Friday, October 20, 2006

Much too long a post

Our new webmistress, Sara, let me know that there's a whole lot of new FRAGILE THINGS related stuff up on the front page of (it's for those of you who are reading this on a feed somewhere and then just scroll down). (It includes a video of the whole of the Cody's reading.)

This just came in from Mark Askwith, at the Space Station in Toronto --

I picked up the Absolute Sandman last week (insert weight joke here), and I was so blown away by the book that I made a nice little item on Sandman which aired this week, went on the website today, and will no doubt get turned into one of those 'flow' items I make...

(Click on the Neil Gaiman and Sandman link.)

And this from Suw Charman at the Open Rights Group (of which long term readers of this blog may remember that I am patron)...

Hi Neil,

It's been a long time since I last emailed to update you on the
progress of the Open Rights Group, but we've been really busy with a
number of projects. We gave evidence in Parliament to the APIG DRM
Public Inquiry, submitted a paper to the Gowers Review of Intellectual
Property, and have been holding regular Copyfighters Drunken Brunch
and Talking Shops at Speakers Corner (where you can come along and
harangue the crowds on a topic of your choosing, should you ever feel
like it). We've done a ton of press about things like DRM, the music
industry's ideas for an 'ISP tax' and their demands that ISPs hand
over customer information, intellectual property law reform, privacy,
cryptography and a lot more. And I've been speaking at a lot of
conferences trying to get the ORG message out to as many people as

In fact, ORG has grown now to the point where we need a full-time
Executive Director, and that's why I'm emailing. We're looking for
someone who's passionate and professional, who can recruit lots of new
supporters and expand our campaigning activities, and I was hoping
you'd be able to blog about this so that we can cast our net as widely
as possible. There's a lot more detail on the ORG site:

As for me, well, the last 15 months has been amazing and I'm happy to
say that I'm staying with ORG as a Board member, so I can continue to
help steer ORG in the right direction.

and a request from John Hudgens, director of American Scary, a documentary about Horror Hosts (including yours truly) --

The first screening this weekend is 9pm Saturday night at the Hollywood Film Festival, which is being held at the ArcLight Cinema on Sunset Blvd. Tickets can be ordered here:

The film can also be seen 7pm Sunday night at the Austin Film Festival - that screening is at the Alama Drafthouse Lake Creek in Austin, TX. It also screens this coming Thursday night down there as well. More info on that is here:

And of course, the movie website is


Hye Neil...

Was wondering...
Is it true that some of the materials inside Fragile Things have been published before in Smoke and Mirrors?

It shouldn't be, although it may seem that way to people in some places in the world.

The UK version of Smoke and Mirrors has stories that aren't in the US version, for reasons having to do with me being a twit and not predicting that eight years later I'd regret saying yes. (The long story: one of them, "Eaten", was taken out of Smoke and Mirrors by my US editor. The others were stories I sent to the UK when they were talking about publishing a chapbook with some stories not in Smoke and Mirrors in it, to help promote Smoke and Mirrors. And then minds were changed and the three stories wound up simply being in the UK version of the book.)

So then, as discussed in this blog, I had a conundrum, which I solved in the simplest possible way by saying that taken together the US and UK editions should be the same.

So the UK edition of Fragile Things doesn't contain the stories that were in the UK edition of Smoke and Mirrors.

The US edition contains the stories that weren't in the US edition of Smoke and Mirrors.

So if you have a UK edition of Smoke and Mirrors and a US edition of Fragile Things, then three of the stories will repeat.

(Contrariwise, if you have a US edition of Smoke and Mirrors and a UK edition of Fragile Things then there are three stories you won't have read.)

It's not a problem in the US or the UK, or it shouldn't be. It probably is a problem in places like the Philippines or Singapore -- the "open market" places where you're as likely to get one edition as another.

Kim Newman; you forgot (or didn't want to) mention that Kim was in Sandman, or at least someone who looked a lot like him interviewed Richard Madoc. (And obviously you know this or I've made a huge mistake)

have fun


That's the trouble with Kim. There's more to him than you can easily squeeze into one short post. I'll have a look around for the article I wrote about Kim as an introduction to one of his short story collections, and maybe put it up here. And yes, I put him in Sandman 17. (You can read the script in Dream Country.)

Dear Mr. Gaiman,

I don't know if you've seen this yet, but I thought you might be interested to hear that, according to voters at Comic Book Resources, you are one of the most loved comic book writers of all time (you even beat out Stan Lee!). I would just like to say congratulations, as if you don't get that enough I'm sure, and I look forward to reading Fragile Things (it is currently sitting on my desk, taunting me with its literary goodness).


Well, I would have voted for Alan Moore or Stan Lee. I suspect that things are skewed because I have a web presence. But that's kind of them.

Dear Mr Gaiman,

Call me dense if I'm mistaken, but are there two separate published editions of The Absolute Sandman?

The cover shown on Barnes & Noble...

... is different from that shown on Amazon:

One says published by DC Comics, the other Vertigo, yet they appear identical otherwise. I googled (always google before asking!), but only found the same question, and no answers. I think I'm missing something here... Thanks if you can help.


Well, Barnes and Noble shows the slipcase. Amazon shows an early mock-up of the cover, before the actual art and design was settled. Neither of them shows what the book looks like.

