Hah. I fixed the FAQ thing. Do not ask how. But I am VERY pleased with myself.
posted by Neil Gaiman 9:11 AM
Wednesday, September 26, 2001
I ought to post something tonight, but jetlag has caught up with me, like an elephant sitting down on a grapefruit. With me being the grapefruit, I suppose, because I don't feel very elephantine. Wrote stuff today, did phone calls, and picked and ate Haralson apples from a tree in the garden I planted a few years ago. Also got the the latest pages of the story from Gene Wolfe that we're writing together (basically we're doing about a thousand words each, back and forth) and I read it chuckling and delighted. It will be published for the World Horror Convention next year. It's a guide book, of a kind.
posted by Neil Gaiman 9:19 PM
Tuesday, September 25, 2001
This isn't a real post. You may think it is. But you're wrong. This is a test post for the various exciting things we are trying to do like make this more legible and eventually make the FAQ thing work.
posted by Neil Gaiman 8:36 PM
And the info on the MIT event is at
(Thanks to Bill Gauthier for the link)
posted by Neil Gaiman 1:52 PM
I’ll be doing an on-line chat tonight, Tuesday the 25th, at Scifi.com at 9.00pm US Eastern Time. So if there are questions I’ve not yet answered, you could certainly try asking them there.
Last night was first frost, and a pretty serious frost it was. Now I have to start harvesting the pumpkins (if I hadn’t been travelling back from Italy I might have covered the the plants in black plastic, and staved off the inevitable for a little).
Lots of questions waiting -- a few people want to know whether American Gods was inspired by Diana Wynne Jones’s novel “8 Days of Luke”. Not exactly, although they bear an odd relationship, like second cousins once removed or something. About six or seven years ago, I had an idea for a structure for a story, all about the gods and the days of the week. I chewed it and played with it and was terribly happy with it.. And then the penny dropped, and I realised, gloomily, that I’d managed, working back from first principles, to come up with a wonderful structure for a story -- but one that Diana had already used, in her brilliant “8 Days of Luke.” So I put it down as one of those places where our heads went to the same sort of place (it happened with the nursery rhyme How Many Miles To Babylon, and in several other times and places) and, with regret, I abandoned it. Or almost. I kept Mr Wednesday, and the day of his meeting, in the back of my head, and when I came to put American Gods together, he was there, ready and waiting.
The first review of CORALINE came in today, from The Bookseller (which is the UK Publisher’s Weekly). It finishes, “With absurd humour reminiscent of Lewis Carroll, and a sense of comic spookiness to rival Edward Gorey, this is a delicious literary treat with strong appeal for both boys and girls across a broad age range.” Which is very nice indeed.
I’ll try and get an updated list of appearances up ASAP, but in brief, to the end of the year, it’s
BOSTON (MIT) With Harlan Ellison, Peter David, Oct 6th
MAD MEDIA Convention in Madison, Wi, Harlan Ellison et al, Oct 26-28th
CHICAGO HUMANITIES FESTIVAL Nov 9-11 - check their website for details. I get to give a talk, interview Will Eisner, and be on a round table panel chaired by Michael Chabon. Buy your tickets early -- BUT if they're sold out and you're there, it's worth coming anyway and getting a ticket at the door: the festival sets aside tickets for students, who then too often don't use them. (My talk last year was sold out, but the room was only 3/4 full.)
EXOTICON New Orleans where I am going chiefly to confer, consort and otehrwise hobnob with the other G of H, Steve Brust, who I never see now he's moved to Las Vegas. Nov 16-19.
posted by Neil Gaiman 11:21 AM
Monday, September 24, 2001
oops. Forgot to mention that Harlan Ellison, Peter David and yours truly (me, Neil Gaiman, that is, please try to keep up) will be talking at MIT in Boston on October 6th.
Details are not really to be found at http://lsc.mit.edu/current_term/lectures.html which was all a hasty google search gave me.
