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If you were to guess what the 10 most banned or challenged books in the US in 2013 were, you might guess 50 Shades of Grey for its class-consciousness tinged bondage romance; or John Green’s Looking for Alaska with its classic themes of coming of age and the required drugs and sexuality. And yes both those books are on the list, released today by the American LIbrary Association. But also on the list? Jeff Smith’s Bone series, which we’re told by the CBLDF, has been cited for “Political viewpoint, racism, violence.”
Racism? Is this that anti-Rat Creature party we’ve been hearing about? Or the Rockjaw Defense League?
While Bone is a bit of a shock to be on the list, the first one is also odd because it’s so clearly a kids book: Captain Underpants. I mean sure kids shouldn’t be exposed to underpants, unless they are being told to put on a clean pair because it’s Tuesday already, but…honestly don’t the censors of America have better things to do?
Here’s the complete Top Ten:
1) Captain Underpants (series), by Dav Pilkey (Reasons: Offensive language, unsuited for age group, violence.)
2) The Bluest Eye, by Toni Morrison (Reasons: Offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group, violence.)
3) The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie (Reasons: Drugs/alcohol/smoking, offensive language, racism, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group.)
4) Fifty Shades of Grey, by E.L. James (Reasons: Nudity, offensive language, religious viewpoint, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group.)
5) The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins (Reasons: Religious viewpoint, unsuited to age group.)
6) A Bad Boy Can Be Good for a Girl, by Tanya Lee Stone (Reasons: Drugs/alcohol/smoking, nudity, offensive language, sexually explicit.)
7) Looking for Alaska, by John Green (Reasons: Drugs/alcohol/smoking, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group.)
8) The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky (Reasons: drugs/alcohol/smoking, homosexuality, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group.)
9) Bless Me Ultima, by Rudolfo Anaya (Reasons: Occult/Satanism, offensive language, religious viewpoint, sexually explicit.
10) Bone (series), by Jeff Smith (Reasons: Political viewpoint, racism, violence.)
According to the CBLDF,
This is Bone’s first appearance on ALA’s annual list of challenged books, but it isn’t the first time it’s run affoul of censors. In 2012, it was banned in Texas at Crestview Elementary and moved to the junior high library because it was deemed unsuited to the age group. In April of 2010, a Minnesota parentpetitioned for the series’ removal from her son’s school library, when she discovered images she believed to be promoting drinking and smoking. A letter from Smith decrying the ban attempt was read aloud at the committee’s hearing, and the challenge was ultimately rejected by a 10-1 vote, to the praise of Smith and CBLDF.
Here's an astonishing video of the Evelyn Evelyn song "Have you Seen my Sister Evelyn?"
I was going to write that it was because I wrote something about this song on this blog that I got a "thank you for saying nice things about our song" email from Amanda Palmer that turned into a correspondence, and then turned into me agreeing to write some stories for the Who Killed Amanda Palmer book, and then, a little over a year afterwards, developed into the start of the relationship that we now have, and then I went back and looked for the link, and discovered that actually it was Evelyn Evelyn's "Elephant Elephant" song that I was nice about. Proving that memory is a fallible sort of a thing.
But it's still an amazingly beautiful video.
Would you like to have lunch with me, in LA or when I'm on the road? Or would you rather have lunch with Frank Miller and his editor Bob Schreck? Or have writer and former DC Comics publisher Paul Levitz review your portfolio and tell you how to make it in comics? Or have Frank Quitely sketch a postcard for you? Or have me do a sketch on a postcard for you? (Frank's will be prettier.)
All these things, and a ridiculously long list of other things, are possible. Details and a list of things at http://cbldf.org/homepage/be-counted/ where the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund is having an NPR like membership drive, with some amazing things for people who want to pledge for them. The donations are big, but count as charitable donations, and come off your taxes.
And if you don't want (or cannot afford) one of the big ticket items, you can still - and should - become a CBLDF member at http://cbldf.org/contribute/membership/. Annual membership starts at $25, for which you get a Green Lantern membership card. But no power ring.
It's a grey, quiet Saturday here. Everyone's off doing stuff: it's just me and the dogs.
On Thursday, Sharon and Bill Stiteler came over and we checked the hives and started to feed them. We have six hives right now - two Italians (doing brilliantly in comparison with everyone else after a late start and a lousy year - we even had a super full of honey), two Carniolans (doing okay) and two Russian hives (one may or may not survive even a mild winter, one has a solid chance). We came back to the house.
Sharon Stiteler started making noises. Normally when Sharon makes noises, it means that something exciting has been spotted, and it's generally to do with birds.
A merlin had taken a red-bellied woodpecker from one of my birdfeeders, and was eating it in front of the house.
Yesterday I decided to get some beeswax from the buckets of slumgullion in the garage. It took three tries to figure out how to do it correctly, but I now have a pie-dish filled with clean, perfect, butter-yellow beeswax, smelling faintly of honey, and know how to get it right for next time.
No idea what to do with the wax, mind. But at least it won't get thrown out.
Today I'm proofreading. The Little Gold Book Of Ghastly Stuff for Borderlands Press comes out very soon, and they emailed me over the pdfs last night. It's a really sweet little collection, almost entirely from the last decade: two poems, four stories (including, for the first time anywhere, my first ever published short story, "Featherquest", published in 1984, cut by half when it was published and never reprinted. Do not get excited: it isn't very good), two oddments, four articles, a couple of speeches, a few book reviews and suchlike. I signed the 500 limitation pages last week. Then Borderlands discovered that too many people had ordered the signed edition and asked me if they could overrun the print-run and do some unsigned, un-numbered copies, and I said yes.
There's only ever going to be one printing of this, so if you want a copy head over to http://www.borderlandspress.com/littlegold.html and order one. It costs more to mail it internationally than the book costs (four times if you want to internationally Fedex it).
I do not enjoy proofreading.
And I need to go back to it.
Before I do, here is a Bill Stiteler film of me shaking bees off a frame of honey or three on Thursday:
0 Comments on Not just procrastinating on proofreading... as of 1/1/1900
I have gone to a sort of a VERY MYSTERIOUS weekend camp, at which everyone I had ever wanted to meet is just sort of hanging out and some of them are doing presentations, and chatting is happening, and it is all very wonderful and unlikely.
I'm not sure how private it's meant to be, so I'll keep silent for now, which is a sensible thing because there is nothing I could say that wouldn't sound like namedropping or madness (except that I owe Luis Alberto Urrea $20). I will say I am having a ridiculous amount of fun, am learning stuff, and whenever I get bored (which is very rarely) I am writing a thing that may be a ghost story.
And I would have put off this post for a couple of days, but I wanted to make sure that I let people know about this:
It is the link to the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund eBay site, and it's up because they are auctioning off the doodles I did during the Annual CBLDF planning meeting. I defaced two sheets of notepaper and the takeaway menu.
Wow, this is going to be a VERY crowded schedule! There are a ton of things to do throughout New York Comic-Con and no matter what you choose, you’re sure to get a little cultural edification, whether it’s comics of Kirby Krackle. There are so many events and parties we had to slit this into two. We’ll have Saturday’s line-up later on.
