Monday, July 31, 2006

the resen to bean author

Hi, Neil,
I was reviewing the "Where's Neil" section to see if you've gotten any more "Fragile Things" dates up, and noticed that you don't seem to have many dates scheduled at this point. Do you think/know that more are forthcoming, or do you not plan to tour much with this book? I'm hoping it's the former, but after reading your blogs from previous tours, I understand if it's the latter!
Thanks! I can't wait for the book,

It's going to be a teeny-tiny tour this year. I think there will be one big London event - a Blackwells reading and interview and signing on Monday the 25th of September -- that's not on the list right now. But beyond that it's really small, and the events are planned in the US will mostly centre around readings where possible.

And Morrow and Headline would be quite happy to send me on the road again, but I'm still exhausted after last time.

Hello Neil.
I just don't know did you heard about David Gemmel who passed away recently. I just wanted to ask have you know him, did you read anything written by him, and, could you mention about this and Mr. Gemmel on your blog. I just loved his heroes just as yours.

Thanks and bye.

Polish Stalker.

I just heard and was shocked stupid. "That can't be right," I thought, when I saw the headline at Locus Online. "He can't be dead. I know him."

My favourite David Gemmel conversation was about 16 years ago, in a bar in London. We were talking about writing and the freedoms of writing. And I'd just said that one of the things I liked best about writing was the freedom to write whenever I wanted. "Can you imagine," I said, "there are writers out there who start at nine every morning, take a lunch hour and then type until five. And who won't write on weekends. Why would anyone want to do that?"

And David, who was buying me a drink at the time, said, mildly, "That's my working day, actually. But I start at eight thirty."

Which taught me one of those lesson things, really. Nice man.


It might be worth mentioning that the link you posted in your blog to the video of the chat you gave at Microsoft only works properly, oddly enough, in Microsoft Internet Explorer.


Yup. Not really a surprise, though, is it?

hello, dream king sir. i'm jason tan from the Philippines. here's the introduction video we did for The First Philippine Graphic/Fiction Award you sponsored with Fully Booked. i'm one of the editors/animators who worked on this one, Camille and Edzel(who voiced everything) are the other two. Lyle directed and animated parts of the video as well. i hope you like it!!! cheers!

It's at and is, I should warn people, very silly, at a level that made me expect to look up and see Graham Chapman in Army uniform cautioning us about how silly it had become. Also funny.

Hi Mr Gaiman,

I just read your post about recording some of your short fiction in the studio and I was wondering, what is your approach to preparing for sessions like that? And do you read the stories for an audio book as you would read them in public at events and such?

I've recently finished recording five of my short stories for my very first audio book and I enjoyed the process.

Speaking of short stories (by the way I'm looking forward to Fragile Things) my collection of short stories will be published the first week of September and I'm extremely honored to have a book published in the same month as my hero!

Funnily enough my working title for the collection was Wonderful Things! My publisher is a very small independent one though, and I was wondering what sort of advice would you give me for the next stage?

There's always talk that short fiction is struggling and that its market is very limited and hard to break into. Did you find that to be true when you first started short stories?

I think I just wasted enough of your time.

Ps. chances are you don't remember me (since you meet a gazillion people a day!) but I was at the Anansi Boys signing at Norwich last year. You congratulated me on getting my novel published and I thanked you for inspiring me to become a writer.

I thank you again.

Yours dearly,

Ali Al Saeed
author of QuixotiQ and Moments.

I'm trying to think what preparation I make before recording an audio book, and the only thing I can think of is, try to eat a small but sensible breakfast first, because there's nothing more embarassing than having an engineer tell you that your stomach is rumbling.

As for short stories, I've always been lucky, in that people seemed to like them. ANGELS & VISITATIONS, my first short story collection, was published by DreamHaven in 1993, and it seemed to find its audience. But I'd been around for a while by then, and people had been asking if the short stories would ever be collected, so there was some kind of demand for them, even then.

Good luck with your book.

Hello Mr. Gaiman

My name is Dennis,I'm from Germany and I just loved Stardust (I didn't read the german translation,but the original english one).I'm a total Michelle Pfeiffer Fan and so I came to Stardust and I will not miss this reading experience.I just bought Anansi Boys and I look forward to read it.

I look so much forward to the movie.And I've got some questions and maybe you can answer them.

1.Will the Comic-Con footage show up on the internet (or pictures of it?)

2.When will there be a trailer and/or more production stills of photos like costume sketches?

3.What is planed regarding merchandise?Can I expect a Lamia/Michelle Pfeiffer Statue or Action figure?