I'll try and get more info up in the next day or so.
posted by Neil Gaiman 9:41 PM
Home safe, thank you. Tired, but home. More tomorrow.
posted by Neil Gaiman 9:28 PM
Sunday, September 23, 2001
Now In Trieste. Also In Italy But Only Just. "Trieste," says Lorenzo, who got me here for the festival, "is where dreams come to die." I"m not sure if he's quoting someone or not, but it seems about right for this strange crossroads town, once the southernmost bit of the Austrian Empire. We saw the home of Maximilian, briefly Emperor of Mexico, this morning. Seeing the journal's been off-line I've been filling up a moleskine notebook with jottings, and I may put a few of them onto the computer tomorrow. Trieste seems like the interesection of so many places, so many stories...
It rained all day today -- grey, and misty. Yesterday, also in the rain, we walked across the Square of Unity, and found ourselves watching jugglers and suchlike, in unconvincing costumes, and a parade of re-enactors from nearby towns, wearing things people didn't wear, carrying weapons they didn't have. It's all going renfest, I think. The whole bloody world. Not that I minded; there's nothing to cheer you up like other people wearing wet chainmail.
En route today to the home of Maximilian, the rain forced us into a dry space which happened to be holding an exhibition of Robert Capa photographs: astonishing stuff, of the Spanish Civil War, of the Second World War, of the Japanese-Chinese War of 1938, and I found myself looking at the photos of combat, of wounded civilians, of people whose worlds had crumbled and fallen, without any sense of irony. These people were us. Whatever side they were on. They were us, and the images had a truth and an immediacy I couldn't have imagined until recently.
Spent several hours this evening doing a round table discussion at the Festival, talking about comics, myths, magic, language.
The Moleskine notebook (I bought it in Venice) is one of my favourite possessions already (although they sell it now as "Bruce Chatwin's Notebook!" which seems, I dunno, in faintly bad taste, although I'd be hard put to tell you exactly why I think so.) Just the right size. Just the right weight. an elastic band to hold it closed, a pocket to put invoices and so on. You can see a bit about it at http://www.modoemodo.com/carta.htm -- now I have to find somewhere to buy them in the US.
Home tomorrow... It seems odd to be going home the day that Jet Lag catches up with me.
posted by Neil Gaiman 3:00 PM
Friday, September 21, 2001
In Venice. The One in Italy. Honest.A man tried to sell me a paper Mickey Mouse that danced on the air today. He said, showing me a paper-doll, that it worked by magnets and was activated by music. I said I thought it worked by hanging the mouse on a piece of monofilament that went from his bag, with a little motor in it that jiggled the string, to the boombox. He showed me that he had a knife, so I went away, feeling I had won the argument but lost the war. Nobody likes a smartass.
So, now it's god-knows-when in the morning and I can't sleep. I'm a poor sort of insomniac, usually, sleeping easily and deeply, but I don't think my body believes it's really the middle of the night.I think it believes it's early evening back in Middle America and I'm trying to pull a fast one.
All authors should find themselves with nothing to do for a whole day in Venice, now and again. It's good for the imagination and the head.
This is what I did in reality: I went shopping for presents for other people. Also I ate lunch and dinner. Being a rotten shopper, I came away from a day's shopping with several notebooks of different designs, and a book on literary Venice. None of these are the kinds of things you can give other people. (I'll buy them presents in Trieste. They'll never know the difference.) Also two ancient postcards.
This is what i did on the inside: I made stuff up. I sketched out some stories, and began writing one of them. I wrote a poem for a benefit book.
Over dinner, the couple at the next table (he was Italian, she was English)spoke in Italian, but moved into English when they didn't want to be overheard; bad sex-comedy dialogue. I wrote the worst lines down in my new notebook, feeling deliciously guilty.
i suspect that Venice is full of ghosts. Not of Venetians, but of all the visitors who came, and fell in love with the place, and promised themselves they'd be back, dead or alive.
For any of you who are still reeling from the NIMDA virus (or who think you might be) check out http://email@example.com. And my apologies if you got it from neilgaiman.com (if it's any consolation, so did I).
And those of you who logged on to the journal and were met with the entry from June the 18th, about me signing at the Borders on the World Trade Centre tomorrow, apologies again. Nobody seems to know how it happened or why. Probably the virus, unless it was something else.
posted by Neil Gaiman 7:18 PM
Tuesday, September 18, 2001
this is the user patch
posted by Neil Gaiman 5:27 PM
So, this is the website with the information on the worm --
which contains the relevant patch and the information about what's going on. And if you're running windows and Internet Explorer you should definitely download the patch in question.
posted by Neil Gaiman 5:10 PM
Yup. Something's wrong, and we don't know what it is. Close the window that opens. Do not try to run the exe file.