Tell people about it. If you're on Twitter, follow @1b1t2010, and bust out your copy of American Gods. Remember that http://frowl.org/gods is an excellent round up or starting place for American Gods gods and geography. And remember that, as with any of these city-wide book clubs, there are no rules. One Book One Twitter starts tomorrow but you can start reading whenever you like, jump in and out of conversations as you wish.
I'll try and respond to questions. I may try and do occasional "Okay, I'll answer all the #1b#t questions that come in starting now..."
So, in the blog before last, I went to Indianapolis and got the Kurt Vonnegut Jr prize for Literature. Then I got up very early and flew to Chicago.
There was a convention going on in Chicago, C2E2, and I'd been asked to do the first Comic Book Legal Defense Fund Evening With Neil Gaiman since the end of the Last Angel Tour a decade ago.
And I did. It was a strange, long day -- people had paid up to $250 for tickets (they were the "dream tickets" that the CBLDF sold, and those people also got a signing), and there were about 1600 people in the audience altogether.
I had to sign a few thousand things for the CBLDF, the coolest of which were the "In Reilig Oran" prints that Tony Harris painted. I did a bunch of TV interviews (looking a bit more tired and frayed than normal) on subjects ranging from Freedom of Speech to Online Privacy.
I read stories. I read poems. We had an intermission. I answered questions. I read some more. I said goodnight, over an hour after it was meant to have ended. It was good, and although it had a long way to go before it was smooth, it had raised many tens of thousands of dollars for the CBLDF. And that was good.
I've been waiting for the new CBLDF website to go online, but it's not quite up yet, so I'm just going to cut and paste their press release.
The CBLDF Salutes Chicago With A World Class C2E2 Showing!
This weekend the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund lands in the windy city with an incredible array of events and exclusives for our supporters at the inaugural edition of C2E2! Join us for An Evening with Neil Gaiman, Signings with Tony Harris, exclusive new prints by Gaiman and Harris, and the launch of the CBLDF Exclusive Benefit BPAL fragrance Banned in Boston!
An Evening With Neil Gaiman
On Saturday, April 17, at 7PM Neil Gaiman will be giving his only reading in 2010 to benefit the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund in the Arie Crown Theater at McCormick Place! The last time Neil Gaiman performed theatrical readings was ten years ago on the "Last Angel Tour." On that tour, he crisscrossed the country, giving sold-out readings of stories and poems, both new material and beloved tales. That was ten years ago. In those ten years, Mr. Gaiman's published such books as American Gods, Coraline, and The Graveyard Book. He's made movies and operas. He even started keeping a blog. A generation has grown up who have not seen an evening with Neil Gaiman -- until now.
For One Night Only. Neil Gaiman. Only for the CBLDF, and only at C2E2!
Tickets for An Evening With Neil Gaiman are available at C2E2 Registration at McCormick Place on the 2nd Floor or the CBLDF booth 933, starting Friday. Admission is $20 for C2E2 Badge Holders and $35 for the General Public not attending the convention. For more information, please visit: http://c2e2.com/en/Events/Neil-Gaiman/
Exclusive Neil Gaiman/Tony Harris Print & Harris Signings!
To commemorate Neil Gaiman's triumphant return to Chicago, Tony Harris, the award-winning artist of STARMAN, EX MACHINA, and WAR HEROES has illustrated an all-new print based on the unpublished poem "In Reilig Oran," which Gaiman will premiere for the first time at "An Evening With Neil Gaiman!" Unsigned copies of this gorgeous full-color 11 x 20 print will be available for a $20 donation to CBLDF at C2E2.
Harris will also be appearing at the CBLDF booth (933) to sign copies of the print, and his graphic novels. Harris will also be creating one commissioned piece of original art per day. Harris appears at the CBLDF booth:
Friday - 4:00 to 6:00 PM Saturday: 12:00 to 2:00 PM Sunday: 12:00 to 2:00 PM
All New ECHO Print by Terry Moore Premieres in Chicago!
Terry Moore, the award winning creator of ECHO and Strangers in Paradise premieres a brand new print to benefit the Fund at C2E2. A beautiful 11 x 17 presentation of the original black and white line art from the cover of the upcoming Echo #22, this print is only available for donation to the CBLDF!
Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab Releases Array of New CBLDF Benefit Fragrances!
The Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab, creators of unique fragrances based on literary and artistic works, are coming to Chicago in force with a variety of new fragrances to benefit the work of the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund at booth 951! New fragrances include BANNED IN BOSTON & the NEVERWHERE family of scents. Details include: BANNED IN BOSTON Add a Comment
Catching up on things, so this is just me nipping on to say that the sold-out SPIN Housing Works me&amandapalmer event on June 3rd has posted a handful of front row tickets that they are auctioning off, ten in all.
Personally, I wish the CBLDF had been running the case, and not Mr Handley's lawyers. I am sure they feel they did the right thing, keeping him out of prison for owning manga and not allowing it to go to trial, but it's a bad outcome all around: bad for him, bad for comics and bad for the First Amendment.
And I'm investigating whether we can do Stardust ones right now (as the Stardust scents that Beth sent were Maddy's favourites).
And -- we'll put this up on the FAQ page and so on -- there is now a real address to send stuff that you want to get to my attention, which should work much better than DreamHaven Books (where stuff would sit in a box until the next time I came by). It is,
4470 Sunset Blvd. # 339 Los Angeles, CA 90027 USA And it's being run by the Mystery Aide. Who is actually (drum-roll) Cat Mihos (http://www.furrytiger.com/), who is going to try and make sure that less of my life falls through the cracks, that I have more time and so on. (Currently lots of the mail coming in through the FAQ line is people who want to interview me, or for me to answer a few questions for their book, dissertation or website, to the point that if I said yes to them all or even to half, I would never get any time to do or write anything else. So those kind of requests, along with anything else, can now be sent to Cat who can at least coordinate them.)
And Cat is also Cat@gaiman.net, should any of you need to reach her directly. She'll be running the LA end of things, and dealing with some of the stuff I simply haven't had the time to get to. (The Fabulous Lorraine is still my PA.)
If you want to send me a book to get signed along with return postage and packaging, though, or buy a signed book, or anything like that, you should still talk to DreamHaven, via their online shop of stuff by me at www.neilgaiman.net website.
Let's see. Recently I've written an introduction to a book on The Twilight Zone, and am currently doing my editorial pass on the galleys of INTERWORLD, a young adult book that Michael Reaves and I wrote some years ago that we're currently bringing out of mothballs, dusting off and sending to meet the nice people.
I also got swept up in a small adventure that turned me into a giddy twelve-year-old comics fan, and about which I shall say nothing more until the time is right. And possibly not even then. It was all Jonathan Ross's fault, anyway.
And now the weather forecasters are predicting the mother of all winter storms for us in the midwest this weekend. Ten inches of snow. Freezing rain. An ice storm. Everyone is making contingency plans and buying several months' suppies of toilet paper, and I'm being English and am convinced it won't happen. Interesting weather almost never does, not when they say it will.
This just came in from Charles Vess, who wonders if any of you have any of the STARDUST art he's looking for...
From Charles Vess:
From June until September of this year I'll be mounting an exhibition of my Stardust art at the the William King Regional Art Museum in their premium exhibition space.
