Tuesday, September 30, 2008

I survived the first chapter -- and everyone was really nice!

That was fun.

There was a certain amount of confusion backstage, things we've learned (I hope) for the rest of the reading tour events, and I managed to complicate things by forgetting to eat lunch, and I signed 750 books and then went into a sort of a flatlined bloodsugar grumpy meltdown during the soundcheck. But Cat ran out and got me some food, and I ate just enough to get me cheerful again, and I don't think many of the technical issues we were frantically trying to solve remained unsolved, and I think the audience was happy and didn't know about the tech problems anyway, and I hope the experience was probably much more fun than me doing a signing for the people who were there.

And Bill Hader's special introduction went down like a dream, which made me really happy. If you come to one of the readings you'll hear it. If not, you won't.

Thanks to Barnes and Noble College, to Columbia Teachers College, to Harper Collins, to the CBLDF, and to all my friends who showed up and then didn't actually get to talk to me.

A few people wrote to say that they couldn't get The Graveyard Book at their local bookshop, or that their bookshop had told them it wasn't out. It's definitely out. It's live on Amazon. It's out there on indiebound.

I just downloaded your newest to listen to on my next business trip. And it made me wonder, does purchasing the audio book version of your new release (e.g. "The Graveyard Book") contribute to book sales calculations? Or, by purchasing the audio version am I depriving you of a sale to be counted by the NYT Best Sellers List? I hope this didn't hurt... Thanks, Tricia

I don't know, but I really don't care -- I'm really proud of the audio version of The Graveyard Book, and I love it that you downloaded it, so please do not worry. Buy it in any format you like, and do not give it a second thought. is the US iTunes link. It probably won't work if you are outside of the US.

(And is all the audiobooks by me on iTunes including a German one.)

Hi Neil,

My daughter would like us to create a Queen of Shadows costume for her this Halloween. We watched Mirrormask again (and again) to gather ideas. But it is hard to make out the fine details. Do you know of any online resources for sketches, designs, behind the scenes photos of the Queen's wardrobe?


Not really -- the Art of Mirrormask book that Dave McKean did should have all of that stuff in it, though.

Dear Mr.Gaiman:

I was amused by the fact that the new version of the Mouse Circus website has been designed by "Sandman Studios".
Was this a conscious decision on behalf of the people responsible for the site (HarperCollins?) or just plain coincidence? Either way, it is amusing.

I really like the new site (as a user and as a web designer myself), not only does it really look good, but (most important) it's useful and well organized.
Still, I will miss the Stephin Merritt background looping bit of music for the old-flash Coraline part of the site. Maybe you could get Sandman Studio (wink wink) to include it as an mp3 or something.

Santiago Mendez

P.S: If Mr.Neil posts this, Sandman Studio will owe him (and me) one for the plug. You're welcome Sandman Studio.
P.S.2: I swear I'm not a Sandman Studio employee.

It is a coincidence, I'm afraid. (Or is it?) (Yes, it is.) (Ah... but is it?) (Yes, actually.)

You're right on the Stephin Merritt loop, though. We should put it up somewhere...


I just stopped blogging and had a bath. And now I go to bed. Tomorrow morning to Philadelphia... And I'll put up a link to the reading tonight as soon as it goes up on the web. Or as soon as they send me the link, anyway.

And finally, I thought doing a signing tour with a broken finger was foolish, until I learned that Amanda Palmer was now going to be singing and dancing her way across the world with a broken foot. I think the dancing may have to be curtailed but was happy to see that the singing is as good as ever. Here's a shout out to me from Belfast:

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Posting the Widget

So -- at least in theory and I think in practice too -- this magical widget (which I found at will play you the whole of me reading Chapter One of The Graveyard Book. And you can hear some lovely Bela Fleck danse macabre banjo music too.

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Publication Day

I planned to blog early this morning, but the hotel phones and internet were dead. I used my cell phone to call the front desk, where someone explained that they were upgrading their system and nothing was working. When I asked why they hadn't done it at at 3.00 am, she said that was when it had had started, and they'd be done in half an hour. (When I left the hotel, about half an hour later, she said they'd be done by 4.00pm). High tech works so well, when it works, but when it goes wrong it goes so wrong.

Saturday was wonderful and a bit daunting: I had seven lines of people to get through. The festival estimate was that I signed for about 1400 people, some of them in the rain. (The rainbow was fairly wonderful.) I was given a Panda at one point, and also heckled by someone who turned out to be my friend Brian Henson, on his way across the Mall to give a talk at the Smithsonian. The Henson exhibition goes until the 5th of October, looks marvellous, and I wish I'd been able to see it.)

The Festival officially ended at 5.00 pm, and there were still about a hundred people waiting, so I got up, picked up a pen, and scurried down the line, scribbling on opened books and apologising for not personalising things, and then we were done. It was an adventure, signing for people with a broken finger, but it definitely made me happy that this is now a reading tour...

Neil! You deserve lots of credit and general applause for taking care of the long, damp line at the National Book fair this year. I was at the tail end of the sixth line (there were seven) and plenty of folks around me were worried that you wouldn't get to them but based on my two previous encounters with you, I assured them that you would NOT let them down. I hope your hand didn't hurt too much, it had to be a bit awkward signing with that finger splint on! Thanks again - good luck on the rest of the tour!


...which I post because, truth to tell, I wasn't certain that I'd be able to do it all either.

Today... I got briefed on all the things that are happening. The new incarnation of the website has gone live and is filled with all sorts of wonders and marvels. (And, more importantly, no more flash animation.) (Except possibly for the Graveyard Book Sudoku.) (The Graveyard Book Screensaver is currently Mac only, because AVAST on my computer was convinced it contained a Trojan, and while it didn't, and no-one else's viruscheckers saw anything wrong, Harpers wanted to make sure that no-one with Avast would have to worry about whether there was a Trojan in the mix.)

The videos of the chapters of the Graveyard Book Chapters will go live one or two days after the reading. With luck we can get them up quickly enough that the people at the end of the tour will be completely up-to-date...

Dear Neil/Mr. Gaiman,
You mentioned in your journal that perhaps you weren't "trying hard enough" to make it on the Banned Books list. You were probably joking, but I just wanted to ask what exactly you meant by "trying hard enough". Does it mean that in order to "try hard enough" you have to write about controversial things that you don't believe in? Unchallenged books are just as valuable as the ones that are; it's just a difference in subject matter. A book with "offending" material is just as important as one with material that more people accept. I just wanted to know your opinion on this.