My immediate paranoid reaction was to assume that it was a gift from the Falwell-influenced "American Gods made the Bad Thing Happen" person or people, but it looks like it's on every Authors On The Web site.
Subject: Important from AuthorsOnTheWeb.com
Important note: Please do not try to access any Authors On The Web websites
at this time. A file is coming up that is alien to these websites. We have a
technical crew looking into this, but it will take time to ascertain the
problem and get it corrected. To complicate things, our websites are hosted
at Globix, which is south of Canal Street and thus running at less than 100%
operation due to last week's disaster.
As we are not sure what the issue is at this time, it would be best if you
were not accessing these websites until we have a handle on what is going
on. We are going to try to take the server offline.
posted by Neil Gaiman 11:38 AM
And an e-mail comes in on FAQ with a heartfelt request:
Will you try to use your status as a celebrity to protect against the violence done to Muslim Americans? I'm sure and other famous people speaking out against these acts would be great...
Well, sure, for whatever good it will do. The people who would do violence to Muslims, or to Americans of Arab descent, are probably not reading this blogger. (And considering the first death in 'retaliation' of an American was some people in Arizona shooting a Sikh (from the Punjab, and, as a Sikh, obviously not a follower of Islam), I don't even think that, for example, explaining that the Taliban no more represents Islam than Torquemada and his thugs represented Christianity or the Nazi Party represented neo-paganism would do much good. The Arizonans who killed the Sikh spotted the guy with the beard in the turban and figured that the gentleman had committed the crime of being brown-skinned and foreign, and that was enough for them.)
(And me, I wish people would reread Sandman # 50, RAMADAN, and the ifrit chapter in American Gods.)
posted by Neil Gaiman 12:33 AM
Monday, September 17, 2001
Y'know, I've not said how pleased I was to learn from Publisher's Weekly (via Lucy Anne) that Darryll and the rest of the staff of the Borders books in the World Trade Centre were okay. (I started the American Gods signing tour there, on June 19th, and they took great care of me.)
posted by Neil Gaiman 11:30 PM
I'm leaving this coming Wednesday.
Pretty much everyone I talk to seems to think this is a very bad idea, and I think I've rather managed to upset several people I care about by deciding to go.
I'm going because I got up this morning, fully prepared to cancel -- I'd already cancelled the flight to the UK last Saturday, to go to Douglas Adams's memorial today -- and then I thought, "You know, if I don't go, if I just sit here for the next week, I'll feel like those twerps have won. And to the extent that people stop travelling and stop doing things, to the extent that we withdraw from the world, then that's the extent that whoever did these appalling things wins and the rest of us lose."
Which may not be particularly profound, but I phoned the travel agent and established that, yes, I could fly out on Wednesday, and I established that, yes, the festival did still want me. And so I'm going.
I'm not sure that it's particularly brave of me -- in all honesty I doubt that I'm likely to incur much personal risk (it's probably safer to fly right now, when security is at its tightest, than it will be in a couple of years, when everyone's relaxed). I don't think that Trieste or Venice (where I fly into) are likely to be major terrorist targets. If things internationally go severely wobbly while I'm away, I might be stuck on the other side of the Atlantic for a while. I don't actually expect it will come to that. If it does, I'll go to England and hole up in Dave Mckean's spare room, or see if I can ride home on the QE2 or something like that. (I could hitch a ride on a tramp steamer, like people do in books, if I knew how to recognise a tramp steamer.)
