Tuesday, May 04, 2004

roll up for the ghost train, non-stop through the city

Yesterday brought a DVD from Hensons with eight and a half minutes of the Mirrormask film on it -- just footage, with Ian Ballamy's music in the background, but finished footage, as output from the render farm, and tweaked and played with by Dave. It's not like anything I've ever seen before. I don't think it's like anything anyone's seen before. Unbelievably beautiful, and magical.

Down at the back of the garden, the plum-trees are blossoming. They blossom first, before the apples or the cherries or the pear tree -- trees covered in white drifts of blossom that smell like honey. I put them in Endless Nights. They make me happy. Luckily, my what-makes-me-happy list is much longer than that of the lady in the Despair story.

When I was in Finland last year I read, and really enjoyed, Johanna Sinisalo's book TROLL (although when I read it it was called Not Before Sundown). It's a sharp, resonant, prickly book that exists on the slipstream of SF, fantasy, horror and gay fiction, set in a world exactly like our own, except for the trolls -- humanoid animals, almost extinct, found in places like northern Finland, and what happens when a gay photographer starts secretly looking after a baby troll, and becomes, himself, an object of lust. I was pleasantly surprised to see it reviewed in USA Today, this morning. The reviewer is fine on the plot summary, although she doesn't seem to know anything about fantasy, and appears to feel this is a virtue. The gratuitous mentions of Tolkien and the Hobbit seem like a good way to ensure that the people who would like the book don't read it, and that those who won't like it do. Sentences like Although it exploits the conventions of the (fantasy genre), it clearly transcends them I tend to view as lazy reviewer shorthand for I don't read (genre) because I don't think I like it but this is good.

Hey Neil,
I think i might have e-mailed you twice already and im desperate for a reply. i'm trying to write a scary story for children based around fairy tales and im stuck on how gruesome to actually make it. any tips? how much can children handle?
Julia x.

I don't know how much gruesomeness children can handle. I don't believe that "children", as a generality, has any more meaning than "people" would in the same sentence. Some can handle a lot, some can't handle any, just like adults. I think children are a bit better at enjoying the terrible and appropriate deaths of evildoers than adults are, though. Why don't you write the kind of book you would have liked to have read when younger, or write a book for a specific person you know who isn't very old yet? That tends to work for me.


I want to ride this ghost train:,11710,1208758,00.html

And why did I never post the link to the story of the Monster Under the Old Church?


Quantum TV on New Scientist? How about a link? When I search on their site, I get nada



It's on page 24 of the 24 April 2004 copy of New Scientist. They don't put very much of the content of the magazine up on line.

(If you subscribe through their website you get the magazine at 80% off -- in the US it's $1 an issue. I cannot recommend it highly enough. And every so often, like this week, you get a Dave McKean cover image. End of unpaid New Scientist plug.)


Dear Mr Gaiman,

Not a question - sorry. So, long story short, time is money, etc: my friends made sock-puppets of the Endless.

Swing by the unwieldy URL to my weblog if you fancy a gander.

With lashings of respect and May the fourth be with you,

- another Neil

Sock puppets. Of course they did.

I just saw a copy of your author poster in ALA's newest catalog, but it's not on their on line catalog. Is there a place that a nonlibrarian can buy it?

The poster is now online at The hair's a bit odd, as it was done by the hair-and-make-up man without me first getting to look in a mirror and then being able to say "but I don't have a parting. I just have a mop." But I like it, as it's got me both smiling and managing not to look really goofy, two things that, for me, normally go together in photos. And the text stuff (too small to read in the online one) is a lot of fun...