Well, partly I was joking, and partly I was very serious. You know you're doing something that matters when people start trying to ban it. When the American Family Assocation and the "Concerned Mothers of America" wrote to tell us that they had blacklisted Sandman, I figured I was doing something right.

Who decides which stores will sponsor your tour appearances? Is it the publisher? I ask this because I had planned to take my wife and kids to your appearance this week at the Tivoli Theatre in Downers Grove, Illinois. However when I called for tickets, I was told by an Anderson's bookstore representative that in order to get a ticket EACH ONE OF US needed to purchase your book--and also pay $5 for each ticket.

Since I can't afford $100 and don't need four copies of your book, I've had to cut my wife and son out of Thursday's event. I looked through the rest of your appearances and it doesn't seem like buying a copy of the book is a prerequisite in any other city.

If Anderson's is trying to recoup their costs for staging this event at the Tivoli, I'd like to appeal to whomever plans your next tour to either go with a larger bookseller or ask Anderson's to find a less costly venue that would allow families in with tickets and one purchased book.

According to Harpers, there's some miscommunication somewhere -- no-one is trying to make families buy multiple copies of The Graveyard Book. That would be silly (and mean). I think this should have been sorted out with Anderson's, so if you call them again you shouldn't have any trouble getting your wife and son in.

Hi! I'm going to your reading in Philadelphia on Wednesday, and I just called the number for Border's on your website and they told me that the event starts at 5:00, not 6:00 (which is what your website says). The guy at Border's said "There are going to be a lot of disappointed people" so I thought I'd give you a heads up. Looking forward to seeing you whatever time it starts.

According to Elyse at Harpers, "6pm. Definitely 6pm. Doors open at 5pm, perhaps that's where the confusion was." And given that Borders has it up on their website as starting at 6.00pm, I would not worry...


I could have sworn I got an email from Author Tracker telling me that your Graveyard Book readings in the states would be broadcast on the interweb. However, now when I try to look up a link for the broadcasts, the interweb assures me that I must have dreamt the whole thing.

Did I imagine it? If not, do you have the link? I was really looking forward to my first experience with the book being you reading it...


I don't think the link to that page -- which will be somewhere on -- has been posted yet. I'd keep an eye on as a likely place, if I were you, and an eye on this journal as I'll post the actual location as soon as it's live.

Oh god. It's 1:30. Right. Done.


Saturday, September 27, 2008

the final accounting

Your humble webgoblin here again, one last time as promised. Now that the RoboPanda Caper has been concluded I have gone back through the previous entries and un-redacted the bits about it. Another round of thanks to all who helped make it possible.

The day was wet and rainy, but that didn't seem to dampen the spirits of any of you that I met. I was pleased to see many people sporting owl feathers in their hats and black orchids on their lapels. I gave a Neil "Scary Trousers" Gaiman sticker to everyone I saw with either, and if I missed you I'm terribly sorry.

In the excitement and the irregular rain, I never actually managed to take a picture of the panda's packaging, but I know others did; if you could contact me I'd love to post them.

UPDATE: Eden has posted a great series of three images of the RoboPanda Presentation. (I particularly like how my face is obscured. Partial anonymity secured!) And Holly sends this photo of Maddy's reaction.

FURTHER UPDATE: Glenda sends a link to a picture she took of
me holding the panda package. Between the brown paper, the twine, and the interior full of circuitry I was just hoping that none of the agents swarming the Laura Bush tent next door would ask to x-ray it.

Here is a cellphone pic I took giving a close-up of the Official Panda Handling Kit.

What I expect you're all waiting to see, though, is the video of the RoboPanda Presentation. Let me first say that I am a terrible videographer, and beg your forgiveness. Between the rain, needing to turn on the RoboPanda after it was unboxed, handing Mr. G the Official Panda Handling Kit, and having only the two arms the camera dipped down to the table quite a bit. Plus I was a little too close to get a good wide angle. Chalk it up to lessons learned. When I show up at his house with the armadillo I'll bring someone else to video it.

The RoboPana was presented to Mr. G, all sneaky-like, by Eden, who also brought excellent gluten-free cupcakes!

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A celebration of reading...

I assumed that you couldn't bring photo-taking things to the White House breakfast, and I was wrong, so Salman Rushdie took this photo of me and Maddy on his phone, to record the event for posterity. In the background Abraham Lincoln pretends to ignore Guys Read founder Jon Scieszka, as Jon proudly displays his Ambassador For Children's Literature medal to the world. He says he's not sure where to wear such a medal in everyday life. I ran into Brad Meltzer there and we talked about the Batman two-parter I'm writing and the fun of leaping from medium to medium, and I met Carrie Fisher and told her the story of How Carrie Fisher Probably Saved My Life -- a Tale of the 1987 Hurricane.

This is the eighth National Book Festival, an institution created by Laura Bush (a librarian before she was First Lady) and the Library of Congress. I hope that future First Ladies, of whatever political stripe, continue the tradition: it would be a pity if this were to be the last.

Now back at the hotel, where I am loading up my leather jacket pockets with pens, phones and cameras and getting ready to head back out to the Mall.

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Friday, September 26, 2008

A plausible denial....

Still in Washington DC. It's still cold. It's still raining. Now lightning is flashing and thunder rumbling as well, and it just dawned on me that the White House breakfast tomorrow will be at the White House, and that I ought to do something special (apart from just dragging Maddy along to it as a combination of daughter and good luck charm) so I put my remarkably shiny boots outside the hotel door to be shined some more.

I had a day with some wonderful things in it -- after the interviews I went out to one of the Smithsonion places, and got to go backstage and learn about book and paper and art conservation, and to see rusting spaceships and sweat-stained spacesuits and raider-of-the-lost-ark-storage-warehouses. My thanks to Judy and Tegan and to Nora for showing me strange miracle things.

The schedule I got from Harpers that I posted for the tour had me talking in the Children's Tent tomorrow for an hour, from 11:45am to 12:45, but I think I'd be more likely to believe the LoC website, which gives me something closer to half an hour, from 11:45 to 12:15. The signing starts at 1:00pm. I don't know how long they'll let me keep signing for. I suspect we'll find out.

A few pictures: WIRED online have a Corinthian Tattoo up in their favourite comics tattoo article.

