Saturday, February 12, 2005

The Patron Saint of Drug Runners and other potential stories

Let's see... you get a lengthy review/article by Peter Sanderson of Joe McCabe's excellent "Hanging Out With The Dream King" book at IGN. It's a book that's interesting (at least to me) despite the way it's sold: it seems to be marketed as if it's a book of interviews with me, but it's not (although two interviews with me bookend the book). It's much more interesting than that: it's Joe's interviews with a bunch of disparate people I've worked with, or am friends with, artists and editors and writers and musicians. Tori's in there alongside Alice Cooper, so's Jill Thompson and Charles Vess, so's Kim Newman and Tery Pratchett, Gene Wolfe and Yoshitaka Amano. Even Sam Kieth's in there. I wished there had been more room in the Hy Bender Sandman Companion for more points of view and more in depth conversation from the people who aren't me, so this is like the other half of that book.

(There's a limited hardback, that I signed a tipped-in sheet for, as Fantagraphics is donating a portion of their profits to the CBLDF, and a regular trade paperback. Here's the DreamHaven link to the books.)


Consider this the first of several reminders that THE COMICAL TRAGEDY OR TRAGICAL COMEDY OF MISTER PUNCH, A ROMANCE (to give it its full title), the radio play I adapted from the graphic novel, will be airing on BBC Radio 3 at 10:00 pm on Thursday the 3rd of March.

(It's what I was in the UK recording in November. You can read about it here:

If you're in the UK, you may want to listen to it live. If you're not in the UK, or you miss it, it'll be up on the web, and because THE WIRE is a monthly program, the good news is that it will remain up on the Radio 3 WIRE website for a month, starting after it's been broadcast -- Dave McKean just finished recording the music for it, and is extremely happy with it (I've not heard it yet). His original plan, to make the music up from a museum of mechanical music was defeated when the couple who owned the museum retired and closed it down.


Hello,I've been feeling very lonely, stressed, and depressed lately. I won't bore you with the details of all that, though. I think it's part of the artist's job description, or something.I just thought I'd ask if you have anything that could cheer me up a bit. Please? Maybe someone else reading your blog could use a cheer-up, too. Sincerely,a girl P.S. I'm the one who gave you that inked Death picture at the last Fiddler's Green panel. I hope it's enjoying it's new cozy spot in your basement.

One of my favourite living writers is a man named Jonathan Carroll. He's a marvellous writer, and a wise man. He has a wonderful website up at (and an article I did about him for his website at It has his blog on it, and articles and stories. It's a good place.

What no-one knows about Jonathan Carroll is that he is one of the people who finds goofy stuff on the web and sends it to his friends. This came in from him this morning, and while I'm expecting to see the Snopes debunking of it any minute, I shall post it because, you never know, it might cheer you up.

Meanwhile, keep making art.


Another remarkable writer is Steve Erickson (not to be confused with Steve Erikson, who is a completely different person). He has a new book coming out, Our Ecstatic Days, which is something to get excited about, and he'll be doing some signings for it. Go and tell him I said to say hi. Spread the word in book places.

Thursday, 17 February, 7:30
Barnes & Noble at the Grove in Los Angeles
in discussion with Michael Silverblatt
�Bookworm,� KCRW National Public Radio
(Our Ecstatic Days is the KCRW Book of the Month for February.)

Monday, 28 February, 7:00
A Clean Well Lighted Place in San Francisco

Tuesday, 1 March, 7:00
Cody�s Books in Berkeley

Tuesday, 8 March, 7:00
Dutton�s Books in Beverly Hills

Tuesday, 29 March, 7:30
Barnes & Noble at Astor Place in Manhattan

Saturday-Sunday, 23-24 April
Los Angeles Times Book Festival at UCLA


I've only ever written one aggrieved letter to a school, that I can think of. It was when my son came home from school about ten years ago with a guide to picking careers, explaining how much you made a year from different careers. It was a very odd document, but the thing that prompted me to write to the school was the information that full-time poets make $30,000 a year, and I wrote to the school asking them to explain how poets made this money, who paid them this, and what for. The school never replied.

Anyway, the mysteries of what SF and Fantasy writers make is being exposed to the glare of daylight at And no, I haven't done it because a) I'm not sure what my first novel was (Good Omens? Neverwhere?) and b) I was already a successful author when I started writing novels, so I suspect I'd skew the various figures unfairly.


An odd little haunting moment from an Excite news story about Mexican Indians being forced by gangs to abandon their traditional way of life and crops and grow drugs:

Aguilar said that the drug gangs had also intimidated some Indian communities into dropping traditional Holy Week Catholic Church rites to worship Jesus Malverde, the patron saint of the drug runners.

"The elements from Sinaloa are ... asking them to venerate the image of Malverde, the patron saint of the narcos, who is not recognized by the Church," Aguilar said.

From an American Gods point of view, I keep wondering how Jesus Malverde is coping with the enforced worship.

Hello Neil, I suppose you must have up-days and down-days when it comes to your blogging. Have you ever been tempted to resign the role, in the gracious manner of your fellow author Scarlett Thomas at ? Cheers Ken

No, but I can't blame anyone who goes out like that. I'm lucky -- I've had (I just checked, and this is sort of scary) over 35,000 messages in from people on the FAQ line since we started it, and I only remember a couple of poisonous ones, and maybe a dozen crazy ones.


My girlfriend has all your books. I want to give her something she won't have as a Valentine's Day Gift. Advice please? Blogging Dave. PS Not too expensive.

There's something very heartwarming about those last three little words, isn't there? Well, not knowing what she has or doesn't have, I'll suggest:

Harlequin Valentine because it's a Valentine's Day graphic novel, with lovely art by John Bolton, and it begins with a Harlequin pinning his heart to his beloved's front door.

A Walking Tour of the Shambles, because I wrote it with Gene Wolfe. It's a guide book to an unusual area of Chicago. I think it's funny. Or possibly disturbing. (I was going to link to the page for it, but seeing they've only got one copy and are selling it for $95 I'll point you at the publisher's site instead.)

Creatures of the Night -- two short stories (The Price and Daughter of Owls) with art by Michael Zulli. (He's currently adapting my story The Facts in the Case of the Disappearance of Miss Finch, and doing a wonderful job.)

Speaking in Tongues -- the most recent DreamHaven audio CD. Me telling stories. ( is me reading a poem called Instructions on that CD.)


...and no, it hadn't occurred to me that everybody would wave back. But I was pleased to hear that they had.