I'll take the Libretto. I'll post from the road. I'll be fine.
posted by Neil Gaiman 11:00 PM
Saturday, September 15, 2001
My Washington Post review is up at http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/style/books/A28549-2001Sep14.html -- it's of the King/Straub collaboration Black House . (The Post people have done a solid edit -- the only line I really miss is the quickie description of Lord Malshun, "Sauron as used-car salesman". )
posted by Neil Gaiman 1:33 PM
Go and read http://www.guardian.co.uk/wtccrash/story/0,1300,552408,00.html if you haven't already. It's an article by Ian McEwan.
posted by Neil Gaiman 8:11 AM
Friday, September 14, 2001
Lots of nice letters from religious people of all stripes and sects who like reading books, disavowing both Mr Falwell and the previous correspondent. S'okay. While I didn't take it any more seriously than the American Family Association "boycott" of Sandman (like Donald Wildmon and his people were buying Sandman to begin with) I did take it as a cautionary tale,and a reminder: as long as you know who God wants you to hate and to hurt then anything you do to them is justified.
Abbot Arnold's line in the Albigensian Crusades (around 1210 from memory) still turns up on Tee shirts. The Albigensian Crusade was an internal French Crusade to root out heresy. When Arnold was asked how the troops would know how to tell the heretics from the believers in the city of Beziers, he replied simply, "Kill them all. God will know his own."
posted by Neil Gaiman 9:23 PM
An e-mail arrived in the FAQ thing explaining, very reasonably, that AMERICAN GODS made the World Trade Centre Disaster happen. It began by quoting Jerry Falwell's recent comments, The abortionists have got to bear some burden for this because God will not be mocked. And when we destroy 40 million little innocent babies, we make God mad. I really believe that the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People for the American Way -- all of them who have tried to secularize America -- I point the finger in their face and say, 'You helped this happen.' And then explained that the reader had read much of American Gods before realising that even reading it was an act of idolatrous demon-worship, and had burned his copy. (Or her copy, I suppose.) It wanted to know if I was happy now?
The implication, I guess, was that God was just about tolerating the pagans, Lesbians, ACLU etc., but then American Gods was published, and it tipped Him over the edge.
Insert picture of author here, sighing, shaking his head, getting back to work.
posted by Neil Gaiman 2:14 PM
Long chatty post replying to questions eaten by blogger last night, which then crashed, I assume from strain on the servers. No time this morning to rewrite it all, so I shall simply send all of you my best wishes.
posted by Neil Gaiman 9:30 AM
Thursday, September 13, 2001
The strangest recent FAQ submission let me know that it had been "proved on usenet" that Caitlin Keirnan had ghost-written Stardust for me, and did I have any comments? Denying it, I was told, would only demonstrate that I was intent on covering it up. Could I prove they were wrong?
A puzzler, that, like being asked to prove that you are not an identical clonal double impersonating yourself. So yes, I suppose I could (I wrote the book in longhand, after all).
But I'd rather admit that Cait wrote Stardust while I was busy fighting crime off-planet. When you're battling Denebian slime-worms, who has time to write? Thank heavens for the Legion of Substitute Neils. Gene Wolfe wrote Neverwhere for me, while the late Ian Fleming wrote American Gods via planchette.
posted by Neil Gaiman 9:42 AM
This is what I did today.
I picked up lots of fallen sunflowers and propped them against the side of the house for no real reason other than they looked nice like that. I did some baking. I wrote some of a movie. I phoned friends I hadn't talked to in a while, just to say hello. I failed completely to get hold of anyone in New York by phone. I answered the phone a lot, because there were people calling in from New York. I decided not to fly to London on Saturday. I watched the documentary on The Wicker Man on the DVD (puzzled that the version I taped from the TV years ago is longer than the theatrical version, and shorter than the 99 minute 'extended' one). I read a book about the Lazzi (or comedy routines and business) of the commedia dell'arte, with a weird sort of theory that they might make a metaphor. Cleaned the catboxes. Worried about the last couple of friends of mine in New York I've not heard from yet. Read Maddy tonight's chapter of Howl's Moving Castle. Made a Red Cross donation at Amazon.com. Taught Maddy several card tricks.
Trying to assert normality.
There are worse ways to spend a day.
posted by Neil Gaiman 1:16 AM
Tuesday, September 11, 2001
Now got BBC America on. Many e-mails from friends to say they are alive... Many more I'm waiting to hear from.
