Friday, July 31, 2009

friday night and all's quiet

Let's see:

It's a bit quiet. Maddy and Holly and their mum are in the UK for a few weeks, Amanda's in Boston preparing to head off to Russia, and I'm home quite alone if you don't count a large white dog, working very late into the night trying to finish things for people before I go to Worldcon.

I just went to Amazon to buy a DVD of Coraline (studios are, alas, notoriously stingy with things like that -- I've got one and that seems to be all that's coming) and noticed that there's a wonderful Henry Selick article up on their blog -- forthright and funny. It's at

It's filled with genuine insider stuff, including this, which made me smile:
I’ve always thought of Neil Gaiman as the cat in Coraline. He’s very wise, dryly humorous, and superior in a cat-like way. He has a great voice and I considered early on having him voice the cat. In re-setting the story in the U.S., I felt I needed more ethnic range in the characters leading me to the marvelous Keith David. Sorry, Neil.
(I did the cat on the audio book. It was enough.)

I wanted to start keeping bees, but my dad, whose yard I would have to use, says that keeping bees is too stinky. My grandfather says they don't smell at all (his father kept bees). As a person currently keeping bees, can you tell me if they/their hives smell bad?

Healthy hives smell like honey, mostly, when they're opened: a thick, deep, sweet smell. (They don't smell like anything when they aren't opened.)

The only occasion you're going to get a bad-smelling hive is if it's diseased or dead; and the same is true of people.

Had a quick look at the belljar-of-honey photo's as well. Looks like it needs an airvent hole on the top....

Didn't spot it in your photo, nor read about the signing hand being full of glass-splinters.


I don't think it does. The bees climb and fly in from the open bell-bottom (there's a hole in the wood beneath them), and leave the same way.

Neil, I think the foundations strips in the BELL JAR were glued in PERPENDICULAR to the jar in the original photos you shared. Glue the edge of each foundation piece onto the inside of the jar.

This may make no difference at all (IANABK), but just an observation of a difference between your jar and the one that inspired you.


Yup. I know. We'll see what they do. My assumption is that the little bits of foundation are there to give them some wax and a starting point and the idea, and, seeing it's wild comb, they will do what they want anyway, like bees mostly do, but really, it was for ease of gluing. But if I get back from Worldcon in Montreal and nothing's happened, I'll do it the other way. Photos will be posted, whatever happens.

Also, to put the bell-jar back into the dark and to stop it getting blown away or stolen by passing wood-trolls, I put a broodbox around it (the one in the photo here).

Hello Mr. Gaiman, you posted about the "pre-paid Neverwhere from the now-as-far-as-I-can-gather extremely defunct Hill House" and stated "You should have received an email from Harpers letting you know this edition was on the way". I pre-paid for it and I have not received an e-mail from Harpers. I'm sure others have not been e-mailed as well. Can you post something about how we can contact them about it. I did not know about this until you posted about it and I and others I'm sure don't want to miss this. Thank you so much for getting this book to happen and please continue to help all of us finally get it. Thanks again.

There may well be people who didn't get the email (I know some of Hill House's email addresses were long out of date). If you prepaid for a limited Neverwhere (and some of you may have done so as far back as November 2003) and you want to make sure that you're on the list, write to Jennifer is my editor at William Morrow, and the person organising this: be nice to her, she's a hardworking, fulltime editor who has taken this on as an extra task, helping to discharge Hill House's karmic debt, and if she doesn't get back to you immediately, she will soon.

Glad to hear that people who payed for the Hill House Neverwhere will be getting a book after all. I am writing to inquire if anything was being done for booksellers that had taken orders for the Hill House subscription. My understanding is that they'd pre-payed HH just as individuals had, but the one I'd ordered mine from ( hadn't heard anything about the Harper Collins edition. I've already been given a refund for my copy, but I feel really sorry for the store which is just out the money. Thanks for all you do.

If they prepaid for the book, they should get in touch with Jennifer, whether they are stores or individuals. She'll let them know what's happening (I assume they'll simply get their books, just as individual customers would have done).


A few small ones: I'm still not sure how to get the balance of personal to not-personal right in this blog, at present. For the curious, the lovely Ms Palmer talks about our relationship over in The Skinny.

The Batman story I did, collected as WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE CAPED CRUSADER was reviewed in the New York Times today, along with books by Darwyn Cooke and David Mazzuchelli. And that I can blithely type that shows how astonishingly far comics have come in the last twenty years.

I had a long conversation with Christina Amoroso at Entertainment Weekly last month about Vampires in popular culture, from Varney the Vampire until now: she's managed somehow to make it a 400 word interview over at

(And note that I'm not saying there's anything bad about vampires, quite the opposite. Just that in a world in which a dozen people immediately write to me on Twitter to point out that I've got it wrong, as they are all writing Vampire stories, in which Vampires are now everywhere, is a world in which High Vampire Season is coming to an end). You shouldn't be glutted with vampires: they should be a spice, not a food group.

And finally, it looks like the Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab limited edition Sunbird scent and booklet went live, and has not quite sold out yet, so I shall link to it here. It smells like deserts and woodsmoke and spices and resins, warm where Snow Glass Apples was cold. Like all the BPAL scents of my stuff, it is a benefit for the CBLDF.

Edit to add: I just noticed, there's a couple of "imp" assortments at the CBLDF site, that even BPAL doesn't sell, for those who want to try out the scents. An American Gods/Anansi Boys set, and a Graveyard Book assortment.

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