Wednesday, January 14, 2004

More questions answered, and Harry Stephen Keeler mentioned.

Mr. Gaiman:

What is your favorite smell? Crimson asked this question in her message and you didn't answer. The public needs to know these things!


Sorry. It's a very specific autumn smell -- the first time you go out in the evening, and you realise it's really autumn and there's mist and leaf-mould and maybe even a tang of frost in the air, perhaps even the woodsmoke from a distant fire. It's an octobery-novembery sort of smell that carries winter with it, and it makes me happy to be alive.

On one of your recent Blog entries, you said Sure. Tell a story you care about about people you care about, and make the reader care what happens to the people in the story. Let your message come second to your story. And when you're done, have a friend who's good at spelling and grammar and things like that proof-read it for you.

I'm an admin for, a website that was created to host Harry Potter fanfic and original fiction and poetry, as well as art and book discussions. I've been asked at least a dozen times in the past year, "how should I write a story?" and while I can make suggestions and give ideas, your statement about ideas and beta reading is terrific and I would love to be able to put it into our FAQ and on the "How/Why Do You Write?" forums. Is it ok if I do so?

Be my guest. Glad to be of use.

Dear Neil,

Was just wondering if you'd heard of PS238 ( yet. It's a new webcomic based on the concept of a grade school for children of superhero's - an X-men academy for youngsters, if you will. I think you'd be especially interested in pages 9 through 11...


I don't think it is a new webcomic - I remember someone sending me the link quite a while back. But over a dozen people have sent this in today, so it either seems to have been rediscovered by the world or there's an organised campaign to get me to plug it. But the comic is funny.

When you mentioned recently your friend Jules Fisher had passed along a book to you...did you perchance mean the brilliant lighting designer Jules Fisher, and if so, I wonder what transpiring of events lead to you two meeting...
-lighting design geek steph

It's astonishing how many things have already been answered on this peculiar journal. If you read you will find out how I met Jules Fisher.

I am wondering, why didn't you answer the question as to how you keep your svelt figure? I thought you would have an amusing, yet polite, answer.

Not the person who asked how you keep lean and mean,

Er, honestly, I don't. (Have a way to keep the svelt figure, I mean. Not I don't have an answer.) I tend to seesaw (not as an exercise). I'll write and eat and not exercise enough, and then eventually notice that I'm putting on weight, at which point I pay more attention to what I'm eating and get an exercise regimen going, and lose the excess pounds and get fit, and that tends to last until I next go on tour or something, when I eat too much and don't get any exercise and it starts all over again.

When it's time to start getting fitter, I've got a stepping machine, and a mini trampoline, and I'll go for walks and things. I'm fortunate in that I seem able to lose weight without too much effort, so far.

and two messages from someone called wcitymike...

Neil, I'm doing this via the FAQ line because I'm not sure of another way to contact you, but I really thought you might enjoy this, if you've not run across its subject material already:

Looks like _Neverwhere_ may not have been very far off the mark at all ...

I read the straight dope article, and was a bit surprised. I'd read The Mole People, enjoyed it very much, but had thought it at least partly fictional. And then this came in:

Neil, a follow-up on that last post ... there's evidently some dispute as to whether the 'mole people' story is actually legit. Here's the link

Which made sense -- after I'd read it, I'd tried to find out more on the stuff in The Mole People which stated that Grand Central Terminal "goes down six levels beneath the subway tracks. There is no complete blueprint of the tunnels and tracks under the station. Many tunnels were begun but abandoned. Some were built but forgotten," and discovered it simply wasn't so.

and another New York one...

Hi Neil,

Always wanted to ask you a question (and I was too sick to ask you during your talk at New York is Book Country this past Fall) So here it goes:

When you wrote about Death's first appearance in Washington Square Park in New York City, were you aware that the park was originally a Potter's Field?

Here's an intersting article on it's history as a graveyard

Thanks for all the great books!

I hadn't known. (Actually the location in that issue was Mike Dringenberg's: in the script I think I set it in Central Park, and Mike decided that Washington Square park was more scenic.)


Let's see: Spalding Grey is missing, and this is not a good thing.

Many years ago, I met and interviewed Spalding Grey, on the occasion of the publication of Swimming to Cambodia in the UK, and liked him. I hope he turns up safe.

Over at is a complete online collection of Dr Seuss's wartime editorial cartoons (only half of them were previously published).

There's an excellent round-up of the Democrat candidates at of the sort that makes one realise that if only Joe Leiberman had blue skin he'd look exactly like an Oan.

Jessa at the bookslut blog pointed to the discussion at It seems truer in the US than in the UK, but there are book people who love books in the same way movie people like movies. I suspect that the ability to enjoy the work of Harry Stephen Keeler is probably the quickest litmus test of pure book people...

And this one made me shake my head: Marvel tried something similar, when they were in Chapter 11, ringing freelancers and asking for advances back, but as far as I recall the people who got the phone calls just laughed at them.

Meanwhile, One Ring Zero's author project has a title ("As Smart as We Are") and a release date (April), and a quote from Viggo Mortensen.