Was meant to be going to the UK in a couple of days for Douglas Adams' memorial service, and then to Trieste in Italy for a festival. Right now we'll see whether or not planes are going to be flying...
posted by Neil Gaiman 10:24 AM
The phone lines to New York aren't doing anything, and the cell phone numbers I've been dialling are dead. I'm scared for my friends. Watching CNN, worrying.
posted by Neil Gaiman 9:12 AM
And a web site user writes:
Hmm, so, you're disappointed with the Sandglobe. But have you seen the reprint of the Vertigo Tarot deck? The card stock is flimsy, it feels really fragile, I'm afraid to shuffle with it. Again, not the greatest quality product from Vertigo....
I'm considering seeing how practicle laminating the cards would be, as a not cheap, but effective way to keep the deck intact and still use it.
Thanks for listening,
I've been chatting to Karen Berger, editor in chief of Vertigo, about the flimsiness of the cards, and she's investigating, as she had chosen a heavier card stock (which for reasons no-one understands doesn't seem to have been used). If the Tarot gets to a second printing -- which it may well, given the demand, -- then I am assured that the cards will certainly be on a heavier stock.
posted by Neil Gaiman 9:05 AM
Monday, September 10, 2001
And again, from Will Shetterly, on Emma Bull's condition, as of Monday evening:
>Today's surgery seems to have gone well. The situation with her
>right arm was a little worse than expected; they had to do a bone
>graft and put in a larger plate than they had planned on. Emma'll
>have to do some physical therapy; I've got a recommendation from one
>of LA's best doctors (science fiction fans crop up in the darndest
>places) for an elbow specialist whose offices are fairly close to
>us. She'll also probably have a removable cast for her left hand,
>and she'll have to keep that arm immobile.
>We're assured that she'll be typing and playing the guitar soon--but
>soon is a relative term. The Fabulous Lorraine and I have already
>been talking back-up plans for the concert they planned to give at
>MadCon at the end of October; Emma should be able to sing, but
>there'll probably be a guest Flash Girl or two.
>I continue to hope to have her home toward the end of the week.
>Lorraine and Betsy and Neil and and many fine people in Minneapolis
>are giving her the very best of care, so things really are as well
>as they possibly could be under the circumstances.
And as for me, I'm writing away as best I can. (Currently rewriting one movie, making extensive notes for a second, and beginning the first of the stories for the ENDLESS book.)
It turns out that they did actually set the FAQ reply blogger thing up, a while ago. They just got my ID wrong when they did it...
So as soon as they sort that out I'll get some FAQ answers rolling. Most of the Questions coming in aren't FAQs and they are the most fun, so I suspect that that's what we'll transmute this journal into.
Forgot to mention that I'd seen the Sandman Sandglobe the other day. And, as I was told a long time ago by a cartoon rabbit, if you can't say something nice about someone, don't say anything.
posted by Neil Gaiman 7:37 PM
Sunday, September 09, 2001
Will Shetterly just sent this out, and I'm posting it with his permission...
>Excuse the mass mailing, but it seems the easiest way to deal with this:
>Emma is in excellent spirits, so don't worry too much about
>her--just a little bit. Here's the story as I know it:
>She went up to Minneapolis to play in a CD-release party for the
>Flash Girls' new album on Saturday night. She and Lorraine planned
>to spend that day playing at the Renaissance Festival. But at a
>lunch show, as Emma was heading in with a number of other
>performers, she slipped on a wet spot on the stage.
>Being a pro, she got up and dashed offstage to keep from alarming
>the audience. That's where she realized things Were Not Good.
>The Ren Fest has cabriolet guys--essentially their version of
>rickshaw drivers--who took her to Medical Services crying, "Make way
>for the new owner of the Renaissance Festival!" which made her laugh
>despite her pain. She got hustled off to the local ER, where she got
>The good news is that the break is clean. The bad news is that it is
>in her right elbow, where it will require surgery--otherwise, the
>tendon will pull at the bone and keep it from closing properly.
>She's going to get it taken care of up there; they're using
>insurance info from the Ren Fest and it looks like they'll cover the
>expenses, and, frankly, I feel better about her being taken care of
>in Minnesota's health care system than California's. (Those of you
>who know me well: insert a rant here about how much more sensible
>the health care systems of Canada, Japan, and most of western Europe
>are when compared with the US's.)
