Friday, November 07, 2003

The Heliotrope Gamahaean Union

For some reason my author copy of Shadows Over Baker Street has never turned up, so I picked one up when I was in DreamHaven the other day, and finally got to look over my story. Some very odd copy-editing going on -- "crucifer" had become "crucifix", "messrs." had become "Messieurs", and all the Victorian places where they deleted information -- as in the "_____th Regiment" had become the rather more puzzling "------th Regiment". Also most of my capitalisations and hyphens were up grabs (for example, the perfectly real word woolgathering has become wool-gathering, which is not a word at all). Still, the story's fine. I'd read on Caitlin's blog (october 11th 2003 and the next few entries) that hers had undergone a copyediting nightmare, to the point where she'd more or less disclaimed it as printed, and I was rather worried.

I assume this was the same copy editor who changed "Jeremy Brett" to "Jeremy Irons" in the introduction, presumably on the basis that an actor the editor had heard of named Jeremy is more likely to have played Sherlock Holmes on TV than an actor named Jeremy he or she hadn't heard of.


Speaking of Censorship, Mr. Gaiman,
Rupa Datta

...which put me in mind of Bradbury's story "Usher II". And made me sad.

Ahem - the Foyles event is on the 14th, not the 15th, RIGHT?? I should dearly like to think so, because I booked a flight for being there on Friday night, not Saturday night. Please don't make our lives too exciting by posting wrong dates, there might be people out there with weak hearts, you know ;)


Yup. It's the 14th. I was, um, just seeing if you were awake. (I've fixed it now.)

Hello Neil,

If the program that spawned a popup window and killed your blogger post is on your computer, here's the site of a really good program called Spybot that gets rid of such spyware, malware, and spamware (and it works better than Ad-Aware, of which you may be...aware):

dan winckler

And it seems to work more intelligently than ad-aware too.

Neil, blogger should have saved your post on the 5th of the november if you change the dropdown on the right to show x number from DRAFTS.
This caught me out alot and I thought I had lost posts but they all showed up in there.
Hope it helps

I know it should have, but it didn't. I've tried various different things, and right now it's just stopped saving things. So I'll be more careful. (So saying, I copy what I've written and post it -- but don't publish -- before I go back to typing.)

Well Neil, your campaign to get Thea Gilmore on "Top of the Pops" may be starting to bear fruit; the video to "Mainstream" was shown on TotP 2 earlier this evening!

It's a strange video, apparently having cost less than �40 to make; it was shot using the security cameras in a record shop in Crewe, of all places.

She played here in Manchester on Sunday night, by the way, to a very eclectic crowd, and was fantastic - the best gig I've been at in at least four years.

Keep up the promotion, and I hope I'll see you at the Leeds signing,
Greg Daly.

I was proud of myself for buying the Mainstream singles from before I heard they'd shipped them out too early to count on the charts. So I'm delighted she made it onto ToTP anyway, with her 38 quid video. There's a great little interview with here in the Guardian at,1587,1069132,00.html.

Just a note on the random screwed up tags: It's iTunes (for Windows). Did the same thing to me, and when I tried to uninstall it, did something bizarre and awful to my modem drivers and WMA player, too. So, whatever you do, DO NOT uninstall iTunes. It's not worth it.
Have fun with the being sinister.

Many thanks for the warning...

Hi Neil!

I am currently writing a thesis on comics and I was wondering something, so I thought it may be a good idea to ask you.

What were the rules in big compagnies such as Marvel, or DC concerning censorhip? What was an author allowed to say, and what was forbidden? Was the stress put on bad language solely, or the violation of a major charcacter's background, or did one also have to avoid non-patriotic/anti-american talk? Or anything related to politics? Could you enlighten me with your experience or forward me to somewhere where I could learn more about it?



I don't recall a lot of censorship. There was a monologue about masturbation in the Serial Killer's Convention story that I had to take the word masturbation out of, and I lost a few swear words, until, in Sandman: The Kindly Ones, I really really really needed Rose Walker to be able to say "Fuck" and Karen Berger went to get special permission from Paul Levitz, who was very bemused as he thought we'd all been using it in Vertigo for years. We hadn't, but shortly after that, most people were.

Hi Neil. Here's a writing-related question for the FAQ page:

I recently attended a well-respected writers' conference in Canada. In three different workshops, best-selling authors told me I must change my name every time I publish a book in a different genre.

If an author writes romance and builds up a readership in that genre, then he/she must change their name in order to write a mystery novel. Why? Because those readers who only want to read romances could accidentally pick up the mystery novel based on their love of the author's writing and then be upset or disappointed when the story reveals something other than romantic fiction.

Personally, I feel this advice is misguided. Many authors -- you, Diana Gabaldon, Iris Johansen, Kay Hooper, Stephen King and John Grisham to name a few -- have written books in different genres and maintained a solid fan base. In the process, they've also gained new fans and turned readers onto books in different sections of the bookstore.

As a journalist and poet who's now delving into fiction, I found this advice to be rather disheartening. By the end of the year, I plan to have three books sitting on publishers' desks: a vampire romance novel, a collection of quotes for writers and a children's book for the 4-7 age group. Should I come up with three separate pseudonyms or stick with my own memorable moniker?

Thank you for your time.

Jade Walker - http://www.jadedwritings.comWriter, The Blog of Death (
Editor, Siren Song (
Author, "Sex, Death and Other..." (

You're asking the wrong person. I mean, I'm all over the place, and really like being me, and really would rather not have to publish my childrens books or graphic novels or whatever under other names than my own. I suppose that I assume that my readers are fairly smart, and can cope with me existing on various shelves.

I just noticed (over at Teresa Nielsen Hayden's blog) your distinct lack of an interesting blog name. Seeing plain old "Journal" listed with all the others (i.e. 12 Frogs, Monkeys in My Pants) made me wonder... is this due an oversight, an inability to choose your favorite wild blog name, an understated rebellion against the blog-title mainstream, or some other dark, mysterious reason?


I think it's probably because I started this thing so long ago. Back before blogs had funny names. Back when the only people blogging were me, Sam Pepys, and a couple of mastodons.

Or because I didn't name it. Back when this site was (go to and click on the top left box -- it'll take you to the first incarnation of this site, and to the first incarnation of this journal, which you can also see at it came with a front page with a timer (American Gods will be published in -872 days 22 hours and 2 minutes, it says) a page with links to a few bookselling entities, and, because it was simple, Neil Gaiman's Journal. Calling it the Heliotrope Gamahaean Union would just have confused things.

Incidentally, Teresa suffered a hellish data crash. Details over at Making Light, her wonderfully named blog. Entries for the Second and Third of November. And she's wisely put up a tip jar...


Why won't you comment on the similrites between Tim Hunter and Harry Potter? What can you gain from not speaking out? I was disappoujnted in you when I read this article.

I don't know why I'm now on record as not commenting on it. I thought I had commented on it, several times now, once or twice on this blog even. I think it's a coincidence. (Here's me commenting about it in 2000. Here's me commenting about it in 2001.)