Sunday, April 24, 2005

more from the mailbag...

Okay -- I've got e-mail (backlogged, so it arrived by the ton). And I should be typing the TV thing, but I have another 20 minutes before the "Internet Access Pass" thing runs out, so I shall answer questions instead.

Hello! I wonder, why is Svankmajer's Faust one of your "not favourite" films? That filmic opinion aside, (for Brazil's a fave of mine as well) please know I think you are an excellent writer and one whom I would write all sorts of obsessively fan-like things to, if I did not already know how inundated with such writings it seems you can be!Utter sincerities,Charlie P!

Er, because it's not? Svankmajor's ALICE is definitely one of my favourite films, and Conspirators of Pleasure would probably make it into the lower reaches of my top thirty favourite films. But I think I wanted more from his Faust than it delivered. I love moments from it, but it's not "one of my favourite films". Doesn't mean I disliked it.

Hello, "Sheepdog-haired" Neil I was re-reading Smoke and Mirrors, and i found something there. You said you were working on the Beowulf movie. Well, weren�t you doing that now?! And, am i mistaken, or did Chritopher Lambert already done a Beowulf movie (which was waaaay too bizarre!!).And i didn�t quite understand what Mirrormask is. Is it a book, movie, tv-series, comic book?well, i can�t wait to read Anansi Boys, so yeah...we fans are very glad you already finished it.take good care...and get a hair cut, mate.your fanRafael

Same film. I wrote the first draft, with Roger Avary for Roger to direct, in May 1997, and it was very nearly made back then. Roger started to put it together again last year as a film for him to direct, but Robert Zemeckis, who loved the script, made us an offer we couldn't refuse, and now Mr Z is the director, and the film is on schedule to be released on Oct 2007.

As far as I know, the Lambert film had the word Beowulf in the title, but has nothing else in common with the story. The upcoming Beowulf and Grendel looks much more faithful and interesting. Our Beowulf is going to be a big, motion-capture film spanning fifty years.

MirrorMask is a film. There's a beautiful book of the script-with-1700 Dave McKean Storyboard illustrations (not to mention e-mails from me to Dave, song lyrics, introductions, afterwords, etc) coming out next week from Morrow, and then in September, when the film will be released in the US, there will be an Art book, and a smaller picture book of MirrorMask (I got to read the finished version of the children's book last night, with all Dave's new illustrations and photos and design stuff, and it's really cool and odd and made me happy).

Mr. Gaiman,I was simply curious as to whether or not you knew who would be doing the audio book reading of ANANSI BOYS. Here's hoping it's you -- I loved your reading of CORALINE. Matthew

Assuming that we can all make our schedules happen, and that Harper Audio and Lenny's management can make it work, it will be the very lovely Mr Lenny Henry (who has, I hope, recovered from his cold).

Hi, Neil. Are you really going to be in the Philippines? This isn't a joke, is it? Will you be having a signing session here? If yes, which bookstore? - Anna L.

Unless something huge happens to upset everything, I'll be in Singapore, the Philippines and Australia in July. I'll know my movements, what's happening on Death, and suchlike for sure in a couple of weeks, and should be able to announce the entire tour schedule then. So have patience. But it's definitely not a joke. (Wouldn't be a very funny one if it was, would it?)

Dear Mr. Gaiman,I was looking for banners to link to your site, but I don't quite like the banners you have put up. I was wondering if it could be possible to:a) either update the banners/ put more banners on your siteb) make a banner myself (I was thinking of creating a banner based on the Coraline cover, would that be a violation of copyright?)I hope it's not a stupid question. *blush*Kind regards,Joyce

It's not stupid at all. We're planning lots of new banners for when Anansi Boys comes out and the whole website is overhauled and redesigned. (Which is getting more and more important because there are so many interesting things to read on the site that there aren't really any easy links to any longer. I mean, not even the webmistress Julia and I know what's here any longer...) But feel very free to make banners. Send a link when you have and I'll try and mention it here.

Hi Neil,

Please forgive the length of this e-mail, as I'm trying to get a handle on an idea and would really appreciate your feedback if you have the time. Like most folks who fill up your inbox, I'm a fan of your work. I've been reading since I was half the age I am now (30), primarily The Sandman series and Good Omens. I have also enjoyed the intersections between your work and Tori's.

I am currently at University, studying communication and rhetoric. My dissertation topic revolves around how people construct identity and community in their blogs. One of my sections deals with celebrity and blogging, and I'm writing a paper about how the structural features and biases associated with the genre alter the enactment of both individual and communal identity. In English, that means I'm looking at how people design their blogs to see if/how they alter community and identity.

The cases I'm looking at are your blog and Wil Wheaton's blog. I chose them because you are both celebrities who take their celebrity in stride, have loyal fans, and have mentioned reading each other's blog. The part where you two differ greatly is in the structure of your blog. Wil allows comments on his blog posts, while you post reader questions and your responses. Commenting is not allowed on your blog, although you do provide a separate bulletin board for discussion and there is a lot of chatter over at your syndication on LiveJournal where everyone assumes that you never read it. From what I can tell, you don't write responses on the bulletin board or in LiveJournal.

I was wondering if there was any reason you decided against allowing comments or if you ever even considered it. I've searched all over your site and the Internet, and I can't seem to find an answer. I realize that there is a certain amount of control you can have over the conversations that take place in your blog by not allowing comments, but I'm not convinced that's the reason why you don't have comments - although it is an interesting after effect. My guess is that this is how the publisher set your blog up to begin with, and you're used to this convention from answering fan mail before you had the blog. Also, while Wil calls his blog a "blog," you refer to yours as a "journal," and typically, journals don't have comments because they are usually reports/reflections of some sort. How has the choice worked for you? Do you plan to use comments in the future? I've read your reply about asking someone to create an FAQ for the LiveJournal folks who think they're replying to you, but other than that I'm not sure how you feel about all of this. If you have the time, I'd love to know the real reasons so I'm not just throwing darts at warm butter.


Mostly, it has to do with the fact that a) it evolved this way over the last four years and it seems to work, and b) I've been part of online communities a few times over the last two decades -- primarily Compuserve in the late 80s and Genie in the early 90s -- and I know how much time it takes to do it properly.

I can just about manage to find the time to keep this blog/journal/diary/thing as a monologue with a certain amount of question-answering whenever I can fit it in. I wouldn't have the time to devote to it if each post became a dialogue, and in the blogs I admire that do have response structures (Teresa Nielsen Hayden's marvellous Making Light for example) the feedback-interaction is where all the interesting stuff happens. has its message board over at which I feel discharges my karmic wossname.)