I put a post up on the blog when my copy came, with lots of photos of the Absolute Sandman in it --
which should give you an idea of what the book looks like. Although not what it weighs...

Just curious how you choose what tribe to use when describing characters of yours who have Native American ancestry. I've noticed on two occasions that Cherokee seems a popular choice: Samantha from AG, and Santeria from "Bitter Grounds", Fragile Things. Sorry to say but the choice of Cherokee feels rather cliche. It seems like every Indian you see on TV or in the movies is Cherokee. The running joke in Indian country is that the Cherokee must be some beautiful people because most folks who claim a fraction of Indian in them more often than not have a little Cherokee blood in their family tree. As a full blood Indian fan of yours I have a suggestion. Next time say the character is from my tribe, the Blood Tribe from southern Alberta, Canada. The name just sounds right up your alley.

Curtis Eaglespeaker

I thought there were rather a lot of different Native American tribes and characters in American Gods, weren't there? I suspect Sam traced her Cherokeeness to a friend of mine who was Cherokee, and who was one of my beta readers.

The Santeria lady in "Bitter Grounds" on the other hand, traced her ancestry to me noticing that, as you say, it seemed that every white American person I met who claimed Native American blood claimed to have Cherokee ancestry (including three separate people who told me that they were descended from Cherokee Princesses). (And what exactly is a Cherokee princess anyway?)

As you say, the Blood Tribe is wonderfully named.

Talking of iPods, what's on yours, dear? And how big is it (the iPod that is)?

I mean, is it stuffed full of history's music, or do you upload audio books and podcasts as well? And how about video? I tend to prefer paper books, myself, on a long journey unless the audio is brilliantly executed. But I do love to listen to podcasts of interviews or favourite radio programmes. The BBC are quite good in that department, but could be better. Imagine if they really opened up their vaulted archive to the digital age. T'would be a wonderful thing.

I better shut up now.

There are two iPods in use --the Nano I was given by Paramount to mark the start of Beowulf shooting and the new iPod 80GB I bought a few weeks ago, to replace the two-year-old 60GB (which is the one from which I now want to pull the playlists).

There's a ridiculous amount of music on it. Also a lot of radio -- all the Jack Benny Shows, along with Burns and Allen, Hancock's Half Hour, and Round the Horne. And, like you, I wish the BBC would open its archives...

I put a little video on it, to see if I could (all of it ripped from DVDs with handbrake). Some Sergeant Bilko episodes, Tristram Shandy, and The New World. I watched a little of it on the last long plane journey, but decided that I really didn't like holding and watching an iPod for hours.

Hi Neil,

In reference to your mention of Puca Puppets production of Coraline, here's their press release and itinerary.


Press Release
For Further information please contact Niamh Lawlor 087 7800 931 or

Produced by Púca Puppets in association with Éigse Carlow Arts Festival.
Adapted by Púca Puppets from Neil Gaiman’s novel.

Coraline is a bright and curious only child who loves exploring. So when she finds a secret door in her new house, she can’t resist the temptation to see what lies behind it. There she discovers a parallel world that is uncannily like her own – but also quite different. She befriends a smart-talking cat and performing rats, and meets counterfeit parents with buttons for eyes, and evil on their minds. What follows is nothing less than a battle for Coraline’s soul.

Fusing puppetry with atmospheric lighting, music and sound effects, Coraline takes its audience into a dark dream-world of vibrant characters and images. Suitable for both older children (10 years+) and adults, it explores themes of true and false love. A fairy-tale for the 21st century – it appeals without patronizing, thrills without terrifying, and, like all myths, operates on several levels to challenge and delight.

Throughout the production process in workshops and previews Púca Puppets have consulted with members of their target audience in the making of this show.


Project Arts Centre, Dublin 16th-28th October, Tel: (01) 881 9613 / 881 9614 Ticket prices €7 €10 €14
Mermaid Arts Centre, Main St Bray Co Wicklow Tel 01 272 4030 November 1st 11am and 4pm
Tickets €10
The Source Arts Centre, Thurles, 9th November 2pm and 7 pm, Box Office 0504 90204, Tickets €10, €12
Solstice Arts Centre, Navan, Tel : 046 909 2300, 16th 17th November 10.30 am and 2pm, 18th 4pm and 7pm. Tickets €10 / €7

(I'm working my way slowly back over the last few weeks of unanswered stuff)...

Hi, Neil, this is a little off topic, but I thought it would be right up your alley. I am in England for the year studying abroad, and my fantasy-and-macabre-loving artist best friend has given me a mission: to find a teacup, and preferably also a saucer, to bring home to her. This comes with the disclaimer that the teacup and saucer have to be in the very least odd-looking. Do you know of any shops in Blighty or the rest of Britain that sell strange/wacky/interesting teacups? I would be most thankful for any help.

Well if it was teapots you wanted, I'd point you to the coolest teapots in the world, at (Last time I linked there I crashed the site, though. So don't all click on it at once.) If I wanted an odd teacup and saucer though I would probably poke around junk shops, or possibly just go to to and search for teacup.


And finally, Teen in flying bra crash is charged with littering... and if that's not enough, Central Valley teacher gives x-rated handout