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He would give me all the answers I wanted plus loads of things that were entirely irrelevant because it was just me and him talking in a room and we do that all the time. It was a weird interview to do. I only noticed this was happening when I had to transcribe 17 hours of it back in London, and sat there listening to us trying to save a bumblebee who’d got caught in the fireplace. For half an hour. ‘Ooh he’s got soot on him. Look at his giant cardigan. Shall we put him outside on a flower?‘
Honestly I think I have to burn the tapes.
Created for Sydney's renowned Graphic festival, this haunting tale of adventure, revenge and treasure, told as a hybrid between a storyteller, an artists and an Australian string quartet is playing five performances only - Carnegie Hall in New York, the Warfield in San Francisco, two sold-out shows at London's Barbican, all leading up to this very special night at Usher Hall.
After discovering that Neil Gaiman is married to that gorgeous force-of-nature Amanda Palmer, I FINALLY (after Kelly Sue had urged me to do so for twelve years) read some of Neil’s books.
Neil bleeds. Which is to say, he is my kind of writer. Also, I discovered, he is my kind of human. The kind of person you feel you’ve known since the beginning of time — and hope to know till its end.
You will know when you have completed the challenge.
You will know because you will be told that you have completed the challenge.
At no point are you expected to contact Mr. G to verify your completion. You may contact me via the Site Inquiry line if you wish, but I will likely simply reiterate the above two lines.
(Mr. G already gave you a big hint, which I was not anticipating.)
Happy blogthday, and happy hunting!
UPDATE: We now have our nine winners! They will be notified later today. Thank you to everyone for playing.
FURTHER UPDATE: I have been asked, via Twitter, to explain the solution. Once you had all thirteen clock images, you put them in order by time displayed (with the repeats being AM vs PM following the file name - vs _). There were three characters stacked vertically on each clock face. (I have no idea how people teased them out; I hope/expected some manipulation rather than squinting.) Read in order left to right it was a URL written across three lines. Once you went to that URL it told you that you had finished and instructed you to email me some info and a unique code.
It was the 9th of February 2001. I'd spent most of the previous two years writing a novel (oddly enough, a lot of it in the house I'm currently borrowing), and now I was finally going to start writing a blog. (Which for obscure reasons mostly having to do with my agent Merrilee, I tended to call my blogger, perhaps because it was, and oddly enough still is, hosted by Blogger.) It wasn't NeilGaiman.com yet - we started the journal at Americangods.com when all it contained was a countdown and a blog.
I first suggested we do something like this to my editor, the redoubtable Jennifer Hershey, about a year ago, while the book was still being written (a process that continued until about 3 weeks ago). She preferred to wait until the book was on the conveyor belt to actual publication, thus sparing the reading world lots of entries like "Feb 13th: wrote some stuff. It was crap." and "Feb 14th: wrote some brilliant stuff. This is going to be such a good novel. Honest it is." followed by "Feb 15th. no, it's crap" and so on. It was a bit like wrestling a bear. Some days I was on top. Most days, the bear was on top. So you missed watching an author staring in bafflement as the manuscript got longer and longer, and the deadlines flew about like dry leaves in a gale, and the book remained unfinished.
And then one day about three weeks ago it was done. And after that I spent a week cutting and trimming it. (I'd read Stephen King's On Writing on the plane home from Ireland, where I'd gone to do final rewrites and reworkings, and was fired up enough by his war on adverbs that I did a search through the manuscript for -----ly, and peered at each adverb suspiciously before letting it live or zapping it into oblivion. A lot of them survived. Still, according to the old proverb, God is better pleased with adverbs than with nouns...)
Today I wrote a letter to go in the front of a Quick and Dirty reading edition Harper will put out -- taken from the file I sent them, so it'll be filled with transatlantic spelling, odd formatting errors and the rest, but it'll be something to give to the buyers from bookstores and to people who get advance manuscripts so they can see what kind of book this is.
I have no idea what kind of book this is. Or rather, there's nothing quite like it out there that I can point to. Sooner or later some reviewer will say something silly but quotable like "If JRR Tolkien had written The Bonfire of the Vanities..." and it'll go on the paperback cover and thus put off everyone who might have enjoyed it...
The Website soon became Neilgaiman.com and looked a lot like this.
The blog looked like this.
And then by late 2002 it looked more like this:
and inside the blog looked like this:
And then in January 2006 it started looking like it does now. Which means that, really, the website these days needs a from-the-ground-up overhaul...
