Monday, November 09, 2009

For those who read this blog for the articles

(Serena Altschul and some author in July, sitting on the trampoline after two days of interviews. None of which, oddly enough, were done on the trampoline.)

Mr. Neil,

I DVR'd yesterday's installment of Sunday Morning and after zipping through it back and forth multiple times cannot seem to find you, though the description indicated the correct episode. Was it bumped to next week? Have you been sucked into an alternate Neil-less universe?

A concerned reader,

I'm afraid it was bumped by the Fort Hood Massacre.

I checked: The profile CBS did of me is apparently still going out, probably some time in December, although no-one seems certain when. I was told that we could help ensure that it is broadcast (and possibly make it come out sooner than December) if CBS think people would actually like to see it. Which means that if you do want to see it, you can help the process along if you write or email CBS and (politely) tell them so:

CBS News Sunday Morning
Box O (for Osgood)
524 West 57th St.
New York, NY 10019



My friend Steve Brust (a fine and brilliant novelist) wrote to Miss Manners about his financial issues, and what having a Donate button on a website means. She replied to him here. There's a fascinating conversation going on about it at his website that I initially missed because I was in China... Most people disagree with Miss Manners. Even I disagree with Miss Manners, and I don't have a Donate button, or use the Amazon links to generate revenue, or have advertising or anything. (That's because Harper Collins set up this website, and they pay for our bandwidth and such. If they stopped, I'd have to think about ways to make it pay for itself.)


Stephen King's UNDER THE DOME was one of my favourite books of the year so far. (R. Crumb's retelling of the Book of Genesis is my very favourite book of the year.) So I was pleased to be sent this link to a really wonderful Stephen King poem:

(It's published by Playboy, which means that for some of you the site may be blocked.)

There's also a Stephen King story in this week's New Yorker.
(Needless to say, I only read the New Yorker for the articles.)

Dear Neil Gaiman, I ask for half-a-moment of your time (I would not presume to ask for more). This Spring 2010 I am teaching a Topics in Literature class on YOU at Winona State University (Eng 225: Neil Gaiman). Easy enough to select representative novel (American Gods), short stories (Fragile Things), children and YA (Graveyard Book), but here's the rub: I will likely only assign one Sandman graphic novel to students. I have been debating which is most representative, most worthy of inclusion, most amenable to class discussion and student scholarship. Then I thought I'd ask you. I know you suggest above that, for questions of this sort, we consider you a dead author, but I know you're not. When I came to a similar impasse about which of Ursula Le Guin's works to include in another class, she actually replied and offered her input. I extend the same offer to you: which of the Sandman volumes would you like to see on the syllabus?
Thank you for your time,
Nicholas Ozment, English Instructor

It's a hard one. I think if I were teaching I'd either go for Season of Mists or Fables and Reflections, because both of them have stuff to teach -- those nice chewy bits that people can like or dislike, argue with or discuss. I know a lot of teachers like to teach Dream Country because a) Midsummer Night's Dream won awards, and b) it's short and c) it has a script in the back. Your call. And good luck.


I mentioned recently that there were some beautiful new Polish and Russian book covers for my books that I'd seen at signings, which got me thinking. The International Cover gallery on this website is incredibly out of date.

It's at's_Work/International_Covers.

And though I get a lot of foreign editions in, and will at some point head down to the basement and rummage around and scan some (this week's mail brought the two-volume Japanese edition of Anansi Boys, on the cover of which Fat Charlie is not only Very White, but also Very Thin, and the complex Chinese - ie. Taiwan and Hong Kong - edition of The Graveyard Book) I thought that blog readers, being, as you are, all over the world, might be a better resource for knowing where to look for foreign covers.

So if you have, and want to scan in or link to foreign covers we do not have posted, or are a foreign publisher and would like your books up, there is now a submission page: which lets you upload them to the webgoblin, who will put them in the gallery (and on the pages for the books in question). And perhaps we should have them arranged by country as well -- some countries, like the French and the Russians and the Poles, have had so many different covers over the years.

(Also, Absolute Death was published this week. It is amazingly beautiful. Yes, I think they overpriced it too and no, pricing decisions at DC Comics are nothing to do with me. And the audio book of Good Omens will be released tomorrow. It's read by Martin Jarvis. People have asked why it is not read by me, and I have to explain that it is because if I read it I would just be doing my Martin Jarvis reading the William storiess impression, so better by far to have the real thing.)

Was your basement finished when you purchased your home or did you have it finished for your basement library? If you finished it yourself, how difficult was it? Also, I thought I saw a dehumidifier in one of the Photosynth pictures. Do you need one because of the books?

I'm asking because we have a full unfinished basement that we would like to have finished. We are running out of room for our books also. I don't think we don't have as many as you do though. :)

Any other suggestions for such a project would be greatly appreciated!


No, when we got here the basement had a clay floor that puddled when it rained. We hired some nice builders and spent a lot of money finishing it, putting in drainage tiles, underfloor heating and all. There's a dehumidifier there in the summer and a humidifier in the winter, because after the first few years I noticed that binding glue and leather book covers were both cracking and flaking. There's now the equivalent of a large house in basement rooms beneath this house, filled with books and CDs and suchlike stuff.

And finally, a few photos from the China trip, taken by Ian Ford (or in one case, on his camera). Ian's a travel guide who now lives in China who helped organise my travels, and came along with me for part of the journey.

Amanda and I in the silk clothes that my publisher had given us as a thank you for coming, and because they are terrific.

Amanda, Ian Ford (in the pale top, also a gift from my publishers) and.. my publishers, SF World -- who will be publishing the mainland Chinese edition of The Graveyard Book very soon, and are very excited.

I'm holding the Galaxy Award for this year, given to the foreign author most popular with Chinese reader-voters. This was my second year of winning it, so I have retired from the competition and said that they have to find a new favourite foreign author now.

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