Sunday, May 14, 2006

tabs. also mothers.

It's mother's day! Happy mothers to you all. (Also happy my little sister's birthday and happy cricket day.)

I need to close a bunch of tabs, so lots of things in no particular order.

Given some of the recent silliness in the news about the Catholic Church and the DaVinci Code movie, I was pleased to read this article about Brother Guy Consolmagno, the Vatican's Astronomer, being sensible on other issues -- (Brother Guy was last seen in this journal when I read a book of his essays Gene Wolfe gave me.)

A Thea Gilmore blog entry on the album-of-songs-inspired-by-stuff-i-made-up, and the Dancing Ferret info page -- if you preorder from them, you get it two weeks before it officially ships.

Here's a little gallery of WOLVES IN THE WALLS shots -- they're nice, although they now look to me very much like what they are, photos taken at the dress rehearsal. Everything got smoother, funnier, more satisfying as it went on.

Cody's in Telegraph Avenue is closing. This makes me very sad. I'm not planning to do very much signing at all for FRAGILE THINGS when it comes out in the Autumn, but I'm hoping to do two Bay Area signings, one for Cody's and one for Keplers.

Ellen Datlow's photos of the Nebula Awards weekend -- I wasn't there very long, but there's a photo of me in a suit talking to Gary Wolfe, just before going in to present Harlan Ellison with his Grand Master award. You can't miss it. I'm just above Margo Lanagan.

A paragraph from the Guardian that seemed to have strayed into reality from a fiction of some kind,
Mr McKinnon is accused of hacking into thousands of American military computer systems between 2001 and 2002, actions which prosecutors say cost hundreds of thousands of pounds in damage. Mr McKinnon, who achieved the feat from his bedroom using relatively low-tech methods, told the Guardian that he had been looking for information on UFOs.

Hi Neil,

I am happy you are back in your own bed. It's the one great thing about being away from home.... falling into your own bed.

Anyways, over at LiveJournal there is a community called "foundphotos" and there is this which I thought you would find amusing and I wonder if you remember that at all?

:) cheers!
Los Angeles, CA

I do remember that. It just seemed... appropriate, I suppose.

It's hard sometimes explaining the difference between films and books to people, and the role of the writer in each. Here's a fun LA TIMES article by someone from films who strayed into books.

Dear Neil,

I heard you had a new boof coming out some time soon called Fragile Things, and I saw the cover mock up at the livejournal feed of your weblog. I've looked around your website, but maybe I'm just retarded because I can't find any sort of information on when this book's coming out or what it's going to be about.

Is there a section on your website, or any other site, about this book?


Michael L.

I have such mixed feelings about On the one hand, there are many good bookstores that are going out of business because of them. On the other hand, I remember my puzzlement, moving to the US, at the total absence of bookshops in many medium-sized towns -- I suddenly understood how the US could have a population over six times the UK's, but didn't sell six times as many books. On the third hand, I watched a local bookshop go out of business, run by a man who sat gloomily in the middle of the shop trying to ignore people, where they didn't sell paperback bestsellers because, he said, he didn't want those sort of people coming into his shop, and when he closed his door for the final time he put a "BLAME AMAZON.COM" note on it, which seemed rather unfair. And on the fourth hand (paw? tentacle?) AMAZON is a remarkably useful database for things like this. Indeed, a google of "gaiman fragile things" took me to this page. Does that help?

Re - cover of Fragile things

You know I wish just once publishing companies would ask booksellers what actually works when they are doing cover designs. Yes the cover looks gorgeous - but as with all covers that use that translucent paper - it will only look gorgeous until it has been sitting in a bookshop for a week after which time it will be covered in dirty fingerprints and the paper will be all tatty round the edges. That is of course assuming that it makes it into and out of the delivery boxes without being trashed.

Secretly I think publishers do it because then they can reject returns on the grounds that the book has not been returned in reasonable condition...when it has only actually been touched by about 3 people.

Whinge over...


Kent, UK

Not to worry, Suze. The UK FRAGILE THINGS cover is not translucent at all, and has a leaf on it.

I honestly don't think that publishers like it when easily trashed books come out. We had one badly designed US paperback edition of Stardust (the first, designed according to Barnes and Noble specifications, by the way. They hadn't liked the original design, and insisted that things be done to make it look "more like a best-seller". Which may be one reason publishers shrink from asking booksellers for input) which was so easily ripped and torn (it turned out you could render the book unsellable just by putting it into or pulling it out of a shelf) that, as the 90% returns began, the publisher gritted its teech and recalled the whole print-run of several hundred thousand books, and pulped it. And did a redesign. They would much rather have sold all those books.

Complaints also came in from a librarian because librarians put white-paper-backed liners around the dustcover, and it was pointed out that the art beneath will vanish like that, and a request for a Library Edition with a non-translucent cover, which I'll pass on to Morrow.

And I'm sorry to both of you -- but you can blame me, not the publisher. The translucent dustcover idea was mine, because I'd loved it when Dave McKean did it on the original hardback of DEATH: THE HIGH COST OF LIVING. Fingers crossed that it works.

Hi Neil

Unfortunatly I can't make it to the Sydney's Writers festival. But you mention 4 other Australian "things". Could you please fill us Aussie fan's in as to when and where we could see you?

Thanks Heaps!
We love you down here!


Sorry, Léon. I meant there were four other events at the Sydney Writer's Festival with me on them, not four other Australian events. The festival is bringing me in this time, and time is so tight that I couldn't work out a way to do a trip anywhere in Australia to do anything else. I arrive in Sydney, do Festival stuff, jump on a plane back to the US on the friday morning, fly for a day and get to Balticon on Friday afternoon...

Finally, The Carl Brandon society is fundraising. If you have the opportunity, and want to support diversity and the visibility of readers and writers of color in science fiction, fantasy, and related genres, please consider making a contribution. Information at along with ways to donate.