Monday, August 23, 2004

Q & A

Q: Are you home?

A: Indeed I am. Getting home was slightly more interesting a procedure than it should have been: I phoned Northwest Airlines 24 hours before my flight was meant to take off, to confirm everything, and the nice lady at the other end of the phone told me that everything had been fine, but that unfortunately my flight home had in fact taken off ten minutes previously.

Q: So you weren't on that flight then?

A: Er, no. But by the simple, almost magical expedient of paying Northwest more money, we wound up on the three remaining seats on the flight the next day, the flight I thought we were on, but weren't.

Q: Did you get lots of writing done on the plane then?

A: Not so you'd notice. I couldn't get the computer into any position in which typing on it didn't feel like something the Inquisition might have dreamed up on a day when they were on particularly good form, so I soon gave up on typing and bunged in a DVD.

Q: Anything interesting?

A: The Dennis Potter CASANOVA TV series. I had fond memories of it from when I was not quite a teenager, and picked it up at Gatwick. But I only watched an episode.

Q: Not quite what I would have picked out as a DVD to watch on a plane...?

A: My highly-scandalised ten-year old daughter agrees with you fully, and she was enormously relieved that I stopped after one episode and I settled down to read The Mystery of Edwin Drood instead.

Q: Is it any good?

A: Yup. I can't wait to find out who dunnit.

Q: That's a joke, isn't it?

A: Well, traditionally, jokes are meant to be funnier than that. Um. I bought Edwin Drood at Gatwick as well.

Q: Did you buy anything else interesting at Gatwick?

A: A bottle of 1963 Strathisla at the whisky shop. The first season black and white DVDs of the Roger Moore Saint. Enormous quantities of wine gums.

Q: You're big on wine gums, then?

A: They were for Mike. You can't get them in America. And he's currently watching The Saint DVDs, although they were ostensibly for me.

Q: So, you're definitely home?

A: I am. I have an internet connection that works. I have much too much e-mail to reply to. I have an enormous pile of cool stuff waiting for me to do things with it.

Q: Anything particularly interesting?

A: God yes.

Q: Such as...?

A: Well, of my stuff, there were copies of the new edition of THE DAY I SWAPPED MY DAD FOR TWO GOLDFISH, with the Enhanced CD in it. It's bigger than the original edition, has a new Dave McKean cover (mostly because people seemed convinced that the old cover had something to do with Counting Crows, and because the cover didn't really reflect the art style inside) and I wrote a new afterword for it. It's gorgeous.

There were two advance copies of THE NEIL GAIMAN AUDIO COLLECTION CD. It's not the best title for a CD in the world, but it's part of a series with things like THE JAMIE LEE CURTIS AUDIO COLLECTION, the DR SEUSS AUDIO COLLECTION and THE MAURICE SENDAK AUDIO COLLECTION, so you won't catch me grumbling.

On the Audio Collection I read The Wolves in the Walls, The Day I Swapped my Dad For Two Goldfish, Cinnamon and Crazy Hair. I haven't listened to them, because I mostly don't like listening to me read unless I have to; it's like calling home and hearing your own voice on the answering machine. I have, however, listened to the last track on the CD, which is Maddy interviewing me about writing, which is really sweet, and, at the end, I thought, incredibly funny.

There was a box of copies of SANDMAN:ENDLESS NIGHTS in paperback too.

Q: So by "a pile of cool stuff" you mean "things you wrote"?

A: Not at all. I was merely putting the things I wrote first because it's still exhilarating to pick up a new book or CD with my name on the spine, after 18 years. That feeling hasn't gone away yet, and I hope it never does.

There was a copy of THE YEAR'S BEST FANTASY AND HORROR waiting for me. The Seventeenth Annual Collection.

Q: The Datlow-Windling one?

A: Not at all. Terri Windling has retired and her editorial functions have been taken over by Kelly Link and Gavin Grant, who are doing Fantasy. There's over a hundred and fifty pages at the beginning of the book that round up what was good last year in horror and fantasy in prose and poetry, in movies and tv, in comics and in manga and anime (that last we are also told on the cover, in a special little badge that looks like it was designed by someone who hadn't ever seen the lovely Tom Canty mermaid cover-painting), and then over five hundred pages of stories. I'm really looking forward to settling down with the book, finding what things Ellen Datlow has unearthed, and how different the Kelly & Gavin choices are to the things that Terri used to pick. Year in, year out, it's always essential reading.

Q: I suppose you wouldn't happen to have a story in there...?

A: Er. Yes. A Study In Emerald. (But seeing you can read that here I'm more than happy to plug the book for the other 42 stories and poems.)

Q: Just out of interest, was there anything waiting for you that wasn't by you, and didn't have a story by you in?

A: Of course. Lots of things. A Disturbing Bunny, for a start.

Q: This would be from the Disturbing Bunny of the Month Club, I suppose?

A: Of course! has all the details, not to mention photos and suchlike.

Q: And this particular Bunny was...?

A: Pink, with huge werewolfy teeth and an enormous red velvet tongue. His mouth opens all the way, like a thylacine's. He also has a green bathrobe. Holly is trying to decide whether or not he will be accompanying her to Bryn Mawr this year, in case she needs something you can both cuddle and use to terrify burglars.

Q: Anything else?

A: Well, there was a copy of the complete BONE. It's the height of a trade paperback, and over 1300 pages long. It looks rather intimidating in that format -- it looks like the epic fantasy novel that it is. A perfect gift, too.

Q: And that was all?

A: Not at all. Lots of other cool things, but I just realised that if I don't sleep soon my head will fall off, so I think I'll stop writing this and go to bed now.

Q: Very wise.

A: That wasn't a question.

Q: I know.

A: Nor was that. Not that I'm complaining, mind.

Q: Er, right. Why don't you answer a real FAQ question?

A: Okay. Here's one that's been coming in in various forms for the last few days...

So that's it, is it? No more movie. No more hope. My world is lost forever!!! *sniff* erm...not exactly but I am rather dissapointed that there won't be a Good Omens movie coming out any time soon. There was still hope until they officially took the message boards off of That was a harsh moment, let me tell you! So is there anything along those same lines to look for in the future? A movie version of any of your books? The promised sequel to Neverwhere? I must know!Love ya, Liz

Well, I think it's probably a bit early to write off the Good Omens film any more than it was already. Terry Gilliam is now explicitly not, alas, going to be directing it (although it's still got a Terry Gilliam script) but the producers seem quite enthusiastic, and just put in an offer to a director whose work Terry Pratchett and I both like very much.

Other than Good Omens, there may soon be some cool news on the Coraline film -- if there is news it'll be within the next seven days, and I'll put it up here.

And finally for tonight:

Tell them about i need stories...

Right you are. Consider them told.