Thursday, September 23, 2004

Coincidence -- or something more sinister? (Coincidence actually.)

Long, pleasant day -- watched Shaun of the Dead on DVD in the evening, and it made me happy. Maddy's gone off with her class on a camping expedition of some kind, so of course we got our first thunderstorm in ages. I hope she's having fun anyway.

A couple of odd locational coincidences -- I see from this news article that the New York is Book Country Festival has moved from midtown, where it's been in previous years, to Washington Square Park. Which now makes it incredibly appropriate that the Tara McPherson Morpheus and Death poster that the Festival is selling shows them in Washington Square Park. Which it does because, when Shelly Bond at Vertigo asked for ideas, I pointed out that that's where they were in the Sandman story "The Sound of Her Wings", in the story where we first met Death.

(click on it for a bigger version) (The posters will be on sale all over NYisBC.)

(You can still get the posters from for $15 plus postage and packing and I notice that since I last posted it they've now put up a note saying that they can't ship them internationally. Ah well.)

The other odd place coincidence came in this message:
Thought this may make you smile. By the way, my 3rd and 4th books in The Sandman series have just arrived, they are brilliant.

(The "Aswarby Hall" line, in the panel, by the way, comes from the M. R. James story "Lost Hearts" -- or the version I had, which, I discovered much later, had been extensively edited.)

Dave Sim, of course, has been sending a great many copies of Cerebus out internationally recently. The faxes still arrive, with the day's form letter -- and I hope someone is collecting them somewhere. Here's a sampling:

Hi Neil,
I got my signed copy of Mothers & Daughters today. It sounds like Dave is still getting a kick out of all the mail he's from "busy little Bloggoes and Bloggesses". I blogged about it here and put up an image of the form letter'm looking forward to reading Anansi Boys.

And I'm very much looking forward to finishing it. I just learned that I have an October 4th deadline for all the textual material in the Mirrormask Script-and-Storyboards book -- so I have to combine all the scripts into one big one, then mark the bits we cut, then write intros and outros and notes and things. And as soon as that's done I'll be back on Anansi Boys full time, until it's done.

Do tell us what the OED says about "hopples."-Nikki

Just that "hopple" is a synonym for "hobble", and that "hopples" might mean "hobble-bushes". Dead unhelpful, and nothing at all about piles of stones.

Dear Neil,
I'm very sorry, but the thing I most want to know from you is; what is Gene Wolfe like? sincerely,
Rosalind Finney

John Clute once said he was like Aslan playing Bilko, and that still makes me smile with its aptness, although now he has a magnificent moustache and looks less like Aslan as Sergeant Bilko and more like Aslan as Major-General Stanley.

I once wrote a whole piece for a convention program booklet on Gene Wolfe. I'll see if I can put the whole thing up in the "Exclusives" area. Meanwhile, I'll steal a paragraph from it:

There are two kinds of clever writer. The ones that point out how clever they are, and the ones who see no need to point out how clever they are. Gene Wolfe is of the second kind, and the intelligence is less important than the tale. He is not smart to make you feel stupid. He is smart to make you smart as well.

And that's what Gene Wolfe is like, Rosalind. (Which reminds me, I have yet to write anything here about his upcoming novel THE WIZARD, and how astonishingly good it is. But I shall, sooner or later. And in the meanwhile I'll post here a link to an essay by Gene on Lord of the Rings and Tolkien, which illuminated for me some of the themes of The Wizard-Knight.) Good night.