4:Is there any chance I could get a piece from the movie?something from Michelle's character?(By the way:NOT to sell it!I'm a fan and no seller)

5.Would you please sign my copy of Stardust,when i send it to you?With a small inscription?Of course I'll pay for the send-back shipping-costs.

Lot of questions and I hope you find the time,to answer them.

Yours faithfully,

Dennis Weber

1) No idea. The panel began with a disembodied voice telling the audience not to take photos or record stuff, and perhaps they haven't. I tried looking for likely Youtube headers and found nothing.

2) The trailer will come out when it's ready. I don't know what the release campaign will be, or how long in advance films get trailered. Stardust will be out in March. Titan books will be doing a Making of Stardust book, containing the script, stills, interviews and, quite probably, some of the costumes (which are amazing).

3) I don't know.

4) I doubt it. I've never been quite sure how these things work. Certainly a few things may get out in charity auctions and the like -- if I hear of anything I'll post it here.

5) Depends mostly on DreamHaven, over at, and whether they are currently accepting books for signing and posting back. They did for a while, and they got very tired of it, because people wouldn't send them enough postage, or they'd send stamps from foreign countries and so on.

Hi Neil! A couple of questions:

1- I haven't heard anything about your online store in a while. Have they decided yet what items they'll be selling? Will they have something for the release of Fragile Things?

2- I just read about you wanting to direct "Death: The High Cost of Living", which was something shockingly new to me. I don't want to underestimate your talent but, do you feel confident enough to direct a movie? How does a writer turn himself into a director? Would you consider co-directing with someone (maybe Dave McKean) á la Frank Miller/Robert Rodriguez?



1) It was getting silly -- Chelsea, who will be doing the online store, was sending me stuff to approve and I wasn't getting to it, so weve put everything off until later in the year, when my schedule is less hectic.

2) I enjoyed directing A Short Film About John Bolton, and it left me confient that I enjoyed the process of making a film. And a lot of what I enjoyed was the feeling that at the end of the day, succeed or fail, it was ultimately my decision and my vision.

It might be fun to direct something with Dave McKean but it would be more fun to do it all alone, at least the first time.

I know I've said I won't do homework, but something about the spelling in this one made me want to help out...

Dear Neil

Hi my name is jay smith and i am 10 years old.In my year5 class we are researching 'international Author'.I have chosen you.I am going to write a biography about you and in order to do this i have a few questions to ask.
Q1.what inspiard you to write coraline.
Q2.did any books you have read have any thing to do whith coraline. do you feel about coraline being made into a move. old wear you when you started as an author.
Q5.what books would you recamend for 10year old boys.
Q6.what was the resen to bean author.
Q7.what is your favoirt book at the moment and why.
Q8.did you like shool and if so and why
Q9.what were your dreams as a kid
Q10.where you intelligent as a kid.

thank you for taking the time to anser my questions.

1) Wanting to tell a story my daughter Holly would enjoy.
2) Not specifically, no.
3) Happy but nervous. I hope it's good.
4) about 20. I think I was 22 when I first started selling things I'd written.
5) It depends on the ten year old boy. I don't think any two would like all the same things. But I might point him at
6) It seemed like a good idea at the time.
7) I'm reading a very scary book called Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill right now, which is my favourite book because I want to get back to it and find out what happens next.
8) I liked bits of it. But not being at school is better.
9) Tangledy things filled with witches and foxes and woods.
10) Sort of. I was good at reading, which made many things easy for me. But I could be amazingly stupid about things I wasn't interested in. I still can be.

My apologies if this has been asked and answered. I did check the search function.

I have seen advice for writers that says to read widely in the genre you are writing in, so that you know what has come before and don't repeat it. However, I am concerned that reading fiction while working on a project would influence the writing too much and result in something unoriginal or derivative.

What's your take? How do you balance continuing to read fiction you enjoy without regurgitating it in your work?

Many thanks,


It's a balancing act. If I know I'm going to be writing a book about something I'll avoid books that, from the back jacket copy, might head into similar territory. But I'll try to be familiar with the kind of thing that I'm writing ahead of time.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

the burning stage...

To set people's minds at rest -- as a lot of you have been writing and asking this morning -- the fire today on the 007 stage at Pinewood shouldn't cause major problems for Stardust. ( -- and there's a short film clip at that page as well).

This is because, as of Friday, it's wrapped. Everything that's going to be shot has been shot, except for the chorus of Ghosts (Rupert Everett, Mark Heap, Julian Rhind-Tutt, Noel Fielding and David Walliams as Secundus, Tertius, Quartus, Quintus and Sextus respectively, along with the briefly dead Primus, Jason Flemyng, and Septimus, Mark Strong) who get shot against green screen in September.

