Monday, February 02, 2004

Snow Day

It was a snow day. We've had about a foot of snow in the last 24 hours, and Maddy was off-school (when the school buses can't get out they call a snow day, and the kids don't have to go to school; the days get made up later in the term), so we put on snow-clothes and hauled salt-blocks and salt-bricks around the woods for the deer to lick, and we climbed over fallen trees, and marvelled at mysterious animal tracks, and got something that felt like the mother of all work-outs.

The coolest thing today was the arrival of a surprise Fedex envelope from Japan, filled with amazing paintings and drawings by Yoshitaka Amano that he wants me to put some words to.

And I don't have time; but they're gorgeous, and it's Mr Amano, so I'll get less sleep or answer less e-mail and do it somehow. I'll let you all know the how and where or when they're going to be published, which should be interesting.

I know the American Gods section of your blog was published in "Adventures In the Dream Trade," but have you had any plans/offers to publish the rest of your blog in printed form? By now it has to be a rather substantial body of work and I'm sure many regular readers, myself included, would love to have a nice physical copy. So, any plans?


No-one's asked, and I'd never thought about it. (Thinks about it for a moment.) I think I'd feel very sorry for whoever had to edit it.


And "The Wolves in the Walls" has been nominated for a BSFA short fiction award: for details, and for the other nominees. While opinion is divided about whether "Wolves in the Walls" is a Graphic Novel or a Children's Picture Book (see below) I'm thrilled that it's been shortlisted, whatever it is. (And in excellent company, too.)

Which reminds me: there are people who don't know about 253, Geoff Ryman's wonderful novel-on-the-web. These people may want to visit but I warn you: it is addictive, a time sink, and will take you into other people's heads.

Plagiarism / Copyright Infringement

I'm not sure what else to do, so I'm going to write to you. Plagiarism makes my blood boil. Especially plagiarism of my favorite authors. It's very small scale, but a fellow on livejournal has posted at least one of your short stories (A Sweeper of Dreams) and parts of Part Five from The Doll's House to his journal. He did not identify them as anyone's material but his own (by virtue of the pieces being posted to his livejournal) and has, in fact, received compliments on the work. I should know since I myself complimented the pieces from The Doll's House before I read that graphic novel over the past few days and realized it was your work (no wonder I liked it).

The relevant URLs are:
[Removed URLs]

I realize that second entry is protected and inaccessible to those not on the individual's friends list. However, I'm sure livejournal could be contacted to divulge the text of the post.

It seems to me that someone who will plagiarize one time will do it multiple times. I've reprimanded the fellow myself and meant to make a report to the livejournal abuse team, but I'm not authorized by the copyright holder to lodge a complaint. Hence this message.


I get really irritated when I find that people have posted entire novels of mine on their websites. I get mildly irritated when they start sending things like "Nicholas Was.." or "Babycakes" around without attribution. But when people are simply plagiarising things I've written, in stuff they're posting on the web to try to make themselves look good, I find it hard to get properly irritated; mostly I find myself feeling sorry for them. They know they're doing it, and it's not going to be a comfortable feeling: the web is a small place, and pretty inevitably someone who's read the original will, sooner or later, bust them for plagiarising, and it'll be embarrassing and unpleasant for everyone concerned.

I don't regard it as the sincerest form of flattery. I do think -- or at least hope -- it's something that people will grow out of, or learn from, which is why I felt that posting the relevant URLs would be a mistake.

I think we need to see pictures of Fred in this endearingly unfortunate state.


Oh, probably. You're not the only person to ask. I keep taking photos of Fred, who doesn't like having his photo taken in the collar, and, a moment before it clicks he moves or turns away or wiggles or looks in the wrong place, and is all in all astoundingly unhelpful. All the other cats in the house immediately started taking the opportunity to be photogenic and statuesque and generally have begun to do obscenely cute things and continue doing them until I've taken a really good photo of them.

So now I have lots of great photos of other cats, and lots of terrible photos of Fred.

The Good News was that Fred's tumour wasn't malign.

I've been trying to figure out if there's actually some meaningful difference between a "comic book" and a "graphic novel." Sandman started off its life as 76 comic books, but now it seems almost univerally referred to as a series of graphic novels. Are graphic novels just comics that someone, somewhere believes are art? Does a comic become a graphic novel when its collected? Is it just an arbitrary term that people can feel free to use however they please?


No, there's no meaningful difference. For some reason the term "big thick collected or original comic published in book form" has never really caught on, while "Graphic Novel" did.

It's a sales category, and a clue to where in the bookstore (or comic shop) you can buy the story. Sandman was indeed 76 comic books, and you can still find those issues on eBay, and on the walls and back-issue bins at comic stores. But if you want to read the story now, the easy way is as a series of ten graphic novels. That's how they stay in print.

Then there are weirder things. My book with Dave McKean, "THE WOLVES IN THE WALLS", is a children's book in Barnes and Noble, but it's a graphic novel in Borders. This is because it was bought by the children's buyer (who decides what goes into the children's section) at B&N, but by the graphic novel buyer at Borders.

I know this is unreasonably triffling of me, but it seems you are the only person that I know of who could help me, so I decided to go strait to the source. In an introduction to The Swords of Lankhmar by Fritz Leiber that appeared in the White Wolf publication you make reference to Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser appearing in (of all places) a Wonder Woman comic, writen by (of all people) Samuel R. Delany. I am much desierous to read this comic but have been unable to obtain any evidence thus far of its existence. I would greatly apreciate it if you could confirm the existence of such a work and hopefully provide some direction to my search.(or perhaps it all was just a fleeting caffine induced halucination...) Any assistance you could provide would be greatly apreciated.
p.s. I think you're so cool :)

Nat Williams

It definitely exists. It was during Wonder Woman's Emma Peel period. Have you tried googling?

Googles ["Wonder woman" Delany Mouser] and gets

Interestingly, I see Chip Delany also wrote the one after that, a "special women's lib issue" which I've never seen, and which is described as containing the single worst panel in the history of Wonder Woman, in an essay at

Google is your friend. Google loves you. Google wants you to be happy.

Neil! I've just been offered a job writing the script for a new comic book! I'm really excited about it, but frankly, I have no idea what I'm doing. I write stories, poems...not scripts. it's a bit scary, to be frank. Any sage wisdom, and advice, any help you can give?

thanks either way, doll.

~Silly American Girl

First of all, congratulations. And good luck. It's amazing how many interesting things are done by people who have no idea what they're doing.

Second of all, if you don't have a copy of Scott McCloud's UNDERSTANDING COMICS, or Will Eisner's COMICS AND SEQUENTIAL ART, then buy them and read them. I'd suggest you also get Alan Moore's essay Writing For Comics as well.

Third of all, read a few comic scripts (there's one of mine printed in the Sandman: Dream Country collection). Realise that no two people writing scripts do it at all alike. Break the rules. Make good comics. Have fun.


And finally, all would-be writers, young writers, and just writers, need to read because you will get rejection slips (we all get rejection slips when we're starting out, after all, and probably after that), and Teresa Explains It All. Honest she does.