Neil Gaiman's Blog, page 5

October 3, 2013

posted by Neil Gaiman

I'm in a departure lounge, right now. First an automated message called from Delta to tell me my plane would take off on time and arrive an hour and a half late. Then it called back to tell me we were leaving an hour and a half late too, which made a little more sense.

 People have written and asked why I'm not posting about walking with my dog in the woods, and it's mostly because I haven't walked with my dog in the woods since the start of tour season, except for a couple of days in early August. I wish I had.

I borrowed Glen, next-door's working sheepdog, to go for walks with when I was in Scotland, though. He wasn't very good at going for walks. He was very aware that he ought to be working, and would shoot off home to move sheep around the moment I took I my attention off him.

I was meant to be writing when I was in Scotland. Mostly, I was recovering from the tour -- from the whole thing, from early June on. Recharging my batteries by walking and cooking things on the Aga and juicing and not really writing at all. And then I recharged and started writing once again.



2011, Seattle, "Makin' Whoopie".
So, it's been a wonderful, crazed few weeks. FORTUNATELY THE MILK came out in the US and the UK, and got some wonderful reviews (including this one, from Boing Boing), and went onto the Bestseller Lists on both sides of the Atlantic. I finished, yesterday morning, writing a Sekrit Thing that took me a month longer than I'd expected it to. I'll tell you all about it in another month, by which time it will be less sekrit.
Chris Riddell, illustrator of FORTUNATELY THE MILK in the UK has asked me to tell the world that he will be doing a signing for his wonderful Goth Girl book (but he will also sign your Fortunately The Milk!) in Brighton on the 12th of October (at 4 pm at the North St Branch of Waterstones, to be precise). Chris also sends me amazing doodles of his touring life. (Can I put some of them on my blog? I asked him. Of course, he said, they are my therapy.)






...
Important things you should know:
1) BOSTON AREA: There are still tickets for the Becca Tribute night in Boston on Monday. The Dresden Dolls reunion! Me reading New Stuff I've Not Ever Read To Paying Audiences Before! Jason Webley nips out of retirement! Emilyn Brodsky is herself! A Cast of Thousands well hundreds well lots of amazing people... It's going to be wonderful. Get your tickets now at https://www.vendini.com/ticket-software.html?t=tix&e=a4e51df651ed159d57c8ee040f26e44d
2) NEW YORK AREA: The Evening With Neil Gaiman and Amanda Palmer at the Town Hall in New York on Saturday the 23rd of November sold out very quickly, with a lot of disappointed people, so we added another night: Friday the 22nd of November. Now you can see us AND catch the 50th Anniversary Episode of Doctor Who too. (It's an all ages event but there is likely to be swearing or songs and stories not meant for children.)  You can get tickets at this ticketmaster link.)
3) EVERYWHERE IN THE WHOLE WORLD AREA: The Evening With Neil Gaiman and Amanda Palmer triple CD, recorded from the tour of 2011 due to the loveliness of Kickstarter supporters, will finally be released to the general public on November the 19th.   It's a different edition to the one that 3500 Kickstarter backers got. You can also order it as a double LP.
It's up for preorders now. 
And there is also stuff! you can get with the pre-order, with Cynthia Von Buhler's amazing paper cut-out of Amanda and me on it, said stuff including a teapot, a tea towel, a notebook and mugs (There is a theme here.) All of it should be delivered well in time for the holidays.


To preorder it, just go to http://amandapalmer.net

...
And lastly, go and look at the TerraMar Project's website, if you haven't:  http://theterramarproject.orgThe seas are our heritage, and we need to preserve and conserve them, for our children, for our planet, and for ourselves.

Labels:  dogless, teapots, chris Riddell, An Evening With Neil And Amanda., stuff

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Published on October 03, 2013 11:35 • 1,417 views

September 6, 2013

posted by Neil Gaiman


The photos above are of Amanda and her friend -- and then, pretty soon,  our friend -- Becca Rosenthal. (It was Becca who told Amanda that she ought to marry me, the night before I proposed and we got engaged.) Becca was smart and funny, an excellent writer, and had amazing taste in music and art. She acted in my film STATUESQUE (that's the costume fitting she's getting, in the bottom photo).