I think we'll find out when people go in tomorrow how much dust and ash is around, whether it's damaged costumes and so on, but we're okay -- and Casino Royale had wrapped as well.

(The 007 stage last burned down back in 1984, with LEGEND. So two major fires with no loss of life...)

Miss Holly Gaiman makes a special guest appearance (as does the 007 stage) in Moriarty's set visit report -- this is the second of two.

And here's a photo of the door to the 007 set, the last time I passed it, a few weeks ago. They'd left it open, and there weren't any security guards about, but it seemed much more fun to take the photo of the door than to go inside and snap away...

Friday, July 28, 2006

sandpaper throat

Today was a marathon -- I read MONARCH OF THE GLEN, KEEPSAKES AND TREASURES and the full introduction to FRAGILE THINGS, and by the end the inside of my head felt as rough as my throat.

Then I went to DreamHaven and I signed stock for their website.

A few things I keep meaning to post:

The autumn UK tour of the WOLVES IN THE WALLS musical pandemonium has been announced over at where we learn that:

The Wolves in the Walls is touring again across the UK to:

Platform at the Bridge, Glasgow
13th - 14th October
Tickets 0141 276 9696

Northern Stage, Newcastle
17th - 21st October
Tickets 0191 230 5151 or online

West Yorkshire Playhouse, Leeds
25th October - 4th November
Tickets 0113 213 7700 or online

Liverpool Playhouse
7th -11th November
Tickets 0151 709 4776 or online

Malvern Theatres
15th - 18th November
Tickets 01684 892277 or online

Oxford Playhouse
21st - 25th November
Tickets 01865 305305 or online

Meanwhile over at the New Yorker there's an essay about Wikipedia, and strangely enough the Onion has the same essay about Wikipedia, only funnier, less balanced and shorter.


Last year I went and spoke at the Microsoft campus during my tour of the US for Anansi Boys, and I just discovered that you can watch the whole talk at

And tomorrow I'll try and catch up on some of your questions...

Good Fiction

When I got home from recording, I watched the final part of this season's Dr Who last night with Mike and Maddy (and our friend Sarah). Maddy watched the end of it with her head on my chest, and it was only after it was over that I discovered that my tee shirt was soaked with her tears.

I love that Russell Davies and his team have built something I can watch with her, that she cares enough about to shed tears over...

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Reading Things

I spent all today in Studio P at NPR station KNOW, where I once recorded CORALINE, recording several short stories from FRAGILE THINGS -- I did "How to Talk to Girls at Parties", "October in the Chair", "Sunbird", "Closing Time", and "Forbidden Brides of the Faceless Slaves (etc)", along with several shorter pieces.

Back again into the studio tomorrow, when I'll record "Monarch of the Glen" and, if there's time, "Keepsakes and Treasures".


Over on Radio 4, from today for the next week, you can hear Susanna Clarke's Stardust short story, "The Duke of Wellington Misplaces His Horse".

Also I do not want one of these.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Zombie Post

I should write about the reading event I did tonight at Yale organised by John Crowley. But I'm too tired and completely braindead to write anything sensible, so trust me it was great fun and the people were lovely and were I think also understanding about John saying "No Signing..." at the end.

So instead I shall point you to the little teaser placeholder Stardust site up at, and a Kathy Li photo of the San Diego panel.

... and mention that John Crowley's Little, Big, one of my favourite books in the world, is coming out in a 25th anniversary edition early next year.

Dear Mr. Gaiman,

Before I ask my question I'd first like to apologize. While you were doing a reading of poems and short stories at Yale in New Haven, on the 25th of July, 2006, I accidently turned off the lights.

I was excited, eager to see you at a distance of at least thirty feet and to hear you read some things I've never heard or read before. What I ended up doing was accidently turning off the lights. Sorry about that.

Now for my question:

Where does one find a Hungarian Waiter coat? As a Hungarian it's an issue of national pride. An Englishman has a Hungarian coat and I don't...well, suffice it to say I've got my eyes open. Thank you and again, sorry about the light.

Frank Kovacs, the Hungarian

Not a problem on the lights. It merely added to the overall wossname. Atmosphere.

Aardvark's on Melrose was where I found the Hungarian Waiter's Jacket, a few years ago. (It came out on this trip because the lightweight leather jackets were all off being repaired and even I wasn't foolish enough to wear a heavy leather jacket in this weather.)