There are going to be film tie-in editions of Coraline out next month (the bottom one has essays on the film be me and by Henry Selick, and stills, and such):

We've got a page with the various Coraline trailers and featurettes up, at

And there's an Alternate Reality Gaming Network, which suspects me in the case of Who Killed a certain lady rockstar. But I am almost definitely not involved.


Thursday, September 25, 2008

typing clunky

I'm in Washington DC, and it's chilly and rainy. The weather forecast for Saturday is not quite as chilly but still rainy, which may affect the Book Festival. We'll see...

Before I flew out I had a wonderful lunch at It's Greek To Me with the winners (two from Mexico, two from the UK) of a Beowulf movie competition, which had flown them to Minneapolis. The English couple told me that enough time had passed since they entered the competition that they had assumed the email from an unfamiliar address that came in telling them they had won a trip to America was Spam. And then the visiting Miss Cat told us how she had entered a competition to win Johnny Cash's guitar, and won it... and then deleted every email that came in letting her know. There's a moral in there somewhere, probably.

Here's the Birdchick's account (and films) of yesterday's bee-harvest with added National Public Radio.

It's Banned Books Week. The 2007 Most challenged books list is up -- Toni Morrison is off the list, Philip Pullman is on (The Golden Compass, challenged for its "religious viewpoint")

The most frequently challenged authors of 2007,

1) Robert Cormier
2) Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson
3) Mark Twain
4) Toni Morrison
5) Philip Pullman
6) Kevin Henkes
7) Lois Lowry
8) Chris Crutcher
9) Lauren Myracle
10) Joann Sfar

And once again, I suspect that I'm not trying hard enough. I'm probably not even in the top thousand.

I'm glad the ALA keeps track. I'm glad they still fight to stop books being banned. And I'm deeply, happily proud of Mark Twain, who is still raising hackles and tweaking noses 99 years after his death.

(Here's the ALA Poster of me, a photo Maddy disliked so much when she saw it on the wall of her school recently that she photocopied a head from another photo of me, took it to school and carefully taped it over the head of this one, much to the puzzlement of her teacher.)

I'm typing as I did when I was a teenager -- practically two fingered, with just my forefinger on my right hand and random fingers on my left. It seems to work, although it's slightly slower than normal. (The alternative is typing more or less properly, but as soon as the middle finger on the right hand gets involved, either it hurts or, more usually, because it's in its little metal case, I hit more keys than I intended to.)

I've loved Chris Riddell's artwork since I randomly picked up a copy of the Edge Chronicles in Japan, so I was wondering if his version of the Graveyard Book cover will only be available in the U.K. or will I have to pay expensive international shipping if I want to obtain a copy?

For now, the only edition with Chris's artwork in is the Bloomsbury one, which is going to be available in the UK, and, along with the US version, is already creeping onto the shelves in an export edition in places like Singapore and the Philippines (which means I've been getting some surprised and delighted queries from people in those places).

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Small signing note

I just learned that the finger I'd thought was sprained in China is actually fractured, so I will be signing books with the middle finger of my right hand in a small blue-felt and metal finger-brace.

The management accepts no responsibilities for the legibility of the handwriting or the consistency of the signatures.

And people have been writing to ask about "I Google You" -- you can get it when you order "Who Killed Amanda Palmer" from -- you get the CD, and a download, and the extra songs...

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Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Why is the man on the right holding a microphone?

I did the Washington Post Book World online chat this morning -- and then did more telephone interviews (while also signing the sheets for the Subterranean Press edition of The Graveyard Book) after which Euan Kerr from National Public Radio in Minneapolis arrived.

I've known Euan for over a decade, but in the past I've always gone to the studios of KNOW in St Paul while he interviewed me. This time (because time is ticking before the start of the tour, and there isn't any to spare on things like driving out to the Twin Cities) he came out to my house. On arrival he donned a bee suit, and headed out with the bee team (me, Stitelers, Lorraine, Cat Mihos who is in town visiting Lorraine and who, fresh from Duran Duran and the Jonas Brothers, will be tour-managing some of the upcoming tour) to harvest honey. Euan sort-of-interviewed me while we did bee stuff, occasionally sticking his microphone down among the bees to capture authentic beeish noises, then afterwards we went together to the gazebo and did a proper interview, with actual questions and answers and things, and not just barked cries of "Can somebody please hold this?" and "Ow, I just got stung through my sock."

The first interviews when a book comes out are the fun ones, because you're finding out what you think: all the questions are new to you, and you're having to figure out what the answers are, and you aren't yet repeating yourself. The hard ones will be in a month, where I'll find myself thinking Did I ever really live in a very tall house? And did my infant son really ride a tricycle around the churchyard across the lane? Are these real things, or just things I've repeated so many times they've evaporated, so now all I remember is the memory of me saying them...?

Hello! I received the e-mail about your appearance at the National Book Fest, which I'm very excited about. In this e-mail, it said that you'd be doing signings, and that I should buy a copy of the Graveyard Book for you to sign. Buuuut, if it won't be available for me to purchase until September 30th, how can I have it for you to sign on the 27th? I'm confused, which I'll admit isn't an uncommon state for me. Will there be copies available in the Book Sales tent? Don't get me wrong, I'd be immensely happy for you to sign something else that I already own, but I'd love to know how this whole Graveyard thing can work, unless you have some sort of nifty time travel device that you've been working on in your spare time.

We have a special dispensation from Harper Collins to sell copies of The Graveyard Book at the National Book Festival (because it's, well, the National Book festival). The only downside on that is I don't think that copies sold on the Saturday will count on any of the bestseller lists, which start ticking on Tuesday night. But it would be silly to be there without books, and it's only three days, and I'm glad that Harpers thought it was a good idea.

I love some of your Books including Coraline...I can't wait to see the movie. I want to ask if its not much of a trouble is How can I contact Dave McKean? I also love his Artworks and I have to say your stories and His artwork are a very good combination. I have a lot questions I would like to ask Him as well. Thank you for your time to check this out...I hope that you continue your great works and am waiting for the Graveyard Book to come out ^_^
is now almost there. It has a front page up anyway. I'm sure that as soon as it goes live it will also have contact information. So that will be how people will contact Dave in the future. (And he's signing in Paris on the 4th of October).