She wanted to be a librarian.

She was overjoyed when she got hired by her local library. One of her last emails to me said when can i hope to see you around boston again? i would like very much to give you a great big hug. and it will hopefully be the hug of a Real Librarian.

I never got the hug. She died, suddenly, shortly before I moved to Cambridge. 

And now, with the blessing of her parents, we're raising money for a fund, in Becca's name, at Smith College.


To honor Becca’s memory, and to redirect extreme grief into something positive and productive, Amanda, Neil and other friends of Becca’s are spearheading this benefit for this fund in Becca’s name. It is for the benefit of students working in the Archives or the Rare Book Room, where Becca spent so much of her time being the hipster librarian they all knew she would one day actually become (and get paid to do). Annual income from this fund shall be used to provide internships for students enrolled in library special collections concentrations (including but not exclusive to the Archives and Book Studies concentrations) and/or to provide general internship and research funds for student work in special collections.

And by we, I mean, Amanda, me, Brian Viglione, Jason Webley, Emilyn Brodsky, and more of us. Becca's friends.  We're doing an evening of stuff. I'll read stories, show Statuesque, Amanda and Brian will make music, all sorts of wonderful  things will happen.  It's a one night only show, inspired by a librarian who isn't with us any more.

“A Tribute to Rebecca Rosenthal: A Night of Music, Art & Remembering, presented by Amanda Palmer, Neil Gaiman, Brian Viglione and other friends of Becca’s” will take place at the Somerville Theatre, 55 Davis Square, for one show only on Monday evening, October 7th at 7:00PM. Reserved seat tickets are $25.00 (plus $1.00 facility fee) with a limited number of Gold Circle seats available at $100.00 (plus $1.00 facility fee) that include an after-show meet and greet plus an original, limited edition art poster signed by the participating performers. All proceeds are to benefit the Rebecca Samay Rosenthal ’07 Memorial Special Collections Fund at Smith College.

If you are going to be in the Boston area on October the 7th, you should come. The details are at http://us1.campaign-archive2.com/?u=bc31868377c214862493bdd83&id=6cfd53754b. The tickets go onsale at https://www.vendini.com/ticket-software.html?t=tix&e=a4e51df651ed159d57c8ee040f26e44d at 10:00 am Eastern US time this Saturday.


...

This blog feels like it's about tickets and shows. So...

My friends Michael McQuilken and Adina Verson are in their excellently reviewed show at the Amsterdam Fringe, Machine Makes Man. If you're in Amsterdam, go and see it. Here's the link: http://www.amsterdamfringefestival.nl/fringe/programma-2013/fringe-2013/best-of-fringe/machine-makes-man.aspx

Jethro Compton brings the Bunker Trilogy: Morgana and Agamemnon from Edinburgh to London for a month. It was the only drama I was gutted about missing when I was in Edinburgh. It's now in London, and I'm going to do my best to see it before I return to the US. If you are London you should do likewise. Southwark Playhouse: http://southwarkplayhouse.co.uk/the-little/the-bunker-morgana-and-agamemnon/ for info.

Saturday the 14th of September, if you are in the London area, you should come and see me as the Voice of the Book, along with the all star amazing original radio cast (AND MITCH BENN AS ZAPHOD BEEBLEBROX) and extra special guest star Miss Polly Adams as the Dish of the Day. It's the opening night of the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Live tour, and we would love to see you there. (The tour will have lots of other Voice of the Books, but none of them will be me.) Stalls and dress circle and most of the upper circle are already sold out. https://uk.patronbase.com/_Hackney/Sections/Choose?prod_id=HHG&perf_id=1

October 7th it's the Becca Event above, in Boston.

October 15th, it's the FORTUNATELY, THE MILK live reading at Westminster Central Hall. It sold out 2,000 tickets in a couple of days.  They just released a final 100 tickets -- hurry if you want them:  http://www.timeout.com/london/things-to-do/neil-gaiman-and-special-guests-fortunately-the-milk


November 23rd in the Town Hall, NYC, it's the first NYC Evening with Neil Gaiman and Amanda Palmer, to celebrate the release of the CD and LP of the original Evening With Neil and Amanda West Coast tour. There.
The sun finally came out here yesterday, after 5 days of mist. This is from the last day of the mist:






Labels:  tickets, Becca Darling, An Evening With Neil And Amanda., absent friends, Shows, Mist

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Published on September 06, 2013 07:31 • 2,031 views

September 2, 2013

posted by Neil Gaiman

I just heard that Fred Pohl has died.