There. Sleep now.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Waxworks walk

Flew in to San Diego, went to Paramount's hotel-room base (where a hair-and-make-up lady named Doris worked her magic on Jane and Charles and me, because after the panel we had to go and do TV interviews. I'm used to TV make-up being a dab of slap and powder and an attempt to turn the panda-like circles under my eyes into something marginally less scary when seen on the screen. Doris, however, used an airbrush, which meant that when she was done we three soon looked like really well-constructed waxwork versions of ourselves) and then to the convention centre and on to the Paramount panel.

The photos of us on this site are a little strange, because they are photos of the big screens in the hall and not actually of us, and they don't really quite get the waxwork quality across, but the Hollywood Reporter reporting is pretty good:

The Beowulf teaser and animated Logo that I introduced is now up at

(I hope we can get a Stardust movie website up soon...)

And then, panel over, I left San Diego for another year.

I was asked by Jackie Estrada if I'd be an actual Comic-Con convention guest next year, and I've tentatively said yes.


Many years ago, back when I could do signings that had few enough people that I got to know everyone in the line, Del Close turned up in line at a signing in Chicago and introduced himself, and we chatted. He loved SANDMAN, I got to tell him how much I had liked WASTELAND. I looked forward to the next time we would meet and chat, but there wasn't to be a next time.

This recent Chicago Tribune story by my old friend Rob Elder tells of a macabre Del joke (or is it?) from beyond the grave...


I see from that Publishers Weekly's reviewer didn't like Fragile Things, a book consisting mostly of horror, fantasy and science fiction short stories, and that its criticism seems to be that "most of these stories rely too heavily on the stock-in-trade of horror, sci-fi and fantasy", an odd sort of put-down which left me wondering vaguely why the editor didn't give the book to someone who liked, or understood, or even read horror, science fiction or fantasy for pleasure to review (as Kirkus and Booklist did). (Mostly because I figure that the main point of these kind of advance reviews, which are capsule things aimed at the book trade, are just there to answer the most basic consumer question, ie., If You're the Kind of Person Who Likes This Sort of Thing, Would You Like This One? But there we go.)

The bound Fragile Things galleys, going out mostly to bookshops and early reviewers, were found to have some strange misprints in them just before they went out (the adverts that start each part of "A Study In Emerald" were gibberish), and are now being pulped and reprinted, which I suppose means that the gibberish ones will be the rarest of all things. I'll donate mine to the CBLDF to auction, I expect.


I’m a big fan of Neverwhere and Sandman and recently I heard somewhere that Neverwhere is getting the big screen treatment with Jeremy Irons as Islington? Also from the same somewhere I heard that Lenny Henry and you are going to try writing a screen play for Sandman? Is either of these rumours true or should I stop listing to ‘somewhere’?
Pat Fox

Since 'somewhere' is currently wrong a hundred percent of the time, I'd stop listening to it. (Which isn't to say that a Neverwhere movie is impossible -- Hensons have had the film rights since about 1998, and keep reoptioning them -- but I don't believe anything is currently happening.)

Correction master writer, "He's taller than I".


In formal writing possibly (it's arguable), but this is a blog, and thus it barely qualifies as writing, let alone formal writing, so I'd not let it bother you.


A couple of people wrote to tell me that I get a mention in an article about how ugly guys seem to do okay these days --, which made me smile.

And finally, a Future Bible Heroes interview about the Mr Punch song...

Friday, July 21, 2006

A word to the wise...

It may be too late, but this just came in from my old friend Tom Galloway...

Just a heads up that you might want to pass along on the blog that the
Con is really crowded already this year. Yes, it had 100,000+ people
last year. But I don't recall Thursday last year having anywhere near
the number of programming rooms closed to entry due to being full up,
and at noon today the new registration line was still the entire
length of the Convention Center. If people want to be sure of seeing
the Stardust panel, I suggest getting there early (and I assume I
won't be able to bring you tea on-stage this time :-)).

Second, "Where's Neil When You Need Him" is on sale at the CBLDF booth
for $20. Good way of getting it and benefiting the CBLDF at the same


So if you want to get to the Stardust sneak preview screening/panel -- even though it's in a hall that holds about 8,000 people -- get to the convention centre early and get to the panel early.

Meanwhile Patrick at Dancing Ferret asks...

If, when you next update your blog, you can make mention that
"Where's Neil When You Need Him?" arrived in US shops this past
Tuesday, it would be greatly appreciated. If you want to mention
that it hits the shelves in Europe on August 18th, so much the better.