When Kitty arrived she was wearing a new tee shirt which made me smile, as on it was a drawing which I'd done earlier this year when asked by Bloomsbury for a sketch of the kind of thing I was thinking of for a Graveyard Book cover, something they could show to Chris Riddell*, which I then sent Kitty when she asked about making a Graveyard Book tee shirt for, to show her the kind of thing that was in my head when I was writing it, and the kind of direction that might be nice to go.

I didn't expect it to be a t-shirt, and I didn't expect to like the t-shirt that it became, but it's lovely.


I was checking something out today, and ran across what I think may be my favourite paragraph in ages. It's from a Chinese website about a county filled with conjurors and acrobats, and I shall reformat it as a poem, because I can:

People in Wuqiao County
are so knee on acrobatics
that they perform strings of somersault,
stack themselves up with amazing agility,
fight with fists or juggle magic
no matter in the streets or in the wheat fields,
even at the table or on the kang (bed).

Even some children hold the bottle
fully filled with oil or vinegar
when going to the store or grain supply center
buying oil or vinegar,
without one drop spilt. On rainy days,

groups of pupils walk in the rain with umbrellas
held on the nose. What’s more amazing,
on the wedding night,
eating cakes or drinking wine is effortless,
and the bride casts the candies
flying out with an empty hand
while the bridegroom send cigarettes
by clapping hands in the sky.


*And because Chris Riddell can draw beautifully, and compose pictures just as well, he took my scratchy doodle idea and turned it into this:

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Tuesday, September 23, 2008

I just found this...

This was over at, the junior site, on the front page. I'd heard that the whole site was going to get a makeover, and finally get out of Flash animation, but it hasn't happened quite yet. This counter was sitting there, below the Dave McKean mouse orchestra drawing, telling me that the Graveyard Book would be out in six days, six hours and eleven minutes. I thought about waiting another five minutes to post, then decided to test out the "Post it in blogger" function. Which what I'm doing right now.

(It seems to work on blogger. Not on any of the RSS feeds though. It's also about 30 seconds different from the counter on the sidebar. Clicking the Get & Share button at the bottom allows you to post it anywhere you want.)

(And my apologies for the practical nature of much of the current blogging.)

(I just figured out that you can actually also get it from, where you get a larger number of ways to embed it into many more things. Although that doesn't have links to the google/yahoo widget version or many of the others.)

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small helpful reminder

I just wanted to remind people that the free Neverwhere is still out there.

You can read it online until the end of the month at this link. This is the "Browse inside" feature that didn't work very well with American gods, but which they've improved -- I thought it was faster and much more legible.

You can download a copy which will have a lifespan of 30 days from the yellow button at this location. I'd thought it was a PDF, but it's not: I had to install Adobe Digital Editions --, which went on fast, and then I clicked on the yellow Download Neverwhere button on the Harpers Page, and it worked like a charm on both the Windows and on the Mac machines. I didn't bother creating an Adobe ID, and it seems to happily transfer it to other things. If you're really worried about Neverwhere going up in digital smoke after 30 days, or are a very slow reader, you can even print it out. Otherwise, this is your chance to try it for free.

(I know I should have done this when I was in China, but I rarely had both an internet connection and the time to check it out.)

And I have no doubt that Harpers will eventually want to questionaire anyone who's tried it (or tried and had trouble) just as they did with the American Gods read online experiment. In each case, everyone learns things. (I saw a rough version of the downloadable Neverwhere, where anyone wanting to read it had to give their name and address and go through several screens of providing information that would never be used by anyone and wasn't needed, and I explained that if I saw those screens I'd stop right there, so they should take them out. And after explaining that it was impossible to take them out, they took them out, for which I am extremely grateful.)


waking up

I'm getting over jet-lag and clock-lag but it's slower than normal. Woken up this morning by my assistant Lorraine. "I've put a cup of tea by your bed. The tree people are here. Do you want to get up and see them?" I think I must have conveyed somehow that I didn't, because the next thing I remember was perhaps five seconds passing and her saying, "The tree by the gazebo we cut down had white pine blister rust, but it doesn't seem to have spread. I've told them to go and look at the fungus on the apple tree." I tried to explain to her (without waking up, opening my eyes or anything) that it wasn't fungus, just some kind of fuzzy white insect-stuff, and she might have heard this, because five seconds later she said, "You were right, it was insects and we have to soap them off. Your agent's on the phone, and I'm bringing you a new cup of tea because that one must be cold by now." And the day had started.

The phones have begun ringing. The world knows I'm home. Tomorrow at midday Eastern Time I'm doing a Washington Post chat -- details at

Tomorrow, before the tour begins, in between interviews, we harvest honey. There may even be photos (And I have an NPR interviewer showing up at the house to interview me. Who may find himself putting on a bee-suit and helping. You never know.) . I suspect the pine rust comes from the gooseberries and red-currants that grow around the gazebo.

More later. But probably not about pine rust.

And The Graveyard Book will be published in the US in exactly a week. If you're wondering whether to buy a copy now or later, please buy it now. It actually will make a difference -- the first week's sales matter, especially in the most crowded publication week of the year (which is this week).

Hi Neil,

Not a question, just a belated 'welcome back'. Life in the midwest has been disappointingly normal and boring without you around, but now that you're posting about nearly-naked roller skaters and cats and the true cause for execution of small trees, all is satisfyingly weird again.

I'm a little disappointed that I won't be able to make any of the tour stops for the Graveyard Book, as all of the ones in my general vicinity are in the middle of the week. I've battled and fought and wriggled and attempted to reschedule things like sleeping, eating, and breathing, but the dates and times defeat me. I'm sure there are excellent reasons for having these things not on a Friday or Saturday, but, um... what are those reasons? I'm just curious. Thanks!

It's that thing about publication week. While it would be lovely for me to do a month-long author tour, going out on Fridays and home on Sundays, the publisher wants to squeeze their events into the first week or so. That's when reporters want to write about new books, that's when it gets the most attention. That's also when the publisher hopes to sell a lot of books, because if they move books in the first week it shows up on the bestseller lists, and then more places stock it and, it's whatever the opposite of a vicious circle is. A cuddly circle?

Publication day is this Tuesday, which is why I'm signing in New York on Tuesday evening, and, because I'm on the East Coast then, I do Philadelphia next. Then I drift westward, and Seattle and Palo Alto get the Friday and Saturday spot because that's how it worked out. Los Angeles is Monday night.

