Monday, September 20, 2004

beware of the bookmark

As I was going up the escalator, on the friday morning at Worldcon, in company with several shady types I'd bumped into in the dealers' room on the way (viz. and to wit, S. Dedman, J. Clute and T. Pratchett OBE), I noticed that, across the hall, on the escalator going down, was a mysterious figure whose face was obscured by a camera. He was pointing the camera at us. Then the camera came down, revealing the cheerful face of uber-editor David Hartwell. He waved. I waved back.

"That photo'll never come out," I thought, with the prescience and prophetic ability that has made me the talk of the SF-and-futurological community over the years.

The photo is quite wonderful. You can see it at
It looks a bit like it's waiting for the caption competition, or for me, Steve, John and Terry to have a high-profile reunion and release our first CD in decades.

Hi Neil!You haven't mentioned that Banned Book Week is upon us, September 25 - October 1. For more info (and a list of most frequently challenged books) go to Thanks, Neil!Tamara Siler Jones

Is it that time of the year already?

(Whenever I notice that my name isn't on the list of banned and challenged authors, I feel faintly like I'm letting the side down. Although I suspect all I'd have to do to get on the list is to write a book about naked, bisexual, hard-swearing wizards who drink a lot while disparaging the Second Amendment, and I'd be home and dry.)

Dear Neil,I'm writing to you, because I've got page about you and I want to introduce a few your stories on my page... Will you mad if I do this? The majority of people in my country ( I live in Poland) don't know who are you and your books are very hard to get. So... Can I?P.S. My page is one and only in Poland... ( I think. I want very much to show people what a great writer you are!Your fan, Tyna

Hi Tyna...

MAG publishing are my prose publishers in Poland, and they control the Polish rights to most of the short stories and novels. I'm afraid you'd have to talk to them.

Typical BBC Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell review at: starting 18.30 into the programme.
Also tomorrow on Radio 4 there's the new Hitchhiker's:
John Blackburne

And it's worth mentioning that for those who don't have a RealPlayer (which you need to play RAM files) that you can get it at -- and yes, it's a redundant piece of spyware, but it's what 90% of the BBC content is in.

Neil, With regards to your point of ordering Neverwhere internationally and having it shipped to the U.K.; as someone who did that I should warn you that H.M. Customs tends to slap import duties on it (if you're unlucky). So, it can turn out that the cheap DVD from the U.S. ends up costing more money than the U.K. import.Of course customs do miss some. Caveat emptor I guess. Regards,Jon

How odd -- I've bought dozens of books and DVDs from that were shipped to the US (today Shaun of the Dead arrived), and when in the UK and Ireland I've bought CDs, DVDs and books from various online entities in the US, and I've never been hit with a customs charge yet. But I'm happy to mention this -- if you're in the UK you may want to order it through a UK site and not a US one, to be on the safe side.


Over at, I see they are still selling their "bookstop" bookmark. (if the link doesn't work, search for it.)

This is the 11 oz. lead-weighted leather bookmark which caused the recent arrest of a special ed. teacher, who tried to take it onto a plane, probably concealed (at a guess) inside a book. Luckily, they spotted her bookmark at security and promptly arrested her, handcuffed her, took her away and charged her with carrying a concealed weapon. (Details at for those of you convinced I'm being silly.)

One may safely assume that when bookmarks are outlawed, only outlaws will carry bookmarks.