A LOT of people will be seeing the exhibition and I want to put my best 'face' forward. So I'm looking for various pieces of Stardust original art that I've sold over the years and would like to borrow that art back for this show. The names of the donors will be included in various publications concerning the exhibit as well as being on the identifying labels themselves.
In particular I'm looking for these full page illustrations:
(All page numbers refer to the trade paperback edition)
1. (page 46) The couple on the hill (with the Village of Wall in the background) beside a tree looking up at the falling star.
2. (page 52) Tristran in his bowler hat entering the deep woods surrounded by various fairy types.
3.Cover art to mini #2 with all of the Lords of Stormhold floating in the air around the dark rocks of Stormhold.
4.(Pg #96 -97) The two pages of multiple panels with Tristran's first candle walk between worlds.
5.(Pg #104)Tristran and Yvaine walking in the wood. She has a crutch. 6.Tris and Yvaine riding the unicorn through woods with gnarly creatures in the fore ground.
7..(Pg #161) Small figures of Tris and Yvaine looking up as galleon passes through golden clouds above them.
8. ( Pg #188)Tris passed out on ground w/ Yvaine sitting beside him. A dark haired woman (his mother) stands above him. Red goblin creatures frolic in the fore ground tree limbs.
9.( Pg #193)Tris in a sitting room w/ Victoria Foster surrounded by nick nacks and green men. A cat sits on the rug beside him.
10.( Pg #205) Yvaine gives Tris the medallion. Dark haired Mom looks on. The air around them is filled with all manner of people and beasties.
11. ( Pg #209) Looking down at the fair w/ the Village of Wall off to the left. Very small figures of Tris and Yvaine walk off thru the field. In the far distance the mountains of Stromhold rise w/ Flying Galleon beside them.
12. (Pg #213) Last piece in the book. Colored pencil on black paper. Yvaine stands amidst dark stones and raises her arms towards her 'sisters' that dance through the night time sky above her.
The previous post drew a lot of responses -- most of them agreeing with me. A few articulately disagreeing, and I thought I'd post a couple of them....
If I may, a few comments about today’s posting about the appearance of the word “Scrotum” in the children’s book.
1. A few librarians in this NY Times article were quoted out of context from e-mails taken from LM_NET, a listserv for school librarians. In fact, LM_NET postings are subject to copyright and librarians were not contacted by the Times in response to their quotes. 2. All librarians are not tight-bunned, tight-assed “Shh-ing” maniacs. (I know, I am one—a librarian, that is, not tight-assed.) 3. Given the current climate of education in the US, you can’t blame a public (or private) school librarian for being incredibly sensitive to this issue. Unfortunately, we live in a period where it’s easier to throw away books and tell kids to “just google it” rather than keeping librarians on-staff. Each of us fights for our credibility and necessity every day. One conflict with a prominent community-member over (an admittedly) ridiculous matter such as this can end a career, as it’s easier to drop a staff member’s salary than fight a legal battle over censorship. While there are those of us who are willing to throw our chins out and fight, there are many battle-scarred vets of the library wars who have been cowed by the system and will quietly drop it rather than fight anymore. The public school librarian is fighting to keep of the endangered species list.
While I’ve been an ardent fan of yours, I could not let today’s journal slide without some commentary.
Harry F. Coffill Library Media Specialist East Grand Rapids Middle School
I'm afraid that just because something is "copyright" it doesn't mean it can't be quoted. It can. It's called Fair Use. And I don't see why the Times would have to contact the people about their quotes -- if it's written down, that's all you'd have to show the fact-checker, if there is such a thing... Once you've said it, it's out there. (This blog is copyright me. Doesn't mean it doesn't get quoted, or that I'm consulted about it when it is. Here's an example of one time it happened. If you're going to say something in a semi-public forum, you're quotable, or misquotable, and that's just how it is.)
Speaking as a librarian, I happily bask in your general approbation.
Speaking as a librarian, I detest the idea of censorship, and the thought of choosing not to purchase a Newberry-winning book simply because of a single word.
Speaking as a librarian, I must also point out that the issue is, unfortunately, perhaps a bit more complicated than that, and that referring to those librarians who choose not to buy the book as "rogues" who've gone over to the dark side is likely to be an unfair oversimplification, at least in some cases.
Are there prudish librarians who have knee-jerk reactions to "bad language" and "inappropriate content?" Of course. We're only human, and therefore only flawed.
However, in many cases...using, as an example, the librarian cited as saying that SADLY, they will not be purchasing the book...it is likely NOT the librarian's own personal choice or even preference to exclude this book from their collection, but is the decision of the library director, library board, or school itself, based upon community outcry and patron pressure. In many cases of books being challenged, the challenge never goes as far as a banning. However, there are still cases in which otherwise excellent books are banned due to some small piece of "questionable" content. Don't forget, one of the most challenged and banned authors of all time is Judy Blume, the author of well-beloved, classic, but very frank (and therefore "dangerous"), children's and young adult books.
Librarians, as much as anyone and everyone else in this country, are subject to mob rule at times, and are always always subject to the workings of bureaucracy and politics. It's sad, but it's true.
...which I understand, but both of which emails leave me thinking that surely saying "It won the Newbery Medal. We order the books that do that. It's been the most respected guide to quality children's literature since 1922," would fend off most threats to a school librarian's job... wouldn't it?
Ah well. My next children's book, the one I'm currently writing, is very unlikely to have any rude words in it at all, but people I've read the first few pages to tend to look at me with a concerned sort of look and say "Is this really a children's book? I mean it's scary and then that stuff..." and I say yes, and I'm sorry but that's how the book goes and there's nothing I can do about it. Of course there is -- I could cut it out and write a book that wasn't as good. And I can hope that anyone who gets past the first couple of pages will find it very hard to put down. I can hope. But I'd understand any school librarian who was worried.
And I also got this from the "Higher Power of Lucky" post, which made me smile...
Hey there, Neil. I illustrated "The Higher Power of Lucky" (although it didn't occur to me to provide a picture for the minor scrotum incident). Thanks for weighing in on the whole kerfuffle. Coincidentally, I read "Endless Nights" yesterday, absolutely loved it, and made some sketches this morning which I posted on my blog: http://planetham.blogspot.com/ I'm also a Writers House client, so maybe I'll see you at some swanky cocktail reception sometime (if they even have such things).All the best,matt phelan
Well worth checking out Matt's cool artblog, if just for the masonic raccoon... And alas, while I have been a client of Writer's House for almost 20 years, I've never been to a swanky cocktail reception there yet (although they once threw a lovely bash with nibbly bits at the Franfurt bookfair for all my foreign publishers).
I get a lot of appeals for good causes in and I long ago sighed and decided that I can't post all of them. But this one has camels in it...
Not a question, so much as a request. There is an amazing thing going on in Kenya involving librarians, generosity, and of course, camels. The link is http://camelbookdrive.wordpress.com/ if you could post it for the fabulous readers of this blog. If you have already mentioned it, I apologize. It's been awhile since I've visited, although now I seem to have spent about 3 hours reading past posts. Damn.
Beth (librarian in training, who, for the record, is perfectly happy about the word scrotum in any book)
consider it posted. And I'll see if I can't put together a bunch of books for the camel library...