And for those of you who've written in worried, no, I don't know why lists the paperback of The Graveyard Book as coming out Jan 1st 2020, but it's possible that their dates may not be entirely accurate, and that Harpers might publish it in paperback within the next twelve years. (Also, I know they list the Subterranean Press edition and have it with a terrific discount as their hardcover, which is a bit odd [Edit to add, ...and which you won't get if you order it. Bill Schafer at Subterranean Press says, "Amazon lists everything that has an ISBN, without regard to whether they'll receive it. I've posted to our site, and in our newsletter, and to that we don't expect to fill any copies for Amazon or wholesalers. I've also let Amazon know this. I'll email them again."]
This is the actual link to the Amazon hardback. And if I'm putting that up I should mention that it's even cheaper at Barnes and Noble online. But if you can, you should buy it somewhere local and nice, because it is A Good Thing to so do. Check out to find shops near you (and poking around on their site I found which made me happy).

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Monday, September 22, 2008

The Graveyard Book Tour

Here's a list of the US and the UK stops on the Graveyard Book tour:
Before the tour (and technically before the US release of the book -- although the publisher are being very nice and letting it out just this once):

September 27, 2008

Library of Congress National Book Festival

Saturday, 11:45am-3:00pm

The Mall

Washington D.C.

Event: 11:45am - 12:45pm, in the Teens & Children Pavilion

Signing: 1:00pm - 3:00pm, in Tent #16

The Proper US tour starts in New York on Tuesday the 30th. At each US stop, I'm going to read a chapter of The Graveyard Book. I'm going to read them in order. Other things will happen too (we're hoping for some exclusive Coraline footage, for example), and there will be a Q&A and maybe other things. The stops are going to be filmed. Each Chapter that gets read will also be put online by Harpers very soon after it's read (depends mainly on how quickly the footage can be edited and put up online). So you can follow the tour around, and get the book a chapter at a time for free...

September 30, 2008 -

Chapter 1

Graveyard Book US Tour: New York

Tuesday, 7:00pm

US Publication Day!

Teachers College at Columbia University

Horace Mann Auditorium

525 W. 120th Street

New York, NY 10027


Hosted by Barnes & Noble College. Event is free and open to the public, no tickets needed. Pre-signed books will be available for purchase.

October 1, 2008 -

Chapter 2

Graveyard Book US Tour: Philadelphia

Wednesday, 6:00pm

Levitt Auditorium in the Gershman Y
401 South Broad Street
Philadelphia, PA 19102

Hosted by Borders. Event is free and open to the public, no tickets needed. Pre-signed books will be available for purchase.

October 2, 2008 -

Chapter 3

Graveyard Book US Tour: Chicago

Thursday, 6:00pm

Tivoli Theatre, hosted by Andersons Bookshop

5021 Highland Ave

Downers Grove, IL 60515


The venue is beautifully restored 1920s movie palace with seating for 1000. To attend this event, pre-purchase a copy of Neil Gaiman's latest - The Graveyard Book - and a $5.00 event ticket. (The wording of this is a bit odd -- let me find out if you can go with just a ticket. Neil) Autographed copies of the new book will be reserved and waiting for all ticketholders. Neil Gaiman’s presentation will be followed by a screening of the film, Stardust.

October 3, 2008 -

Chapter 4

Graveyard Book US Tour: Seattle

Friday, 7:00pm

University Temple United Methodist Church, hosted by University Bookstore

1415 NE 43rd St.

Seattle, WA 98105


This venue seats 900. Tickets are free with the purchase of a Graveyard Book voucher; otherwise tickets are $5

October 4, 2008 -

Chapter 5

Graveyard Book US Tour: Palo Alto

Saturday, 7:30pm

Sponsored by Kepler's, the Palo Alto City Library and PAUSD

Spangenberg Theatre

Gunn High School

780 Arastradero Rd.

Palo Alto, CA 94306

This venue seats 950. Event is free and open to the public, no tickets needed.

October 5, 2008 -

Chapter 6

Graveyard Book US Tour: San Francisco

Sunday, 3:00pm

Sundance Kabuki Theatre, sponsored by Booksmith

1881 Post Street at Fillmore

San Francisco, CA 94115


This venue seats 500. Tickets for this event cost $28.00, which includes admission to the event and a signed first edition of the Graveyard Book ($19.52 value). Tickets available only at The Booksmith, in person, or by phone, 415-863-8688 or 800-493-7323.

October 6, 2008

Chapter 7, part 1 (We had to split it into two because it's over two hours long)

Graveyard Book US Tour: Los Angeles

Monday, 7:00pm
Lincoln Middle School
1501 California Avenue
Santa Monica, CA 90403
Hosted by Barnes & Noble. Event is free and open to the public, no tickets needed. Pre-signed books will be available for purchase.

October 7, 2008 -

Chapter 7, part 2

Graveyard Book US Tour: Boulder, CO

Tuesday, 6:30pm

Unity of Boulder Church, sponsored by Boulder Book Store

2855 Folsom St. Boulder, CO 80304


This venue seats 600. Tickets are $6 and may be purchased at the Boulder Book Store or by calling 303-447-2074.

October 8, 2008

Chapter 8

Graveyard Book US Tour: Minneapolis, MN

Wednesday, 7:00pm

Saint Paul's United Church of Christ, hosted by Red Balloon Bookshop

900 Summit Avenue

St. Paul, MN 55105


This venue seats 1100, and is home to the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra. Event is free and open to the public, no tickets needed.


No full chapters, I'm afraid. But signings and Q&As and suchlike. I'll find out if we can show the Coraline trailer in the UK...

Date: Tuesday 28th October
Time: 7:00pm
Place: Church Hill Theatre, Edinburgh
Information: An evening with Neil Gaiman in Edinburgh
Capacity: 300

Date: Wednesday 29th October
Time: 7:00pm
Place: Whitworth Hall, University of Manchester
Information: Manchester University event
Capacity: 650

Date: Thursday 30th October
Eason Books

O'Connell St, Dublin

Thursday, 30 October 2008

07:00 PM

Date: Friday 31st October (Hallowe'en)
Time: 6:30pm
Place: Old Theatre, London School of Economics

"Tickets are priced at 8 pounds and 6 pounds (concessions), and will entitle you to 2 pounds off either edition of the book on the night. The book officially goes on sale on the 30th October, so this should be a fun one.

Tickets can be purchased in two ways: come into the shop (Blackwell, 100 Charing Cross Road, London WC2H 0JG), or contact us by phone on 020 7292 5100 and we will send your tickets out to you. We expect the phone lines to be very busy for the first couple of days, so bear with us!"

