Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Strange Days

I was going to write a blog entry about Saints Oran and Columba. I've been reading lots of old, out-of-print books by Otta F. Swire about the legends of the Hebrides for no particular reason, other than I like her voice as an author and I like the stories she tells, and the tale of Oran and Columba got into my head. But then I was walking the dog last night and the rhythm of footsteps turned into

"When Saint Columba landed on the island of Iona..."

And I spent much of the rest of the night and this morning, when not proofreading STORIES (a collection of stories by the most amazing people, edited by me and by Al Sarrantonio, due out in June) writing a poem about Oran and Columba instead. Which nobody was waiting for. Instead of all the things they were and are waiting for.

But I felt as happy when I'd reached the end of the poem that nobody was waiting for as when I've finished something that everyone is checking their watches (or calendar) for. Small happy writer moments.


I don't have complete details yet on my travels in March. A lot of it's already up on Where's Neil

This one isn't, though:
which is me and Margo Lanagan in conversation in Wellington on March 12th

I'll go from New Zealand to the Philippines:

Which reminds me.

Dear Mr. Gaiman,

I was most pleasantly surprised to find out that you're coming to the Philippines again.

As soon as I saw the poster announcing your visit, I immediately took the first opportunity to visit the nearest Fully Booked store. That 'visit' ended up just pissing me off, my apologies for the language.

See, I was informed by a salesman in Fully Booked that in order to get the opportunity to have my (a) book/s signed (I've collected your books over the years, but unfortunately, a number were destroyed by Ondoy, the storm that drowned Manila last year. Still, I consider us blessed that we're still alive.), I should purchase at least P2,000 worth of your books. I promptly retorted (poor guy, I didn't mean to be so blunt), "That sucks." To which he replied, "{gibberish, my mind was still reeling}... You can buy MORE thank P2,000, Ma'am." RIGHT. I'm a part-time instructor and a graduate student. That gives me a lot of leeway to spend for what I WANT.

This was last week, and honestly, I'm still pissed off by said requirement. However, I do understand it's a business. There are always expenses and what not such business/marketing considerations. I'm just about ready to resign myself to a 'next time.' The assumption is: I'd have a better-paying job next time, and I'm already done (or almost done) with graduate work. ;p

Still, I AM THANKFUL you come here. You're quite a popular author among Filipino readers (especially young Filipino readers {though I'm already 25, hehe}), and when you come here, inevitably, it promotes not only speculative fiction, or reading of such speculative fiction, but reading in general (which is a MIGHTY GOOD THING). I'm a big believer in reading, that's why I chose Reading Education as my major in graduate studies.

Last but not least, I AM VERY GRATEFUL that you come here because it makes us wee Filipino readers feel important. Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought that you'd actually come here. And yet you've already come here twice/thrice before! It's a wonderful feeling for us wee readers to be actively considered by an author of your calibre. So...long story short: For writing, for publishing your writing, for sharing your thoughts, and yourself...



I was a bit puzzled by this, as I'd heard originally that the signing spots were going to be raffled. (Last time we did an event in that tent I signed from 4 in the afternoon until past 1 in the morning, and that left about 2000 people with stuff still unsigned, so there was going to have to be a way of not signing for everyone and limiting the numbers.)

I checked with Jaime Diaz, from Fully Booked, who said,

I discussed the logistics behind the book signing with my management team and looked at all possible options, to see what was the best way to go about this. As you will only be signing for one session (in which we allocated 500 book signing passes as a limit), we felt that the best way to manage this is by giving a book signing pass for a minimum purchase worth of your books. At least this way, anyone who buys your books is guaranteed a book signing pass. Ideally, the best way to go about it would be to let anyone line up for free, but we all know that there would be literally thousands who'd get in line if we do it this way, and more people would be frustrated in the end if we go this route, as many would not get their books signed. On the awards night on March 17 in the Rockwell Tent, Fully Booked will be raffling off 100 signing passes among those who attend, and entrance to the event is free.

Which is his call. It's his event.

I'm going from the Philippines to Poland, where I will be doing a signing

On Monday March 22nd
17-17.40 Warsaw, Q&A sesion Empik Junior Marszalkowska Str.
18.00 Signing books, Empik Junior Marszalkowska Str

And I'll be going from there to Moscow. Assuming that I successfully get my Russian visa, anyway. It's my first ever trip to Russia, and I will be signing somewhere in Moscow on the 24th or 25th -- and as soon as I get details I will report them here.

And the details on this will be released as soon as we have them, but for now, if you are in the Chicago Area on April 17th, there will be an Evening With Neil Gaiman, the first since I did the Last Angel Tour a decade ago for the CBLDF.

Dear Mr. Gaiman.

Just wanted to write to say, I received my copy of the
Neverwhere Limited Edition today. Harper Collins did a beautiful job on the book. Wanted to thank you and
Harper Collins for finally making this edition a reality.
It will sit proudly with my other Gaiman penned limited editions.
Thanks again.

Hi, Neil. I just wanted to praise your editor. Jennifer Brehl went above and beyond the call of duty when I contacted her to make sure that I was getting my copy of the Neverwhere Limited Edition. My address had changed since I had initially ordered it through Hill House (I sent an email with the new address to Harper Collins a year ago, but my spider sense told me that it might not have made it into the proper database. Sure enough, it hadn't). Jennifer got in touch with me quickly after I called yesterday and is making sure that the book reaches me safe and sound. You surround yourself with absolutely terrific people, sir.

PS: I can't wait to read Neverwhere again!