And finally, another article from Nerve's comics issue. This one's about the Gordon Lee case and the CBLDF. I've written about it here before -- I've been writing about it for years. But if you've missed it, or you thought it was over... http://www.nerve.com/dispatches/clark/gordonlee/
I took Maddy and her friends to the Mall of America today -- they had unspecified preeteenage things to buy and I needed to visit the Apple store to get Final Cut Studio -- stopping only to pick up my friend Les Klinger from his hotel and drag him along. Not content with having annotated all the Sherlock Holmes stories, he's spent the last few years annotating Dracula, and told me all about it while we ate lunch. The two thirteen year olds and one almost thirteen year old went shopping happily, and returned with several bags, including a bag with the Victoria's Secret logo. ("You really don't have to look like that, dad. We only bought sweatpants there.")
Then I dropped Les off at his hotel and spent too short a time with several old friends, including the Sherlockian Michael Whelan, the Roden family and Michael "Langdale Pike" Dirda, the best-read man in America. Then went home. Installed Final Cut Studio...
Charles Vess talks about BLUEBERRY GIRL, our book for mothers and daughters, and he shows some pictures -- pencils and finished art -- over at http://greenmanpress.com/news/archives/185. It's a poem I wrote for Tori's daughter Tash, before she was born, and Charles is making it magical. The plan is to donate a percentage of the royalties to RAINN . We announced it a long time ago (in this post) but it's taken a while -- Charles has had so much on his plate, and the paintings have taken him so much longer to do than he expected. But they are astoundingly beautiful.
Talking about raising money for good causes, I got this astonishingly heartening email from Beth at Black Phoenix Alchemy lab...
I just wanted to drop you a line and let you know how the charity drive is doing. =) In the first five days that the Stardust and Good Omens scents were live, we generated $1500.00 for the Orangutan Foundation UK, and $5370.00 for the CBLDF. That brings us to a current total of $15,300.00 for the CBLDF to date!
incidentally, if you're planning on carrying something around on the offchance you find yourself bumping into me in a breakfast line or a lift, make it something light. I will feel guilty if anyone carries around an Absolute Sandman for the whole convention, just in case.
Hello Neil!I'm a huge fan and will be attending Comic-Con for the first time this year, and meeting you is what I'm looking forward to the most. With that being said, I was told from more experienced individuals that the best way to get something signed at the signing after the Friday session will be to skip the session altogether and just get in line for the signing. I really hope this isn't the case because I would love to do both. Any advice?
However, I've added in a bunch of signings during Comic-con, in order to try and make a few more people happy. I'll be signing on Thursday (probably), Friday and Saturday.
Here's the current version of the Comic-con schedule...
Wednesday 9.00 pm -- Roger Avary and I present the first batch of Beowulf to the world at the Horton plaza. If you miss it or can't get in, our presentation and the Q&A will be taped and reshown, along with the footage, at 5:00pm and 6:00 pm on Thursday. As per the previous post, and the link on the comic-con site, tickets to all these things from the Paramount booth... which won't be open on the Wednesday. Hmm. I'll investigate.
Thursday -- we're still finalising the signing for the day. I'll put it up here when I know. but it's most likely to be around mid-day and last about 30-40 minutes...
I'll be at the Paramount Pictures presentation in Hall H -- talking Stardust (and showing a scene or two) and then, with Roger, talking Beowulf.
Then I do lots and lots of interviews and things, and surface once more at the Stardust screening that night, 9.00 pm at Horton Plaza. I'll introduce the film, and then, around 11:00 pm, I do a Q&A. (Again, tickets from the Paramount Booth, or available from the CBLDF, if they have any left... the Stardust package has already sold out but it's possible that a few people who bought it may not be at Comic-con and will throw their tickets back in, so checking with the CBLDF table prove fruitful).
Friday -- currently 2-3:15 PM SPOTLIGHT ON NEIL GAIMAN. ROOM 6 CDEF
3:15-4:15 NEIL SIGNING: OFFICIAL COMICON AUTOGRAPH AREA ROOM 6
I'm not yet sure what I can announce. Suffice it to say that if you turned up at the midday Focus/Rogue panel you might see or learn something to your advantage.
2:30-3:30 PM I'll be doing a signing with Brian Froud at his booth # 4818, for a poster we did of my poem Instructions, which will benefit the CBLDF.
7:00 PM -- the mysterious event that you might have learned of at midday will occur, and will go on till about 8:30ish.
(I'd rather just give you details, but so far I've been specifically told not to. Which is, in my opinion, a bit silly, and as soon as I can tell you things, I shall.)
Then there's the CBLDF Benefit auction, which I plan to try and make it for the end of...
Sunday -- I get to do a proper panel!
10:30-11:45 Jack Kirby Tribute— Let’s face it: when it comes to comics, it’s Kirby’s World and we just live in it. 2007 has seen a bumper crop of Kirby projects, including the first volume of DC’s deluxe chronological reprinting of all the Fourth World stories, a major documentary about Jack on the Fantastic Four DVD, and Mark Evanier’s upcoming art book Kirby, King of Comics. Join Evanier as he talks to Neil Gaiman, Erik Larsen, Darwyn Cooke, Mike Royer, and members of the Kirby family about the lasting influence of the undisputed King of comics. Room 1AB
And I would do a signing on Sunday, but I have to flee to LA for Stardust that evening...
Long long very long day, during which I said thank you for the Spike TV Comic Icon Award (which will get in October), saw a man dressed as a banana, did a presentation in Hall H for Stardust then walked off the stage and walked back on and did Beowulf, ran a camera gauntlet for about an hour of interviewers and then did the same with press interviews, then was hauled down to the Hall for a G4 interview and over to the CBLDF booth for a signing and then had some down time but there was a problem with the room key so I sat on the carpet with Charles Brownstein and talked CBLDF stuff for 15 minutes waiting to get into the room and then to the STARDUST screening which we introduced and then Jane and I did a Q&A afterwards, and I got back to the hotel room around half past midnight...
And I thought, proudly, "I'm holding up so well."
And then I thought, "But it's only Thursday," and it all got a bit colder. Couldn't do it if Pam and Cat weren't moving me from place to place and crisis solving in the background. They're so good sometimes I never even find out there was a crisis until long after it's been dealt with.
An urgent message from Dave McKean, who is making a low-budget film called LUNA right now:
I urgently need 2 white paper origami crabs to appear in a scene in Luna, like this one: http://db.origami.com/displayphoto.asp?ModelID=2244 if anyone is willing to make them and send them to the UK straight away, I can pay a small fee to cover time (or a signed drawing or book?), give them a name check in the final credits, and give them a fedex account number for shipping.
Go to the FAQ page if you're an Origami whizz (and I know there are Origami whizzes out there, as I get given amazing things at signings) and drop me a line, and I'll put you straight in touch with Dave. Who will probably soon be drowning in Origami crabs.
Went in to Hair Police today and saw Wendy who turned the strange messy mop that my hair had turned into into a rather nice haircut. From there to Dreamhaven where I signed lots of stuff for Elizabeth and the www.neilgaiman.net site, including a half a ton of Absolute Sandman Volume 2s. As I drove home Roger Avary called to let me know that he's reopening his website after a couple of years without one -- http://www.avary.com/.
