Tuesday, April 06, 2010

How to Mortify Your Daughter

Several days spent writing and recovering from travel. My dog is good, my bees are happy, I'm writing (scripts mostly), I'm eating healthy foods and walking and really life is enormously enjoyable and has very little in the way of adventures. The wildest thing I am doing currently is not shaving.

Matt Smith's debut episode of Doctor Who arrived on Saturday, and Maddy and I prepared to watch it. But Maddy, who is now fifteen and a half and has a driving permit, had gentlemen callers, three of, who were not going away. Eventually I wandered into the TV room and said "I'm putting on Doctor Who now, if nobody minds," and since they were all sort of affable and I was mad-eyed and unshaven and possibly dangerous, they said yes.

Maddy was mortified. She loves Doctor Who, but was certain it was the kind of thing that sixteen year old boys would hate, given that it was English and weird and, well, the kind of thing her dad liked. And she was worried that they wouldn't know what was going on.

I, on the other hand, knew that Steven Moffat had intended it as a good place to start, and was not worried.

The result was four people watching on the sofa, one of whom was deeply embarrassed by the whole affair (and, indeed, texted the young men with her on the sofa after twenty minutes, desperately apologising in case they weren't enjoying it). I loved the episode -- I'd spent some months telling people that Matt would be excellent (Admission: I'd seen his audition tapes and completely understood why he'd won the part) and that they should trust Mr Moffat -- and when the episode was done, I got up and thanked them and went into the office next door.

Two minutes later, a baffled but happy (and for the first time in 70 minutes, no longer embarrassed) Maddy shot in to the office to tell me that the gentleman callers had -- unbelievably -- liked it! And they had wanted to know if it was going to be on weekly, as they would like to come back and watch it again! Which left Maddy wondering which episodes she should show them to give them background on the show. Blink, and The Girl in the Fireplace, and Dalek, of course, but what else...

I did my best not to say "I told you so". Also did my best not to think it.

Now happily rewriting my episode to change it from being set at the end of this season to the beginning of the next. I think it'll be fun...


From Barnes and Not sure if I ever posted this, but here it is anyway...


I just read on Mr. Gaiman’s journal about some of the events he is doing for National Library Week. Since these events have limited seating, I thought Mr. Gaiman might wish to mention that anyone around the world can watch him speak via Internet streaming video on April 12, from 6 to 8 during the ALA-JCPL videoconference. More information at

Just a thought if you want to pass it along.


The Ron is Dr. Ron Critchfield, Director of the Jessamine Public Library, which I talked about on this blog here: You can read about this at So, yes.

Videoconference to kick off National Library Week. Come and join the fun...


I haven't talked about Dick Giordano's death here. You can read about Dick from Karen Berger's point of view at and Steve Bissette's at

As DC's editor in chief, Dick gave Dave McKean and me our first big break, by welcoming us into the DC Comics fold with Black Orchid. He was kind to two unknowns, and took us seriously.

As an inker, he was phenomenal. He inked several issues of Sandman over the years, and pinch-hit on one issue where the inker took off on holiday three quarters of the way through, mimicking the style of the absent inker while adding his own touch to it.

He was a gentleman, I loved working with him, and he was one of the few legends of comics who deserved every accolade he got. Also, he was magnificently deaf. Although he always seemed to get much less deaf when he was interested in what was being said.

Which reminds me: BATMAN: WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE CAPED CRUSADER has been nominated for a Hugo Award. The complete list of Hugo nominees can be found at Congratulations to all the nominees.

My poem "Conjunctions" has been nominated for a Rhysling Award, for best short poem. (This nomination makes me very happy. It already won a Sofanaut Award, and there are links to buy the issue of Mythic Delirium with it in, and to a reading of it at


I didn't get to post anything while it was going on about the problems with SF World Magazine and imprint: I'm pleased that they seem to have sorted things out on their own. The world of Chinese SF and Fantasy is one that matters to me personally these days, and these are people I know and care about. I wish them the best of luck.


The House on the Rock American Gods Hallowe'en Weekend Event is moving forward: Panels, signings, costumes, riding the carousel, much wonderfulness: I know that some of the team who worked on the Fiddler's Green convention back in 2004 are working with the House on the Rock people to make this the best it can be.

The House on the Rock has announced it, and put packages up at its website:

(It mentions seven different hotel/motels in the area, in addition to the House on the Rock's own Inn. For the curious, The Red Barn is alluded to, although not named, in American Gods.)

More information as it comes in, and I know much more will be coming in, but I didn't want anyone to be taken by surprise, or to find all the packages had gone before I announced them here.