Website: If you have any questions for now, email with 'Gaiman' in the header.


I was talking to Roger Avary today (I bought him a pirated copy of Beowulf in China as a present, and called to let him know) and I asked him how the nearly-nude roller skater of Ojai was doing. (He had pointed her out to me rather proudly when I was in Ojai last year, as she skated around wearing a g-string and pasties in order to draw attention to either herself or to environmental causes or, possibly both. He said she was a town landmark.)

Roger explained, rather sadly, "They ran her out of town back in April."

An hour later I got an email from him, with a link to, an article from today's paper telling me about Jen-the-nearly-nude-skater's exploits in Oregon.

And I read the line Police here told her to tone it down after construction workers complained and I think my mind might have boggled slightly. It felt like a Mad Magazine "scenes we'd like to see" as the construction workers noticed the young skating lady's near-nudity, and then called the police to complain.

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Sunday, September 21, 2008

The Tour Begins To Loom...

Lots of tour and signing questions starting to come in. But first...

Hi Neil,
Hopefully this email comes after you're dug out of the deluge of other mails. I was recently in Minneapolis and sorry to see that Dreamhaven is downsizing/moving/firing all their employees. If you know yet, what does this mean for them running your commercial site? I terribly liked being able to visit and pickup signed copies or buy something and leave it for when you were next in town.

I don't honestly know. I haven't spoken to Greg Ketter about what he'll be doing with in the new, one-man Dreamhaven. I'll certainly still sign stuff when I stop by, but I'm not entirely clear what he'll be stocking at this point. If it looks like isn't going to work through DreamHaven in the future, then I'll have to figure something else out. Either way. I'll keep everyone informed through the blog as soon as I know what's happening.

Dear Neil,
I was just wondering if you ever found out what was going on as regards a signing on the Manchester stop of your tour? You mentioned it might be somewhere other than the talk? I was just wondering as I hadn't seen it mentioned on Manchester's website. Anyway, look forward to hearing (and possibly meeting, if there is a signing) you in Manchester!
All the best,

I think that the plan to have a talk and a separate signing was wisely abandoned, and as far as I can tell,
is the event -- reading and Q&A and signing and all. This at the instigation of my friend Geoff Ryman, who was teaching at Manchester, who then went off to teach in San Diego for six months.

The tragedy of that evening is that Paul & Storm and Jonathan Coulton will also be playing at Manchester University that night -- their doors open at 7:30. I suspect that with military precision and planning it might be possible for someone to see me talk and read and then get off and catch most of P&S and all of Mr Coulton, given that we're both at the University, and, if I've read the web site maps right, doing our stuff within about 500 feet of each other.)

(The good news is that Jonathan Coulton and P&S will be playing The Shepherds Bush Empire on Oct 30th -- the day before I'm doing the London reading, so there shouldn't be any conflict there.)

hi neil!
My girlfriend and i are going to your talk/reading/q and a in Edinburgh and it says you will sign copies of The Graveyard Book i presume this means they will be available there? also would it be totally inappropriate to ask you to sign anything else? i realise there will be a lot of hopefuls there and i wouldn't want to delay anything.

No, it's not inappropriate to ask me to sign something else. (Here's the link to Fidra's blog, with lots of information.)

For the UK this time, the rules are going to be pretty much as laid out in (The only modification is sometimes I reserve the right to not pose for photographs, now that everyone has an image-capturing device or two on them. You can take any photos you like of me scribbling, you can take photos of you next to me, if you're lucky I'll try and look up when it's time for the flash to go off, but stopping to pose doesn't add a long time to each signing, if you multiply it by hundreds of people, it can add a few hours to the signing line.) But I'll cheerfully sign in the UK, mostly because it's only in London that I ever have to worry about more than 300 people showing up.

For the US tour (NOT the National Book Festival, but everything from New York to St Paul, and I'll repost it all here in easily copyable form as soon as I get all the data) the plan is to make them more of An Evening With Neil Gaiman than a signing, mostly because the numbers at the signings had just got too big to cope with easily, often 700 -1200 people, and it's no fun for anyone when I finish signing every night at one or two in the morning. So each stop will get a complete chapter/story from The Graveyard Book (except for LA and Boulder, who will split Chapter 7), and a long Q&A and talk, and we'll do something more like the event two years ago at Cody's (captured forever by Fora TV). Signed books will be available, but I'll have signed them and doodled in them that afternoon...

And I may or may not have successfully embedded the Fora video here as well.

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quick one

It's an odd thing, being away from the internet for a month. China has the "great firewall" which meant that lots of things, including the blog and blog archives parts of my website, the entirety of livejournal , and lots of random other places, simply weren't accessible. (Yes, I could have set up a proxy server, but my proxy experiences last time I was there weren't very encouraging, and mostly by the end of each day I was too tired to do more than check urgent email anyway.) So if this has been wandering around the internet in the last month and by now everyone has seen it and is tired of it, my apologies. I just read it and was delighted -- it's Robert Heinlein's form letter for his fan mail.

I smiled broadly at, " ( ) It is not just for a student's grade to depend on the willingness or capacity of a stranger to help him with his homework. I am ready to discuss this with your teacher, principal, or school board."
for the full document. (via bookslut)


What about an opera libretto?
/Opera fan

Did one of those already. Sort of.


Hello Neil, I was just idly wondering about the location selections for the upcoming tour, what with all the churches. Just seems a weird choice. Is it for The Graveyard Book? And if so, will there be cemetery-related games, like tag or hurdles?!

There were even more churches on the Anansi Boys tour. It's more to do with auditorium size than subject matter -- if you need to seat about six hundred people, you're going to wind up in churches and university halls, because that number of people won't fit comfortably in the bookshops.

Occasionally you get a proper theatre, and that's always fun.

I've just looked over the Where's Neil information on the various appearances, and it seems a bit incomplete -- no info on how much tickets will cost for the ticketed events, for example -- so I'll get all the information and post it here.

I think this has already been posted, but Marcus Gipps from Blackwell sent me a note and I thought I'd mention the

London Talk and Signing
Friday, 6:30pm, 31st October 2008
Old Theatre
London School of Economics
Houghton Street, WC2A 2AE

Blackwell Charing Cross Road are very pleased to announce an exclusive London event with Neil Gaiman, to celebrate the launch of his fantastic new novel, The Graveyard Book.