Then to Maddy's Parent Teacher conference. She's doing wonderfully at school, and got an impressive report card -- which, for the first time ever, she really had to work for, as she came to the UK for the Stardust premiere and having lost a week of schoolwork. (She's coming to LA with me for the Beowulf premiere, but is only missing one school day to do it.)
And then home. Opened the copy of Bust I'd picked up at DreamHaven (officially I get it for my assistant Lorraine, but I always read it first -- sort of like when I'd pick up a copy of Bunty for my sisters as a boy), and found myself staring at an unexpected advert for the Good Omens and Stardust scents from BPAL. Which reminded me that I had meant to congratulate the amazing Beth, who is the mind (and the nose) behind BPAL -- and a woman who has raised an enormous amount of money for the CBLDF this year -- on her wedding.
(And if you haven't looked at the CBLDF site recently -- http://www.cbldf.org/ -- Gordon Lee goes to trial on Monday. Finally. After three years, two completely different sets of "facts", and $80,000 in legal bills so far for something that should never have been a police matter in the first place... http://www.cbldf.org/articles/archives/000318.shtml for the story so far.)
Lots and lots and lots and lots of emails from people telling me that Marmite can be found all over America, normally beside the baking supplies (probably because of the word Yeast). I don't think I'm going to need Marmite again for another couple of years now, but than you all for the info.
(first time question!)
I've just heard from a friend who was quite annoyed. He met this famous UK author while the author was doing research on his latest book - and the author used my friend's anecdote as quite a major plot device in the book. However, my friend wasn't asked for permission or acknowledged in any way.
Has this ever happened to you (in the opposite direction of course)? I'd think there'd be lots of stories you've been told bubbling in your mind, and sometimes you wouldn't even realize that a story has been told to you by someone else. Would you contact someone if you were using a story of theirs?
I try reasonably hard to credit people who helped (see the very long list of names at the back of American Gods) but find it hard to find fault with the author in question. Authors are packrats. If you tell us an anecdote -- unless you preface it with "I am about to tell you an amusing and/or interesting anecdote. Should you at some future time use it in a book you will need to contact me to obtain my permission, or at least credit me by name. I shall now tell you the anecdote and then give you my contact details in a form in which you won't lose them," -- then it's fair game. I think our attitude -- I don't speak for all of us, but enough -- is that if your friend thought his anecdote would have made a good book, he should have written it himself.
I don't know the names of the people who took me down the sewers or into the disused tube tunnels when I was doing Neverwhere, but their anecdotes certainly made it into the book. I didn't give the name of the financially dodgy agent whose interesting approach to paying over royalties inspired the character and behaviour of Graham Coats in Anansi Boys either (probably a wise move, that). And, as you say, very often you know someone told you that Mad King Ludwig of Bavaria obtained a doctor's note to get out of being married, but who it was or when has melted down in the compost heap in the back of your mind to the brown sludge of memory. It's like remembering jokes, and who told them to you. The shape is now there in your mind, and you know the punch line is "Two coffees and a choc ice," but how it entered your head is a mystery.
(And it's worth pointing out your friend might be wrong. I get letters sometimes from people saying "You got this from me." And the people who send the letters believe it, but it's not the case. I find myself replying "Actually, I wrote this four years before you wrote your story," or "I understand you think I got this from something you said. Actually the entire story was in this newspaper on this date, and that was where I got it from.")
Having said all that, I'm also really sympathetic to your friend. Many years ago I was on a panel where I said "I'm going to write a book called X," and no-one laughed longer or louder than the bloke next to me on the panel who, eleven months later, brought out a book with the title I'd mentioned. I was in a conversation with another author who mentioned being stuck on a plot thing, and I said "Oh, that's an easy one," and made a suggestion, and suggested a title for the book for good measure, and he said "I owe you lunch for that one," but I scanned the acknowledgements in vain looking for a thank you when the book came out, and didn't get a lunch out of it either. And conversely I have fuzzy warm feelings for all those people who wrote books and actually did say thank you, and used their acknowledgments to acknowledge.
After a long day, i got "your" love letter that the new york times sent out. It was rather funny and made me laugh a lot.(was even funnier trying to explain to my roomate that it wasnt a real love letter)Did you have anything to do with the writting of those love letter? Or did the new york times write them without the help of the varies authors? Do you know if every one got the same letter? Just curious, thanks.
This just arrived in my in-box, and it seems a bit last minute, so I thought I'd repost it here for anyone in the LA area who was wondering what to do on the evening of Wednesday the 19th...
CBLDF Member Holiday Party This Wednesday This Wednesday, December 19, the CBLDF's Member Appreciation Holiday Party lands in Los Angeles at the venerable Golden Apple Comics on Melrose! A sleigh full of great creators will be on hand to celebrate Free Speech & spread comics cheer, including Percy "MF Grimm" Carey, Rob (Scud) Schrab, Bill (Simpsons) Morrison, Gerry (Infinite Horizon) Duggan, Marc (Manhunter) Andreyko, Christos (What If: Civil War) Gage, Larry (Beanworld) Marder, Rantz (Displaced Persons) Hoseley, and more! Come by for signatures, sketches & surprises! The first 50 current or new CBLDF members signing up at the event will receive a gift bag packed with great items, including preview editions of Frank Cho's Jungle Girl, Alex Ross' Superpowers, Gerry Duggan's Infinite Horizon, and Rantz Hoseley's Displaced Persons, plus a variant cover of Sinbad: Rogue of Mars #1, a DJ Spooky Sampler CD, a Will Eisner graphic novel, and additional signed CBLDF prints!To make the night even more special, Golden Apple will be providing holiday cocktails & snacks, a CBLDF benefit auction, and 10% off all purchases made by CBLDF members, and a matching 10% donation to the Fund! Golden Apple has also prepared an exclusive MF Grimm print, limited to just 25 pieces for CBLDF members coming to the event! The party starts at 6:00 PM and runs until 9:00 at Golden Apple Comics, 7018 Melrose Ave. at LaBrea. For more information, visit http://www.goldenapplecomics.com!/
Well, I'm now into the second week of off-tea and eating-lots-of-fruit-and-veg-when-I-get-hungry. Drinking lots of water, and juicing things, and occasional herb teas. Weight is starting to drop. Concentration, which went completely out the window when I stopped drinking tea, is returning, and sleep patterns are changing.
The weather was wonderful two days ago, then it rained yesterday, and today I woke up and watched big white flakes of snow drifting past my window and thought, Oh bugger, and decided to stay in bed for days or weeks until the weather became more sensible, a thought that lasted until the dog needed to go out, two or even three minutes later.
Starting to plan out the coming year. I wrote a proposal for a personal, non-fiction book about travel and myth, and my publisher wants to do it, so now I'm figuring out all the whens and the hows, especially of the travel bits. And I'm deciding whether I'll blog from the road or stop while I'm travelling, leave the computer at home, and put the effort into writing in notebooks, or what.
It's ten days until the CBLDF reading and Q&A that I'm doing in New York at the comic-con. This just turned up in my email from http://www.cbldf.org/ and I thought I'd post it here as a reminder to anyone in the New York area...
April 18: Experience the magic of Neil Gaiman at an exclusive reading to benefit the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund.
