Sunday, October 30, 2005

Deniable reporting

A positive review of Anansi Boys over at albeit one with some very odd assumptions and strange and silly sentences. For example, in the first paragraph we learn that Science fiction and fantasy writers especially took to [Joseph] Campbell because he allowed them to see themselves not as dime-store hacks but as working in the tradition of the Viking sagas and Beowulf. It's possible, I suppose, but I've never met any such people, and I've known a lot of SF and Fantasy writers. (Then again, I actually have been working in the tradition of Beowulf recently, and there's even a book about me, the Sandman and Joseph Campbell, so what do I know?) It's now the third review to mention Lewis Hyde's Trickster Makes This World, which is reason enough for me to try and find a copy at some point, if I remember.

There's another interesting Anansi Boys review over at Rain Taxi -- -- and there's lots more interesting stuff online and in their print edition at

The definitive STUDIO 360 Interview with me is still up at for free, although it's also up for sale at iTunes and at . (Anansi Boys, read by Lenny Henry is also up for sale at iTunes -- here's the URL, but it only works if you're in the US, I think-- and And on CD and MP3 CD.)

The Japanese edition of Stardust just arrived, with a poster folded in it. I looked carefully at all the books up on, so I could post the cover here, but it doesn't seem to have shown up there yet.

I'm looking very hard for the song you once wrote about Martha Soukup... I live in Israel (you met me at the signing in Washington :P) and there's nothing to be found about her, about her books and about your song. Personally, I heard it in the movie made in your tour from about five years ago. Where CAN I find this song? I'm desperate!

Well, the Live at the Aladdin video is now an extra on A Short Film About John Bolton. You can find the poem as the introduction to Martha's collection of short stories, The Arbitrary Placement of Walls, and I'm pretty sure it's also in my collection of oddments, Adventures in the Dream Trade.

Dear Neil, If I buy one of your books from a bookseller or another retailer that's discounted from the usual retail price, does that mean you get less money? Or do you get the same amount of money as if I bought a copy at full price?Thanks Nicolai

It depends on how discounted it is and where you get it from and what kind of agreement they have with the publisher. But I'd not worry about it.


I wasn't going to talk here about the online story that Angelina Jolie had walked off the set of Beowulf because she was fighting with Ray Winstone, because it just wasn't true and I didn't want to spread it. But now that it seems to have made the papers all over the world (from to or and people are writing in to ask me about it, I suppose I ought to say something, as I assume that people reading it are going to be going "there's no smoke without fire". But this one is all smoke.

Beowulf's ahead of schedule; Angelina Jolie, when I met her last week (on her first day of shooting and after the first stories had already come out claiming she'd shut down the production) was there on time (after a 5:30 am pick-up) and was really nice and acting her heart out with Crispin Glover and Ray Winstone.

According to some sources from the set, Angelina was so furious that she told the producers she refuses to work any more with Winstone unless he says sorry.

"It's left poor Robert Zemeckis (director) in an awful position. Most of Angelina and Ray's scenes also feature Anthony Hopkins, John Malkovich and Crispin Glover, so Robert risks losing these big names unless he reconciles the feuding pair," a source was quoted by

Which is all very convincing -- except that Anthony Hopkins and John Malkovitch had already wrapped their stuff and gone home a couple of weeks ago, while Ray and Angelina's scenes only have the two of them in, which means, Watson, that the "source" hasn't read the script, knows nothing of the shooting schedule, and isn't involved with the film in any way, not even distantly.

The theory on the set was that one of the gossip magazines had planted the story online so they could then deniably "report it", which is as credible as any other, I suppose. Anyway, feel free to point people here if they tell you Beowulf's been shut down.