Thursday, September 15, 2005

Cheap rats, toronto, etc

There was a general lack of comfort with the way things were being organised at the Toronto Signing, mostly with the bit of the signing that involved paying $15 for privilege of getting to have your books signed. It just seemed a bit dodgy. So Harper Canada have done their best to make people happy, and, as I understand it, now, your $15 ticket is good at the event for a $15 discount on books. So your ticket now subsidises your copy of ANANSI BOYS (or MIRRORMASK, or whatever else you get).

However, those of you on the other side of Canada, grumpy about spending your $15 in Vancouver are out of luck -- it's part of the Vancouver International Writers and Readers Festival, which is a good cause, and that's where the money's going. Anyway, according to the website -- -- it would cost you $100 to have lunch with Margaret Atwood, so I'm relatively cheap.

(I don't know why people would want to have lunch with writers. I've eaten with writers. We have appalling table manners, and rarely say anything other than "Pass the salt" or "If you're not going to eat that, can I have it?")


Hi Neil (ok, no Neily):

It's me again :) With another question. This one about seeing you!

I'm going to be coming from Jersey for the Union Square signing next week with my sis and a friend. After a very frustrating conversation with the events coordinator at B&N, I found out that instead of tickets, B&N will be giving out wristbands the afternoon of the signing. Wristbands will guarantee you a seat at the discussion and the chance to get some stuff signed by you. Only one wristband per person, no one can pick them up for you, and no, they will not mail them to out-of-state attendees.

That's fine if you live in New York. When I inquired what we commuting several hours into the city should do, I was answered with a very gracefully stated 'tough luck'.

The gentlemen said that he could not guarantee that those without wristbands would be able to get something signed - it's the author's discretion how long they choose to sign for.

Hence, my question: Neil, how long will you sign for? Am I about to take a 3 hour trip in vain? Are you going to only sign for the people with wristbands, or are you going to make sure everyone gets a chance? Should I punch their PR guy? Can I tell him I got permission from you to punch him?

I'm not judging you either way, I just want to know - I had a similarly dissapointing situation occur at the same B&N when me and my sis went up for Tori's signing, and I just want to know what to expect this time.

o, and answering all these questions? you rock.

admiration and thanks,
cynthia silvestri

I did not know what the answer was to this, so I asked my publicist at Harper Collins, Jack Womack (and people have asked if this is the same Jack Womack as the SF writer, and it is one and the same) who said,

Miwa Messer, the B & N national coordinator and I have spoken.

Wristbands will NOT be necessary for anyone to be guaranteed a seat or
an opportunity to have their books signed by Neil Gaiman at his ANANSI
BOYS launch event at Barnes & Noble, 33 E. 17th St., New York, NY,
September 20 beginning at 6 PM EDT. Anyone who comes the store will be
able to see and hear Neil (though available seats, as with any event,
will be on a first-come basis...), and be able to get on line and have
their books signed personally by him.

She further reconfirmed that the store will remain open for as long as
there are customers for whom to sign, and as long as you're able to
sign. There'll also of course be on hand pre-signed stock (those will
be the ones you do prior to the event)for anyone who is OK with just a
signature, or who needs to leave etc.

So that looks good.


Lots and lots of you have written in telling me that the reason the Quills Awards call a book named Marvel:1602 "Marvel 1602 Volume 1" is because Marvel has started doing a comic called "1602: New World", or suggesting other reasons why it might be sensible for Marvel to have called the book "Marvel 1602 Volume One".

I don't think that I explained myself properly. Marvel haven't called the book "1602: Volume one". The Quills award people have. But the name of the book that's nominated for the award is "Marvel 1602". That's what it says on the indicia and on the spine and on the front of the book. It's what Marvel called it. Thus, why the Quills awards have listed it as "Marvel 1602 Volume 1" when that is not the book's name, is really puzzling, and has nothing to do with whether or not Marvel have or will ever put out any other 1602 comics. (If that were the logic, they'd be listing American Splendor: My Movie Year as American Splendor Volume Nine [or whatever it technically is]...) Does that make sense? What's odd is that they've changed the actual title of the book nominated for the award.

I do hope the Quills will fix the name of the book. And possibly, while they're at it, put up a precis that indicates that someone actually had time to read the book they're describing. If you're trying to do a Big Impressive Award you ought to do things professionally, if you want to be taken seriously, and I think they very much want that.


Last month I mentioned that every article I'd seen about the Beowulf movie I wrote with Roger Avary had been written by people who had obviously neither read the script nor spoken to anyone who had. Here's an article -- by someone who has probably actually got hold of a copy of the original script by Roger and I, and who is also being good about spoilers.


Hi Neil,

I was wondering if you can work out what's happening with the release of the Mirrormask Really Useful Book in the UK?

I see that is available in the US and I've seen it advertised on a couple of on-line stores as being in stock. Yet when I search for it on Amazon (.com and it doesn't exist. I tried my local bookshop and they can't find any record of it existing in either their's or Diamond's system.

Is there going to be a UK release? I was hoping it would make a perfect birthday present for a friend in a couple of weeks but it looks like I'm not going to get it in time. (A signed copy would be even better).

I asked Forbidden Planet in London and was told All our FPs have the item, and it's on our core list - will be reordered when stocks hit minimum level. If the person doesn't live near one of our FPs, our mail order is reachable at It's probable that most of the other comics/SF specialist shops in the UK have it as well.

Hi Neil,

When I was younger, i bought a "leatherbound" copy of Seasons of Mist. It had a gold key sort of engraved on the front. It was the first work of yours that i ever read. The cover caught my eye, and I was hooked since. I let a friend borrow it, and naturally we lost touch, and I never saw it again. It was very dear to me, because it was wat introduced me to my now favorite author. I recently started looking for that copy again, and I can't seem to find it anywhere. I may just not be looking properly, or maybe it was a very limited run. i am not sure. I was wondering if you could maybe point me in the right direction, because i would really love to have it again.


I'm afraid that edition is long since sold out -- your best bet is eBay or a used bookseller --
is a good place to start looking. It can be pricy for the first edition, but there was also a Book Club version, exactly the same axcept for the publishing details (and if memory serves, they ran out of imitation leather toward the end of the print run, and went over to a sort of reddish vinyl).


Over at Slaughterhouse Studios, Lisa Snellings is having a brief sale on her rats: the details. You can get a Neil Rat, a Harlan Rat, a Lovecraft Rat, a Poe Rat, or any other rats astoundingly cheaply, for a short time. (You can see them all at


And finally, you may remember me talking last week about my day of interviews with Dave McKean last week. You can read one such interview up at It's an odd thing about spending an entire day being asked questions. After a while you answer with perhaps more honesty than you should. I suppose I must have said, And the other thing is Hollywood executives really love the smell of their own urine and what they really like doing is urinating on things. And then going, "Hmm, now this smells really good" and being really puzzled when the rest of the world goes "No, actually it smells like pee." I must have said it. It sounds like me, after all.