I just saw the details for the House on the Rock Halloween party! I'm going to try really hard to be able to come, but I had a question for you.

It says on the site that you will be judging the costume contest. A contest like this would be right up my alley, but I wanted to know if there were any rules I needed to keep in mind?

Do you have to be a God or can you be one of the other types of mythological figures/creatures (or just any character from the book)? Does it specifically have to be someone you mentioned in the book, or can it be any God from any mythos?

I like to start costumes early, so I wanted to go ahead and check with you before I get started trying to find pieces. :)

Hope to see you this October!

~Aryn Keeney

I do not know. I'll find out...


An article that's either very sensible or sort of redundant over at the New York Times, about parents in stories.
Possibly redundant, because long before people were writing stories down, there were stories that began with parents dying, and the children setting off on their own in the world, or with parents trying to kill (or kill and eat, or, sometimes, molest) their children, and with the children escaping to safety.

Remember that in the first edition of Grimm's Fairy Tales, those stepmothers were plain old mothers...
In the introduction to ''Snow White,'' we learn that ''the Grimms, in an effort to preserve the sanctity of motherhood, were forever turning biological mothers into stepmothers,'' while an annotation tells us that in the 1810 manuscript version ''there is only one queen, and she is both biological mother and persecutor.''
as I mentioned in a review of Maria Tatar's wonderful Annotated Brothers Grimm at


Hi there!
Something I've been wondering about for years but never had anybody to ask - what is involved in the editing of an anthology of stories by other authors? What kind of hand do you have as editor in the new Stories collection? I've noticed in many situations that the editor or compiler often gets the most cover credit for a collection of stories by otherwise very popular authors and as an avid reader, I'm just curious. I think the new collection looks great (lots of people I love to read represented in the author list) but should one pick up a book because of who edited it too? Or just because of who the authors of the stories are?


I think both are true. There are anthologies I've read because of who edited them, and anthologies I've read because of who was in them. But they don't occur in a vacuum -- I'm more liable to read an anthology edited by someone whose work I like if I know something about the authors and think it might be a decent book.

Growing up, I read the Judith Merrill SF collections because I'd read one (SF 12), loved it, and decided I could rely on her taste. The same was true, a little later, of collections edited by Terry Carr. All I knew about him was I liked the kind of stories he put into his books. Not all of them, but enough. But I read the Michael Moorcock BEST OF NEW WORLDS collections because I loved Michael Moorcock -- and discovered writers like M. John Harrison and Tom Disch.

There are still a few anthologists out there with really good taste. It's not uncommon for people to tell me that they first ran across a short story of mine in a book edited by Ellen Datlow because they read every anthology she edits.


How does it feel to be a candidate for being one of Time Magazine's 100 most influential people in the world?,29569,1972075,00.html

Are you really that influential? If so, what do you do with your influence over the world?


I think it's the hair, and the TARDIS pin. All over the world, people are going, Hmm. I wonder how you get hair like that? Soon I will start a fashion revolution.

Honestly? No, I don't think I'm that influential.

And finally, you can keep voting over for me (and for the rest of the nominees) at the TIME Most influential 100. They do not seem to mind multiple voting, and you can use their slider to rate how influential people are, with 1 being the lowest and 100 being the top. (Currently Jeff Zucker from NBC is the least influential person on the list at 7 points and South Korean singer Rain is the most influential at 95 points.)


And finally,

Dear Neil,

I was wondering if you would be letting us know what you're reading at "An Evening with Neil" on Saturday, April 17 beforehand. I am hearing impaired and would love to go but it would be more enjoyable if I could read the work before or read along (quietly, of course) during. I understand if you can't reveal ahead of time but since I couldn't find any information about it online, I thought I'd at least ask.

Thanks in advance,

This is the reading/Q&A I'll do in Chicago on the 17th -- details, tickets and such at

I'm really sorry, Karen. I can't really help you. I wish I could, as there's about two hours to fill, but...

1) I don't know what I'll be reading and

2) at least 4 of the things I will probably be reading are as yet unpublished.

I'm thinking of reading "Chivalry", because I stopped reading that aloud about a decade ago, and always used to start readings with it, so it would be sort of nostalgic for me, and it's fun. So you could read that.

I can tell you it will be unpublished and uncollected things for the most part, with a smattering of old favourites. And that the Q&A will be me answering questions that have come in from the audience on cards.

And that I'll do my very best to be as audible as I can be.

(Sometimes I've done readings with someone signing what I was saying at the other side of the stage. I've always loved this. Want me to investigate it as a possibility?)

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