Thursday, August 18, 2005

The filling in of mystery initials

It looks like all the mysterious Beowulf initials I posted a few weeks ago have now been filled in:

Ray Winstone ("Sexy Beast") has signed on to play the title character and will be joined by Glover as Grendel and Jolie as Grendel's mother. Rounding out the cast are Anthony Hopkins, Robin Wright Penn, John Malkovich, Alison Lohman and Brendan Gleeson.

Someone sent me the story from English tabloid the Sun,,,2004580002-2005380375,00.html which left me marvelling at the Sun's casual use of the word eponymous while still not being able to spell Grendel.

Dear Neil, Very sorry to hear that you are coming to Denver on September 27th. Why? Because I have to go to Romania for 3 weeks for work! I have been so looking forward to meeting you, hearing you speak and read, and getting my hands on "Anansi Boys"!
I just called the Tattered Cover and they said that it was a "two book from home and as much from the store as you like" signing limit. I have both "Good Omens" (my favourite book in the whole world) and "American Gods" in hardback which I wanted to ask you to sign for me. But now, as I can't be there, I would need to ask my friend (a fellow fan) to get them signed. She has her own books she will want signed, so this is a cause for concern. Is this 2-book-from-home limit at all flexible? Or do I need to find a warm body to act as a stand in for me in the line?Best Regards, Debby

The warm body option is probably the most reliable. You will, of course, owe your friend who stood in line for ages for you but doesn't know who I am or read anything I've written, an enormous favour.

Having said that, you can assume that most of the bookshops on the tour will be happy to get a copy of Anansi Boys signed for you (and, for some of them at least, anything else of mine they sell) if you can't be there. (You just phone up with a credit card and order books before the signing and tell them you want them signed.) But still, they won't want to take delivery of your own books to get them signed.

Hi Neil, Just a quick note to let anyone know that there's a good interview with you at Powell's mean, I'm sure you're quite aware that it happened, but I was pleasantly surprised to find it.
I used my limited bookseller powers to get Anansi Boys, which (as if you needed more positive reviews) is a very good book indeed. I think you mentioned ages back that you were trying to write the sort of book people would treasure, and pass on to their friends and remember fondly. For what it's worth, I think you got there. One last thing: I know everything's up in the air and the work of a bestselling author is never done, etc, but is there much chance of a reading/signing or other -ing happening in Dublin for Anansi Boys? Or anywhere in Ireland, given that it's not really that big...Cheers,Eoin

I'm glad you liked it. Tell people... (I was long ago told, and firmly believe, that word of mouth is still the best way to get people to try new books.) (Which reminds me -- Gene Wolfe's short story collection Starwater Strains, and Margo Lanagan's collection Black Juice are both marvellous, and if you like short stories you should buy them and read them. And if you don't think you like short stories you should buy them and read them and find out how wrong you've been. End of word of mouth.)

I'll be coming to Dublin at the end of the UK tour -- probably around Nov 16th. I'll be coming in for Bloomsbury, not Headline, and the focus of the signings and interviews will be the illustrated MirrorMask children's book that Dave McKean and I have done, but obviously I'll happily talk about and sign Anansi Boys too.

Hi Neil,

I just wanted to update you on the date for ticket sales for your Vancouver event. Ticket will be on sale at the Writers Festival box office beginning September 19 (September 14 for members only). They will be available at Ticketmaster Sept 1. Sorry for any confusion.

Best regards,
Ann McDonell
Development & Marketing Manager
Vancouver International Writers Festival

Thanks, Ann.

Will the BBC re-broadcast "Signal to Noise" anytime soon?

Not as far as I know, but the adaptation I did for the BBC (starring Warren Mitchell) is available on CD with an extra chapter of art and story (in the CD booklet) from (it's the small blue face on the second row down, fifth from the left). You may also be able to order it from the DreamHaven Books site at

Is Dave McKean really working on The Vampire Lestat Musical?
Sincerely hoping,
Brianna, Southern California


Lots of people asking things like this one:

Dear Neil,

Is it all right if we bring you presents of food and/or drink to your signings (specifically, the one at Cody's on September 30)? If so, then what is your favorite kind of sushi?

While it's certainly true that there have been times when people bringing food has been a lifesaver, sometimes for me and sometimes for the people standing in the line waiting to see me, it's also really, honestly, probably not a good idea to bring sushi to signings. Long signings in warm bookshops... Consider me already grateful, but better to bring something that has less risk of giving the author food poisoning. The people at the place I'll be the following day will thank you...


I've been trying out lots of different spam blockers recently, as the volume of spam coming in has been getting worse every day, and I was convinced there had to be something better than Nortons, and better than Thunderbird, and having been disappointed by Qurb and Ella, I just started using Cloudmark Desktop, which is working like a charm. So I thought I'd stick in a happy a plug in for it here.


Hi Neil,

Thanks for sticking up for librarians!

It was disturbing to see that the city's chief librarian ordered the removal of the comics. If you read Denver Public's Collection Development Policy ( it says, "The Library upholds the right of the individual to secure information, though the content may be controversial, unorthodox, or unacceptable to others." More interestingly, Appendix 4, pg. 12, of the longer, PDF version says, "The item in question will not be pulled from the shelf during the reconsideration process."

Books are supposed to be innocent until proven guilty. The fact that the chief librarian has removed them before the review is very interesting (in a bad way). The librarians I know also firmly promote literacy in languages other than English. Denver PL's website can be read entirely in Spanish by clicking a button. It's sad, that from this article at least, DPL seems to be catering to a group opposed to a population they clearly try hard to serve.

Also, that article is very misleading. I looked up Endless Nights in Denver Public's online catalog and it is labeled as young adult. In library lingo, young adult or YA means teens (12 or 13 and above), and juvenile means 11 or 12 and under. And as you said, librarians typically divide books by age so as to be easy to find. Also, doing a search in their catalog of the fotonovelas listed in the article, the books are not cataloged as children's items, nor, according to the catalog are they shelved in the juvenile section, but rather in the "language" sections. Sigh. Hopefully this will get worked out and the comics will be put back where they belong.


I hope so. It's a pity that Young Adult is such a confusing catch-all sometimes, encompassing both twelve year olds (who would probably find Sandman boring and confusing and pointless) and eighteen year olds (who might well be ready for it).

Hi Neil,

I read your journal quite regularly. As a parent I especially enjoy your stories about the girls.

I don't normally write, but I noted that your book signing is on September 24th in DC at the Mall. It should be quite interesting. There's going to be a large anti-war gathering in DC at the the same time. Guess I'll be at both.

It should be a busy day in Washington DC.

How often do you update sections of your website such as 'Awards'? Seems to me I remember you winning a Hugo in 2004 for a Short Story...

Joel Lord
2004 World Science Fiction Convention Hugo Ceremony Stage Manager

Not often enough, obviously. And then I lose track of them, so if anyone notices awards that should be there, let me know. We'll try to get it updated in time for the site's upcoming regeneration...