Saturday, September 11, 2004

Quiet sort of remembery day

This one came in in the early hours of this morning, and made me feel guilty, because I've not put in much of a plug for them in a while:

This isn't entirely about you, but -- Do Folk Underground have a CD, and how can I get a copy if they do?-Steph Drinkard

They do -- they have one CD "Folk Underground" which you can get from their website, and another one, a Live in the Studio thing, which may be on their website and may only be for sale at the Minnesota RenFest, which is where you can see them playing for the next two weeks (and for the last four weeks). They've been supporting Puke & Snot, and I think their CDs are for sale at the Puke & Snot merchandising place. Anyway, all details are at:

(And just as I'd finished typing that, this arrived: Neil - Sorry about the slightly asanine Folk Underground question of yesterday. Last night when I googled them, their site wasn't working - but voila! Today it is. Questions answered. Sorry to waste your time.-Steph Drinkard Not a problem.)


And in regards to yesterday's extract from the Baltimore Sun:

Dear Neil, The passage that you have quoted is really terrible - I was particularly impressed by the sentence "But Kulbert can write, too, a fact obscured by his first skill". As a teacher of English, I would give him a D or E for the review. Not to mention the fact that he mistook Warsaw _Ghetto_ Uprising (April 1943, that's right) and Warsaw Uprising (August-October 1944). It seems that his knowledge of history is even poorer than his command of English.Yours, Anna from Poland

I'd completely missed that. I thought the strangest goof was that he lists "Between Hell and a Hard Place" as a compilation of old Sergeant Rock material by Joe Kubert (who Danziger keeps calling Kulbert), when actually it's a completely new graphic novel -- one story -- and written by Brian Azzarello, who is not even mentioned. I think it's safe to infer that the reviewer "only looked at the pictures", or at least, intended to, before writing the review.

Bizarrely, the writer of the article, Jeff Danziger, is a decent editorial cartoonist, of the not-actually-funny-but-well-drawn-in-a-mostly-earnest-sort-of-way school. Jessa-from-Bookslut was right; he really should have known better.


Hello, Neil!

I have been a bookseller for about six or seven years, and I just wanted to let you know that people are indeed reading for pleasure. Profits have risen every year since I began in this business, and not just at my store. I read the trades and I will tell you it's across the board. Right now the trend is non-fiction (History and Biography in particular) and Political Science, which, as the Village Voice piece pointed out, were not included in the NEA's interrogation...I mean questionnaire. Fiction still sells incredibly well. Since Harry Potter became a phenomenon I have seen more young people in my store than ever, searching for other great works of fantasy and science fiction. You knew this, of course, but I thought you might like to hear it from somebody who sees it happening every day. If the NEA wanted a truly accurate picture, they should have looked at it from the business end of things, instead of randomly calling people. I suppose if they had done that, they'd have nothing about which to complain. One could argue that just because people are purchasing books doesn't mean they are reading them, but that would be false as well. I have more regular customers than you can shake a stick at, and what they buy, they read. Then they come back and we discuss the books they bought the last time, and try to find them more. It's a beautiful thing. I just wish organizations like the NEA would pay more attention to the truth instead of publishing ridiculous and wholly innacurate reports based on nothing.

Love your work, sir. You keep doing what you do, and I'll keep recommending (and reading) you.

Gweneth K. Brown

I'm pleased. My sense is certainly that people are reading; and that if anything's suffering these days, it's broadcast TV.


With regards to the Mirrormask trailer on Jim Henson's Storyteller DVDs, the word is that it wasn't something anyone was happy with, and it was put together (not by Dave) when only a little rendered footage had actually come out of the "render farm", which is why no-one's said anything about it. It is there, though, and when I've seen it I'll say something. In the meantime, I'll hunt for the CD with images from Mirrormask on it, and put a few new ones up here.


There's an enthusiastic review of Mike Harrison's LIGHT in the New York Times - It's a good review, and it makes the point that this is a book that rewards close reading, and pays back the work you put into it. Which is true of many books, and while I don't find reading Mike Harrison "work", he certainly is writing for intelligent readers who are going to treat the words as important (not to mention beautiful) things. LIGHT is, I'm pretty sure, the kind of novel people will either love or Not Like At All. Chacon a son gout, as Flanders & Swann put it.