>She's an outpatient and getting excellent care from her many
>friends; if this had to happen someplace away from home, I'm glad it
>happened near Minneapolis. She says the drugs have been swell. She
>sounds great on the phone. Lorraine, amazing personal assistant that
>she is, has been neglecting her boss for Emma's sake, and Betsy,
>nurse and force of nature that she is, has put Emma up at her house
>and is now hustling her through hospital and insurance regulations.
>The CD release party went on, not quite as scheduled. Emma stayed in
>bed, but many fine folk showed up, so the audience had a good time:
>Neil Gaiman introduced Lorraine, who told the crowd what they had
>planned to do. I'm not sure whether Lorraine played anything. It
>sounds like most of the music for the evening came from Lojo Russo,
>Adam Stemple, Robin Adnan Anders, and Scott Keever, a swell bunch of
>musicians. I think the thing that makes Em and me sorriest about the
>whole thing is that she didn't get to play AND we both missed what
>sounds like a great show.
>DreamHaven, the folks putting on the party, said they sold heaps of
>stuff, so they were as happy as they could be under the
>circumstances. Emma promised to sign things lefthanded with an "X";
>there are apparently stacks awaiting her when she gets into the
>The surgery is scheduled for Monday; they'll be putting in a plate.
>We're not sure how soon she'll be able to fly back, but I'm hoping
>to have her home before the end of the week.
>UPDATE: I just got a call; she may also have fractures in her left
>elbow and in one hand. She's going through yet another set of X-rays
>to give them more information. Her left arm is swollen, but it has
>most of its range of movement--except for a worrisome little bit
>that hurts, which is the reason for the next set of X-rays.
>Emma hasn't checked her email since she left for Minnesota, and now
>it'll probably be a while before she can. I'm not sure how big her
>email storage is, so I suggest holding off on sending her electronic
>Hoping no one has stories to top Emma's--
posted by Neil Gaiman 6:03 PM
Yesterday was a strange day of oddnesses and coincidence and one disaster.
Of course, I'd have missed most of it if I'd known that Maddy had two violins.
The Flash Girls, who have been mentioned more than once in this journal, are The Fabulous Lorraine and Emma Bull. They've been described as gothic folk, and they've been described as lots of other things too, all of them complimentary. The ladies formed the band at my first ever Guy Fawkes Night after moving to the US (which would be somewhere around November 5th, 1992). Later, Lorraine came to work as my assistant (actually she came to help me organise the bookshelves and never went away). Still later, after a couple of Flash Girls albums, Emma Bull and her husband and partner in crime, Will Shetterly, moved to LA. This made life for a Minneapolis-based two-girl band much more problematic.
Still, last year they got back together and made a third album called PLAY EACH MORNING, WILD QUEEN. (The other albums are THE RETURN OF PANSY SMITH AND VIOLET JONES, in the liner notes of which I wrote a very odd short story, and MAURICE AND I. Maurice is a dried alligator head.) The official launch party for WILD QUEEN was last night, at DreamHaven Books. Emma flew in from LA for it last week, and she and Lorraine vanished off to the top of the house together every day; strange music echoed down from the attic.
Yesterday Emma and Lorraine, and several of their friends from distant parts, like Halifax and Kentucky, went off to the Minnesota Renaissance Festival. Emma and Lorraine were going to do a few Flash Girls gigs there, along with all the other things Lorraine does (like fiddle for a belly dance group and be the female side of a mead-swigging band named Bedlam). Then they were going to the DreamHaven party in the evening.
I was meant to spending yesterday writing, but when I got up I noticed that Maddy's violin was still here, and I felt bad for her. Maddy is seven, and had been planning to play with Emma and Lorraine at some point. She's had her heart set on it. So I sighed and put the violin in the back of the car, and off I drove.
I was just getting to the festival when I noticed that the pass that would have got me in was missing. I made a couple of phone calls to locate it, got the news, and so kept driving, past the festival and on to the local hospital.
Emma had slipped on a patch of water on a slick wooden floor, at the festival. She'd broken her right arm -- smashed up her elbow quite badly. And the day turned into a hospital sort of day, waiting in waiting rooms for word on what was happening down the do-not-enter corridors.
