Monday, July 26, 2004

Shatner's Bassoon

Let's see...

Just realised that I'm meant to give a speech on Sunday at Mythcon, so now have to figure out what it'll be about, and write it first.  The advantage to speeches I've written down is that I can stick them up here if I think they're interesting, or collect them in things like the CBLDF's Gods and Tulips and Free Speeches or the NESFA Press Adventures in the Dream Trade. The very best speeches tend to be the ones where I don't know that I'm meant to give a speech until someone says "Right, now, while we're all eating, can you get up there and make a speech?" and I get up, terrified I'll have nothing to say, and then burble extemporaneously for half an hour or so; for some reason those ones are always the ones that people ask me if they can reprint in magazines, and which nobody was taping (which may be to the good: often the stuff that makes you happiest to hear does not read anywhere nearly as well).

Which means that mini-book reviews and Cerebus move to later in the week.

In the meantime, just a couple of short ones. Last time I put something musical up here it was Fredo Viola's beautiful "Sad Song". This time, for balance, you probably need to hear William Shatner, aided and abetted by Ben Folds, singing Pulp's "Common People". You may not think you need to hear it, but I'm afraid you do.

Why can't I find American gods in  the links are there, but the book ain't
It was there for a while, but it vanished.  I asked about this when people first alerted me to the vanishing of American Gods and Coraline. The way it was explained to me, there's some kind of contractual problems, in that the publishers are contractually forbidden by to tell their authors how much they get from licensing the downloads and how the income is apportioned, which means that there's no way that an author can check the publisher's figures (essentially, I was told, the author gets a percentage of the publisher's net profits, but the publisher is forbidden by to reveal how that net is calculated or what it consists of).  The publishers are trying to get this changed, for until it is there are a number of authors' agents who won't let the publishers license their authors' audiobooks to audible.

If you want the audiobook, right now your best bet might be to get it from your local library.


I didn't answer the phone yesterday afternoon, so I missed a call from CBLDF Director Charles Brownstein asking whether I'd be willing to pay $1000 to have Peter David tattooed in a good cause. By the time I heard the message this morning, Peter already had a Wendy Pini elf on his arm. Read all about it here. With photos...


Neil. I have seen the face on the dollar bill. Looks familiar. I know what you and Mr. Moore know. I have deciphered your books...very clever. I bet I'm the first, aren't I? Still, I have to ask, would you do nothing? Election day is almost upon us. Who has your heart????!!! I live in Brooklyn, a stone throw from the Statue of Liberty, the original Promethea(?), and I wonder if you can see me? Am I to be like poor little Frodo carrying the ring back into Mordor by myself, unseen by the great big bad eye. So be it. Tell Alan there are others that watch those who watch watchmen. All said and done, I think you guys are great. I simply don't understand your motive. In the end it all comes back to pride, right? Is it possible you don't know what I'm talking about?????? Ask Alan.  He knows!!!!
He doesn't, you know. Honest.

And no, I can't see you.


Neil,I just wanted to call your attention to my review of 1602 (, up this week at Green Man Review. It got me an Excellence in Writing Award, so I thought it only appropriate to share. And brag. Did I mention the bragging?Thanks for the great story.All best,Matej
I'm glad you enjoyed it,  and congratulations on the award.


This one puzzled me when it came in. Short, to the point, but a little opaque.

Can i have a short summary of each chapter please?, I need it because it is for my journal I will thank you so much.
But when that was immediately followed by the equally desperate, 

I really need it if you do not mind, thank you, I will give the credit that you need.
How could I say no? So: A short summary of each chapter. Er. Right.

In Chapter One we meet Johnny Theremin.
In Chapter Two we learn all about the Men Without Tents and why they claim to need an original 78 rpm recording of Raymond Scott's "Dinner Music For A Pack Of Hungry Cannibals" so badly.
In Chapter Three Johnny Theremin is locked out of his office by the landlord, and Morris Glanz buys (but does not eat) a bar of chocolate.
In Chapter Four Millicent loses her glove, and the dinosaurs attack. Tap-dancing occurs. Johnny Theremin is beaten over the head with a blunt instrument. (Later revealed to be a bassoon.)
In Chapter Five Johnny learns to snorkel, and The Faceless Chickens make their first move.
In Chapter Six Johnny meets Belladonna (who advertises herself professionally as "Slippery When Wet") and loses her again, in tragical circumstances.
In Chapter Seven we discover a cache of Raymond Scott Quintette records, and finally understand why the aliens are so scared of trellises.  
In Chapter Eight the secret of Millicent's glove is finally revealed, as are Miss Belladonna's unusual physical characteristics. Once more Johnny Theremin is beaten over the head with a blunt instrument. This time it's a harpsichord.
In Chapter Nine The Men Without Tents return, bearing omelettes. Terrible things are proposed. Omelettes are regurgitated.
In Chapter Ten, Johnny pays the rent, and is finally allowed back into his office, where Millicent discovers her true self, behind the sofa. The aliens ascend with the Other Glove, but not before persuading the Faceless Chickens to leave humanity alone. Probably. For this week.
And at the last, in the Epilogue, Belladonna eats the late Morris Glanz's bar of chocolate.

You're welcome.


While I was waiting for Dave McKean to get the not-actually-a-trailer working, at San Diego, I told the people waiting about Death being at New Line.

I also told them that "A Short Film About John Bolton", the short film I directed, will be coming out on DVD, with an awful lot of cool extras (and some quite long extras, to make up for the fact that the film is half an hour long).  You can read the details about that at


And finally,  the Fiddler's Green post I said I'd do. Pamela Basham, one of the brave & noble & not even slightly dangerously crazed people running the con sent me a list of cool Fiddler's Green things she thinks I ought to mention. These would include:

The latest Guest of Honour to be announced is Jill Thompson. Jill's funny. She's an amazing artist, a gifted comedian, and she really is the Scary Godmother. She's currently at work on a Vertigo manga book, following up the success of last year's At Death's Door with The Dead Boy Detectives, in which Rowland and Paine wind up at an expensive Chicago girls' school, and are embarrassed a lot.

There will be some Mirrormasky stuff happening at Fiddler's Green. It's unlikely (but not impossible) that we'll be able to show the whole film, but we'll show whatever we can, and there will be lots of Mirrormask cool freebies and wonders.

If you register for the con prior to August the 14th you're eligible to win a dinner with a Guest of Honour on Friday Night. If you don't like Sushi you should probably pick someone who isn't me or Jill Thompson to eat with. 

Pam also thinks that I should mention that they've got some jawdropping things for the auction, and that there are "special benefits" at the convention for CBLDF members who mention that they are CBLDF members when they register. She has not told me what the "special benefits" are. This reticence is most unlike Pam, and is very mysterious. Probably it will involve lime jelly.

The best thing about Fiddler's Green is the size: it's limited to 500 people, which means that anyone who turns up is guaranteed to get their stuff signed, to get a real opportunity to chat to me, to Jill, Karen and the other guests. To get the kind of personal interaction that you'd never get at a larger con, let alone a San Diego Comic-Con...  It'll also, pretty definitely, be the only one of its kind.

(Incidentally, while I was looking at the CBLDF site earlier to find the Gods and Tulips link, I noticed that they have the gorgeous Craig "Blankets" Thompson silkscreen poster, signed by me and Craig, on sale for $30, along with some unsigned for $10.  Click on the links to see the image.)