But you know, creaky interface and lost links and all, this blog is thirteen years old today. In Internet Years, that means it is a huge slow thing, covered in cobwebs, with a deep rumbly voice like a mountain that is trying to remember how to talk. In person years it means it has acne and has just been barmitvahed, and is dreading writing all the thank you letters to the grown-ups who slipped it envelopes with cheques in.
Probably you haven't gone looking around this website. It's been a long time since I have...
So I thought we'd give you a reason to go poking around. The webgoblin went to work, and now there are, er, clues hidden all through Neilgaiman.com. The prize will be a Google Hangout with me. (Second prize, the snappy comedian in the back of my head announces, TWO Google hangouts with me.)
I just wrote to Amanda confessing myself the most boring man in the world. My life right now seems to consist of writing and, once a day, jogging. The new iPod nano has decided to do the same thing that the one it replaced did, viz. reboot itself 2 minutes before the end of a timed run, which I've decided to outwit by not telling it how long I am going to run for, which works.
Pages of SANDMAN: Overture are coming in drawn from J.H. Williams, and different pages of Sandman are being written and going out from me to J.H. Williams. The ones coming in are the most beautiful mainstream comics I think I've ever seen. The ones going out are... well, all the characters feel like themselves. And, when we've met them before, they sound like themselves. And it's really strange when a character I've not written since 1995 turns up and all I seem to do for the dialogue is listen and write down what they say. I needed a story within the story at one point, so am telling a story I'd vaguely thought might one day be a giant miniseries as a three page story...
All the introductions I've agreed to write in the last 3 years are all needed now, so I am writing them. It's partly fun, because I get to tell people about things I love, and tell them why I love those books, but because they have all come together it feels a little like homework.
The most fun thing I did today was look at a rough sketch for the cover of the third book with Chu, the little Panda in it, and make a suggestion, and then, much later in the day, see Adam Rex's version of the sketch incorporating my suggestion, which headed straight into cuteness overload territory.
The second CHU book, which comes out in June, is going to be CHU'S FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL in America but CHU'S FIRST DAY AT SCHOOL in the UK, because that's how the same thing is described in the different countries.
You can find out more about it via the Amazon US link at http://j.mp/Chus1st which is the only place I can find anything about it so far...
And ironically, while I'm taking my social media sabbatical, I've been nominated for a SHORTY award.
Locus Magazine, the newspaper of the Science Fiction and Fantasy World, has put up its 2013 poll and survey online:
You can vote for the books and stories you read in 2013, and more, and you should. And fill out the survey: it tells them (and everyone) who reads SF. As long as you include your name, email and survey information, your votes will get counted.
And if you do not feel like filling out a survey it's also an excellent round up of the best of the year in novels and shorter work, art and non-fiction.
For the last 5 years I've been doing annual doodles for the National Doodle Day -- now Doodle 4 NF -- an annual fundraiser for the Neurofibromatosis Network. I've done two doodles. So far this year, I've only done one, "The Clown-Shoes of Cthulhu", which is up on their website, and which I drew in in an OCEAN AT THE END OF THE LANE signing tour book:
They do not get auctioned until May, by which time there will be another doodle to join it...
PEN International (the writer and artist's organisation, of which I'm a member) sent out a letter to the Russian Government protesting the "gay propaganda" laws, the criminal blasphemy laws and the laws that criminalise defamation, and I was one of the signatories.
I noticed people on the Guardian website wondering why PEN wasn't protesting about other bad things elsewhere: it does. Lots of them. Look: http://www.pen-international.org/
Mostly because, as you'll probably know if you've been reading this blog for a while, I'm a Free Speech absolutist. (Here's me explaining why: http://journal.neilgaiman.com/2008/12/why-defend-freedom-of-icky-speech.html). And because I found myself remembering 1986 and protesting Clause 28 (later Section 28) with a comic...
This was the comic I did, drawn by Bryan Talbot and Mark Buckingham. Not exactly subtle, but it was agitprop and I was much younger and less subtle then. (From Bryan's website.)
It was in a comic called AARGH! (Artists Against Rampant Government Homophobia) edited by Alan Moore, who has wandered into my life in two different ways this week. Firstly, Jackie Estrada is doing a Kickstarter to make a book of the photos she's taken at San Diego Comic-Con over the years, and includes this picture, in which the strangeness of perspective makes Jack Kirby and Alan Moore look even more different in height than they actually were. Sometimes I think this photo makes it look like Alan is the size of Gort, the eight-foot tall robot from The Day The Earth Stood Still, while Jack is normal-sized Klaatu, and sometimes I think that it looks like Alan is normal-sized and Jack looks like something Alan would have brought along to snack upon, were he not a vegetarian.
