Thursday, August 06, 2009

I see you quiver with Antici

Worldcon is underway. (Here is an interview with me about it.) Today I went with Dave McKean to the Drawn and Quarterly shop where we saw my friend the lovely Peggy Burns. In this photo I am showing Dave one of the Bigfoot books, which I am very fond of.

Neil showing me great Big Foot book at the amazing Drawn + Qu... on Twitpic

Then was interviewed, had lunch with Patrick and Teresa Nielsen Hayden. Then I was interviewed by Jessica Langer and an audience. Met a bunch of people -- John Scalzi was the one I've been waiting the longest to meet in the flesh, and he was every bit as nice and smart as I'd expected. Then a panel on the life and work of John M Ford, after which I slipped off with Jon Singer and Beth Meacham. (Edit to add, there's a lovely photo and description of the panel here.)

I talked with Beth about the R. A. Lafferty Treasury that we want to do, where we'll assemble a big Best of Lafferty collection, with individual stories introduced by different authors, just as the Avram Davidson one was.

Then Opening Ceremonies, where I gave an off-the-cuff speech I had written 6 weeks ago, which very nearly came true (especially the hedgehogs), and I watched Charles Stross in conversation with Paul Krugman, which was fascinating from beginning to end.

Then I popped in to the TOR party, where Kyle Cassidy took photos of me and the Clarion alumni from last year who are here (in the party bathroom, with a fisheye lens camera), and gave me a book of astonishingly beautiful photos he had made for me in an edition of one. It took me by surprise and left me unspeakably happy. What a good friend.

This is a Kyle photo of me in beekeeper mode:

Neil is actually a very, very nice man, the bees wouldn't sti... on Twitpic

This is a Kyle photo of me in the green room today with Anne Murphy my minder at the con. She is amazing, and without her I would not be wherever I am meant to be whenever I am there; and she never gets flustered and she never gets bothered, and she's a joy to have around. I firmly believe that in real life she designs giant fighting robots, of the kind where you sit in their head and then they fly off to save Tokyo, even though she says that isn't quite what she does at all. Because if you did design giant fighting robots, you'd want to keep it a secret.

neil freaking gaiman at worldcon on Twitpic

(They are twitpic photos, so if you click on them they will get bigger and clearer.)


Mr. Gaiman,
I work at an independent bookstore in New Orleans and we wanted to try to get you to come in. We all wanted to enter The Graveyard Book Hallowe'en party contest, but since you announced it, all of the staff have been trying to find specific rules and guidelines on how to enter, but can't find anything more on your site, or anything at all on Harper's sites. If you have any further information or could let us know how to get a hold of it, it'd be much appreciated...
Thanks for your time!
-Melanie Britt

HarperChildrens sent out an excellent ecard, but for some reason haven't put it up on their website, so I'll get it put up on this one. (Update: Here it is. -wg)

I'll quote from the rules (at some length I'm afraid. Skip this if you aren't a bookseller, or if you don't want to talk your local bookseller into having a party):
To enter the Contest, you must be an independent bookseller; you must host an in-store Halloween Party, with The Graveyard Book as the theme, between September 30, 2009 and November 1, 2009; and you must submit event photographs or a video, along with a brief paragraph describing the Party, to by November 6, 2009 (9:00 p.m. PST). Contact your HarperCollins Sales Representative to discuss using cooperative advertising funds for the Party.
Entries with photographs must include at least three (3) but no more than five (5) photographs. Photographs must be provided in .jpg format and as attachments to the entry email. Video entries may not exceed 120 seconds in length; must be provided in .mov or .flv format; and may not exceed a file size of 75 MB. Only one (1) entry per qualified bookseller is permitted.
All entries must be accompanied by a brief paragraph (100 words max) highlighting the details of the Party: Name of store, location of store, number of attendees, overview of Party, special promotions or features. Paragraph may be included within the body of the entry email or attached as a separate Word document.
One (1) Grand Prize winner will be offered an opportunity to host an exclusive Appearance by author Neil Gaiman at the bookstore. The Appearance will most likely consist of a reading, book signing, question-and-answer session, etc. Specific details of the Appearance are to be determined, based upon the location, space limitations, and other requirements of the winning bookstore. The date, time, and duration of the Appearance depends upon the Author’s schedule. The Sponsor and Author currently project that he will be available in December 2009. If the Grand Prize winner cannot host the Appearance during that month, or if the Author cancels a scheduled Appearance, then the Sponsor and Author will endeavor to select and offer the Grand Prize winner a mutually acceptable alternate date for the Appearance.
Five (5) First Prize winners will each receive five (5) signed copies of The Graveyard Book in hardcover and a customized video greeting from the Author. The specific details (content, length, delivery date, etc.) of the customized video greetings are to be determined by the Sponsor and Author.
Five (5) Second Prize winners will each receive one (1) signed copy of The Graveyard Book in hardcover and a tagged video greeting from the Author. The specific details (content, length, delivery date, etc.) of the tagged video greetings are to be determined by the Sponsor and Author.
All prizes will be awarded, provided there are at least eleven (11) qualified entrants.
The Contest winners will be selected by the Sponsor and Author in their sole discretion based upon the following criteria:
(i) Overall creativity of the Party, as demonstrated by the invitations, signage, decorations, activities, entertainment, and refreshments.
(ii) Customer attendance and response (i.e., enthusiasm, costumes, participation).
(iii) Ability to capture and represent the spirit of The Graveyard Book.

I'm requesting a little...clarification, I guess, on the Graveyard Book Halloween party contest. We have a few local businesses who heard that we're planning on doing it and who would like to be involved (because it sounds fun). Would it be disqualifying if we allowed that? Are there any actual rules beyond "have a party; document it; send in the stuff; wait and see"?


I asked Elyse Marshall from HarperChildrens, who said,

Without knowing exactly how the local businesses would be involved (I'm guessing some kind of sponsorship or donations, i.e. bakery provides cupcakes, party store provides balloons) I think this sounds okay. However, the party must be held in-store. We included this in the rules to level the playing field a bit, so that those stores which might not be able to afford an off-site venue can still have a fair shot of winning.

If anyone has any questions they can email us directly at


Dear Neil,

I would really like your bell jar of bees to work, and so I'm worried that you might have made a small blunder by gluing the strips flat to the glass. Turlough's strips appear to be perpendicular to the glass.

I took the liberty of asking Turlough on the bee blog:

Here's the response:
"Yes, the strips should be perpendicular to the jar. They aer "glued" in place by gently heating the wax strips to make them tacky.

I'm not sure what will happen with flat strips."

Which is not to say that your flat strips won't work too. If they don't work, give perpendicular strips a shot.

Best of luck to you--and congratulations for a well-deserved Hugo nomination. I love your writing and your imagination; the world would be less enjoyable without both.

Christian Moody
Cincinnati, OH

Actually, the day after I put them in, curious as to bee behaviour, I twisted about half of them so they were perpendicular to the glass, and left half of them flat against it. So we'll find out.


I have five bottles of Jones Soda with my face on them, one from each appearance on the Fast Forward TV show from 1993 to 2006. (I look really rough in 1999. Which is Green Apple flavour. In case you were wondering.)

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