation fan, Makes you feel old really.

Talking about things making you feel old... It was Kensal Green Cemetery -- the one that Chesterton wrote of, in his rolling English Road poem. Which is also the resting place of Richard Evans, the british editor who got me started on Neverwhere and encouraged me about Coraline.

I remember how cold it was, the day the photo was taken, and especially how cold poor Terry was, as he'd borrowed a very thin white jacket from editor Malcolm Edwards ("That way they'll know I'm the good one," he explained.)

We only noticed the winged hourglass on the crypt afterward, looking at the photos, and then decided to have them redraw the hourglass that ended the book to a winged one, and pretty soon it had become the symbol of the book.

I'm glad to see you're feeling better. I don't wish to bug you, but I wanted to tell you what I did for halloween, I think you will find it humorous. I got this cow costume that had these rubber utters and sewed some gloves together to make hooves. I then went around making various animal noises, mainly quack. Can you guess the joke? I was Mad Cow disease! (And yes, I am quite aware I can't spell at all) Well, seeing as this is supposed to be a question... What is your favorite cheese?

A nice white crumbly Wensleydale, thank you.

Dear Neil
DUDE, ok...explain me something. What is Endless Nights? A book? A graphic novel? Is it just one big book about the 7 Endless, or one book for each of them?
And again i would like to know why we put our e-mail below if you can't write to us due to short time.
send my love to your family
always a fan
Rafael (Brazil)
ps: have you ever come to a signing in brazil after Sandman?
i'd give my right arm to have a chance to se you. and i mean, i can ripe it off right now!just let me get you a pen first.

Endless Nights is an oversized hardback book, about 160 pages long. It contains six stories, a conclusion, an introduction, some biographies, and some design pages. It will be coming out in Brazil.

And yes, I've been to Brazil -- you can read about the last time in the archives at Go to May the 22nd, and work your way up to May 24.

(And for any Argentinians reading, yes, I know that the photo of me in the cemetery in the gallery is in Buenos Aires, and is miscaptioned. I'm sure that it will one day be fixed.)

Neil I read your book "Coraline" and I like it.Can you tell me how old you are?I like your site.

I'm pleased you like the site. I'm forty-two, but not for much longer.


Not a question, but a link, because other people might have been interested in the original Prez Rickard's comic after reading Sandman #54:
I guess it's possible to have a worse campaign slogan than "Love, Peace, and No More Vampie Bats!"...but I think you'd have to try really, really hard. ^_-

- Rachel

Author Nat Gartler gave me a page of original art from PREZ, on the basis that I needed it more than he did. I'm still grateful.


I notice that Powell' did a review of Alisa Kwitney's Sandman King of Dreams book that also managed to be a review of and essay about the entirety of Sandman -- it was their review of the day for October the 18th.


And tomorrow it will be Steve Jones's Somethingth birthday. I'm missing the World Fantasy Convention in Washington DC right now, and will probably miss Steve's actual birthday celebration tomorrow, so I thought I'd put something up here about it. When I met Steve he was an editor, a director of TV commercials (who in England can ever forget that poor plant, pitifully pleading "Can I have the five drop difference?"), a publicist, and one of the people who made the British Fantasy Society and the British Fantasy Convention happen. He was also still in his twenties, if only just.

These days he's mostly an editor of anthologies, and I have spent too long driving him mad by forgetting to sign contracts or write amusing bios and anecdotes for him, for his books. He is almost definitely no longer in his twenties.

There was a book, put together recently in the UK by Val Edwards, to surprise Steve with, in which his friends got to wish him Happy Birthday. This is what I wrote for it...

Steve Jones? Ah yes. Steve Jones. It seems such a long time ago...

I have counted on my fingers. It was a hair over twenty years ago that Steve and I first met, during the case that I like to call "The Mystery of the Wickenden Hall Ghoul". I was merely an amateur sleuth at the time, and without Steve's help I would never have deduced that the wheelchair-bound Miss Keynes was in fact the nightmarish half-woman, half-slug hybrid responsible for the desecration of Wickenden Hall's small graveyard; and I would not be here to write this tribute today if Steve Jones had not thoughtfully packed a family-size box of salt in his luggage.

After that? Seven dizzying years, of fogs and sunsets, stakes, silver bullets, fish-knives, mandalas and bite-proof body-armour neck-wraps. From Land's End ("The Case of the Piskies of Vengeance") to John O'Groats ("The Adventure of the Orkney Werebot") Steve and I travelled across Britain, rescuing fair maidens and slaying monsters (and, once, where we were certain it was the right thing to do, vice versa).

That the world should not be alarmed by our exploits, we agreed to maintain several harmless fictions -- I recall Steve pretending interest in some society that attempted to rouse interest in the fantastic, while I put it about that I was a journalist, and indeed some remarkable cases came our way through journalistic tip-offs... do you remember "The Case of the Surrey Strangler", Steve? As dawn broke, and we waded together from the blood-filled pond, I turned to you and said "If only your friends in the British Fantastical Society could see you now." And you said, "Ah yes. Not to mention the editorial staff of Gentleman's Relish," -- or whichever magazine it was I worked for at the time. Does it come back to you now, Steve? It was moments before the dark brougham rattled over the hill, to disgorge its hellish contents, and we were forced to flee...

Oh, those happy, distant days.

My own unfortunate disappearance, during the case I like to call "The Affair of the Transatlantic Traveller" is too well known to need documenting here. It pleases me that Stephen Jones continues to keep the flag flying: while purporting to be an editor of strange tomes, a member of that hidden group that safeguards and protects our fictions, he is, I am delighted to say, so much more.

Happy Birthday, Steve.