Tuesday, August 29, 2006

marauding packs of deadlines and Jason Flemyng naked

I'm on deadline. Actually it's worse than that -- I'm on deadline on several things, which means I can't simply fall off the earth for a few days and wrap up whatever's late, because there are other things to do as well. (Deadlines sometimes run in packs, damn it.)

So I'm mostly working down at the bottom of the garden, not doing much email, my phone turned off. (This is being typed by me in bed before getting up in the morning, while also on the phone, and put together from an unfinished blog post from the last few days.)

I recently heard someone discussing Peter Beagle's work. They mentioned that they didn't like The Last Unicorn because they felt it tried too hard to emulate your style without succeeding.

I have to ask, were you really that good as an eight-year-old?

(I quite like your work, incidentally. I just found the comment a little odd, and thought I'd share it with you.)

I don't think the world at large has quite mastered the concept of the copyright page and the publication date, or certain individuals in it haven't, anyway. I first realised this about seven years ago when I got the outraged letters from fans of Harry Potter [first book published 1997] accusing me of having ripped him off for Tim Hunter in Books of Magic [first book published 1989].

I'm sure that there are probably similarities between my writing and Hugo Award winner Peter Beagle's, but then, I've been reading Peter Beagle since I was eight (his essay, "Tolkien's Magic Ring" in The Tolkien Reader) and I'm flattered by the comparison.


The book "Stardust" happens to be one of my favorite books and I cannot help but to be excited that you are turning it into a film, nonetheless it was very exciting to see a brief cast list where I saw Jason Flemyng's name....he is my favorits actor and I couldn't believe that my favorite book and my favorite actor were going to be somehow "involved," is it working with Mr.Flemyng??

Lee K AKA Cheeky American

I first met Jason Flemyng on the street in Soho last November. I was standing with a suitcase. A car drew up across the road, and a man got out, dashed over to me and said, "You're Neil Gaiman. You're waiting for Matthew Vaughn. He's late. I'm Jason Flemyng. He told me to come and say hello. I've read the Stardust script. Matthew says you and he and Jane are working on it this weekend. Tell him to cast me as Primus." And he kept chatting until Matthew finally turned up, when, with a final reminder that, when the movie got made, he looked forward to playing Primus, he got back in his car and went away.

It felt like I'd known him all my life.

Which is why I'm posting a picture from the Stardust set, snuck by cellphone, showing Lord Primus in the bath at the Witch's Inn. Or Jason Flemyng on set. Your choice.

Hi Neil,

Which sf/fantasy magazines should a short story writer send her work to? I'm just wondering which mags you consider the most popular, or "respected", or accepting of new writers.


I have no idea. I've been published in Fantasy and Science Fiction, and in Realms of Fantasy (who reprinted "Troll Bridge" in their early years). There are a few magazines that published me over the years that don't exist any longer. I haven't dealt with the others out there currently, because I don't write enough short stories, so cannot speak for popularity or respectedness or payment rates and speed of payment (most writers I know rate the latter two conditions before the former).

As a general rule, though, a short story writer should probably send her work to anyone who will both pay for and publish it. Making a list of all possible places who would publish it, from most desirable to least, is always good. And then, when it comes back from the first one she sent it to she should send it to the second one on her list, and she should repeat the process, moving down the list, until someone sends her an acceptance letter and a cheque.

And if you want to know who's good and who's shady in the world of publishing, or get advice from people who know a lot more than I do, then go to, read everything on the site and find out how to join...