Saturday, December 31, 2016

Another Year

We landed in Brisbane 24 hours late, because a set of plane delays had made us miss the flight we were meant to be on, and I started fading away during the drive out here. (I wasn't driving. I was entertaining Ash, mostly.) By the time we got to the house I was gone. I need to sleep, I thought, and isn't it odd that in such a hot part of Australia in high summer it is so cold that I'm shivering...

And then I was mostly asleep for 3 days, with a fever caused by something that was probably a really nasty flu. Then it became a chest infection. During the short waking periods I would read volume 3 of Henry Mayhew's LONDON LABOUR AND THE LONDON POOR.

Three days of fever dreams filled with Guy Fawkes Men and Penny Mousetrap makers was entertaining, but it wasn't getting better. So yesterday evening, I went in to the Woodford Festival to see the doctor there. By luck, I caught the song Amanda dedicated to me, then went home, took the medicine, slept, woke up, thought I really need to write a blog for the New Year, and went straight back to sleep...

Which is why I'm writing a New Year's wish on New Year's Day. Although it's New Year's Eve still in the US (and in the UK as I type this, but it will already be next year there by the time I post it).

It's been a strange, hard year for so many of us. I find myself thinking of the old Jack Benny radio shows. Particularly during World War Two they'd do a new year's sketch, where the old year (played by Jack, with an old man voice) would give advice to the new year (played by a child). They weren't funny: they were a mixture of hope and sentiment, optimism, realism and resilience.

We are going to need all of these things in 2017.

For this year, the words are Leonard Cohen's, someone that 2016 took from us.

May your coming year be filled with magic and dreams and good madness. I hope you read some fine books and kiss someone who thinks you're wonderful, and don't forget to make some art -- write or draw or build or sing or live as only you can. And I hope, somewhere in the next year, you surprise yourself.

...I hope you will have a wonderful year, that you'll dream dangerously and outrageously, that you'll make something that didn't exist before you made it, that you will be loved and that you will be liked, and that you will have people to love and to like in return. And, most importantly (because I think there should be more kindness and more wisdom in the world right now), that you will, when you need to be, be wise, and that you will always be kind.

And for this year, my wish for each of us is small and very simple.

And it's this.

I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes.

Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You're doing things you've never done before, and more importantly, you're Doing Something.

So that's my wish for you, and all of us, and my wish for myself. Make New Mistakes. Make glorious, amazing mistakes. Make mistakes nobody's ever made before. Don't freeze, don't stop, don't worry that it isn't good enough, or it isn't perfect, whatever it is: art, or love, or work or family or life.

Whatever it is you're scared of doing, Do it.

Make your mistakes, next year and forever.

From 2012, terrified but trying to be brave, from backstage at a concert:

It's a New Year and with it comes a fresh opportunity to shape our world. 

So this is my wish, a wish for me as much as it is a wish for you: in the world to come, let us be brave – let us walk into the dark without fear, and step into the unknown with smiles on our faces, even if we're faking them. 

And whatever happens to us, whatever we make, whatever we learn, let us take joy in it. We can find joy in the world if it's joy we're looking for, we can take joy in the act of creation. 

So that is my wish for you, and for me. Bravery and joy.

This is from two years ago:

Be kind to yourself in the year ahead. 

Remember to forgive yourself, and to forgive others. It's too easy to be outraged these days, so much harder to change things, to reach out, to understand.

Try to make your time matter: minutes and hours and days and weeks can blow away like dead leaves, with nothing to show but time you spent not quite ever doing things, or time you spent waiting to begin.

Meet new people and talk to them. Make new things and show them to people who might enjoy them. 

Hug too much. Smile too much. And, when you can, love.


And, because Death took so much in 2016, I'll give her the final word. (It's from the 911 short story "The Wheel" with art by Chris Bachalo.)


Friday, December 23, 2016

Watch DEMOCRACY melting in water colours

We were in Toronto on November the 11th, the day after we heard Leonard Cohen died, and four days after the election. I was there as tour nanny, but Amanda asked if I would do something on her stage. I loved the spoken word version of Democracy Leonard Cohen had recorded, and so I went to YouTube, worked out what lines from the song he had dropped for the poem, and what he had moved, and read it on the stage. 
And then I did it again in Chicago and Minneapolis. 
We recorded it, me taking time from the recording of the audiobook of How The Marquis Got His Coat Back to record it, and email it to her, Amanda recording her piano accompaniment up a mountain in a snowstorm, then Jherek Bischoff and a string section doing glorious quiet things to make it sing. We gave it to PEN America as a gift, to draw attention to their sterling work and to help raise funds for them. Then David Mack painted many paintings (there's one below this), and Olga Nunes animated them into a video.
It was all funded by Amanda’s Patreon, and I thank all 9000-odd people who support her and it.