Sure. It's also available through all the usual online places, including this one.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Early Birthday Wishes

I ought to be writing this one tomorrow, but tomorrow I'll be travelling (leave the house at 6.00 am -- ouch! -- and off to San Diego just for the day) so I think I should take this opportunity of posting slightly early birthday wishes for my son Mike. Who is 23, or will be tomorrow, an age that I find really weird because that was when I was starting to get published, and finally felt really and truly adult, back when I was a gawky young journalist. Mike is not gawky at all. He's taller than me. He even has a proper widow's peak. ("Do you know?" I ask him, "What I would have given in my youth to have a proper widow's peak?" And he just shrugs and makes his "Ah, that's my dad talking, what a dear old fellow he is to be sure," face. Water off a duck's back. Also I had to walk to school in the rain and the snow, while, er chased by packs of rabid stoats or something.)

Mike's current project is turning the whole of the internet into everyone's magic eight-ball, so that people who don't know you and don't care can tell you if you ought to go to Russia, wear or not wear linen trousers, or whether you should wake your husband to deal with the scary insect on the wall...

It's all at if you wish to find out what I'm talking about.

Other things that I should probably mention while you're here are Lisa Snellings' Luck's Dancer sale is in its final week (and she's sending a percentage of her profits to the CBLDF) and that I've updated Where's Neil.

Fascinating essay by Cory Doctorow over at Locus Online -- -- called Science Fiction is the Only Literature People Care Enough About to Steal on the Internet.

Finally, several people wrote in to ask whether the BBC news story that begins

In 1996 in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, Italian mineralogist Vincenzo
de Michele spotted an unusual yellow-green gem in the middle of one of
Tutankhamun's necklaces.
The jewel was tested and found to be glass, but intriguingly it is older than the earliest Egyptian civilisation.
Working with Egyptian geologist Aly Barakat, they traced its origins to unexplained chunks of glass found scattered in the sand in a remote region of the Sahara Desert.

was somehow the inspiration for the Sandman story TALES IN THE SAND, written in longago 1989, or to point out that reality appears to have imitated art, or just to ask if I knew something the scientists didn't...

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

the nun ate my homework

I'm home and I'm back. Also about twenty seconds away from sleep, and way behind on everything. But nonetheless back in the US and back on the internet.

So this is a hasty post to remind people that I'll be doing a panel on the Stardust movie on Friday afternoon at San Diego, and to apologise for omitting to mention here that I'm doing a reading at Yale on Tuesday. My only excuse is that somewhere in the hectic whirligig of the last few weeks I completely forgot. As excuses go it's right up there with the dog ate my homework, or the one about the karate-chopping nun who needed something to practise her karate on and chopped my really good homework into tiny bits while I was waiting innocently at the bus stop.

And to point people who wonder what the CBLDF is doing currently at this article from the Washington Post.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Maddy's Addendum

This is a another message from your neighborhood Web Elf. Maddy would like me to pass on that she didn't care for what she looked like in the last picture. So, here's a photo of Maddy doing her best impression of Michelle Pfeiffer tossing the runes while looking evil in Stardust.

The Official Web Elf

Saturday, July 15, 2006

After These Messages We'll Be Right Back

This is a message from your neighborhood Web Elf. Neil is currently offline, having an adventure with Maddy and Charles Vess. In the meantime, he's texted in this photo:

While he's away, here's something to pass the time.

The Official Web Elf

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Twinkling and shining...

Charles Vess arrived yesterday, and I took him around -- he watched the half hour of footage I did, then we went down to the editing suite where Jon the editor showed us lots of cool stuff (young Dunstan meeting Una at the Market at the beginning of the film, a goat transformation) and then I took him over to the Inn and to the Witches' Lair. He's somewhere out beyond happy -- like me, he'd been working out all the polite ways of distancing himself from an awful movie, if that's what it had been, and like me he's relieved he won't have to. When Charles is extremely happy he gets sort of quiet and twinkly, and he twinkled a lot yesterday.


Hope Mirrlees fans might like to know that there was an article in the Times yesterday about Marriage, following up on an article she did in 1926, where she interviewed a number of famous people. It included press clippings, and we learned from the clippings that she was a journalist under the name of Helen Hope. The article with the clippings isn't on-line, although the final summing-up is.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

resolving confusion

From the blog: "[There are a] few stories in the US edition of FRAGILE THINGS that won't be in the UK edition of FRAGILE THINGS, because they were already in the US edition of SMOKE AND MIRRORS"This makes no sense. There are stories not in the UK edition of the book because they were in the US version of a different book? Or (more likely) did you confuse the USes and UKs and meant to type them the other way around?