The third time Lorraine came out she explained that Emma was going to have to go back to their hotel and sleep, and that she wasn't going to be able to play, and the launch party would have to be cancelled.
I said that wasn't a good idea, and went off to the car park to make a few phone calls. Life for everyone was made much easier as I'd shown up, mostly because I had a car.
We went over to Emma and Lorraine's hotel. I saw my wife, and Maddy. "It was so lucky that you came out," said my wife. "I thought you were going to stay home and write."
"I was," I said. "But when I saw you'd forgotten Maddy's violin..."
"I didn't," said Mary. "The one you brought is the one that's too big for her, so we rented another. Didn't you know she had two violins?"
I didn't, of course. But it had made life a lot easier for a lot of people that I hadn't known.
The Dreamhaven launch party went ahead. Several hundred people showed up. Lorraine was there, although she didn't play -- I made a short speech and told people what was happening, Lorraine produced a green mobile phone. People shouted "hello" to Emma over the phone. The entertainment was provided by a combination of Boiled in Lead and the long-defunct Cats Laughing, including Robin Anders, Adam Stemple and Lojo Russo. Lorraine signed a lot of CDs. A get well card was signed.
Keep your fingers crossed for Emma. (It's not a good thing for a writer/musician to lose the use of her right arm.)
And I'll be without an assistant for a few days.
(Useful links: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00003ZAN1 is the amazon link for Maurice and I; http://www.player.org/pub/flash/flash.html is the Flash Girls home page; http://www.fabulous-records.com/ is Fabulous Records, the record company; and http://www.dreamhavenbooks.com/ is DreamHaven Books.)
posted by Neil Gaiman 11:48 AM
Wednesday, September 05, 2001
Yesterday's journal entry (the one about product placement) brought the following e-mail from my friend John M. Ford (talking about his first contact novel The Final Reflection):
Promise I am not making this up. I can show you the book, if you
think your nerves can stand it.
Toward the end of the German edition of REFLECTION, just before Dr.
Tagore says goodbye to Krenn for the last time. there's about a half-page of
"blacked-out" lines, and then the text starts talking about how tiring it
is for old guys like Emanuel to beam up and down, but a hot Maggi bouillon
cube will fix everything up just ducky. This goes on for a page or so, and
then there are some more blacked lines, and the book resumes.
Now, so far as I know, I didn't get a Deutschmark for this, or even a
case of Maggi soup (which I wouldn't have minded having, especially the
potato-leek) but it sure enough was a weird thing to see. Still is.
And, of course, I do believe him -- I remember Terry Pratchett telling me about his incredulity at discovering a soup advert in the text of I think it was SOURCERY, again the same sort of thing -- "By now you might think our heroes would be pretty exhausted from all this running around. I bet they wished they had a nice cup of Maggi Soup..." If memory serves (and my apologies if it doesn't), Mr Heyne of Heyne publishing had done the deal with the soup company himself, and was only dissuaded from this course after a number of foreign authors (and probably some German ones as well) threatened to take their books away from Heyne.
There's a rather wonderful review of American Gods at http://www.compulsivereader.com/article1044.html...
A look at the Locus Bestseller roundup shows that American Gods remains up there on the San Francisco Chronicle bestseller list (up 6 places to number 4), after 10 weeks. Which makes me happy.
And things really and truly honestly and actually seem to be happening now with the website -- journals will be changing, FAQ things will start to occur, content will begin to appear, or so I am assured. So if there's any problems with pages you've bookmarked (like this one), head back for the neilgaiman.com home page and come forward from there...
Which means that I get to see whether or not DirecPC will actually ever put in the two way internet satellite thingie I signed up for back in May. (A kafkaesque story I shall tell when I get around to it.)
posted by Neil Gaiman 8:33 PM
Tuesday, September 04, 2001
Fay Weldon has just set the literary world on its ear by doing product placement in her new novel, The Bulgari something or other. Bulgari sells expensive jewellery, and commissioned the book. Lots of people are gasping that this is the first time anything like this has happened and that it's the thin end of the wedge and that literature is now doomed. (http://books.guardian.co.uk/departments/generalfiction/story/0,6000,546800,00.html)
Actually, of course, the rot set in last year when my old friend Bill Fitzhugh started plugging single malts. (Read all about it here at http://www.kgbmedia.com/text/novel.html). Although I think that all Bill got out of it was bottles of fine single malt, while Fay Weldon probably got proper folding stuff with which to buy jewellery (or single malt scotch, I suppose, if that was the way her fancy led her.)