It’s a very beautiful video. I could post the YouTube video here, but I’d rather you went and watched it at the PEN America page, at
If you watch it, and it it moves you, reblog it. I hope people watch it. I hope they care.
You can buy the track too, at Bandcamp. All proceeds go to PEN America as well.

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Thursday, December 22, 2016

A huge thank you

The Humble Bundle finished yesterday, at a little over $394,000, from almost 25,000 people. 
Some of that goes to Refugees. Some to the CBLDF. Some goes to the Publisher, which in this case is basically me, and all my share goes straight to the Gaiman Foundation (and my agent, who dealt with all the contracts, is passing on her share to the Gaiman Foundation too). Some of the artists of the work asked for their share to go to specific charities, most wanted it tossed into the general charity pot, and two are using their share of the money to pay rent and buy food.
The last time we did the Humble Bundle, 15 months ago, it raised $633,000. Which means that old and out of print books, comics, and things I was embarrassed to let out in public, have now raised over $1,000,000. I wish I could go back in time and tell the 23-year old me writing his Duran Duran book that it would be the best thing he could be doing with his time. 
Thank you to everybody who bought it. Thank you to everybody who helped, or who agreed to have their work go into the bundle, to Charles from the CBLDF and Cat from Neverwear who worked their bottoms off to assemble everything and make it work, and to the people at Humble Bundle for having a wonderful platform that does good.

You can donate directly to UNHCR through this link:

Donate, or become a member of the CBLDF through this link:

I'm going to be mostly offline for the next week, in places where there isn't a lot of internet. I hope I get a lot of writing done.
Happy holidays. Here's a link to a piece I wrote 8 years ago about being a small Jewish boy who wanted a Christmas tree.

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Friday, December 16, 2016

Where do you run?

I just woke from a dream in which my film agent (the redoubtable Jon Levin) was upset because a movie company had bought the rights to the 1972 Steptoe and Son movie and were convinced that by redubbing it to change the plot and adding special effects, they would have a science fiction blockbuster on their hands, and he was calling me in the hopes that I could persuade them that it was a bad idea. I'm not quite sure what I am trying to tell myself about Hollywood here.

I'm on my own for a few days to write, while Amanda and Ash are in Havana. Amanda will be doing a gig there, and Ash will be squeezing people's noses and continuing to learn how to walk. His hair is getting darker as my hair gets greyer.

Reading about what's happening in Aleppo is soul-numbing. I look at Ash and wonder what I'd do if the normal world I lived in became a war zone, how I'd cope, and the only thing I'm certain of is that I'd want to get him somewhere safe.

I supported refugees before Ash came along, but having him here makes it feel so real and immediate: I remember the people I saw entering the camps in Jordan who had carried their own babies and small children for hundreds of miles to get them to safety.

The Humble Bundle has four days left to go. You get over a thousand pages of ridiculously rare stuff by me, comics and books and more. There's new audio and video material, even posters for those who got it before (and you can gift a bundle to a friend or enemy for the holidays). The money goes to two charities -- to the CBLDF, and to refugees, and you can adjust the slider however you wish on who gets what. Please support it, and spread the word on social media. is the link.

And is a direct page with a video from me in the camps, and ways to donate. Also, especially in these dark times,


I drove up the coast yesterday and listened to the BBC production of STARDUST. I think it's my favourite adaptation of any of my books or stories. It's broadcast in two parts, tomorrow and Sunday, and you can hear it over the internet anywhere in the world for a month after broadcast free, because the BBC is still a wonderful thing. There's a page of Stardust clips, art and other goodies for you here:

And one more Ash photo, taken by Amanda on a chilly beach a few days ago, because I miss him.

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Friday, December 09, 2016

Many Candles: The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe

 The Worldbuilders charity passed its stretch goal of a million dollars, so I lit a whole bunch of candles, put on a coat once worn by a dead brother in the Stardust movie, and I read Edgar Allan Poe's poem THE RAVEN by candlelight. You can donate to Worldbuilders at And you should.

 (Thanks to Deanna Leblanc who filmed it, Augusta Ogden who helped light candles, and Phillip Marshall who held the baby.)