(Check out Jackie's Kickstarter. It has many more amazing photos on the Kickstarter page, and I cannot imagine how many photos that will delight comics lovers there will be in the book.)
The other Alan Moore-related news came about because I ran into Dave Gibbons in Las Vegas in early December, and he told me about a book they were putting together showcasing Watchmen original art. I reminded Dave that he and Alan had given me a page as a thank you when we were all much younger, and he suggested I might put it in the book.
As Dave says on this interview page...
I was talking to Neil Gaiman a couple of weeks ago — managed to have a catch-up with him over a cup of tea, which was great — and I mentioned this project to him and he’s got one particularly prime page that Alan (Moore) and I gave him back in the day when he used to help us with sourcing quotations and so on. He’s got the dream sequence — the Nite Owl dream sequence where there are, I think, like 20 panels on the page. So that’s a real iconic and favorite page.
You can see the page itself (and others) much larger than it is below at http://13thdimension.com/exclusive-first-look-at-watchmen-artifact-edition-from-idw/
And I only discovered when it came out of its frame, that when I'd had framed in 1987 I wasn't thinking about acid-free mounts and museum-quality glass and the kinds of things I think about when people give me art these days, and I should have.
(The story of what I did to help on Watchmen and why they gave me the page is here on the blog: http://journal.neilgaiman.com/2008/08/please-stop-my-assistant-becoming-mad.html -- and the link to the 1989 Brian Hibbs interview with a me whom I barely recognise is at http://thedreaming.holycow.com/2008/08/05/gaiman-interview-with-brian-hibbs/)
So, signing the PEN Open Letter was something I did this week as a writer.
This video was something I did because it made me smile when I was asked. I suspect that Derren Brown, Stephen Fry, Rupert Everett and co. did it for the same reason. And they did it better than I did:
You have six days left to listen to Mitch Benn is the 37th Beatle, a trimmed version of his Edinburgh Show, which I never saw, so I am glad I heard it on the radio. I've been listening to the Beatles while writing recently -- I'd call it comfort listening, except I've barely listened to them since I was in my early teens, so Mitch's history-rant-pontification-and-occasional-parodic-songs came along at just the right time:
(That'll work on a computer for the next six days. If you follow the link on a tablet or phone, it won't work outside the UK. So use an app like TuneIn Radio and search for Mitch Benn, and it will come up instantly...)
And for Charles Dickens' Birthday (it's his 202nd Birthday today), I'm reposting the reading I did, in Dickensian beard and clobber, at the New York Public Library, just before Christmas: http://www.nypl.org/audiovideo/charles-dickens-christmas-carol-neil-gaiman-and-molly-oldfield
If you want to hear Molly Oldfield telling you interesting things about Dickens' reading tours and secret museums, followed by me reading the version of A Christmas Carol from Dickens' hand-annotated and edited prompt copy, now is your chance.
Let's see: there's news, as I said in the header. AMERICAN GODS is now being developed for TV by Freemantle Media. As to where you will be able to see it, who is going to be in it, who will be writing or show-running, none of these things have yet been settled. But it already looks like it's going to be a smoother run developing it than it had at HBO, so I am very pleased.
Don’t you wish that Neil Gaiman was your kooky uncle? He would sneak you into the circus and you’d get to hold the Biggest Amazonian Python That Ever Lived (whose name was Lucille). He’d help you put frogs in your sister’s bathtub. He’d keep secrets for you, like that time that you buried your dad’s favorite watch in the park. He would agree that pirate treasure is only good if it’s buried. To help you cement the fantasy that Gaiman is your favorite uncle, here he is reading Dr. Seuss’ .
What's that you say? Wouldn't it be nice if we could also perform it somewhere like San Francisco or New York...? Hmm. Let me think about that one.Created and performed for a sell out crowd at Sydney Opera House’s world-renowned Graphic Festival, then repeated a year later for cutting edge festival Mona Foma in Tasmania, this haunting tale of adventure, revenge and treasure, told as a hybrid between a storyteller, an artist and a string quartet comes by popular demand to London for these two performances only.
Gaiman, as both author and narrator, immerses listeners in a modern fairy tale in which two stalwart children pit themselves against dark and relentless terrors. Through an exquisite management of pace and inflection, his voice becomes the story’s doorway just a surely as any rabbit hole or wardrobe.