He was, for me, the last of the Golden Age greats, the first generation of Science Fiction Writers who created the genre. His collaborations with Cyril Kornbluth, his later solo work, were wonderful things: always witty, smart, interested in how people worked and how the stuff of the future would change the people who inhabited it. (I started with The Space Merchants, a book about advertising in a 1950s future. It's still my favourite.)

He was a literary agent too, and a whip-sharp editor of magazines and books. He stayed smart and he stayed relevant. Samuel R. Delany's groundbreaking Dhalgren was published as a Fred Pohl selection, and became a bestseller. And Fred kept on writing, and even blogging, giving us his memories of his past in science fiction. (Here's his blog entry on Dhalgren.)

I met him briefly at conventions, but never really knew him (I know his wife, Betty, Elizabeth Anne Hull, much better -- we spent time together in China, for a start). I told him how much I owed him, and how much the world of Science Fiction owed him, and I'm glad I did. I told him I saw him interviewed, when I was a boy, in a BBC documentary on SF writers, and it helped make it real that the things I loved were actually being made by real human beings.

The world is emptier without him, and the Golden Age of Science Fiction really has passed away.

...

This is a poem I wrote for Gateways , an anthology tribute to Fred, published a few years ago, about the futures that he and his Golden Age friends had promised us or threatened us with, about the future we seemed to have received instead:


The  [Backspace] Merchants
The [backspace] merchants sell deletions and removals,masters of the world (or so they claim)they go by many hundred different names and live inside a giant block of Spam.
It quivers, as if alive, is fed by tubes and tendrils, and is inhabited.Portions are cut from it continually to feed the people.Insidious, invidious, (occasionally in videos),the [backspace] merchants seek to sell you:V1agRa and all its magical cousins(If you had a larger thing in your pants your life would have been better!!)(MAGIC PENIS ENLARGEMENT PILLS)(She'll love the new growth!)(Make nights turbulent.)Also, designer watches, diplomas, diplomats who will entrust you with their missing millions.There are girls in your town who want to meet you.
The [backspace] merchants want so to delete you.
The [backspace] merchants click and they eraseour faces, so we keep on losing face.The [backspace] merchantsoffer relief from their own excesses:The products will not work as advertisedThe Spam is vast and must be satisfied.
In the old days of the futureour freedom fighters lived deep inside the chicken meatTheir coffee was the coffiest, their dreams the dreamiest.The rest of us craved and grazed our lives awayand wondered if we should emigrate to Venus.
These are the poles we navigate between:Yesterday's futures now reshape our daysinto futures past, somewhere between last week and day millionas ancient as a black and white TV show, watched so lateand all the names we conjured with appeared to us in monochromewith their faces, such young faces, to those of us who would learn to be plugged in at all times,they told us of the future, that it was what they sawa Game of  If when they opened wide their eyes.
So we avoided all their awful warnings,ignored the minefields as the klaxons soundedplayed “Cheat the Prophet” just as Gilbert said,we sidestepped cacatopias unboundedand built ourselves this gorgeous mess instead
I wish we could still emigrate to Venus.
Sometimes I wonder what the Spam makes of us:does it define us by our base desires,or hope we can transcend them? Like small gods,the [backspace] merchants offer us all choicesand each daywe can be tempted or  delete.They lay their traps ineptly at our feet.
The present moves so quick we can't describe it,so Science Fiction limns the recent past.We future folk are just another tribe who hyperlinked our colours to the mast,When now is always then and never soonOur freak flags will not fly upon the moon.
Our prophets opened gateways, showed us pitfallsgave us worlds of if and galaxies uncountable.They made us think then take the other road.But future yesterdays are growing cold.The [backspace] merchants huddle in their meatwhile we demand a finer, nobler future:It waits for us beyond the blue horizon.Our future will be glorious and gold.
If it lasts more than four hoursconsult your physician.