Personally, I think it's a triffic idea, and would like to announce that any manufacturers of fine fountain pens who want to get plugged in the text of the next novel should just drop me a line. And a sample fountain pen or two. Also people selling small south sea islands -- I will happily plug your south sea island sales company in my next novel in exchange for a small island of my own.
Just in case you were wondering.
posted by Neil Gaiman 7:38 PM
Sunday, September 02, 2001
I think I said already somewhere that this was a particularly strange year for gardening. The sunflowers turned into 25-foot-high triffids, while the plum trees produced a grand total of three (3) plums, and the pumpkins are just weird. I brought back several packets of unusual pumpkin seeds from Amsterdam Airport when I went to Ireland in January, and now am trying to figure out what the odder ones are. If I was a REAL gardener I'd be able to remember where I put the empty seed packets to find out. But then I wouldn't have the fun of going "What ARE these things?" Particularly about the flattish ones that look like enormous vivid orange toadstools. I go out there in the morning and look at them nervously, like a character in an early Ray Bradbury short story.
A gift arrived from HarperCollins a few days ago. It's a black-leather-bound, gold-edged, handmade, one-of-a-kind edition of American Gods -- a thing of unbelievable beauty. It makes me happy just to look at it. It's the kind of thing that makes me wish I had a display case for wonderful things, awards, gifts and whatnot, rather than just finding room for them on mantlepieces and in corners and things. But I don't. They just have to find their places.
In the old days when people used to ask me in interviews what I missed most about the UK I'd tell them the radio. Now I'm getting gradually spoiled, thanks to streaming audio broadcasts: as I type this, The Archers is burbling away in the background on Radio 4. The Archers is probably the longest-running radio soap opera in the world, perfect aural wallpaper, and I am ten years behind (which, oddly enough, doesn't matter, as, give or take the odd fire, rape, mad cow or bankruptcy, nothing ever actually happens on The Archers), and noticing that my-friend-the-lovely-Tamsin-Greig-from-the-BBC-Neverwhere is now in it.
Now I just have to persuade Jonathan Ross to move his Radio 2 show to my waking hours. Or find some brilliant technical way to listen to streaming UK radio on a six hour delay...
And while we're waiting for the FAQ etc thing to get up and running (ho! says older-but-wiser author in a hollow and sceptical voice) I thought I'd answer a few more questions. My favorite recent one was that someone wanted to know about me and Charles Fort, and whether I considered myself a Fortean. I suppose I do. I had to hunt down my Charles Fort books when I was a young teenager, after reading some article in an old SF magazine trashing him (from memory, the article was called something like Lo! The Bold Forteans and was by someone like Willy Ley, and I realised that this was the same Fort that Eric Frank Russell and R. A. Lafferty talked about), and I went down to my bookshop and ordered a copy of the Dover books Complete Charles Fort. And was struck by the poetry, and the delight in ideas. The pickle people. The jelly in the sky (which is why stars twinkle, of course.) Maybe we're property. How to measure a circle. Raining Fish (which one day I was to have a lot of fun with in Good Omens although I'm pretty sure it was Terry who first popped Fort into Adam's hands in the book -- I remember the sheer joy of writing the Fortean version of Radio 4's perennial Gardener's Question Time...) I read him with the same delight, and with the same part of my head, and at the same time as I read E.E. Cummings' prose essays.
There's a story about Charles Fort and Karl Marx that sits in my head in the attic of unwritten stories, on the same shelf in my mind as the one about Kenneth Williams and Kenneth Halliwell. One day...
Hmm. I wonder if those strange flat pumpkin things are really Fortean Phenomena. I should write in to Gardener's Question Time (and Good Omens readers who want background on that bit of the book can go and listen to it here ).
posted by Neil Gaiman 11:49 AM