I'd do a memo-to-self Never Blog Very Late At Night, except then I'd blog an awful lot less. Yup, that last US should definitely be a UK.

SMOKE AND MIRRORS came out in the US about a year before it came out in the UK, and when it was coming out in the UK Headline discussed the idea of promoting it with one of those tiny pocket-sized paperbacks with a new short story or two in, so I sent over a few stories that I'd written since the mss. for the US SMOKE AND MIRRORS went it. The idea of doing the little paperback fell by the wayside, but the stories wound up in the Headline edition anyway.

Those are the stories that I've left out of the UK Fragile Things, and that I've put into the US Fragile Things.


My daughter Holly's working on the Stardust set as a runner and production assistant and checker-off-of-people-in-the-lunch-line (people from other films have apparently been sneaking over to Stardust to eat, because the catering is better). She also gets to do a video diary, and interview people, and yesterday she interviewed me and Maddy.

My favourite moment was when she asked Maddy who she was most excited to meet, and Maddy, nearly-twelve-year-old ham that she is, pondered theatrically, then said, "Well, there's a lot to choose from, there's [very blase] Robert Di Niro and Michelle Pfeiffer and Claire Danes and everyone, but personally it has to be [incredibly excited] Noel Fielding! Whoo-hoo!"

She was heartbroken to learn that he and David Walliams and the other ghostly princes won't be in the studio until September, long after everyone else has wrapped, although she was cheered up by learning that while all the other princes will be in gorgeous costumes, subtly embroidered with numbers, Noel (who plays Quintus) will be in a night-shirt, because of being murdered in bed.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Early FRAGILE THINGS reviews...

Most people, when incommunicado in remote locations, are probably tromping up and down rocky hills and suchlike. I did a fair bit of that, but mostly I found myself sitting at a kitchen table trying to make the UK and US editions of FRAGILE THINGS as close to each other as I could.

The problem is, copy-editing is not what you'd call an exact science. And apart from house style issues -- in the US, Harper Collins likes using "serial commas", like the one after fish in "He ate beans, fish, and small green bricks" (Hodder-Headline would have that sentence read "He ate beans, fish and small green bricks" without the extra comma), or the use of "toward, afterward, upward" in the US and "towards, upwards, afterwards" in the UK -- I realised that the different ways that different copy-editors would like sentences to read is a strange and frustrating sort of thing, especially if you're determined that the same sentences are going to be in both editions. (And then there was Gordon Van Gelder of The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, who is taking one of the short stories for his magazine, and wanted another whole set of different changes.)

Anyway. I'm happy to report that apart from the fact that there are few stories in the US edition of FRAGILE THINGS that won't be in the UK edition of FRAGILE THINGS, because they were already in the US edition of SMOKE AND MIRRORS, and the serial commas and things like that, they should be more or less the same book. It won't matter to anyone except me, but it matters to me...

The early "trade reviews" of Fragile Things have started coming in today -- "starred" reviews in Booklist and Kirkus, and they seem positive. The Booklist one reads,

*STAR*Gaiman, Neil. Fragile Things. Oct. 2006. 320p. Avon, $26.95
(0-06-051522-8). SF/Fantasy.
Like the first and second, Gaiman’s third
collection of unillustrated short pieces (he has comics collections in his
portfolio, too) showcases a particular facet of his talent. Smoke and Mirrors
(1998) effervesced with his jovial parody of fairy tales, Raymond Carver,
monster movies, Beowulf, and even Bay Watch. Adventures in the Dream Trade
(2002) collects various kinds of memoirs on being a professional fantasist.

Parody––in the alternate-world Sherlock Holmes pastiche, “A Study in Emerald,”
and an imaginary last book of the Bible––and memoir (two reprints from
Adventures and at least one story, “Closing Time,” that Gaiman admits is full of
real persons and events) also figure in this book, but most of the contents,
including the memory pieces, exude the romanticism, often erotic, that makes his
first two novels, Neverwhere (1997) and Stardust (1998), for all their darkness
and grit, so powerfully attractive. Many are love stories, ranging in tone from
the lowering super-noir of “Keepsakes and Treasures,” in which a
multibillionaire, abetted by the genius-sociopath narrator, finds and loses his
particular beau idéal; to the sf-tinged horror of “How to Talk to Girls at
Parties,” in which two randy teens crash the wrong bash; to the
love-conquers-all rapture of the poem “The Day the Saucers Came”; to the
movingly sad triumph over time in the flat-out sf entry, “Goliath.” Less loverly
but lovelier are such archromantic tidbits as 15 tiny stories for cards from “a
vampire tarot,” the council of the personified months in “October in the Chair,”
the bittersweet shape-shifting of the commedia dell’arte–derived “Harlequin
Valentine,” and all the other poems. One delight after another, 31 in all, with
a thirty-second tucked into the author’s introduction. ––Ray Olson