For Fred Pohl, with infinite admiration.
.....................................................................................................


I'm still hiding out, still recovering from the three months on tour, still writing. Today I mostly went for a walk in the mist, cooked in the Aga, and wrote.
The world looked like this on the walk. (There are predictions that the sun will come out on Thursday, but I'm in no hurry. I'm good with the mist and the drizzle.)

(I can email photos like this over to WhoSay, which autoposts them to Facebook, Tumblr and Twitter. Expect more of them.)
And I found myself on the TV News today (people phoned and told me). I talked about the role of libraries in the world in a piece on the opening of the new Birmingham Library - the largest lending library in Europe. You may (or may not, depending on where you live) be able to watch it here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-23869169.
Okay. I should go to sleep.
(Oh. I nearly forgot. A wonderful diary piece by Philip Pullman in the Financial Times about many things, including our time on stage. Yes, buy his wonderful Grimm Tales, out now in paperback.)

(And if you've ever wanted to hear Stephen Colbert read a chilling Ray Bradbury story and Leonard Nimoy read my favourite hilarious James Thurber short story, go to Selected Shorts http://www.selectedshorts.org/2013/08/dreams-and-schemes/: I host this episode.) 





Labels:  The Space Merchants, Frederick Pohl, Mist

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Published on September 02, 2013 18:13 • 1,181 views

August 30, 2013

posted by Neil Gaiman

This leg - the UK leg, and the last - of the mammoth signing tour that started on June 13th, has just finished. About 50,000 people, probably about 150,000 things signed. (Said things including body parts, dolls, and a hairbrush. But mostly books and books and more books.)

It had many remarkable bits, of great joy. For example, they named a lane in Portsmouth THE OCEAN AT THE END OF THE LANE. And not just any lane: it's beside the Canoe Lake, where I was walked in my pram, where I went with my grandparents (it was round the corner from their house at 36, Parkstone Avenue). There were a few hundred people assembled in the sun: the Lord Mayor of Portsmouth made a speech in which she put me on the list of Portsmouth Writers (Dickens, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Kipling were the other people on the list), the poet laureate of Portsmouth read two lovely poems, and then I pulled the cloth off the road sign and hugged lots of members of my family, and talked to people, and even met a 90 year old gentleman who told me how, when he was sleeping rough after  being demobbed from the army in World War 2, my grandmother took him in for Friday Night dinner and my Uncle Ronnie gave him his spare suit...

It made me smile. Then again, everything that day made me smile. (These photos are from Elliott Franks's website at http://elliottfranks.photoshelter.com/gallery/Neil-Gaiman-event-18th-August-2013/G0000BGlc8FWrkSA/. Elliott was there as a photographer -- and also as my cousin.)
That night there was a really fun event at the Portsmouth Guildhall (preceded by tea for my family, who were all a bit baffled and delighted by this. Best bit was hearing several elderly aunts explain to another why she should watch Amanda's Dear Daily Mail video.) There was also a Dalek.

 

The next event of magic was held in Ely Cathedral.

The queue looked like this:


...only there were over a thousand people in it, and it wound up going all the way through the town. (photo from here.) The place was magical, and I signed for people until the small hours of the morning, while, as the perfect summer evening became twilight and then night, the cathedral bats flittered overhead.


[image error]
(Photo, along with some of the best  signing photos I've seen is from http://narshada.co.uk/neil-gaiman-book-signing-ely-cathedral).

From there, to Oxford, and the Oxford Playhouse, and my favourite ever conversation-on-a-stage. Possible one of my favourite ever conversations. It was with Philip Pullman, who is smart and honest and has everything that you'd every want in a favourite English teacher...

Fortunately a lot of it was recorded and put up on the web. (Not, alas, the audience questions...) You can hear it here. It's Philip Pullman and me talking about books and authors we love, children's fiction, and whether we ever get to bring back stories from dreams.



And from there to the Edinburgh International Book Festival.

