Thursday, September 09, 2004

Film news and stuff

I forgot to mention here that on the first day of Worldcon, I learned that the film option for CORALINE has been exercised.

The way that these things work, books get optioned. Producers pay a percentage of what it will cost them to buy the whole thing to the author, when they option something, and then, as time passes, after a certain amount of time the producer and the author can elect to renew the option or not. And one day the option either lapses (because the author doesn't want to keep selling the book to that producer, or the producer doesn't want to keep going on it, or whatever) or, much much more rarely, the option is exercised. And when it is, it tends to mean that someone's now making a film.

In this case, the person making the film is Henry Selick, who will be making an entirely stop-motion version of CORALINE (all stop-motion, like his most famous film, TIM BURTON'S THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS, which some people mistakenly think that Tim Burton wrote or directed). Here's Henry's page at Vinton Studios.

Henry and I got to talk last night. It's been a long few years -- Henry read the book a year before it was published, and has been holding his breath for the last six months to find out what would happen. Right now he has ideas about, well, everything really, from the cast to the songs. He wants it to be faithful and funny and smart and spooky. I've told him he can use me, bounce ideas off me, or whatever, but that ultimately it's his movie. I just want to sit in the audience at the premiere, with a thing of popcorn on my lap, grinning like a goof.


Dear Neil, From today's blog entry: "I do feel that SF right now, like SF then, is waiting for new paradigms..." Would China Mieville count? I'm nearing the end of The Scar, and it has been utterly breathtaking. The imagery, the ideas, the combinations of magic and tech and cities and aliens (sort of) and politics, the writing! Man, the writing. Shivers. best,Adam

I'm not sure that China counts in the way that they're talking about in the article -- if anything it confirms the argument that the place where the most interesting work is occurring is not in pure science fiction but on the borders of fantasy; but then, for my money, the best SF novel of the last few years is unquestionably M. John Harrison's LIGHT (which will be eligible for a Hugo next year, and I very much hope it gets it) which combines hard SF, space opera and a horror-fantasy thread to produce something new -- and Mike Harrison and China are definitely out there exploring the same continent.

Hi Neil,
A musician I very much respect and admire recently ran into a situation concerning a musical video he created and posted on the net.

Needless to say, the video is sensational and was quite popular... so much so that now because of a mixup with his ISP, he is on the receiving end of a $4800 bandwidth bill. All for just trying to share something beautiful with others, for free.

You'll probably recall the video in question: Sad Song, by Fredo. You had even posted a link to it in your blog, last month I believe.

Now, I am not in the slightest suggesting that your post was responsible for the links. After all, there are a myriad ways popular links can spread throughout the Internet. I know I myself passed out the link to a number of friends.

What I am suggesting (well, humbly requesting, really) is that you make mention of Fredo's plight in your blog, so that others who have enjoyed this video as much as you and I did can help Fredo out with this crippling expense.

Fredo's blog can be reached at:
He mentions a PayPal link there for anyone who might want to help.

Thanks in advance for your help!
-Anonymous Fredo and Gaiman fan

I feel a bit guilty about this. Not quite as guilty as I ought to feel, as I did check with Fredo before posting the link, and warn him that he would be getting traffic if I did, but still pretty guilty, as I doubt either of us would have expected him to get an initial bill for $10,000 from his ISP. So if any of you enjoyed Fredo's "Sad Song" song and video, yes, please go and help bail him out. Or offer to mirror it for him. Or something.

(Suddenly I'm very very pleased that Harper Collins hosts and runs and pays for

Dear Mr. Gaiman

In the introduction to Sandman Endless Nigths you wrote: "I met Miguelanxo Prado in the Andalusian town of Gijon.". I just wanted to let you know that Gijon is located in Asturias and not in Andalusia. I don't pretend that you have to know about Spanish geography, but if you use and explicit reference to a city you should confirm that It is correct.

I met you some years ago in Barcelona I just hope that if you name Barcelona in one of your books you say that It is located in Catalonia and not in Asturias or Andalusia.

Best regards,
Vicente Castán
Sant Cugat del Valles
A Catalonian town located in the Barcelona province.

I know, I know. We caught this almost immediately when the hardback came out, and it's meant to be corrected sooner or later (as are several other things in Endless Nights). Alas, economies of scale mean that when they printed up the hardback of Endless Nights, they also printed enough extra insides to see them through the first printing of the paperback...

(As an aside -- I learned from DC that the orders of Sandman: Endless Nights in paperback from bookshops took up 2/3 of the initial orders, while the comics shops "direct market" were 1/3. For years the balance has hung around 50/50. Now it seems to have tipped. Interesting.)

Which reminds me: for those of you who were waiting for the paperback of Sandman: Endless Nights, it's now out. And for those of you who've been waiting for the hardback of The Day I Swapped My Dad For Two Goldfish, that's now out as well.


According to Wired:

"Attendees overall were once much younger," said O'Brien, referring to past World Science Fiction Conventions in Boston. "And a third of them wore costumes inspired by their favorite films, comics and TV shows."

I think we can take it as a given that attendees of cons were once much younger. Most of them started out as teeny tiny babies, after all. But I don't recall a world in which a third of the people at Boston Worldcons (or was this all worldcons?) were in costume. I've been to a lot of conventions of all kinds, and people in costume tend to be a very small -- if impressive and memorable -- minority.

(Actually I do suspect that Worldcon Fandom is ageing -- but I think that has a lot more to do with the con's location moving around the world year by year than with a general ageing of Fandom per se.)


And finally, given this journal's experiences over the years with the INS (here and here, for example) it's nice to know that it can be just as Kafkaesque and silly for Americans. Read it and sigh...