You can find out all about Worldbuilders, and the inspiring copy of STARDUST, and so many other things, at

Wednesday, December 07, 2016


A little over a year ago I released my rarest, earliest, and hardest to find work -- books and comics --  through Humble Bundle to fund charities that do good work.  People were all so generous and enthusiastic that the Bundle broke several records. More importantly the people who donated to get the Bundle made it possible for the CBLDF and for the charities supported by the Gaiman Foundation, including the CBLDF, to help make things better for people. 

People asked if the books and comics in the Humble Bundle would be put up for sale afterwards. I said no. They were part of the Humble Bundle, and it had happened and it was done.

The world is a more dangerous place than it was 14 months ago. Refugees need help and support. Freedom of speech is under threat.

I've brought back the original Humble Bundle of Gaiman extreme and collectible rarities, and I have added some brand new bits, including audio stories.  The Bundle supports the UN Refugee Agency, the CBLDF, and the Gaiman Foundation (which then, in its turn, supports other good causes). Get the books and stories and such for yourself if you missed out the first time. Give them as gifts to friends. It will make a difference.

And if you are wondering what is in the Humble Bundle, here is the original post:

The thing about having a writing career that spans more than thirty years is that that you write things – books, comics, all sorts of things – that for one reason or another become rare. They go out of print. Often because you are embarrassed by them, or do not want to see them in print. Or because circumstances are against you. Or because something was only ever published in a limited edition.

I have a basement library filled with mysterious copies of things. Some I only have one copy of. One book, the hardback of my Duran Duran biography, I paid $800 for, about eight years ago, astonished that anyone would ask that much, but aware that I'd only ever seen one other copy. (I saw another one for sale last week for over $4000.)

Many years ago, I sued a publisher for non-payment of royalties, registering copyright in his own name on things I'd written, and various other things. And, because it felt right, I decided that any money I made from the case would go to charity. Long after the case was won, when the finances were eventually settled, I found myself with a large chunk of money.  I didn't want to give it all to one charity, and instead formed the Gaiman Foundation which has, for several years, been using that money to Do Good Things. The Gaiman Foundation has funded the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund's Education program, various Freedom of Speech initiatives, the Moth's High School program which teaches kids the power of telling their own stories, along with helping to fund good causes like the Lava Mae charity, which gives showers and cleaning facilities to the homeless around San Francisco.

Giving money away to good causes has been a fine thing to do, especially when the results were immediate and obvious.

The only downside is that the initial chunk of money from the lawsuit is almost used up. I've been putting money into it as well, but last year Holly Gaiman (who is not only my daughter and an ace hat maker, but is studying running non-profit organisations and has been invaluable on the professional side of things of the Foundation) pointed out to me that if the Gaiman Foundation was to continue, it would need me to put in a big chunk of money as an endowment. And I started thinking...

Some years ago I took part in one of the earliest book-based Humble Bundles, and was really impressed with how the Humble Bundle thing worked.  E-books (back then,  of out of print or unavailable work,) would be put up DRM free: some of them would be available to anyone who paid anything at all, some only for those who paid above the average, some available to anyone who paid more than a specific amount. Artists and writers got paid, and money also went to support good causes -- when you paid for your books, you could choose how much of the money going to charity went to which charity, how much goes to the creators, how much to Humble Bundle. 

Hmm. I had the beginning of an idea.

Charles Brownstein at the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund is always willing to listen to my strange ideas. He liked this one.

This was the idea:

I'd put into the Humble Bundle all the rare things we could find. 

Books that were long out of print, stories and such that collectors would pay hundreds of dollars for, obscure and uncollected comics and pamphlets and magazine articles. Even the things I am still vaguely embarrassed by (like the Duran Duran biography, a hardcover copy of which, as I said, can set you back thousands of dollars these days, if you can find one). 

Books which have been out of print for 30 years, like GHASTLY BEYOND BELIEF, a collection of quotations from the strangest SF and Fantasy books and movies that Kim Newman and I made when we were 23 and 24 respectively. Things that were absolutely private and never before sold, like LOVE FISHIE, a book of poems and letters from my daughter Maddy (aged 8) to me, and from me back to Maddy, that was made into a book (with help from my assistant the Fabulous Lorraine) as a gift for my 42nd birthday. 

Two long out-of-print books from Knockabout Comics: OUTRAGEOUS TALES FROM THE OLD TESTAMENT and SEVEN DEADLY SINS, with stories written and or drawn by me, Alan Moore, Hunt Emerson, Dave Gibbons, Dave McKean and a host of others. 

Rare out-of-print comics stories by me and Bryan Talbot, by me and Mark Buckingham, even by me and Bryan Talbot and Mark Buckingham.