I talked about Memory and The Ocean at the End of the Lane with Charles Fernyhough, talked about my children's fiction with Vicky Featherstone (who brought along a surprise wolf head and the pig puppet from the National Theatre of Scotland's The Wolves in the Walls), talked comics and Sandman in particular with Hannah Berry, and talked to Margaret Atwood about, well, everything really. (Did you know she does an astoundingly scary impression of the Wicked Witch of the West? Oh, she does...)




Also, I CO-JUDGED A LITERARY DEATH MATCH. Amy Mason won. I'm reading her book, and I'm reading Briony Hatch by the Skinner sistren, and Craig Silvey's book, and Craig Collins's comics... frankly, I made out like a bandit.

And I was interviewed (and semi-heckled hilariously by Phill Jupitus and Mitch Benn) as part of the Ad Lib Comedy thingummy at the Fringe, and it was marvellous.

Here's a great audio interview by the Scottish Book Trust towards the latter, even more brain dead, part of the festival:
http://www.scottishbooktrust.com/blog/reading/2013/08/neil-gaiman-interview-the-ocean-at-the-end-of-the-lane

From Edinburgh to Dundee, for a lunchtime signing and on to Inverness for the end of it all.  A wonderful conversation with my new friend Stuart Kelly, one last last last signing (event photos here) and I was done.

This is a photo of me being done.


(Photo from here.)

There's now a video up of the US leg of the tour... it gives you an idea of what it was like -- 20 cities in 80 seconds...




I'm now recovering and going back to being a writer again. It's a bit odd. Currently I have the kind of headache you get from from caffeine withdrawal, having survived the tour on massive amounts of tea. I'm going for walks and just getting everything back together. I look a bit less battered, which is good.

So, I have gone cold turkey from things like Tea, Twitter, Tumblr and, er,  probably other things too.

I'll put up the occasional photograph of a hill here, I expect.

....

This interview with Amanda makes me happy. It's the only interview I can remember that was about the two of us: http://blogs.citypages.com/gimmenoise/2013/08/amanda_palmer_on_neil_gaiman_he_desperately_loves_to_be_surprised.php

...

Right. Nearly done. Some housekeeping before I vanish: First things first. PLEASE WATCH THIS VIDEO. Then spread it around. Share it. It will make you smile, and you get a great sense of Skottie Young's wonderful artwork...




That's the US trailer.

The UK trailer... well, that doesn't exist yet. They want YOU (yes, you) to help, by recording part of the trailer:

http://www.gaimanbooks.com/ftmtrailer is the link that explains all the voiceover competition...

and they've put an extract up at http://issuu.com/bloomsburypublishing/docs/fortunately_the_milk_extract.

While, not to be outdone, Harper Collins are themselves giving away copies of Fortunately The Milk at  at http://harpercollinschildrens.tumblr.com/post/59489655003/giveaway-fortunately-the-milk-by-neil-gaiman

I'm afraid the UK Fortunately The Milk event (the one Bloomsbury are doing in association with Time Out and Foyles) is now sold out.

...

I'm off to be a writer for a bit, as I said. I'll blog if there's anything important: unplugging from the twin delights of Twitter & Tumblr.

I will next surface on the 14th of September at the Hackney Empire, where I will be the Voice of the Book on the opening night of the stage version of the radio version of the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. (Tickets at http://www.hackneyempire.co.uk/hitchhikers)

In New York, the tickets for the Evening With Neil Gaiman and Amanda Palmer we are doing at the Town Hall to celebrate the release of the CD of the original tour is ALMOST SOLD OUT. There are still tickets, though, at the back of the balcony.  http://www.ticketmaster.com/event/03004B0CE260F20A

And finally, BlackBerry have made a very limited, not for sale, number of books of A Calendar of Tales, which are going out as gifts to the contributors and to those who helped make it all happen behind the scenes. You can see what the book looks like at http://www.creativereview.co.uk/cr-blog/2013/august/neil-gaiman-book (and read the tales and look at the pictures at http://acalendaroftales.com/)

...

And now I am going to sleep. Last night, my dreams were of signing books for people.  Everybody I had ever known was in the signing line, and I signed, and I signed, and I signed...



