Wednesday, December 01, 2004

world AIDS day post...

Right. This is a post from an airport. There may be occasional small posts over the next three weeks, but there probably won't be much if anything. I have a novel to finish, and I don't really plan to do anything else but write it. (Note to family, friends and correspondents: I probably won't be replying to or originating e-mail either. I'll either be writing, eating, sleeping, or, less than I'm sure I should, going for walks as exercise and to stop me going stir crazy. I hope it'll be fun -- a year ago I started the novel in a friend's house, and now I'm going back to the same house to wrap it up.)

I was astoundingly unimpressed to find that in Alabama a lawmaker is proposing to prevent libraries from having books on their shelves -- books that contain gay characters. (This reminded me of a comics story I wrote in 1987 called FROM HOMOGENOUS TO HONEY, for Alan Moore's AARGH, which Bryan Talbot drew, about removing homosexuality from culture and history.)

If the bill became law, public school textbooks could not present homosexuality as a genetic trait and public libraries couldn't offer books with gay or bisexual characters.

When asked about Tennessee Williams' southern classic "Cat On A Hot Tin Roof," Allen said the play probably couldn't be performed by university theater groups.

Allen said no state funds should be used to pay for materials that foster homosexuality. He said that would include nonfiction books that suggest homosexuality is acceptable and fiction novels with gay characters. While that would ban books like "Heather has Two Mommies," it could also include classic and popular novels with gay characters such as "The Color Purple," "The Picture of Dorian Gray" and "Brideshead Revisted."

The bill also would ban materials that recognize or promote a lifestyle or actions prohibited by the sodomy and sexual misconduct laws of Alabama. Allen said that meant books with heterosexual couples committing those acts likely would be banned, too.

The Sexual Misconduct laws of Alabama, by the way, apparently defines sexual misconduct as "a misdemeanor banning acts of oral or anal sex between adults not married to each other". So you know.

(I wonder, in a multi-series book, would a librarian have to yank early books in which you didn't know a character who later turned out to be gay appeared without any reference to his or her sexuality.)

In recent years the CBLDF has become more active in the legislative end of things -- joining forces with other organisations to help strike down bad legislation. (We just recently won a victory in Arkansas on this front.) I hope that this bad law doesn't get on the books. (No Sandman on the library bookshelves. No Melmoth. No Love and Rockets. No... but you can carry on with the list yourself) But it's nice to know that if it does, we'll fight it. And so, I have no doubt, will the librarians. (Rule 1: don't fuck with librarians.)

And if you're wondering whether or not to get people CBLDF memberships as presents in the holiday season, why yes, that's an excellent idea. is the page with the link to membership application. (And if you're a CBLDF member already, remember, you can always upgrade your membership status, and you get cool stuff and the satisfaction of helping. Penn and Teller, for example, are both ANGELS...)

Hey Neil, i've been reading your blog for some time now, and have always thoroughly enjoi-ed the random/helpful links posted in it. well the other day, i came across this article and i thought some of the readers of your blog would like to help fight back against spammers, and eat up their bandwidth so i came across the screen saver, and it can be DLed here ( keep up the good work.-Zero(aka Shawn)

I like the idea. I hope it works. Or even helps. (But I couldn't connect to the make love not spam site.)

I'm interested that you no longer think in pounds, but dollars. I've spent fairly long times in other countries and never had the slightest idea what a currency was worth except in terms of dollars: "A franc is, um, it's almost a quarter, so that's like, a gumball..." How long did it take after moving here for you to stop doing conversion rates in your head?

Well, I'd been getting mostly paid in dollars for five years before moving to the US; and mostly I try to ignore conversion rates entirely. I try not to think in terms of currency conversion, as it just makes me crazy. In terms of buying power, a dollar in the US tends to have the same buying-power as a pound in the UK or a Euro across most of Europe. (Still, the last time the dollar was this low was twelve years ago, and it was then that I bought my house in the US.)

I like typing in international airports. The lady sitting next to me is hushing her crying baby by singing to her in what sounds like Russian.

Hello Neil

UK readers may like to know that The Works (a chain of bargain bookshops) is selling the VHS edition of Neverwhere for �4.99. And if anyone finds the copy which I managed to leave on the bus home today they can get it even cheaper.



Consider them told.

Hello Neil! Seeing as X-mas soon is here, I was wondering how you told your children that there is no real living Santa Claus. Did you tell them as soon as they popped the question? Same thing with the easterbunny and different types of man-made "stories" :) Much appreciated if you answer this, I know you are busy.
Thanks from a big fan in Sweden, Fredrik Josefsson.

My children have, on occasion, strongly suggested that there might not be a Father Christmas. They also seem very doubtful about the existence of the Tooth Fairy and the Easter Bunny and the Weird Knife Lady In The Attic. I humour them by pretending to go along with all this, but I keep my own counsel on the matter.


I'm STILL playing the Chris Ewen Hidden Variable song "Unresolving". It's really marvellous -- haunting and haunted and odd. I have no idea when Chris will be finishing the whole Hidden Variable project, nor when you'll be able to hear it. I promise I'll post up here when I do.