Thursday, August 25, 2005

cats in boxes etc

I walked in to the office last night to find my daughters (aged 10 and 20) both transfixed by Glen Feron's Art of Retouching website. They would click on individual photographs, and mouse on them to see the original photo, mouse off to look at the photoshopped version that appeared in the advert or the magazine, and watch as human beings, with all the saggy bits that human beings have, would reshape or change into vessels of pure desire. I'm not sure that they'll ever believe in photographs ever again, and that can only be a good thing. ( for the curious.)

Today I made the first batches of salsa, all with stuff from the garden. (And store-bought limes.) I made five kinds: hot, medium, mild, Maddy Mild, and Green...

Let's see.

A few of you wrote and were puzzled about the MP3 CD nature of Anansi Boys. I thought I'd explained it before, but...

ANANSI BOYS as performed by Lenny Henry will be coming out in various audio formats (one of which I can't tell you about until I get an okay and the product is launched, and which I'm only mentioning here so I don't forget about it, and in fact seeing you have no idea what I'm talking about I might just as well delete this entire parenthetical comment).

It'll be out in audio CD, on about ten CDs. (Here's an Amazon link to see what it looks like.) This will be available in the US and also in the UK.

It'll be out in MP3 CD -- only two CDs. (Again, an Amazon link. It's similar to the other, but not the same. It's a bit harder to find on Amazon, but is now listed at

It'll be up on and iTunes, irritating people all around the world who can't download it for reasons of international rights sales and suchlike.

And it'll be in the mysterious format alluded to parenthetically above, which I'm not allowed to say anything about, probably not even that it shares a zippy sort of name with a classic English children's TV show.

(As I type this, by the way, the MP3 of Lenny reading track one has been downloaded 6,351 times.)

Also, I just noticed that the page has a small video clip of me talking about Anansi Boys on it --

WHich leads us to...

Hi Neil.
Downloading the first chapter of Anansi boys now, and it's prompted me to ask you something that's been bothering me for a while. How come much of your work that's available in audio format isn't available in the UK? I've ordered the Audio Collection, and Two Plays for Voices from the US and I know Anansi Boys will be available from Amazon, but why is it that I could download the files if I was in the States, but I can't here in sunny Swansea. And, more importantly, are there any plans to change this?
Thanks for the books, the blog, and for regularly putting a smile on my face!

Well, the Lenny Henry Anansi Boys will be available from Headline. The me-reading-Coraline wasn't available because Bloomsbury went with the Dawn-French-reading-Coraline option.

Bloomsbury really liked the Neil Gaiman Audio Collection and have mentioned wanting to do it, or at least the track on it of me reading THE DAY I SWAPPED MY DAD FOR TWO GOLDFISH. Not sure where that's at.

There are a few downloadable tracks over at -- the Dreamhaven site -- where they've put up a sample track from each of the Spoken Word CDs I did for them (Warning:Contains Language, Telling Tales and Speaking in Tongues.) Mostly what it would take to get the stuff out in the UK is someone who wants to release it, I suspect.

Then again... i am writing to you. to complain! yes, to complain. you said you were thinking of making approximately 90 pages available on mp3? well, you suck! everyone who gets to hear 90 pages sucks! i'm profoundly deaf and quite profoundly Deaf as well--sorry, had to throw in cultural props--and covetous of a pair of ears that work for 90 pages of neil.

is there any way those 90 pages could be made available for those of us whose cilia/cochlea/hammer-anvil-stirrup/other ear parts have decided on early retirement?

thanks bunches!


p.s. your daughters certainly delight!--thanks for sharing them.

The audio track I posted is closer to 9 pages than 90, honest. But you can certainly read it -- go to and you'll find most of the first chapter posted. You'll read more than people listening to track one will hear, anyway.

Hi Neil,

Sorry to be so ridiculously picky, and I'm sure you probably already know this - but the cat is actually both alive AND dead - rather than "neither-one-nor-the-other". There's a subtle but crucial difference...


You're quite right. The cat is both. On the other hand, until it gets to the final draft and typed and is sent off and accepted, the story's neither. So really it wasn't much of an analogy at all. Oh well. (The story is currently typed, went out to a dozen trustworthy and intelligent readers who have mostly written back with sensible comments, all of which are gelling and occasionally arguing in my head, and tomorrow I'll do the last draft and send it to Mr Strahan and he will decide whether it was ever alive in the first place.)

(And no, having sold lots of short stories and got awards for them and suchlike doesn't make me any more confident about something I've just written -- it just adds a new worry, of "what if it's awful but the editor takes it anyway?", something I try and avoid by working with editors I trust to reject stories they don't like...)

Where is this mystical information about your UK dates??? Am I just being painfully blind? I need advance warning to bunk off my Yoga class.

The moment I get it I'll put it up. Promise.

I thought you might appreciate this it is the website of a friend of mine who is attempting to sell poetry as a fund raiser. When she told me the idea it made me happy about the world and I immediately told all the literary loving people that I knew, sadly this list was very short, so then I thought Neil Gaiman might think this is cool. Actually, that is a lie I then went on with my life and did not think about it for several weeks until I was puttering around in your blog, then I had that thought.

It was that last burst of honesty, really, that got me to go and look at it. And it really is a fun idea. Personally, I think she's undercharging on sestinas, though. Tricky little buggers, sestinas...


And I was thrilled to see that Dennis Kitchen got an article about his life and work: I've been a fan of Dennis's since the Comix Book days, and a friend of his for about fifteen years, and I never got to congratulate him here for getting the CBLDF "Defender of Liberty" award. For eighteen years he was chairman of the board of the CBLDF and was the voice of sanity. Now he's retired to just do five full-time jobs, I also hope he'll draw more...

Damn. I'm falling asleep. I'll wrap everything else up tomorrow then...