On your kind recommendation I purchased "Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell" yesterday morning and have not at all been disappointed. It has, however, resulted in an unfortunate domestic clash:

That's very sad. I advise saying "Now you must BUY YOUR OWN COPY" as firmly as if you were training a dog. (All authors would advise this.) Which reminds me, I enjoyed this commentary on Susanna Clarke's newfound famousness.

I should be thinking about things like bags of ice and FEMA lines and
generators and insurance adjusters and chainsaws, but instead, I'm wondering
how Mr. Nancy fared through hurricane Frances. I remember he lived near Ft.
Pierce. I have family who live in Ft. Pierce, and I know how they did.
(water damage, but walls and roofs are still intact). But I'm wondering
about Mr. Nancy. I was re-reading that chapter in American Gods towards the
end where he's in Ft. Pierce getting Shadow drunk, and I see that while he
has hurricane shutters, he has a wood house. That's not so good.

On one hand, he would know ages in advance that the storm was coming, and
he'd have enough time to go away. On the other hand, I suspect he'd love
nothing more than a hurricane party.

So I have to ask. What did Mr. Nancy do?

Thank you,

(who just got electricity yesterday)
Stuart, FL
board moderator

You know, it's something I've been giving a certain amount of thought to as well. The current answer is that it depends whether I decide Anansi Boys is set, before or after Hurricane Frances. Which may in itself depend on whether or not I get down to that area in the next few months. But the simple answer to what Mr Nancy did, is that Mr Nancy did just fine.

Hi Neil-

If you have any female chicago area fans between the ages of 10 and 17 who've always longed to play Macbeth, you might want to let them know about the Viola Project ( TVP is a non-profit Shakespeare performance workshop for middle and high school girls with gender-blind casting in some of the juiciest roles in history. We're starting our second fall session in a few weeks- all the info's on the site. I know writing you is a bit of a long shot, but it's an amazing program, and we could use some help getting the word out.

Thanks for everything,
Reina Hardy

Consider the word gotten out. That was easy. By the way, on my birthday this year I'll be doing a reading in Chicago and also interviewing Gene Wolfe, at the Chicago Humanities Festival. (They've got a strong SF track this year, which, in addition to Gene Wolfe, includes William Gibson, Kim Stanley Robinson, and John Crowley and Peter Straub being interviewed by Gary Wolfe. Tickets are incredibly cheap, and there's always a signing after the panel.

GENE WOLFE: Master of Time
Wednesday November 10, 2004
7:00 to 8:00 PM
The hugely admired “dean” of science fiction writers and award-winning author of The Book of the New Sun and, most recently, The Wizard Knight, discusses his career-long exploration of other Times, and other worlds. Wolfe is interviewed by author Neil Gaiman.

Student Center, DePaul University (Lincoln Park)
2250 N. Sheffield (at Belden)
Wednesday November 10, 2004
8:30 to 9:30 PM
A master of fantasy writing, Gaiman is author of American Gods, Neverwhere, the Sandman series, and the young adult fiction Coraline, among other books. He reads from and discusses his work-in-progress, a comedy (“scary in bits”) for adults entitled Anansi Boys.

Student Center, DePaul University (Lincoln Park)
2250 N. Sheffield (at Belden)


From the latest fax from Dave Sim it sounds like the letters asking him for a free signed Sandman-parody issue of Cerebus are beginning to trickle off. He said the letters from across the world outnumbered those from the continental USA yesterday.

On the other hand, the letters from people who are thrilled to have recieved their comics (not to mention their Form Letter of the Day) have been coming in to me in a steady stream, including several telling me about acts of unexpected generosity on Dave's part (there's a New York Librarian whose library just got a complete set of the Cerebus graphic novels who is over the moon about it).

So just to remind everyone: if you want a free signed Sandman period Cerebus, you have to write to Dave Sim at

Dave Sim
Aardvark Vanaheim, Inc
P.O. Box 1674 Station C
Kitchener, Ontario,
Canada N2G 4R2

Write him a letter. Tell him why you want him to send you a signed comic. Put enough postage on the envelope to take your letter to Canada. (That's a 60 cent letter or a 50 cent postcard from the US. $1.80 from Australia. Probably 47p from the UK. You get the idea.) He's getting letters from all over the world.

So far Dave's sent out about 1200 signed Cerebuses. He's also hatching some kind of CBLDF-benefiting scheme that I am not actually yet privy to. But he's enjoing hatching it, whatever it is.