Thursday, December 11, 2008

"I am prepared to offer you a deal if the book does sell..."

People say to me, Neil, you have extremely unlikely hair. Why is this?

And I say, probably it is genetic. Here is a photo of my great aunt Bertha, my grandfather, grandmother, and great aunt Dora, in 1920. Note the strangeness of the hair. My grandmother may or may not have strange hair, although she definitely has a strange hat. (You may disapprove of the cigarettes if you wish. I do not know why my grandmother is holding a cigarette -- I don't think she ever smoked. Perhaps it is my grandfather's.)

(I started a family tree at, and invited various family members to it, and the most amazing pictures have been coming out of the woodwork. Or at least, out of my Aunt Janet's box of old photographs.)

Hi Neil,

Just wanted to let you know that the keycode "OTHERWORLD" can be used to access all of the video content thus far on the Coraline website, at least to my knowledge. You might want to post this so other people don't have to bother with the passwords (which are very cool, but somewhat cumbersome). Thanks Neil,

- Peter

That's very useful -- thanks. And there are several new videos up there as well. (I am excited. I get to see the finished film in a week.)

This from Andrew Burday:

Regarding the Australian Simpsons parody case: the judge doesn't appear to be confused about the existence of fictional characters. He's saying that a depiction of Bart Simpson is a depiction of a person as opposed to a depiction of a dog or a space alien. He is quoted as saying that the crime would be more serious "if the persons were real".

What's really frightening is the motivation the judge gives to the law in his interpretation. In the USA, the usual motivation given for suppressing child porn is to protect actual children who may be involved in producing it. Apparently that is also a motivation for the Australian law, but it obviously can't apply in this case -- again, the judge contrasts this case to one involving real children. However, the judge goes beyond that to claim that the government has a legitimate interest in suppressing material that could "fuel demand for material that does involve the abuse of children."

The scary thing about that is that almost any expression that concerns child porn without condemning it could be read as "fueling demand". (Really, so could condemnations, in that they create forbidden fruit.) This email and your blog post could be said to fuel demand for child porn by criticizing some laws against it. You and I could be prosecuted as child pornographers merely for having spoken out against this attempt to criminalize it. On this understanding of the law, the law legitimately can suppress its own opposition. So much for any democratic process.

(I have tried to keep this short, but to forestall one obvious objection: suppose you had included a link to the Simpsons parody so that readers could see for themselves what was being suppressed, or suppose that a linguistic description can count as a "depiction" under Australian law. Then your post and my email would include depictions.)

Thanks so much.

Dear Neil Gaiman,

Is "Odd and the Frost Giants" out of print? Because I wanted to put it on my Christmas wish list, and doesn't seem to be selling any more themselves; it just has links to other sellers.

Thank you for writing, I love your stories.


P.S. I was one of the too many people who got "The Graveyard Book" signed at the National Book Festival in DC, and I wanted to thank you for drawing the headstone in my copy, because I got to show the picture too my kindergarten class even though the book is a bit too old for them. (They agreed that it is "cool.") I also read them "The Wolves in the Walls" and "The Day I Swapped my Dad for Two Goldfish," which went over well, so I was wondering if "Crazy Hair" has been or is going to be published as a picture book.

Crazy Hair comes out late next year, in the US and the UK.

It looks like Odd and the Frost Giants is out of print, yes. That's part of the thing of it being a World Book Day book. Everyone did things for free so it could be a one pound book, but that only happens once.

Harpers should be publishing it in the US in 2009, and Bloomsbury will republish it in the UK eventually, although they may wait for me to write another Odd story first. (Odd in Jerusalem, perhaps. I'm pretty sure that he went there.)

Lots of people wrote to tell me about the Rebellyon -- is a Guardian article about it, and here's Ms Palmer blogging about it. (Also, has, about half-way down, a nice picture of Amanda and me at my kitchen table signing our way through 700 apologetic cards with a photo of a dead Amanda on the other side. Incidentally, the table was filled with other people eating breakfast, but you can't see them.)

Hello my name is Andrea bucy I have seen the movie stardust and I intend to read the book by you I was wondering if I could possible write a spinoff book that has some of the same characters and setting. But I wanted to get you permission first because if i were to get it published i don’t want someone coming after me cause i stole their ideas. I am prepared to offer you a deal if the book does sell i will offer you royalties of 60/40 50/50 or 40/60 i don’t write just for money but i realize that for some people like Jane Austen do and did go along in life and pay for many things by the money they make from their books. So i am asking you if we can maybe make a contract that says you have given me permission, only if you do give me permission, to use your ideas and work in my story and you will get credit for it.Pleas get back to me.

I'm not really sure where to start on this one. If you want to write fan fiction, you can. I don't mind. Sequels and prequels and meetings and pairings and what have you. You can put it up on the web. But you can't publish it commercially. You need to stay on the non-commercial side of the street, which means you can't sell it, not even if, like Jane Austen, you're in it for the big bucks. Otherwise bad things would happen, involving lawyers from publishers and lawyers from movie studios, and your week would be ruined. Trust me on this.

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