Monday, June 26, 2006


It was twenty one years ago that I was woken up at about eight-thirty one morning by Mary, my wife, letting me know that she was in labour and that she had already phoned the maternity hospital to let them know, and we were leaving now. And, possibly because I seemed rather agitated by all this information, she said she thought it might really be better if she drove and I timed the contractions. We owned an elderly, tiny yellow MG midget at the time, which she fitted herself into somehow, and she drove us like a maniac through tiny curving Sussex backroads to get to the Maternity Hospital, while I timed the contractions and worried.

I'd somehow got it into my head that the baby would be a girl, and, after the kind of long and protracted negotiations that normally result in the drawing up of borders in Eastern European principalities, we'd settled on "Gemma" as a name.

We pulled up in front of the hospital by nine, and by about ten I was amazed and delighted to find myself proudly holding a small, baldish, grey-eyed baby who seemed to be taking in everything that was going on and had a very sober look on her face, as if she wasn't quite sure whether she entirely approved of any of it.

"She doesn't really look like a Gemma," I thought. "Bugger." I checked. Mary didn't think she looked much like a Gemma either.

And I drove home pondering the naming issue, with Lou Reed's Walk on the Wild Side running through my head.

Somewhere in there twenty one years went by, and I continue to be amazed and delighted by her, and really most appallingly proud. Right now she's on a different continent beavering away...

Happy 21st Birthday Holly.


Dear Neil,

Thank you for responding to my question and for clarifying your statements. When I read your post I was under the impression that you were linking Randy Constan's website to the paedophilia controversy surrounding Alan Moore's "Lost Girls", and obviously, this worried me. I agree that Randy is not an "innocent bystander" in that he IS publicly displaying an unconventional take on Peter Pan, but I will maintain that he is an "innocent bystander" in the paedophilia debate going on with "Lost Girls". Many people (including high school bullies) immediately assume that gay or effeminate men are paedophiles or child molesters, and I was sincerely concerned that you were (perhaps unwittingly) propagating this mentality. This also confused me because I'm familiar with your (and Alan Moore's) contributions to the wonderful "AARGH" benefit comic book. It's a relief to know that this isn't a case of serious mixed signals, and that you were only linking it to Alan Moore 's possible Peter Pan-related legal problems, and not to anything else.

Thank you for keeping us posted on all of the press (both positive and negative) "Lost Girls" is receiving. I feel that we (especially in the US) need to maintain a mature and open-minded discourse in the topic of sex and sexuality, and I hope that "Lost Girls" can be a catalyst for this.


David McHale

Not a problem. It hadn't occurred to me it might be taken that way.

Dear Mr. Gaiman,

I am a co-editor for a magazine called BBT Magazine (Blood, Blade, & Thruster – The Magazine of Speculative Fiction & Satire), with it’s first issue to hit the stands in Mid-August.
I am writing with the hopes that you would be willing to do a brief e-mail based Q&A. Some questions will be fairly silly since we are combination of satire and Spec-Fic. (Think Realms of Fantasy meets The Onion.)

“10 questions with Neil Gaiman,” would be lovely if you are willing. We would simply email them to you and you could reply the same way.

If you don’t think you would have time for that, “5 questions with Neil Gaiman,” has a nice ring to it. Slightly better than, “Neil Gaiman answers one question!”

If you decide not to take part in or Q&A interview, I suppose we could do something like “Neil Gaiman snubs tiny little start-up magazine, crushing the lungs of editors and fans alike!” on the cover, although it sells far less magazines and we would be reduced to tears.

We have a link to your website on our website already because we truly are huge fans. This would be a real coup for our little magazine and we hope you’ll consider taking part.

Besides, think of all the good Karma you’d receive from helping troglodytes such as ourselves.

Thanks you so much for your time,
Lucien Spelman Editor, BBT Magazine

The sad thing is yours wasn't the only FAQ line request for a five-question email interview yesterday. There were four others, and I actually wound up saying yes to the Spanish one because I've not done a Spanish interview in ages, whereas I've done lots of US interviews, many for little start-up magazines. So this is a sorry for you, and for the other three requests for interviews from yesterday, and all the ones that came in last weeka nd last month that I haven't even had time to say no to. Good luck with the magazine, though.

Probably the best way to get an interview with me is to go to Harper Collins (or Headline or Bloomsbury in the UK) and let them know you'd like an interview the next time I go on the road or head out to promote a new book (it'll be in September this year in the US, for Fragile Things). And then there will be a few days in which I'll do nothing but interviews.

Dear Neil,I know you know about the Sultan's Elephant - if you were sorry you missed it in London, and want to catch it somewhere, it said in the Guardian yesterday that it will be in Antwerp (Belgium) from 6 – 9 July, and then in Calais at the end of September and Le Havre at the end of October. Just gorgeous, it is. Lorna.


And more on librarians and food next post, I think.