Monday, July 28, 2008

Um. Tabalicious. Tabapocalypse. Taberrific.

Lots of catching up to do. In the meantime we have some advance warning on the dates of the UK tour. I don't have any locations yet, but according to a recent email from Bloomsbury,
Monday the 27th of October I'll be in Dublin
Tuesday the 28th of October I'll be in Scotland (at a guess Glasgow or Edinburgh or both)
Wednesday the 29th of October I'll be in Manchester (doing a talk or reading at Manchester University, and possibly a signing there as well, or a separate signing, not sure).
Thursday the 30th of October is the London Launch Day and
Friday the 31st of October is the London signing day.
I don't have any more information than that -- I'll post actual details as soon as I know them. Please don't write to tell me that I'm not signing in Cardiff or Bristol or Redruth or Bournemouth or Bognor Regis or Nantwich or somewhere near where you live. I'm sorry. I don't choose where I go; if you ever want to see me anywhere either ask your bookshop to pressure my publisher (or if it's a country I've not yet visited ask the local publisher to tell Writers House you need me).

And I'll ask the Web Goblin to put this on his Where's Neil page (along with the US tour info that we have right now, which I put up here a few weeks ago) as even in its rather formless state I'm sure that would be a help for people trying to plan things.

Also, Michael Chabon and I are "bookending" the Las Vegas literary festival in November. I'm talking on November the 6th. (What? You didn't know that Vegas had a literary festival? You didn't think it was the kind of place that had a literary festival? You were wrong.


I've got what seems like a few thousand tabs open right now, so in no particular order:

The stage play of Mister Punch gets a wonderful review in the LA Times, which describes it as a "near-faultless production, which, although definitely not for children, might well awaken any adult's traumatized inner child."

You can see some of the Coraline movie puppets at

I did an introduction for James Thurber's wonderful novel The Thirteen Clocks, which has just been reissued. Here's a lovely LA Times essay about the book by Sonja Bolle.

Margo Lanagan's astonishing novel Tender Morsels is reviewed by Gary Wolfe in Locus. You can read the review online at (The references to me in the article are more pertinent if you read the whole thing as printed, as Gary goes on to write about The Graveyard Book next.)

Those of us who love the work of Robert Aickman are often frustrated by how hard it is to find his books, and how expensive they are when you can find them. In the UK, Faber are now doing them print on demand as part of their Faber Finds line: I'm fascinated by Faber Finds -- a world in which it's easier to obtain a copy of a long out of print book by ordering it from the publisher than by hunting through second-hand book dealers is a different one from the one I grew up in. And one which sends money to authors they might otherwise never see. (Although it's also a world in which books would not go out of print, so the rights would never revert to the authors, and they would never be free to sell the books to a publisher who might be able to publish it better.)

From the Guardian, articles on Jamie Hewlett, and Crowley and Pessoa.

Dinosaur tourists shuttling from Wyoming to Skye. Honest. Dr Michael Brett-Surman, a dinosaur expert at the Smithsonian Natural History Museum in Washington DC, said the possibility of dinosaurs travelling between Skye and Wyoming could not be ruled out.

Alan Moore, interviewed about craft, tells you everything you need to know about writing comics.

A LUSH bath-product inspired by the book of Stardust (it's amazing the fall-out from the ladies in Bristol giving me stuff last year).

Subterranean Press gave away UK proofs of The Graveyard Book to the winners of their last competition. Now they have five US proof copies to give away:

Christopher Hitchens is waterboarded. Here is the most chilling way I can find of stating the matter. Until recently, “waterboarding” was something that Americans did to other Americans. It was inflicted, and endured, by those members of the Special Forces who underwent the advanced form of training known as sere (Survival, Evasion, Resistance, Escape). In these harsh exercises, brave men and women were introduced to the sorts of barbarism that they might expect to meet at the hands of a lawless foe who disregarded the Geneva Conventions. But it was something that Americans were being trained to resist, not to inflict.


When people ask me about why I support the CBLDF and what it's for, I talk about the First Amendment, and the countries that don't have it -- places where, as you'll learn in in this Wall Street Journal article, you can be arrested for drawing cartoons...

On a sunny May morning, six plainclothes police officers, two uniformed policemen and a trio of functionaries from the state prosecutor's office closed in on a small apartment in Amsterdam. Their quarry: a skinny Dutch cartoonist with a rude sense of humor. Informed that he was suspected of sketching offensive drawings of Muslims and other minorities, the Dutchman surrendered without a struggle.

"I never expected the Spanish Inquisition," recalls the cartoonist, who goes by the nom de plume Gregorius Nekschot, quoting the British comedy team Monty Python. A fan of ribald gags, he's a caustic foe of religion, particularly Islam. The Quran, crucifixion, sexual organs and goats are among his favorite motifs.

Mr. Nekschot, whose cartoons had appeared mainly on his own Web site, spent the night in a jail cell. Police grabbed his computer, a hard drive and sketch pads. He's been summoned for further questioning later this month by prosecutors. He hasn't been charged with a crime, but the prosecutor's office says he's been under investigation for three years on suspicion that he violated a Dutch law that forbids discrimination on the basis of race, religion or sexual orientation.

If you're offended by something, you talk about it. You make your own cartoons. You out-argue your opponents. You don't stop them talking, or cartooning. That's wrong. Because if you can do that to them, someone else can do that to you.

It's why supporting freedom of speech so often involves defending the indefensible, and is, often uncomfortably, the right thing to do.


Rantz Hoseley talks about Comic Book Tattoo and so does Tori.


I first heard about Fidra Books when they let me know they would be republishing the Victoria Walker books. Vanessa from Fidra just wrote about The Graveyard Book at and I learned from her blog that Roz De La Hey, who used to be at Bloomsbury and left to open a bookshop-and-more in St Boswells on the Scottish borders, has opened her shop (and it sounds marvellous).


And finally, for those of you in the UK: the Open Rights Group...

They need more members. They've been doing good things. They even have a widget. Give them a hand. And money. Give them money.