Neil Gaiman, the renowned author of science fiction and fantasy short stories and novels, graphic novels, comics, and films will be presenting a live reading benefiting the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund at the New York Comic-Con. The appearance, a paid ticketed reading event, will be called an "An Evening With Neil Gaiman" with 100% of the proceeds going to benefit the First Amendment legal work of the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund.
General admission tickets to the reading are available for $20, while supplies last. Tickets for the VIP reception are strictly limited to 100 pieces, and will include access to meet Mr. Gaiman and receive two signatures, plus a gift bag of exclusive Neil Gaiman oriented items from CBLDF, and preferred seating at the reading. VIP reception tickets are available for $500.
In addition to which, Jeff Smith is also doing an event for the CBLDF. With an open bar...
Toast the arrival of Jeff Smith's new comic book epic RASL! Come meet Jeff Smith in person at his only New York City appearance of the season, enjoy an open bar, and get a takeaway bag of tons of exclusive RASL goodies. Only 100 general admission tickets and 26 VIP tickets are available so get your ticket now! Tickets are available now! Get the Full Details here!
Why can't we give you fanart at the signings in Australia?
(Boggles for a moment.) Of course you can give me art. Or anything you like, short of body parts. If it's too much for me to carry, I'll smile sweetly at the people hosting the events and get them to post it back to me. (So a month after I get home I get a box filled with cool things I'd forgotten.) recently, on my latest hunt for more books, i bought myself a nice fat copy of fantasy short storys by Rudyard Kipling. That night i made my mug of cocoa and got comfy to read a couple, when turning the first few pages i happened upon a quick little 'hello and welcome to the book' by a certain mr N Gaiman. ok, so not really strange. Writers write intoroductions, nothing odd about that. but this is by no means an isolated incedent! it seems like ever since i started to read your books(become aware of you etc), you've been popping up in introductions everywhere. it appears to me that you do a fare share of them.
is doing an introduction something you enjoy and so you take most of the chances given to you? (you like sticking your 'neil was ere' mark on books)
or as an artist who works and has worked over several different medias do you simply get alot of offers?
what do you enjoy most about writing one?
ps. sorry if this question is slightly untimely now that you are unofficialy/officialy banned from taking any on!
Writing an introduction is really fun and pleasurable -- it's like introducing a really good friend at a party to a lot of people who don't know him or her, but you know they'd be friends if they met. You want to go "This is Mr Poe. He's written some wonderful poems and stories -- they're especially good if you read them aloud," or "This is Doctor Who. He built my internal landscape." Or "This is The Thirteen Clocks. If you feel sad you should read this book and it will probably make you feel better."
I get asked to write a lot more introductions than I say yes to, and they take up much more time than I imagine they will when I say yes, but there are very few that I regret having done. Really, I ought to try and make a place on this website that collects them. (Those not collected in Adventures In The Dream Trade, anyway.)
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And I want to say thank you to Gordon Lee for bearing up so well and hanging in there. It's hard for the people who think that the authorities are out to get them. It must be much harder when the authorities really are out to get you.
As I said when I made the announcement, the CBLDF has spent over $100,000 to make sure that this attempted miscarriage of justice didn't happen, all of that money raised a dollar at a time from fans and readers and professionals. So two nights ago we had an event for publishers, the kind who publish books (and who are now publishing graphic novels), in order to spread the idea that a) they needed to know what the CBLDF is -- they may need us, and b) we'd like them to take out corporate memberships.
The CBLDF reading tonight was fun, and Bill Hader is hilarious. (His impression of me listening to Al Pacino pitching his interpretation of the Sandman movie would have been worth the price of admission, if I'd paid to get in, which I hadn't.) ...
Last week, Sharon and Bill Stiteler came out and we took advantage of a warm Sunday to go and say hello to the bees, and do the spring inspection (and spring cleaning)of the hive. (We'll be putting in some new hives over the next few weeks.) Sharon blogged about the bee inspection over at
Let's see -- spoke at Maddy's school yesterday, to about a hundred 13 and 14 year olds. Survived. The pear tree and the cherry trees are coming into blossom too. Tomorrow, without the glorious leadership of Bee Boss Sharon Stiteler, I get to inspect the Kitty hive and go and see how the queen is doing...
I'm currently spending most of the time in the gazebo at the bottom of the garden, alternately writing a sort of outline for something and proofreading The Graveyard Book. This is the US edition of The Graveyard Book, and now I'm taking all the corrections and fixes I did to the UK manuscript when I was in Australia and transferring 90% of them over to the US version (only 90% because I'm letting a few Americanisms that my UK editor had problems with stand -- particularly the ones my otherwise wonderful UK copy editor and I butted heads over. )(There's me at two in the morning on Skype muttering, "Look freak out can't just be a newfangled Americanism -- it's in Fanny Hill, for heaven's sake...") [For the curious, http://fiction.eserver.org/novels/fanny_hill/09.html five lines from the bottom.]
If you're on the upper East Coast and sad that you won't get to see me at MIT as all the tickets have sold out, you could -- and should -- down your sorrows in Cory Doctorow. As you will learn over at http://www.cbldf.org/pr/archives/000357.shtml you can learn all about it....
What: Cory Doctorow Benefit Reading For CBLDF
When: Sunday, May 25 at 5 PM; VIP After Party at 7 PM
Where: Comix, 353 West 14th Street, New York, NY 10014
How Much: General Admission: $20/advance $25/day of show; VIP Admission: $100/advance only, includes preferred seating, copy of the book, & After Party with open beer/wine/soda bar
I know that David Tennant's Hamlet isn't till next year. And lots of people are going to be doing Dr Who in Hamlet jokes, so this is just me getting it out of the way early, to avoid the rush...
"To be, or not to be, that is the question. Weeelll.... More of A question really. Not THE question. Because, well, I mean, there are billions and billions of questions out there, and well, when I say billions, I mean, when you add in the answers, not just the questions, weeelll, you're looking at numbers that are positively astronomical and... for that matter the other question is what you lot are doing on this planet in the first place, and er, here, did anyone try just pushing this little red button?"
There. Thanks. Sorry about that.
This came in from Laurel Krahn -- I've already mentioned Fourth Street Fantasy on this blog, one of my very very first American conventions, the one at which I first discovered the joy of talking to Patrick and Teresa Nielsen Hayden (amongst others) and failing to argue with Steve Brust:
Any chance you could mention the return of Fourth Street Fantasy Convention in your journal/blog thing? We've extended the pre-registration date from May 15th to May 31st to give us all more time to plug the convention, it also gives those who haven’t registered yet a bit more time to gather the funds together to do so.
June 20 - 22, 2008 in Minneapolis, Minnesota with Guest of Honor Elizabeth Bear.
My friend Lillian Edwards pointed me at the TechnoLlama blog, where over This, this and finally this post the entire matter of Dr Who knitting patterns is discussed to within an inch of its life.
I crochet, and I'm a Doctor Who fan, so I've been following the thing with the knitted pattern a little. I've always had a set of Lil' Endless on my mental list of things to eventually crochet, but now that you've mentioned that DC is a bit strict about things I think I might just keep them to myself instead of writing up a (free, not to be sold) pattern. What would your feelings be about crochet/knitting patterns of your characters? It's not just The Endless I have in mind, I've done a seven legged spider before, and there are several other characters or concepts that I think would make neat projects.
