Tuesday, June 17, 2008

memo from jet lag town

Maddy and Holly and I had dinner last night with The Graveyard Book producer. Maddy and I were both a bit jet-lagged -- still are. Holly now has honey-coloured hair which would render her immune to jet lag. (Well, that and the fact she now lives in England and didn't actually have to fly anywhere.)

I'm reading Samuel R. Delany's About Writing right now, because I have a very short list of books I really learned about writing from when I was a young thing who wanted to be a writer, and Delany's The Jewel-Hinged Jaw was about half of them (the other half was probably the Reginald Bretnor-edited book of essays by diverse hands, The Craft of Science Fiction). About Writing is a wonderful book that should be read by anyone who wants to be, or is already, a writer. It contains seven essays, four letters and five interviews.

I was just struck by this paragraph from one of the letters -- to someone who wishes he or she was a writer, but probably isn't. And I thought, I should put it up here for all the people who write to me convinced that they would be happy if only they were writers.
Writers are people who write. By and large, they are not happy people. They're not good at relationships. Often they're drunks. And writing -- good writing -- does not get easier and easier with practice. It gets harder and harder -- so eventually the writer must stall out into silence.The silence that waits for every writer and that, inevitably, if only with death (if we're lucky the two may happen at the same time: but they are still two, and their coincidence is rare), the writer must fall into is angst-ridden and terrifying - and often drives us mad. (In a letter to Allen Tate, the poet Hart Crane once described writing as "dancing on dynamite.") So if you're not a writer, consider yourself fortunate.
(Hey, I thought when I read that, at least I'm not a drunk.)

Over at Waterstones there's an interview that I did with Terry Pratchett, filled with the kind of odd little edits and rewrites that remind me why I left journalism, but which won't be visible to anyone else.

Hi Neil,

I just saw a press release from D3Publisher announcing that they've got the publishing rights to...Coraline (The Game)! I've only seen the press release on a trade only site currently, but it implies it will be multiformat (including handheld) and that,

"Coraline (The Game) is a surrealistic adventure game that will enthrall gamers of all ages with its moody atmosphere, engaging narrative and cast of colorful characters. The console products are being developed by Papaya Studios, and the handheld products are being developed by ART."

From that it sounds like it could be in the same kind of style as American McGee's Alice (which was superb).

I can't find anything else about it (on the publisher's or either developer's sites), so is there anything else you can tell us about this please? When we can expect to see it released? And on what platforms? Any and all information gratefully received! Thanks in advance.

I saw an early proposal for the game, which looked intriguing, but that was the last thing I heard or saw. If and when I get more I'll happily post about it on the blog. There's a few quotes about it here.

Subterranean Press wanted me to mention that they're putting the names of anyone who preorders a copy of their edition of The Graveyard Book directly from them in the back of their book.

Hi Neil,

I followed the link to the UK Graveyard Book site and eagerly clicked on the signed hardcover slipcase thingy-whatsit preorder button, because I'm like that and get excited by people scribbling on my books. Unfortunately the Bloomsbury page for the book doesn't seem to have a preorder button. Do you know if it's sold out already, or if somebody at Bloomsbury just dropped the ball?


I went over to section on the books, and the preorder buttons were there -- you had to linger on the book cover for a moment for the preorder button to appear. The limited one brought up:

Which seems to be a way to have Bloomsbury email you when it's ready to preorder. I'm not sure. If you're in the UK you could also just head down to your local bookshop and give them the ISBN and have them pre-order it for you... (I'll check with Bloomsbury and see if I'm not missing something.)

Remember when the e-petition to have Alan Moore honoured went up? The Prime Minister's office has responded -- although not with the proper response, which would have been "YES! WHAT A FINE IDEA! WE SHALL MAKE HIM OFFICIAL WIZARD OF ALL ENGLAND AND SET HIM TO TURNING LEAD INTO GOLD! WITH AN OFFICIAL POINTY HAT!" But at least they don't actually rule it out.

Right. Back to the day. Too many people to see, or at least, look at blearily...

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