Monday, October 25, 2004

Because it's raining, the journal.

This is one of those where you lot do all the work...

Greetings Neil!Now, I know you don't participate in National Novel Writing Month (Nanowrimo), but I know a lot of people write to you and ask "How do you start writing?" and you always tell them to "Write." (Which I've always thought is sound advice.) With that in mind, would you mind letting everyone know that there is this (really fun) thing called Nanowrimo where you write a novel in a month, and that it starts November first, and that it's a fantastic way to get over all the hurdles and just write? Information is available at! Ceri

I'm always happy to plug NaNoWriMo each year, and wish all those taking part the best of luck. Make your word counts (and make your words count). Write cool things. Have fun.

Konnichiwa! So to start with the oft-heard refrain: "I'm sure someone has already e-mailed you about this, but..." The Japanese translations of Sandman on are listed using the katakana spelling of Sandman, which would be why if you just searched "Sandman" they didn't come up. Searching on your name ("Neil Gaiman") will bring up five volumes of Sandman and the Japanese translation of Neverwhere. However, if you use the katakana translation of your name, you'll get those titles and also Dream Hunters and Death:HCoL. In any case, the following link will take you to the first Sandman volume, after which you can just click the first link under the title to bring up the rest.
Hope that helps! K. Schroeder

Thanks so much, K. I hope it helps the people who were looking for them. (Incidentally, the Japanese edition of Sandman: Dream Hunters is an astonishingly beautiful object, whether you read Japanese or not.) And this one tells you how to contact the publishers if it's out of print:

RE: Japanese Sandman editionsDear Neil,Wasn't planning on writing at this point, and so i have a lot to say, but am not let's just say i've been a fan of your work since seeing the ad for Sandman #1 and picking it up when it showed up at Atlantis Fantasyworld A Long Time Ago. But anyway.I'm in Japan as well (in Chiba, next door to Tokyo), and own the first four Japanese editions of Sandman. They are beautiful books, reasonably priced at Y1860. (I recall seeing subsequent numbers, but don't own them and can't verify that.) I'm not sure if they're still in print, but the publisher can be contacted at <> and click on "Contact us." Or if he wants to try a local bookstore first, the title is "Sandoman" by "Niiru Geiman," both in katakana (Japanese syllabary), and the ISBN for the first book is ISBN4-924914-06-1.Hope that helps, and good luck on getting lots more words down on "Anansi Boys."Take care,Brian Lewin

Dear Neil,You have taught my son the word, "rat." Not that you'd remember, but at the DC book festival, you kindly drew a picture of a rat in "Coraline" for my son Jake. He's 1 & 1/2. Upon seeing the picture, he pointed with his thumb and said "Raaaa!!" (He's not a fan of last letters, just yet.) So thanks for taking the time to draw the picture, and furthering my child's mental development. You truly seem to be the kind, genuine man I'd imagined you to be. And if I may, a silly question: Are you wearing black while writing on the beach? I'd imagine that without a big, poofy, multi-colored umbrella, you'd be toasty. Many thanks, and wishes of continued niceness, Jason

Glad to have played my part in Jake's language skills.

Right now I'm wearing black shorts, and a black-with-a-few-white-doodles-on-it shirt. Sometimes I wear an old black t-shirt instead. Or not. And no umbrella, although I've tended to write in the shade of a palm tree.

I'm putting this next one up, not to have a go at Borders (with whom, on the whole, I've always had a fairly good relationship; I still wear the Borders t-shirts I was given as part of their Stardust promotion, the ones that my son Mike didn't take anyway) but because it made me realise that the level of frustration that the author and the customers go through on this shelving stuff is as nothing compared to what it must be for the people who work there:

Dear Neil, This is in response to the Borders/ Graphic Novel commentary on the 23rd. I've been working for Borders for over three years now, first as a Bookseller, now I am Inventory. As I believe I know the company's logic well, I think I can safely say the reason is: They really are just MORONS. I'm really sorry. If it will make you feel better, I have lead many a Parent/ Customer over to the Graphic Novels section to see your books when they have asked me for a Picture Book recommendation. Not a week goes by without someone I work with, be it Manager or Bookseller, who looks where a book is located and says "What the hell is THIS doing here?" There is nothing that we at the store level, can really do. We have no control. They like to pretend we have control. There is even a form that we can fill out, which I have, many, many times to tell corporate that they need to change a book's section. I tried to use the forms, I swear. I used them for stupid things, like when they put travel books on Morocco in Britain Travel. Or, when they put a book on Scottish history in the Irish History section. It simply doesn't work. However, you may be able to do something about it. They just might listen to you. You're only the author of the book, after all. I mean, for Pete's sake - they put Anne Rice in the prestigious Fiction Section. But where is Tolkien? Over in Science Fiction, of course. Morons, I'm telling you. We should all be thankful and amazed that they put Coraline with the Independent Readers, which is where she belongs. All that said, I love your work and maybe I'll see you in San Diego next year. J.

It would be very interesting if Morocco was secretly in Britain, probably just outside of Birmingham, and nobody knew it except Borders.

Hi! Re: the person who is looking for a CD or downloadable unabridged version of American Gods, you can rent or buy it from Recorded Books: Jodi

Thanks so much.

Harper Collins have also been talking about releasing it as an MP3 CD (it's the fact it would be a 20 CD set that's deterred them from releasing it as an audio thing), and I'll announce that when it happens.

Neil- I was wondering if you happen to know if your intros for the 13 Nights of Fright will be available someplace once everything is send and done and November 1st has come. I have been able to see most of them but alas I have missed one or two done to getting distracted at the wrong time. Any way keep up the good writings.


Just thought others might find this interesting. John Mooney

I certainly hope they do as well, John. Interesting, and very cool-looking. Randy showed the work-in-progress to me, and I ran it past Mark Buckingham and Garry Leach, who both made suggestions. He's done a great job.

I'll find out about the intros. I do know that they are still all up, right now, and that smart people can hack their way in to watch them, but I sort of feel bound to play by the rules and not announce that here, at least until Hallowe'en.

(The intros on FMC start to get odder around now, by the way, as Malena and I start to feel comfortable enough to start making bits up.)

Hi Neil, Today's interview segment from the Fox Movie Channel website reminded me of a question I've been meaning to ask you for years. I read American Gods shortly after a cross-country drive that included a (very long) detour from the highway so that my husband and I could see the geographic center of the continguous United States in Lebanon, Kansas. I was disappointed to read you write that the spot where we stood and took our pictures wasn't the actual center.Was that one of those things, like the house on the rock, that is true and no one believes you? Did I really drive that far to not stand in the right spot? I did get to see the world's largest ball of twine though, which is nearby. So I guess it wasn't a total loss. Abigail

Well, if you're asking if the anecdote from American Gods (about how it was determined that the location of the centre of the United States was actually on Johnny Grib's Hog Farm, and then they made a park a couple of miles north of that so as not to upset the hogs) is true, I'm afraid it is. Or at least, I've certainly read it as true in a couple of places. But seeing that the method of determining the exact centre was fairly arbitrary and rife with room for mistakes (remember, they made a cut-up cardboard shape of the US, then found out where it balanced on a pin) you might just as well have stood at the exact centre as anywhere else. If you see what I mean.

(It looks like the 1998-99 sites that I found all this on are now defunct, but here's a wayback machine link to one of them.)

Right. The rain's almost stopped. I'm going back outside to write. Tomorrow, with luck, I go to St. Lucia. Wednesday I'm back in the US again.