As long as things aren't being sold in quantity, DC Comics is incredibly unlikely to grumble about it.
I don't mind at all, as long as it's not commercial. I don't mind anything that's creative, and I especially don't mind if people ask nicely first.
(I mind, very much, things like people selling on ebay CDs with PDFs of the complete Sandman books on them.)
(Nobody is going to complain if a fan turns a Barbie into a Death -- although I heard that DC said no to one of those appearing in a book of photos of interesting Barbie dolls. Nobody is going to grumble if a fan puts up a "how to make Barbie into Death" guide online. If someone put up a how to guide, and then one day hundreds of Death Barbies turned up on eBay, I can see Warners lawyers trying to close it down...)
Had a conversation with Paul Levitz the other day about Gaiman's Law of Superhero Movies, which is: the closer the film is to the look and feel of what people like about the comic, the more successful it is (which is something that Warners tends singularly to miss, and Marvel tends singularly to get right) and the conversation went over to Watchmen, which had Paul explaining to me that the film is obsessive about how close it is to the comic, and me going "But they've changed the costumes. What about Nite Owl?" It'll be interesting to see whether it works or not...
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I'm at Clarion. Which is in San Diego, about ten miles from where Comic-con will be. I don't have any plans to be at Comic-con, my plate is pretty full here. I also won't be blogging -- I want to give teaching my full attention. I haven't done this before.
But Charles Brownstein from the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund asked me to get the word out on a couple of things:
1) Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab have done a limited edition of their amazing "Snow, Glass, Apples" scent. It smells like green apples and like sex and vampires, all at the same time. It's coming out with a limited edition illustrated chapbook of the story, with art by Julie Dillon. There are going to be a few signed ones, and some unsigned. The donation for the unsigned ones will be $50. As they say:
(I just want to say that Beth at Black Phoenix has proved herself an amazingly staunch supporter of the CBLDF, and has been a complete joy to deal with in all this.)
2) You remember I signed a hundred tee shirts for the fund? (I signed them in thick fabric paint.) They will have some of them for sale at San Diego. Probably $50 each, with a few of the rarer tee shirts going for more.
3) and then there's the auction on Saturday night. As Charles said in his letter,
In our Saturday night auction, we have a number of tremendous items. The coolest is Ryan Graff's Endless Reflections, offered here to commemorate Sandman's 20th. Serious bidders should come by the CBLDF booth (1831) to learn more about this book, which is probably the rarest of all Sandman items. We also have some other cool items including:
1) Dave Sim, Neil Gaiman, "Lithograph 1: Neil Gaiman," signed by Sim, collage retouch by Gaiman (prints/original art) 2) Neil Gaiman, The Dangerous Alphabet #260/400 (prints) 3) Neil Gaiman, Murder Mysteries HC, #122/250 (book arts) 4) Neil Gaiman, The Sky At Night broadsheet #1/5 (prints) 5) Neil Gaiman, Stardust Movie Premiere ticket, signed (ephemera) 6) Cerebus #147, featuring Neil Gaiman's 24 Hour Comic, signed with sketch by Sim (comics) The full list is terrific, and has some other great pieces, including work by Jack Kirby, Jeff Smith, Matt Wagner, and many more. Full list is here: http://www.cbldf.org/pr/archives/000365.shtml
The auction is Saturday at 7:00 in Room 2 of the convention center
The Lithograph #1, is the third of these, and the second to go on sale. (The second one we did was lost by the post office between my house and the CBLDF, and despite being insured for $1000, the Post Office declined to pay. Sigh.
Anyway, I took Dave's original multiple portrait of me, and then painted it, attacked it with a knife, and collaged strange machines onto it. It's one of a kind...
I greatly enjoyed the story and photos of all the signed black t-shirts, and of your first black t-shirt. But something's been bothering me ever since, and I only just managed to put it into words.
My brain can't quite cope with the thought of you having a *first* black t-shirt, in much the same it struggles to cope with the Big Bang. What came before? Mili
Grey. But it didn't work, because, I discovered, there are brown greys and blue greys and greenish greys and they don't really match, and if you want to dress in grey you have to work at it. Black is so much easier...
Who do I have to approach to get you for a UK bookshop event? How small a shop are you willing to do?
You talk to the publisher. In the case of The Graveyard Book, you'd talk to Bloomsbury. And I go where I'm sent, but try and do shops that are big enough that the people who've come for a reading or a signing fit inside the shop and don't have to stand outside in the rain.
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So I got home yesterday at sunrise. Slept all day. Was up all night but not good for much. (This is what sunrise looks like when you get close to my house.)
Today I slept until early afternoon. Then got up and walked the dog. I got very used to using the camera as a diary while I was in China (as a back up for a notebook, and sometimes a substitute), so took the camera along on the walk.
G. K Chesterton observed that one of the best things about being away is that you get to see what you come back to with different eyes.
Found myself amazed by the size of my house, for example. There are a lot of people in China, and they live, on the whole, in much smaller places than mine. (Actually, that's probably true of most of the world: it takes a certain idiocy to want to live in an Addams Family House in the first place). But having, over the last month, met a number of families in which several generations lived in one room, it seems really strange to have so much space.
I saw many vegetables growing, pumpkins even, while I was in China, where I also learned that pumpkin vine tips make a great stir-fry-vegetable (if you peel off the fuzzy stuff first). And was happy to see that I had a few pumpkins in my garden. Not many, but enough.
Was pleased to observe, on my walk, that the falling-down barn has not yet fallen down.
Astonished and delighted to see blackberries. I planted the one blackberry bush about five years ago, and people would always decide it was a weed and mow it or cut it. Finally, earlier this year, we put big metal rods up to persuade people not to mow over it, and now I'm home and, gosh, blackberries. Not as nice as the ones in my grandma's back garden, when I was a boy, mind.
Also a grape-trellis covered with grapes. Really yummy ones.
Lorraine tells me that Cabal was depressed while I was away, and he went off his food and moped. He's been extremely happy since I've been back. I have not the heart to tell him I'm going off on tour soon. (Maddy knows, but she assures me that as manager of the volleyball team she will probably not have time to really miss me. She is probably just telling me this to make me feel better.) (I just read that to her and she says, "Say 'PS Maddy will totally miss me', so they don't get any wrong ideas.")
A tree in front of my writing gazebo has been cut down, I notice. It was a sapling when the gazebo was built, but had grown and was cutting off the light.
Brightly coloured fungus on the side of trees. Tomorrow, when I walk, I may look for giant puffballs in the woods, but without enthusiasm, as they are my least favourite of the edible mushrooms. (Which reminds me -- when I was in China I was fed something called both Bamboo Pith and Bamboo Fungus, also known, less appetisingly, as the Stinkhorn. I googled and wound up learning all about the unexpected but, for ladies at least, gratifying qualities of the fresh stinkhorn. Dried and reconstituted with bamboo shoots, it would not have the same effect.)
And also, while I was gone, the remarkable Hans put in an electric fence. There have been more and more sightings of bears in this region, and we've been assured that an electric fence will keep bears out of the beehives, as long as the bears don't get to them in the first place. (Which is to say, if you have a beehive and a bear gets into it and then you put up an electric fence, the bear will cheerfully go through the fence to get to the honey.)