Labels:  Bats, philip pullman, signing as much as I can, Margaret Atwood, Edinburgh Book Festival, caffeine, tea, Inverness, Fortunately the Milk, The Last Signing Tour, Portsmouth, Southsea

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Published on August 30, 2013 16:12 • 3,439 views

August 17, 2013

posted by Neil Gaiman

Right. This is the plan.

If you are going to be in London on Tuesday, October the 15th 2013, you should buy tickets to come and see me read the whole of FORTUNATELY, THE MILK... on stage at the Central Hall, Westminster.

The event is being presented by Time Out Live and Foyles.

Things that will definitely be happening that night:

1) I will read all of Fortunately, The Milk... live on stage. This will take around an hour.

2) Chris Riddell will be drawing stuff live as well, on the stage for everyone to see.

Here is a picture that Chris Riddell did of either the dad in Fortunately, The Milk, or of me. I do not dare ask him which it is.



3) The tickets will cost £10, £8, and (these ones come with a special limited edition of the book) £20.

Things that will most probably be happening but I really need to start sending out emails and making phone calls to make them happen:

1) There will be mysterious guest stars. Some of them may get to read lines from the book...

2) There will be mysterious guest stars. Some of them might make some music to accompany things.

Things that have been announced as happening that might actually happen, you never know:

1) I will "reveal all" about the creation of Fortunately, The Milk...

There won't be a signing after the event. A lot of the books available for sale at the event will most probably have been signed by me that afternoon, however.

There won't be a second performance. We're talking about taping or webstreaming this but no decisions have yet been made, so if you want to be there, you should do your best to be there.

Things that will definitely not be happening on stage that night:

1) Ice skating and ladies who dance through hoops of fire.

2) Real live dinosaurs attacking.

3) Human sacrifice.

This is how you get tickets:

http://www.timeout.com/london/things-to-do/neil-gaiman-and-special-guests-fortunately-the-milk

And go to the bottom of the page, and click on buy tickets. Tickets are already selling fast, so you may want to strike like a cobra. Or at least, click on the link.

FAQs

Here are some possible questions about this event you might frequently ask, with useful and informative answers by me:

WILL THIS BE FUN?

Yes it will. Please come.

I MEAN, IT SOUNDS PRETTY BORING, YOU JUST READING A STORY. ALSO IT'S TUESDAY EVENING. I HAVE MACRAME ON TUESDAY EVENING.

You really don't have to come. I don't mind. Although it won't be boring. It will be fun. (See previous answer for details.)

WILL THERE BE REAL LIVE DINOSAURS AND ALIENS AND WUMPIRES AND PONIES LIVE ON THE STAGE, AND HUMAN SACRIFICE, ICE SKATING AND LADIES WHO DANCE THROUGH HOOPS OF FIRE?

There will not. I thought I covered this already. Come anyway. Fun, remember?

SHOULD I BRING MY CHILDREN?

I would, if I were you. After all, if you tell them that you went to see the only performance of Fortunately The Milk without them they may grow to resent you and eventually plot against you and bring you down at your moment of triumph.

I WANT TO COME BUT I LIVE IN BRAZIL.

Brazil is a lovely place. On October the 15th you must drown your sorrows in cachaça-based alcoholic drinks, and go to the beach, and think about what you are missing.

WHAT IF I DO NOT LIVE IN BRAZIL?

Why don't you live in Brazil? The weather is wonderful, the people are delightful. One day we shall all move to Brazil, drink cachaça-based alcoholic drinks and sit on the beach, where we shall talk about art.

ARE YOU SURE ABOUT THIS? THE WHOLE MOVING TO BRAZIL THING?

No. I just ran out of useful questions and answers about the October the 15th FORTUNATELY, THE MILK night. Here, have a caipirinha.






Labels:  Cachaça, Central hall Westminster, Dinosaurs, Fortunately the Milk, Human sacrifice, Brazil

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Published on August 17, 2013 17:44 • 3,070 views

August 14, 2013

posted by Neil Gaiman

So I'm not certain right now if I have one book coming out or two, this September. So I will let you ponder the question for me.

I have a book called Fortunately, the Milk coming out from Harper Children's on September the 17th. It's published in the US, Canada, and many such places.

It's illustrated by the brilliant Skottie Young.