Join us on the 31st October, Halloween, for a talk and signing, starting at 6.30pm.

Tickets are priced at 8 pounds and 6 pounds (concessions), and will entitle you to 2 pounds off either edition of the book on the night. The book officially goes on sale on the 30th October, so this should be a fun one.

Tickets can be purchased in two ways: come into the shop (Blackwell, 100 Charing Cross Road, London WC2H 0JG), or contact us by phone on 020 7292 5100 and we will send your tickets out to you. We expect the phone lines to be very busy for the first couple of days, so bear with us!
...and to suggest that it might not be entirely inappropriate if people wanted to come in costume, given the date and all. And that if enough people do turn up in costume, I suspect that I could talk Bloomsbury or Blackwells into making some kind of prize for the best one, as long as I didn't have to decide which it was. (But make sure that any costume is comfortable enough to sit for a couple of hours in, and won't stray into your neighbour's seat or jab them with sharp bits.)

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Saturday, September 20, 2008

Still back. Still nocturnal.

(A slight correction to yesterday's post: Lorraine tells me that the tree in front of my gazebo was actually cut down because it was dead and they were worried it would fall on the gazebo.)

I've started looking at the mail that came in while I was away. Lots of exciting things -- I put a few of them down on the tabletop and photographed them: advanced copies of The Graveyard Book from Bloomsbury and Harper Collins, and the unabridged audio book version with me reading and lots of Bela Fleck's version of Danse Macabre on it, an early copy of Gene Wolfe's An Evil Guest (hurrah), finally my very own copy of Lucy Clifford's Anyhow Stories, Scott McCloud's introduction to Google Chrome (you can read it on the web here), the booklets for the Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab Snow Glass Apples (now sold out from BPAL, but the reviews are fascinating but not quite sold out from the CBLDF), and two foreign copies of Good Omens (one of which, I think it's Czech, has the slashiest cover of Good Omens I've seen to date):

Cool house. I'm not sure if it's really how it is or just the angle from which you shot it, but the way the panels (wooden slats?) run around the bottom of the house makes it look like it's on a circular base. Looking at it I felt life if I could just find the key and turn it, the base would turn slowly and music would play. :)
Neil, what's one thing you still want in life? Something you'd like to learn to do but never find the time for, an untried genre or medium that intrigues you, an experience you'd like to have, that kind of thing. When the most you know of someone is what they've already done and where they've already been (and it's a lot more and further than you've experienced yourself) it's hard to imagine what they still daydream about.

I'd love to write an original musical. I'd love to write an original stage play. (I hesitate to say that here, because when I do my inbox fills with invitations from theatre companies to write one for them, and it's more about time than it is desire.) I'd like to write a full-length film script that was all mine and that I was happy with. I'd wanted to do a travel-non-fiction sort of book for over a decade, but I've started that process now. Beyond that, I'd like to keep learning. (That last sounds kind of dire, doesn't it? One step away from "I like long walks on the beach and then curling up in front of a log fire and listening to thunderstorms." But I really do like learning new information and skills. It makes me happy and stops me feeling old.)

Hi Neil,
Welcome home/back to the blog- I hope you have enough time to recover before the Graveyard Book juggernaut begins. Thanks for sharing the "surveying of the domain" with us; looks like everything was well looked after in your absence.
A link to an article from The Age about the use of your work and that of Shaun Tan and Nicki Greenberg, among other, in the classroom (of a Christian college, no less):

I liked the article, and hope it reaches teachers who need ammunition to be able to bring graphic novels into the classroom.
(Also, it mentions Nicki Greenberg's The Great Gatsby, which is, so far this year, the graphic novel from which I've got the most pleasure -- and which, for copyright reasons, can't be sold in the US or the UK. But it can be sold in -- and from -- Australia, New Zealand and Canada. And if you can get a copy, it's wonderful.)

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Friday, September 19, 2008

In which the author goes for a walk and then tries to answer some of the things in the mailbag

So I got home yesterday at sunrise. Slept all day. Was up all night but not good for much. (This is what sunrise looks like when you get close to my house.)

Today I slept until early afternoon. Then got up and walked the dog. I got very used to using the camera as a diary while I was in China (as a back up for a notebook, and sometimes a substitute), so took the camera along on the walk.

G. K Chesterton observed that one of the best things about being away is that you get to see what you come back to with different eyes.

Found myself amazed by the size of my house, for example. There are a lot of people in China, and they live, on the whole, in much smaller places than mine. (Actually, that's probably true of most of the world: it takes a certain idiocy to want to live in an Addams Family House in the first place). But having, over the last month, met a number of families in which several generations lived in one apartment, spread over -- or squeezed into -- a couple of rooms, it seems really strange to have so much space.

I saw many vegetables growing, pumpkins even, while I was in China, where I also learned that pumpkin vine tips make a great stir-fry-vegetable (if you peel off the fuzzy stuff first). And was happy to see that I had a few pumpkins in my garden. Not many, but enough.

Was pleased to observe, on my walk, that the falling-down barn has not yet fallen down.

Astonished and delighted to see blackberries. I planted the one blackberry bush about five years ago, and people would always decide it was a weed and mow it or cut it. Finally, earlier this year, we put big metal rods up to persuade people not to mow over it, and now I'm home and, gosh, blackberries. Not as nice as the ones in my grandma's back garden, when I was a boy, mind.

Also a grape-trellis covered with grapes. Really yummy ones.

Lorraine tells me that Cabal was depressed while I was away, and he went off his food and moped. He's been extremely happy since I've been back. I have not the heart to tell him I'm going off on tour soon. (Maddy knows, but she assures me that as manager of the volleyball team she will probably not have time to really miss me. She is probably just telling me this to make me feel better.) (I just read that to her and she says, "Say 'PS Maddy will totally miss me', so they don't get any wrong ideas.")

A tree in front of my writing gazebo has been cut down, I notice. It was a sapling when the gazebo was built, but had grown and was cutting off the light.

Brightly coloured fungus on the side of trees. Tomorrow, when I walk, I may look for giant puffballs in the woods, but without enthusiasm, as they are my least favourite of the edible mushrooms. (Which reminds me -- when I was in China I was fed something called both Bamboo Pith and Bamboo Fungus, also known, less appetisingly, as the Stinkhorn. I googled and wound up learning all about the unexpected but, for ladies at least, gratifying qualities of the fresh stinkhorn. Dried and reconstituted with bamboo shoots, it would not have the same effect.)