While the anonymous Kirkus one says,

FRAGILE THINGS: Short Fictions and Wonders
Author: Gaiman, Neil

Review Date: JULY 11, 2006
Pages: 320
Price (hardback): $26.95
Publication Date: 10/1/2006
ISBN: 0-06-051522-8
ISBN (hardback): 0-06-051522-8
Category: FICTION
Classification: FEATURE

"Neo-Goth-Pulp-Noir has pretty much been trademarked by Gaiman (Anansi Boys, 2005, etc.), and these 31 jagged slices of life and the afterlife dependably
deliver the damaged goods: zombies, dream-haunted kiddies, femmes fatale and

Reprising his role from American Gods (2001) as ex-con, taciturn
hunk, superhero and reincarnation of the Norse god Baldur, Shadow shakes things
up in "The Monarch of the Glen," battling a primeval beastie and romancing a
woodland nymph in the unlikely setting of a tycoon's get-together on the
Scottish heath. "Good Boys Deserve Favours" highlights a lonely lad's moony
passion for his double bass. "Strange Little Girls," penned to accompany a Tori
Amos CD, catalogues the Eternal Feminine from showgirls to Holocaust victims to
la belle dame sans merci. "October in the Chair" whimsically features the months
as characters. "A Study in Emerald" offers smart, nifty homage to Conan Doyle.
In "Harlequin Valentine," Missy the waitress chows down lovingly on the heart of
the motley-clad acrobat of the commedia dell'arte, but even that grisly feast is
rendered with swooning lyricism. Gaiman again proves himself a perverse
romantic, heir not only to Poe and Baudelaire but to the breathless
Pre-Raphaelites. (The poetry he includes here, for example, is generally less
creepy than drippy.) He wears his pop cred in boldface, and street-smart hipness
saturates these eerie epiphanies. But the collection also boasts lush prose, a
lack of irony and a winning faith in the enchantment of stories.Expect the
unexpected. Then savor the luscious chills.”

It's nice to learn that I'm a perverse romantic. Spread out all over the kitchen table in a drafty kitchen I was mostly worried that the collection of stories was all rather depressing.
Also nice to learn that I'm a neo-goth-pulp-noir author. Next time anyone asks me what kind of an author I am, I can finally tell them. I wonder if there are any other neo-goth-pulp-noir authors out there. We could form a society or something.

I think it's about 370 pages, not 320. Interesting that Booklist has it as SF/Fantasy. while Kirkus has just listed it as Fiction...

My guess is that the general content of the Fragile Things reviews will echo the ones Smoke and Mirrors got, eight years ago: there will be a general agreement that there are some good stories in the book and some not-so-good, but no agreement at all on which are which; and some people will be happy the poems are in there and some people won't (but as I point out in the introduction, the poems, like the introduction, come free with the book)(and what I don't say is that the overall vote from readers of this blog, when I asked you lot, was to keep them in).


Spent most of the day at Pinewood, watching Stardust stuff being filmed, and signing books for the crew.

Charles Vess arrives here in Pinewood tomorrow. I'm really looking forward to showing him around.

And I've learned that I'll be appearing on a STARDUST panel at the San Diego Comic-con, on Friday the 21st of July, in the early afternoon, presenting some footage and answering questions. Time pressure means I won't be at the con proper -- I'll just be swooping in, doing the panel and swooping out again. Not even sure if Paramount will have organised a signing or anything. The panel will definitely have me, writer Jane Goldman and producer Lorenzo Di Bonaventura on it, will very probably have Charles Vess on it, and may possibly have some of the actors depending on whether we need them to act on that Friday or not.


Almost a year ago I was having a wonderful time in the Philippines. Several good things came out of this, including a contest for fiction and comics...

The finalists -- eight short stories and eight comics -- are up at for you to read. I wasn't a judge, and I'm glad I wasn't, as choosing between them would have been difficult. There's some really good stuff there. The results will be announced on the 15th of July.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Bet you thought I was dead.

I'm back in civilisation again, in places where you can get onto the internet. Have replied to a hundred or so urgent emails (many of which had worked themselves out without me) and now need to sleep. So herewith a few cool links:

The first photo from Stardust has crept out at

(The article is very positive, but has a few spoilers...)