There would be small-press short story and suchlike collections like ANGELS AND VISITATIONS and the LITTLE GOLD BOOK OF GHASTLY STUFF containing stories that went on to win awards and be collected in the more big, official collections (Smoke and Mirrors, etc), and stories no-one has seen since, not to mention non-fiction articles, like the one about the effects of alcohol on a writer, or the one where I stayed out for 24 hours on the streets of Soho, that are now only whispered in rumours.

There would even be a short story of mine, “Manuscript Found in a Milk Bottle”, published in 1985, that is so bad I've never let it be reprinted. Not even to give young writers hope that if I was that awful once, there is hope for all of them.

Charles from the CBLDF liked the idea.

It was a good thing Charles liked the idea. He had to do so much of the work, coordinating, finding, talking to people, getting contracts with artists and publishers and everyone signed, all that. Which he did, cheerfully and helpfully and uncomplainingly.

The Humble Bundle people liked the idea too.

Humble Bundle money is divided between the creators and the charities, with the person buying the Humble Bundle deciding how the percentage that goes to the charities is divided.

I'm giving my entire portion of Humble Bundle creator-money directly back to the Gaiman Foundation. (My agent Merrilee has donated her fee, too, so 100% of what comes in to me goes to the Foundation.)

There are, obviously, other authors and artists and publishers involved. Some have asked for their money to go to charities, and some are, perfectly sensibly, paying the rent and buying food with it.

(Originally, we'd hoped to split the charity money between the CBLDF and the Gaiman Foundation as well, but in the very last couple of days of putting things together we discovered that was impractical, so we made the other charity the Moth's Educational Program instead: it's the Moth storytelling in High Schools, it's done some really good things, and I'm proud to be helping it.)

Normally Humble Bundle likes to explain that you are paying what you like for perhaps $100 worth of games or books or comics. It's hard to price this stuff – buying Duran Duran and Ghastly Beyond Belief together could set you back thousands of dollars. Here, you'll get some ebooks if you pay what you like, more ebooks if you pay over the average, and some choice plums (like Duran Duran, and “Manuscript Found in a Milk Bottle”) if you pay over $15. 

There's a total of about 1,300 pages of DRM-free ebooks and comics, fiction and non fiction. There's even a Babylon 5 Script I wrote.

These books and comics and suchlike are going to be available during the two week on-sale life of the Humble Bundle. After that, they are going away again. This really is your chance to read them.

Click on the link: It will take you somewhere that will look a bit like this, where many pages of ebooks will be waiting for you:

And remember, it's pay what you want. (If you want to pay the thousands of dollars it would have cost you to buy all this stuff as collectibles, you can do that too. I'll be grateful, and so will the various charities, not to mention the artists, other writers and so on.)

Thank you to Charles Brownstein; to Mary Edgeberg, Holly Gaiman, Cat Mihos, and Christine DiCrocco, on my team; thank you to my agent Merrilee Heifetz; to everyone who drew or wrote or published or in other way gave us permission to put things up; to Mike Maher and the team at Scribe for mastering the eBooks;  and above all thank you to everyone at Humble Bundle for relentlessly doing good for wonderful causes.

I hope you enjoy all 1,289 rare and collectible pages. Even “Manuscript Found In a Milk Bottle”.

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Tuesday, December 06, 2016

Want to hear me reading Norse Myths in Public? (London and New York)

I'm doing two events for NORSE MYTHOLOGY. I'll read from the book, be interviewed, take audience questions, sign a lot of books.

The first event to go on sale is at New York's Town Hall on February 9th. is the link. Tickets are not cheap, but each ticket price includes a copy of the book. It will be hosted, and I will be interviewed by, NPR's Ophira Eisenberg (whom I last met a few years ago on Ask Me Another on the radio, when she made me answer questions on and even sing Gilbert & Sullivan on the air).

(The photograph is of me and a tree by Beowulf Sheehan.)

The second is the Royal Festival Hall on London's South Bank on February 15th. It's going to be just as much fun. Tickets go on sale tomorrow.

(And at 2:30 that afternoon Chris Riddell will be doing an event in the same place. Come to both events!


And while I've got you here, the BBC RADIO 4 adaptation of Stardust is wonderful! I've been listening to it over and over for the last couple of weeks, and smiling in delight at the performances and the clever way the adaption has been done. It will be broadcast in two parts, on the 17th and 18th of December. You can listen to it all over the world after that, for a month.  The episodes will go up here:

And a huge congratulations to the winners and runners up of the Stardust art competition:
You can see the whole gallery of delightful submissions at

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