Friday, October 21, 2005

Maddy decided that in the run-up to Hallowe'en she...

Maddy decided that in the run-up to Hallowe'en she wanted to watch a scary movie, "But not, like, you know Dad, the Boston Chainsaw Massacre or something," so we're currently sitting and watching The Innocents, which is significantly less disturbing than America's Next Top Model, Maddy's second-favourite TV show.

Really interesting review in Melbourne's The Age. I definitely got the sense when I was out there last time that Australia was a bit behind the US and the UK in its understanding and acceptance of fantasy (despite having several of the best fantasists and fabulists currently writing out there), but I was still astonished that any reviewer would feel the need to start a review with,

THERE is a problem with "genre". All enveloping terms such as crime or science fiction are anathema to many. They're not serious fiction. Regardless of the grudging acceptance by the literary world of James Ellroy or William Gibson, commercial classification remains a stigma.
The worst one of all is that horrific appellation fantasy, a world definitely for dweebs or, at best, "young adults".

the review that follows is extremely positive, which is nice. But it still seems strange.

Hi. I just finished reading Anansi Boys I liked it quite a bit. Its also whetted my appitite for more Anansi stories. One thing is bothering me though, I don't know if someone has asked you this already or not but here goes. On page 145 Fat Charlie recalls the lines of a poem he read in school, "The Assyrian came down like a wolf on the fold... And his cohorts were gleaming in purple and gold." He then has trouble remembering what cohorts are. Now the week before reading Anansi Boys I read Terry Pratchett's Going Postal. On page 169 of the Harper paperback edition I read, "The postman came down like a wolf on the fold, His cohorts all gleaming in azure and gold..." and then a character mentions thinking that cohorts meant something different than it actually does. So are you and Terry Pratchett part of some Byron quoting club or something?

No, we just have heads that go to similar places sometimes, I think.

I'm pretty sure though that I ran into the couplet from the poem first quoted somewhere else, by someone else, long before I knew it was Byron (Kipling, perhaps?) -- but it's the kind of couplet that people tend to ponder.

Ogden Nash did it best (


Part three of (probably) four parts of Peter Sanderson's extended essay on Anansi Boys is up at .


Hello, Neil! I have a question in regards to "Stardust." After borrowing "Stardust" from the library, I have read it, and it was excellent. However, I have not yet bought the book, because I am kind of confused about the different editions. I know one is illustrated by Charles Vess, and this is the version originally published. Is the text in this version identical to the unillustrated version in its entirety? Thank you, and best of luck with the coming tour in the UK and Ireland. Aaron

I think there are a couple of sentences here and there in the text-only version of Stardust that were cut from the illustrated version because of space, and one -- about a badger's heliotrope dressing gown -- that was cut because when Charles drew the badger he forgot to put in the dressing gown.

NEIL. i just learned that dakota fanning is the voice of "coraline." no one, not even you, can describe how great that is. the fact that coraline will be on the big screen is incredible. but my question is this: since Henry Selick ("Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas," "James and the Giant Peach") is writing (NOT YOU?) and directing the film, and Bill Mechanic is producing it, HOW MUCH INFLUENCE AND INVOLVMENT WILL YOU HAVE? IT BETTER BE ALOT!! YOU HAVE TO MAKE SURE THEY DO IT RIGHT!!!!!

Honestly, unless you're actually directing the film, the best influence and involvement you can hope for is to have picked good people to make the film in the first place and cross your fingers that they get it right and don't die or get fired. (There's a film I'm listed as an Executive Producer on, based on something I created, which they apparently no longer send me scripts for, and the last script I did see bore so little resemblance to the thing I created that I suggested, without rancour, that they change the name of the film and the lead character in order not to confuse people.)

It's hard enough for the writer of a film to have any say in what happens the day it starts shooting, a million times more so for the writer of the original material.

In the case of Coraline, the film is Henry Selick's, and I have an enormous amount of confidence in Henry. The artwork I've seen so far has been excellent, I've heard some They Might Be Giants Songs I really liked.

And my fingers are crossed.


My assistant, the Fabulous Lorraine, is off at her initial CD release party tonight: She'll be doing a signing, with Malena, her band partner, at Dark Delicacies in LA next week, looking, I suspect, nothing like what she does when making me tea and arranging travel. I've offered to presign a bunch of CDs for them.