Thursday, January 15, 2004

Hoping not to get a cold.

Several of you seemed to be thinking that I was saying there aren't people living under New York. I wasn't saying that: I was saying that Jennifer Toth's physical facts didn't always work. Whether that's because she was disguising locations, or accepting rumour as fact (my guess), or exaggerating, I don't know. I do know how easy it is to rely on information from guides and so on, and get things wrong. (I did it in Neverwhere once, and had to fix it in a later edition.)

Hi Neil,

Following up on the recent discussion of Mole People, I just wanted to mention Dark Days ( ), an awesome, touching documentary by Marc Singer, and its commentary track on the DVD. Singer arranged the film as a way for all of them to pay their own way out of the tunnels once the film was sold, and the people he filmed helped him film it--disassembling shopping carts to use for tracking shots and rigging up lighting underground to have enough to meter a shot. It's really a beautiful film, and no, sadly I had nothing to do with making it. I did get to meet Singer himself when he visited the Documentary Institute at the University of Florida a couple of years ago and he was both quiet and modest. But I can, without compunction, recommend the film purely on its own merits.

Best wishes,

John J.

and an answer to my idle question:

Life of Pi" is on the Top 100 most frequently mentioned books of 2003 list twice because the program that generated the list is counting different editions as separate books: the "Life of Pi" at #10 is the paperback edition, and the "Life of Pi" at #79 is the hardcover.

According to the explanation elsewhere on the site, the system relies on people not only mentioning a book but also providing a link to it at Amazon or Barnes & Noble or whatever. Amazon and B&N and whatever count different editions as different books, because that makes sense in a book-selling context; the tracking software has inherited the distinction, which doesn't make sense in the context of "what books are people mentioning?", because it would take a lot of work to build the idea of 'different editions, but one book' back into the system.

Thanks... I should have checked, shouldn't I?

I think it is interesting that there seems to be no actual personal information about yourself anywhere. Not even a smidgion in your books. Why so tight lipped and evasive?

Heather H.

I didn't know I was. I sort of thought that there was an awful lot of personal information in this journal over the years, quite a lot in the fiction, and a fair amount in the various scholarly biographical articles and suchlike that have been published over the years, not to mention the sundry magazine profiles. Certainly more than a smidgen. There are some books and some short stories which are pretty much autobiographical as well. (I'll let you figure out which ones they are, though. We tight-lipped and evasive people enjoy making other people do all the work.)

hi neil,
did you hear about a dream machine (made in Japan i think)that can control the dreams, you can put a photo of a person and one essence...
who is Frank Quitely? is a pseudonym?

You mean the thing in this article ? I think it seems faintly silly. And yes, Frank Quitely is a pen name. And this just in from Scott McCloud:

Hi Neil --

I just uploaded The Right Number Part Two!:
25 cents, just like before.

I quoted you on the order page 'cause you said a nice thing about
Part One and I quoted Warren Ellis 'cause he said a nice thing about
the micros system. Hope that's okay.

I'm fond of several parts of it and can easily live with the rest.
Which is pretty good for me.

I would so like to do this sort of thing for a very long time. Keep
your fingers crossed for me. ^^

Best Wishes,


(Go and read it. It's really good.)