And because, not unreasonably, the last time I posted dog photos, many people asked for pictures of cats, and because I don't think Coconut (who was, long ago, Maddy's kitten) has ever been photographed in this blog, here are Princess (sitting) and Coconut, in the front hall, where the dog is not allowed to go.
I went to the Humane Society today and picked up their list of Things They Need, and gave it to Lorraine. She went out and bought bleach and cat food and peanut butter and so on, then went up to the Humane Society to drop the stuff off.
She returned much later carrying a cardboard box containing a calico kitten with whom she had fallen in love, and was last seen taking the kitten home to introduce to her Bengals. This is Princess glaring at the calico kitten...
And this is Lorraine's kitten, puffed up and halloweeny in order to persuade everyone that she is in fact a very big cat indeed.
In regard to the above, did they ask you to do it, and would you have accepted if they had?
Nobody asked me to do it, but then, when Douglas asked me if I'd like to adapt Life, The Universe and Everything for radio I said no, and that was with Douglas alive and asking. (Dirk Maggs did it, and did an excellent job.) It seemed a thankless task.
I like Eoin very much, and wish him well with the book. He'll probably write a sixth Hitchhiker's book with more enthusiasm, and certainly faster, than Douglas would have done. But it won't be a Douglas Adams Hitchhiker's book.
For the record, if I don't get around to writing a sequel to something while I'm alive, I'd very much rather that nobody else does it once I'm dead. It should exist in your head or in Lucien's library, or in fanfic. But that's me, and not every author feels the same way.
This is almost a dangerous question to ask you, because it is about something John Byrne has said. But as a large proponent of libraries, I was curious as to your thoughts on something he recently stated regarding trade paperbacks in libraries:
"Ever since I started writing for a living, I have found myself viewing libraries somewhat differently than once I did. I think we are all in agreement that libraries are A Good Thing -- but are they A Good Thing right across the board? When we have niche products like comics, is it really a good idea for them to be available in libraries?"
I don't think it's a dangerous question, and it has a remarkably easy and straighforward answer, which is, Yes, it's a very good idea for them to be in libraries.
First off, I hope this email finds you well.
I've planned to attend the Library of Congress book festival and just wanted to know if there are any general rules of etiquette for your signings.
Is there a book limit for signing?
Can a say a few words about how much I enjoy your work in person? I promise it won't last longer than 15 nervous seconds.
Most importantly, how early should I arrive before the likely rush of other frothing fans?
These questions constantly roll in my mind. I'd hate to add extra weariness to a likely hot, humid, noisy,(yet still awesome) festival.
Thanks for coming to the southeast!
The book limit will depend on how many people there are, and how many people I can get through in the time I've got. It'll be announced at the signing, but it won't be more than three books, and it may well be only one.
And of course you can talk to me. Most people seem to use the signing line as an opportunity to say thank you, and most authors are pleased to hear that they've made a difference, or just to be thanked. We like it if you say hello, honest.
How early you should get there? I don't know. Each time I've signed at the LoC Book Festival it's been different. According to the website this time it's:
Teens & Children Pavilion
11:45-12:15 pm (This is a short reading from The Graveyard Book, and a Q&A).
1-3 pm (and it'll probably go longer if they don't need the space, but may be cut off if they don't have anywhere to move it to, or have something else planned for me at 3.00pm).
We may wind up with people who would like to be at the reading/Q&A who skip it in order to be early in the signing line. But that's if they've actually told people where to line up for the signing, which they may or may not do.
Last time people were in the signing line before dawn. I don't think that would work this time, as I'm not doing a morning signing.
Hey Neil, I would love to know what time the Columbia University reading is taking place on September 30th. I am very excited t go but don't know what time to arrive. Thanks.
I see in "Where's Neil" that you'll be doing a signing in New York City and Philadelphia. With New Jersey right in between, why not a stop here?
Because the people who aren't on the East Coast, some of whom are travelling hundreds of miles to get to the readings, would rise up as one person in their anger at the unfairness of it all, and destroy New Jersey in their rage. Which would be sad, because there are lots of bits of New Jersey that are actually quite nice.
When Sarah Palin was mayor of Wasilla, Alaska, she (allegedly) attempted to get books she didn't approve of out of the public library. This is scary. Are free speech organizations like the CBLDF and the First Amendment Project going to take this issue on?
What you fight is specifics: bad laws, bad arrests and the like. People trying to ban books and comics and people trying to stop other people selling or publishing or creating comics and books and suchlike.
You don't fight "alleged attempts to get books out of a public library" ten years ago. To "take this issue on" I suspect would consist, Father Ted-like, of people walking around Sarah Palin with placards saying "Down with This sort of Thing" and "Careful Now", which would probably not result in increased freedom of speech.
Hi Neil! This Andrew Drilon (I was the creator "Lines and Spaces", the Alex Niño tribute comic which won the Philippine Graphic/Fiction Award last year). I've been making lots of short comics since then, under the banner title Kare-Kare Komiks, and they've gotten nice comments from people like Emma Bull and Warren Ellis, so I thought you might be interested:
Anyway, I'll be posting "Lines and Spaces" there tomorrow, for those who are planning to enter the contest this year (the deadline's at the end of the month), and I'm hoping you can help spread the word.
Let's see. I gave the talk in Las Vegas (enormously fun, especially the Q&A bit. Incidentally, for anyone who was there, I checked and the news story I mentioned occurred neither in Pittburgh nor Detroit, but in Philadelphia). Then from there I found myself whisked to a room at the top of a Casino, sitting at another table and signing more books for the people who had funded and helped the Book Festival, and for those who had sprung for an expensive ticket. It was a lot like a normal signing only nobody could hear anything over the music, so if I signed your book to Brian and it should have been to Ryan... er, sorry.
Then I spent most of the day on a plane. (I was meant to be working. Instead, in what is becoming a familiar refrain on this blog, I slept.) Last night I saw Thea Gilmore and Nigel Stonier supporting Joe Jackson (they were wonderful), and met their son Egan again: he's now bigger and blonder.
Now typing in Logan airport -- I've flown up for a family event. Hoping that everything goes according to schedule and I can make it (my cousin Scott's bar mitzvah) and get back to New York in time for the event tonight. I bet I can. It just adds a little excitement to the day.
Charlie Fletcher did the kind of interview in Scotland last week that left me worried that he wouldn't have any interview material as we'd spent the whole time chatting happily. I shouldn't have worried -- his interview is up at http://living.scotsman.com/features/Neil-Gaiman-interview-One-foot.4674238.jp, although I think he would like you to know that he didn't write the headline.
The Dangerous Alphabetconfuses the New York Times reviewer (well, she describes it as "funny, frightening and confusing all at once"). "The humor seems better aimed at older kids than the publisher’s recommended “5 and up.” Call me a goody-two-shoes, but I won’t be reading the words “Q is for Quiet (bar one muffled scream)” to my kindergartner anytime soon," she says. Still, it seems like the kind of mixed review that would let people who would like the book know it was out there...
Here's a complete version of the Manchester Creepy Doll (although I am a bit invisible, for reasons that will become obvious):