And also, while I was gone, the remarkable Hans put in an electric fence. There have been more and more sightings of bears in this region, and we've been assured that an electric fence will keep bears out of the beehives, as long as the bears don't get to them in the first place. (Which is to say, if you have a beehive and a bear gets into it and then you put up an electric fence, the bear will cheerfully go through the fence to get to the honey.)

And because, not unreasonably, the last time I posted dog photos, many people asked for pictures of cats, and because I don't think Coconut (who was, long ago, Maddy's kitten) has ever been photographed in this blog, here are Princess (sitting) and Coconut, in the front hall, where the dog is not allowed to go.

I went to the Humane Society today and picked up their list of Things They Need, and gave it to Lorraine. She went out and bought bleach and cat food and peanut butter and so on, then went up to the Humane Society to drop the stuff off.

She returned much later carrying a cardboard box containing a calico kitten with whom she had fallen in love, and was last seen taking the kitten home to introduce to her Bengals. This is Princess glaring at the calico kitten...

And this is Lorraine's new kitten, puffed up and halloweeny in order to persuade everyone that she is in fact a very big cat indeed.


There's an interview with me over at Goodreads --

and lots and lots of Coraline movie information out there, probably too much to link to without it being overwhelming, but is a terrific photo gallery at the LA Times, and there's a really good article about Laika studios and Henry and the Coraline team from the Oregonian at

Several people wrote to ask what I thought about Eoin Colfer writing a new Hitchhiker's book -- for example,
In regard to the above, did they ask you to do it, and would you have accepted if they had?

Nobody asked me to do it, but then, when Douglas asked me if I'd like to adapt Life, The Universe and Everything for radio I said no, and that was with Douglas alive and asking. (Dirk Maggs did it, and did an excellent job.) It seemed a thankless task.

I like Eoin very much, and wish him well with the book. He'll probably write a sixth Hitchhiker's book with more enthusiasm, and certainly faster, than Douglas would have done. But it won't be a Douglas Adams Hitchhiker's book.

For the record, if I don't get around to writing a sequel to something while I'm alive, I'd very much rather that nobody else does it once I'm dead. It should exist in your head or in Lucien's library, or in fanfic. But that's me, and not every author feels the same way.

Hello Neil,

This is almost a dangerous question to ask you, because it is about something John Byrne has said. But as a large proponent of libraries, I was curious as to your thoughts on something he recently stated regarding trade paperbacks in libraries:
"Ever since I started writing for a living, I have found myself viewing libraries somewhat differently than once I did. I think we are all in agreement that libraries are A Good Thing -- but are they A Good Thing right across the board? When we have niche products like comics, is it really a good idea for them to be available in libraries?"

I don't think it's a dangerous question, and it has a remarkably easy and straighforward answer, which is, Yes, it's a very good idea for them to be in libraries.

Hello Neil,

First off, I hope this email finds you well.

I've planned to attend the Library of Congress book festival and just wanted to know if there are any general rules of etiquette for your signings.

Is there a book limit for signing?

Can a say a few words about how much I enjoy your work in person? I promise it won't last longer than 15 nervous seconds.

Most importantly, how early should I arrive before the likely rush of other frothing fans?

These questions constantly roll in my mind. I'd hate to add extra weariness to a likely hot, humid, noisy,(yet still awesome) festival.

Thanks for coming to the southeast!


The book limit will depend on how many people there are, and how many people I can get through in the time I've got. It'll be announced at the signing, but it won't be more than three books, and it may well be only one.

And of course you can talk to me. Most people seem to use the signing line as an opportunity to say thank you, and most authors are pleased to hear that they've made a difference, or just to be thanked. We like it if you say hello, honest.

How early you should get there? I don't know. Each time I've signed at the LoC Book Festival it's been different. According to the website this time it's:

Teens & Children Pavilion

11:45-12:15 pm (This is a short reading from The Graveyard Book, and a Q&A).

Book Signing

1-3 pm (and it'll probably go longer if they don't need the space, but may be cut off if they don't have anywhere to move it to, or have something else planned for me at 3.00pm).

We may wind up with people who would like to be at the reading/Q&A who skip it in order to be early in the signing line. But that's if the book festival has actually told people where to line up for the signing, which they may or may not do.

Last time people were in the signing line before dawn. I don't think that would work this time, as I'm not doing a morning signing. So we'll see.

Hey Neil,
I would love to know what time the Columbia University reading is taking place on September 30th. I am very excited t go but don't know what time to arrive. Thanks.


The details are now up at -- according to which it starts at 7.00pm.

I see in "Where's Neil" that you'll be doing a signing in New York City and Philadelphia. With New Jersey right in between, why not a stop here?

Because the people who aren't on the East Coast, some of whom are travelling hundreds of miles to get to the readings, would rise up as one person in their anger at the unfairness of it all, and destroy New Jersey in their rage. Which would be sad, because there are lots of bits of New Jersey that are actually quite nice.

When Sarah Palin was mayor of Wasilla, Alaska, she (allegedly) attempted to get books she didn't approve of out of the public library. This is scary. Are free speech organizations like the CBLDF and the First Amendment Project going to take this issue on?

No. They are too busy fighting actual cases of censorship from all the way across the political spectrum, to bother with partisan silliness. (Here's the Snopes report on Palin's non-existent Bookbanning.)

What you fight is specifics: bad laws, bad arrests and the like. People trying to ban books and comics and people trying to stop other people selling or publishing or creating comics and books and suchlike.

You don't fight "alleged attempts to get books out of a public library" ten years ago. To "take this issue on" I suspect would consist, Father Ted-like, of people walking around Sarah Palin with placards saying "Down with This sort of Thing" and "Careful Now", which would probably not result in increased freedom of speech. Although it might be funny.

Hi Neil! This Andrew Drilon (I was the creator "Lines and Spaces", the Alex NiƱo tribute comic which won the Philippine Graphic/Fiction Award last year). I've been making lots of short comics since then, under the banner title Kare-Kare Komiks, and they've gotten nice comments from people like Emma Bull and Warren Ellis, so I thought you might be interested:

Anyway, I'll be posting "Lines and Spaces" there tomorrow, for those who are planning to enter the contest this year (the deadline's at the end of the month), and I'm hoping you can help spread the word.

Consider it posted.

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