I'm SO pleased. Jennifer Brehl, my editor at Harper Collins, did miracles to make the books happen and to make the people happy who had ordered the book over the years from the late Hill House Publishers. I don't know that she's managed to make everyone happy, but she did the impossible many times over.

I don't know if you are aware of Wil Wheaton--although I highly suspect that you are--or the television program The Big Bang Theory. Either way, I ran across a post on Wil's blog (please find it below) that prominently features a paperback volume of The Sandman. It made me smile and I hope it brought you a smile as well.


I saw. Maddy and I love The Big Bang Theory, and I'd already spotted Sandman paperbacks (and copies of the Absolute Sandman in Leonard's bedroom, which means that Johnny Galecki has been playing Sandman-reading characters since, I think, 1992. Which, if I could think of any actors who have played Sandman readers, would be some kind of record).

I was looking at bakerella (another favorite website) and she made Coraline cookies! They are very cute. I don't have the patience to make them, but she does.

They look wonderful.


As a follower of yours on twitter I got to wondering the other day if you find that Twitter and all the other pointless internet distractions make you less productive as a writer. Do you think that back in the 80's and early 90's before the internet was even heard of you were more productive? Or does having the internet make you more productive, with the ease of research and stuff like that?

Just curious,
Ryan Long

I'm not sure. It's harder to get the time to do anything, but that has less to do with things like Twitter (which tends mostly to occur in the interstices between things) and more to do with, for example, the amount of email I get. I used to be able to reply to a day's email in 45 minutes in the morning, then blog for 45 minutes, and then start my day. Now I can get up, start doing email, and look around and find half a day has been eaten and I'm still not at the end. I miss the days when friends would send me novels to read and I would settle down and read them. Now they arrive as email attachments and I get a hunted look and mean well, and fail.

I want to translate/adapt your Neverwhere into Russian, transplanting it to the world of Moscow metro. I tried to contact both your agent and your assistant, but had no answer yet. What are the rules for an adaptation in a foreign language? Can I go ahead?
Thank you in advance.

I'm afraid that Neverwhere is already published in Russia, and people have already bought the rights to translate it and to publish it. is the latest Russian edition.

Seeing that it looks like you want to do something creative, perhaps you should write an original book, and set it in Moscow, instead. Yes?


I kind of stumbled upon your blog the other day and notied the pictures of your dog.
I'm always kind of touched by seeing such pictures because he looks al ot like mine.
Although I was pretty much annoyed by the fact that you called him a white 'german' shepherd. Your dog is actually a swiss white shepherd.
besides the fact that they are white, they are also build differently (compare hind legs/stance).
Futhermore I have to admit that I'm not really a 'fan' but that's just because I haven't read a book for the sole purpose of entertainment for about 20 years.
Do respect your craftmanship though, the fact that a certain 'Kate' puts a special interest in you is meaningful to me, so eh keep up the good work!



Um, right. (Casual readers: Skip the following dog breed neepery if there is any possibility you won't be interested. Trust me.)

According to everything I've read (which was on-line, and thus needs to be taken with a pinch of salt) the Swiss White Shepherd/ Berger Blanc (a breed named in 1992) is fundamentally the same as the American White Shepherd, White Alsatian, the White German Shepherd, Weisse Schäferhund and any other variants on German Shepherd Dogs that carry the gene for white coats.

Originally, some German Shepherds were white. It's a gene. It's in the bloodline. And then, per the Wikipedia entry:

White coats were made a disqualification in the German Shepherd Dog Club of Germany breed standard in 1933 after the breed club came under the control of the German Nazi party that took over all aspects of German society in February 1933 when Hitler declared a state of emergency. The German breed standard remained unchanged as German breeders repopulated the breed in the years after the conclusion of WWII.

It's not exactly graceful prose, but the facts are right. (Another article here.) And the German rules the Nazis put in gradually spread around the world, disqualifying white German Shepherds as being proper German Shepherds, which meant that they had to be something, and in 1992, the Swiss declared them a breed. Here's the official Berger Blanc Suisse history and standards: And as we learn from, you can elect in some dog shows to show your dog as a white shepherd or a white german shepherd. (I think. I've never done dog shows.)

Given that all that I can find out about Cabal's ancestry (not a lot) has him being an American White German Shepherd Dog from a long line of white German Shepherd dogs, none of which were bought in from Switzerland or from Berger Blanc breeders after 1992, I can't see how he could make claims to be a "Swiss" White Shepherd.

Personally, I think it very odd, defining a breed by coat colour anyway. It's as if someone decided that brown poodles weren't the same kind of dog as black poodles, but were actually Brown Poodles.

And with that, a plug for which helps find homes for White (Something) Shepherd Dogs and which finds homes for pets and lets you know what kind of pets need adopting near you. And a suggestion that if any of you reading this are in need of a pet, you check with your local animal shelter first. There might be something living very close to you that needs a home.

Mr Neil?

If you did find you had to stop writing your blog for some unknown and terrible reason, could you publish it from the beginning as a paperback, so I could use it for bedtime reading?

I know the links and stuff would be no good but I've been meaning to read it right from the beginning and just don't get time to read it on the computer.

Just a thought.

Lots of love
Maggie (MotleyHippie)

Of course. Although it's worth pointing out that the first 50,000 words of the blog -- the American Gods blog -- is available in paperback in Adventures in the Dream Trade, along with a clutch of introductions and such:


And finally, the really rather beautiful mainland Chinese cover to their forthcoming edition of The Graveyard Book.

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