Hi, Neil. I hope you and yours are well.
In the unlikely event that you did not know, the CBLDF now have copies of the Fiddler's Green Souvenir Book available for sale.
I managed to get my grubbies on a copy of this last year, it's one of the most beautiful Convention Books I've ever seen.
-- >< -- Rev DrJon Swabey


Hi, Neil,I've just noticed that the Fiddler's Green Souvenir Book is now available online as a premium from the CBLDF ( The scan there leaves a bit to be desired, so here's a link to a sharper one: Take care, Sheila

And finally...

Hey Neil,
It's Craig over at Sci Fi. Wanted you to know your appearance as hostof the SF Hall of Fame is now online on Sci Fi Pulse. Link to it here:

There are also videos of the acceptance speeches, including the rare appearance by Anne.

We thought it would be fun to give your fans who couldn't attend theceremony a way to see it.Hope all is well on your end.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

We Are Currently Not Here To Take Your Message

This is a message from your neighborhood Web Elf. Neil's having technical difficulties getting online, but will be back shortly. In the meantime, he's texted this photo to put up.

If you have nothing to do while waiting for his return, it's recommended you go visit the Fabulist to hold you over.

The Official Web Elf

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Waiting to exhale...

I think my first response to the Stardust film half-hour reel was to breathe a sigh of relief. I hadn't realised I'd been holding my breath nervously for the last 3 months, but I think I had. I won't exhale completely until the whole thing is finished, cut together, and done, and I can see that it all works. But I think I can sleep more easily at night now.

It's not the book (it would take a 6 hour miniseries to do the book exactly), but in a lot of ways it's much more the book than I expected - watching the Limbus grass scene where the Witch (Michelle Pfeiffer, beautiful and very scary) first meets Ditchwater Sal, or Tristran promising to bring Victoria a falling star, or the unicorn rescuing Tristran from the poisoned wine in the Inn just made me blink and smile in recognition. The Robert DeNiro - Ricky Gervais scene made me laugh immoderately, as did Rupert Everett's star turn as Secundus, while Charlie Cox is amazingly Tristran and transforms from geeky shopboy to confident hero through the course of the movie. Mark Strong's evil Septimus steals scenes shamelessly.

And Claire Danes is lovely, and keeps it real. I'd received a lot of "Sienna Miller!! -- how could you let them do this??!!???!" emails, so was a bit nervous, but she's great as Victoria Forester.

It looks like all the money is up on the screen. Best of all, it felt like its own thing. I've been trying to think of what to compare it to, but it's leaving me a bit blank -- it exists half-way between The Princess Bride and Pirates of the Caribbean, and there's nothing I've seen quite like it out there in the world before.

I've asked the editor to cut a shorter version of the reel I saw to show on the Stardust panel at San Diego, so that anyone there can make up their own minds. And, I hope, exhale too.

Right. Now I'm going down to the set to watch Michelle Pfeiffer cut poor Jason Flemyng's throat with a big black obsidian-glass knife.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Stardust set report part one

Nearly didn't make it off the plane this morning at Gatwick. First the jetway didn't work, then the stairs they brought over for us to get off the plane with didn't go up high enough. I was just starting to worry that we'd be stuck there forever, and that within the week we'd be forced to eat the other passengers, and we were all eyeing each other to see who'd be first for some kind of improvised galley cookpot when they got the jetway working and we got off, grateful not to have been reduced to cannibalism.

Steve the Stardust driver picked me up at Gatwick and drove me to Pinewood, where I was reunited with Holly (who's been working on the set all summer) and Mike (over here for a couple of weeks' holiday).

Tarquin, the associate producer, showed Mike and me around: I watched a ferret stampede this morning in the Witch's lair. Saw Joanna Scanlon (one of our three witches) in her nightmarishly convincing aged-crone prosthetics. Wandered over to the Inn on the Mountain Pass and saw Jason Flemyng, playing Lord Primus, in the bath, practising getting his throat cut. "I need the blood to pump out," said director Matthew Vaughn, and people ran around trying to figure out how to get the blood to pump and spurt properly. I passed the 007 stage where, appropriately enough, Casino Royale is filming. ("NO VISITORS ALLOWED UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES..." began the notice on the studio door, in large red letters.)

In five minutes I get to see the half-hour assemblage they did to show the crew what sort of film Stardust is. Will report back.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

This is just to say

I managed to smash the screen
of my notebook computer,
the day before I leave
for the UK,

so everything's a bit up in the air
right now
while I try and get everything back
up and running

on my old notebook, and if you're waiting
for, say, an
email from me, or even a
good long blog entry,

it may not happen for a bit.