Thursday, June 17, 2004

Morning catch-up...

I made the fatal mistake of upgrading Firefox last night. The new iteration doesn't seem to want to work (when I try to open it I get a message informing me it's finishing installing extensions, and that this could take a minute, which never goes away), and has taken most of my bookmarks and suchlike with it. Oh well. Back to Explorer.

Mr. Gaiman:
Thanks for all the wonderful stories. Can't wait for "Anansi Boys." And I can't wait for your next short story collection--all of your recent stories, "A Study in Emeraldy," "Monarch of the Glen," etc., have been brilliant, and they'll be ever more brilliant under one cover. You are definitely at the top of your game, and it's scary to think you could still get better!

Two questions: one, what in the world is "The"!!!
Amazon has it listed here.

Two: when will a hardcover compilation of 1602 be out?

Thanks for your time. My only complaint about your blog is that you're not self-promoting enough. You've got a new story in "Flights"! Why didn't you say so. Love your work.

Kelly Christopher Shaw
Milwaukee, WI

I did mention there was a story in Flights. (I got my copy yesterday, and it looks to be an excellent collection.) I just didn't say it very loudly. I suppose that, while I do try and mention things that are coming out, I tend not to advertise them here quite as loudly as I should. I read the Flights story "The Problem of Susan" last night (I always try to read things when they're printed. That's when I get to see them with new eyes.) I was fairly pleased with it -- it was the first fiction I was able to write after last year's meningitis, when I'd had a couple of months of not being able to think straight.

While I don't know what "The" is, I googled a little and discovered that NORMA (my Spanish publisher) have a licence to sell spanish-language work into the US as "Public Square Books", which explains the publisher. Not really sure what it could be though.

The 1602 Harback should be out in a couple of months -- Scott's drawing the cover currently, and I have to write the afterword this week, along with proofreading the whole.

I've been out of the comics scene a very long time, but I use to love your Books of Magic. I recently read an old news article (Aug 2003) that you were going to revive the Books of Magic series that was to be released in early 2004.
But I've looked through the DC Vertigo site, and there's no mention of it.

Are you indeed working on a Books of Magic story, and where and when will it be released?

It's coming out very soon. The marketing people at DC Comics became very concerned that it was called "Books of Magic", although it's filled with sex and death and things, and that the Books of Magic novel series from Harper Collins is marketed toward children. So it's now been cunningly retitled "Books of Magick" to distance itself from its predecessor while still sounding the same. It's being written by Si Spencer and drawn by Dean Ormston. I'm involved in it, although I'm not writing it -- I've made lots of suggestions for the sort of places I thought the story might go, and I'm actively rather than passively consulting on it (which just means that if I don't think something is working, I tell Si and Shelly, and suggest ways it could be fixed). Si's doing an excellent job on it. It's a story called "Life During Wartime".

Dear Neil,
I have a bit of a problem that maybe you can help with. I became a Reverend some months ago so that I could perform a wedding ceremony for some friends. That wedding is this Saturday. Here is the problem...I haven't spoken in front of a group of strangers since high school,(and they were'nt really strangers...not that these will be either come to think of it). My question is how do you battla stage fright when you do readings? I saw you read in St.Paul in February and you seemed so relaxed. Is that your natural state, or do you have some calming exercise that you do before a reading?
Thanks for reading and especially for writing,

I still get stage fright, and I've learned to like it. I'd probably miss it if I wasn't in some kind of utter funk for the last few minutes before I walk out onto a stage. It's a little boost of adrenaline that wakes me up, slows everything down just a little, sharpens everything up. It's not a bad thing. You just have to make sure you don't gabble and squeak for the first minute (if in doubt, always slow down, always pause, always stop to breathe. No-one's going anywhere -- especially not during a wedding).

I try and get out onto a stage, if possible, beforehand, when there's no audience, and just get a sense of the place. And knowing what I'm going to do fairly well helps. Practice reading your wedding ceremony in front of a few friends, or in front of a mirror.

The main advice I can give is this: enjoy it.


I kept expecting to see people commenting on this article in MediaGuardian, but I haven't yet. It's about a report from Ofcom, the UK regulatory board for commercial channels on a Fox News report, failing to show "respect for truth", which is apparently something that news channels in the UK are meant to do. (Fox News is now being broadcast in the UK as well as the US.) The article continues:

This is a tricky issue for Ofcom: how to regulate channels which are not produced principally for viewers in Britain. The Independent Television Commission, which preceded Ofcom, responded to complaints last year that Fox did not meet its strict "due impartiality" rules by issuing a ruling that is regarded in some quarters as a fudge to avoid a standoff with Mr Murdoch: it said "due" meant "adequate or appropriate", and Fox News could justifiably claim to have achieved a level of accuracy and impartiality that was appropriate to its audience in the US, where different rules apply.

It's those last four words that fascinate me. You only have to reach an appropriate level of impartiality, you have to be accurate, but only to a degree appropriate for Americans. Different rules apply.


I've been reminded to remind everyone that I'm the keynote speaker at this year's Harvey Awards, which will be happening at MOCCA in New York. The "Spirit of the Harveys" art exhibition is currently up and on display (it's a terrific looking line-up: artwork spanning Kurtzman's career, alongside original art by many of the creators nominated for this year's Harvey Awards, including Patrick McDonnell, Dave Sim, and G.B. Trudeau.

The Harveys are on the evening of the 26th of June. I'm the keynote speaker, as I said, and Evan Dorkin is Master of Ceremonies. Banquet tickets can be bought -- details at, or call 212-254-3511 today to reserve your seat.

On the Thursday night after [thanks Elayne] the awards is a benefit for Dave Cockrum -- details here.

And then there's the MOCCA expo over the weekend, which looks pretty amazing...


And seeing that Father's Day is coming up soon, I thought I'd plug the Orka Silicone Oven Gloves (or, as they are known in my house, the Zoidbergs, because once you put them on you can wave your lobster-clawed hands above your head and say "Look, I am Zoidberg" while your daughter rolls her eyes in embarrassment). Here's the Amazon link, because the "Evil Overlord" review made me laugh.