Tuesday, July 31, 2007

A moment of coolth

Home again. I plan to do nothing for a few days except eat and sleep and, sometimes, walk, and recharge my batteries. Time to recover. The walking will be made more difficult by a storm that hit this area and toppled trees, blocking paths. (A huge oak tree very near the house was struck by lightning, and had to come down. The middle of the tree was charcoal. There's sun in places that have only before been in shadow.)

The dog was extremely happy to see me. The corn and tomatoes and aubergines (eggplants) are ripe, I ate blueberries and raspberries from the bush this morning...

It's nice to be home.

Hi Neil. This isn't a question, but rather an answer to one. Methinks the Time writer described your hair as "suspiciously good" because it's luxuriant (oh all right, THICK then) and still dark (no signs of grey, at least as far as we can see). This probably makes you a prime suspect for wearing a wig, having hair implants, or at least using some unconvincing hair coloring products. Of course, no self-respecting Geek God would ever do any such thing.Cheers!
Tin Ambat

It's got all sorts of grey in there, these days, honest. And it seems to be getting lighter as I get older too. (Here's a picture of me at the Stardust premiere, wearing a tuxedo in the LA heat, the act of a madman, where you can see the goofy clown hair, sort of.)

So I'm sure that a few thousand have answered your "What's a mathlete?" question by now, but just in case they haven't: I first heard of the term "mathlete" on the brilliant TV show Freaks and Geeks. The mathletes were a school team who competed in math tournaments. I don't know if the term originated with the show or if Judd Apatow got it from somewhere else but I'm pretty sure that's where the journalist got it from. And it made me laugh when I saw it. Freaks and Geeks was an awesome show.

And hey! At least it must be nice to still look young enough to be compared to teenagers, eh?

Got it -- thanks to all of you who wrote in and told me... (Alas, I was no mathlete. It is a mystery to everyone how I managed to scrape a B in Maths O-Level, and Maddy and Mike both laugh at me for being absolutely rotten at numbers, when they are both mathy whizzes.)

There's too much media stuff for me to even try to keep on top of it right now (apart from a couple of positive early Stardust reviews -- The Hollywood Reporter and FilmsinReview), but Anne Thompson from Variety said something in her blog that made me happy --

Coming out of the convention, the two films I can't wait to see in their
entirety were nowhere to be found on our original list (that's the beauty of
Comic-Con, really).

The first is Pixar's Wall-E, which sounds amazing. The Second is, I'm happy to say, Coraline...

It's astonishing to see the body language these puppets are able to convey. The
Coraline cast comes to life in a way neither Tim Burton's nor Aardman's
characters ever have (which isn't so much a slight against those creators'
wonderful work as a testament to Selick's attention to character). The clip
itself — which features Coraline's first foray into the "Other" world, where the
3-D becomes more pronounced — conveys a look that is genuinely unique to the
film, not an extension of the Tim Burton aesthetic we've seen in Selick's other
projects (such as "James and the Giant Peach").

You can read what she has to say over at:

Dave McKean has done a new cover (and two new interior illustrations) for the Subterranean Press Limited Edition of Coraline. This is what the cover looks like:

Details at:

(And, no, this doesn't mean there won't be any more books with Hill House. Hill House already have the licences from Harper Collins for Anansi Boys, Neverwhere and Fragile Things, and I see from their website that they will be getting in the Trade Paperback part of the Anansi Boys two-book-set next Monday, although the main volumes won't arrive from their Polish printer until late August.)

(And as I know that Hill House have had problems with communication issues over the last few years, if anyone out there has had trouble getting a reply or information from Hill House, please contact my assistant Cat Mihos at , and we'll make sure that any messages get forwarded to Harper Collins and to Hill House.)


One of my favourite moments of Comic-Con was after I came off the Focus panel. I had my photo taken, then noticed that there was a man waiting around to talk to me, and the man in question appeared to be Matt Groening. And it was: he wanted to introduce his son to me, who was an SF reader (and we talked about Gene Wolfe). And then Matt and I had the conversation about stuff and at some point in there I mentioned casually that, no, I didn't want to cameo on the Simpsons, but as I once pointed out here, I really really really would love to be a head in a jar on Futurama.

And he said that this could be arranged.

I gloat. Hear me.

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