This is what the cover looks like:



I have a book called Fortunately, The Milk... (note the ellipses) coming out from Bloomsbury on September the 17th. It's published in the UK, Australia and various other places.

It's illustrated by the amazing Chris Riddell.

This is what the cover looks like:


(You cannot actually tell from this how astoundingly SHINY the cover is. Trust me. It is the shiniest cover you have ever seen.)
And I'm not really sure why there are two books. I know that different places and different publishers like different styles of illustration. And I am not grumbling, because I love Skottie's art, and I love Chris's art, and they are completely different -- in approach, in style, in storytelling.

You can get the feeling for Skottie's art, and the way the US version looks here:

http://issuu.com/harpercollinschildrens/docs/fortunatelymilk_usexcerptreveal

You get a feel for the UK edition with the same pages told in a British Way at:

http://issuu.com/bloomsburypublishing/docs/fortunately_the_milk_extract

You are, of course, allowed to order the edition you like best from the country of your choice. But in UK bookshops you'll find the Bloomsbury, in US ones you'll find the Harper Childrens...

Why is the milk in a bottle in the US, where milk almost never comes in bottles? Why is the milk in a carton in the UK, where milk actually does still turn up in bottles? Why does the dad in Chris Riddell's artwork look mysteriously sort of like me?

There are no answers to be found in this video of Chris Riddell drawing...





there ARE however, some answers, to all of your Fortunately, The Milk (...) questions here, in this video.

Watch it. All will be explained. Well, something will be explained, at any rate...





Labels:  chris Riddell, Fortunately the Milk, Americans and English people, mysterious ellipses, Skottie Young

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Published on August 14, 2013 07:00 • 2,961 views

August 5, 2013

posted by Neil Gaiman



I'm not really sure what it says about the last month and a half that the last actual blog post was the day before THE OCEAN AT THE END OF THE LANE was published, June the 17th.  Mostly it probably says that when I had any down time I was too tired to blog.
So I will do a brief recap of what happened.

THE OCEAN AT THE END OF THE LANE was published. It went to #2 in the UK (beaten by Dan Brown) and to #1 in the US. It's still on both bestseller lists, six weeks later. (I think it's now at #7 in the US.)

The reviews have been fantastic. Ones that made me particularly happy would include the New York Times review

“Childhood memories are sometimes covered and obscured beneath the things that come later, like childhood toys forgotten at the bottom of a crammed adult closet,” Neil Gaiman writes in his slim, dark dream of a new novel, “The Ocean at the End of the Lane.” “But they are never lost for good.” Who we used to be sometimes seems like a faint shadow of who we are now, but Gaiman helps us remember the wonder and terror and powerlessness that owned us as children.(...)Gaiman is especially accomplished in navigating the cruel, uncertain dreamscape of childhood.
There is a moment, toward the end of this novel, when the narrator drops into the duck pond (or ocean, as the Hempstocks call it), and his mind melts and achieves a kind of transcendent understanding: “I saw the world I had walked since my birth and I understood how fragile it was, that the reality I knew was a thin layer of icing on a great dark birthday cake writhing with grubs and nightmares and hunger.”
Which replicates the experience I have whenever reading one of Gaiman’s books. His mind is a dark fathomless ocean, and every time I sink into it, this world fades, replaced by one far more terrible and beautiful in which I will happily drown.

And A.S. Byatt reviewing it in the Guardian (!), and, well, hundreds of reviews, actually, and I've lost all the links now. But people, on the whole, have liked it.

There have been lots of interviews with me. In some of them I say the same things, and in some I say different things. For example, here's the Financial Times asking rapid-fire questions.

I went on a tour. Sometimes I was on a bus, and sometimes I wasn't. I didn't get a lot of sleep, and I signed many many thousands of books for many thousands of really astonishingly nice and patient people.


(Photo by the invaluable Cat Mihos.)

I'll grab some accounts from people's blogs (thank you, denizens of Twitter for pointing me at some good ones): Here's an account of the Symphony Space evening, when I was interviewed by Erin Morgenstern.  Here's a beautiful account of the Chicago signing, from someone standing next to me making it all work. And here's another, with photo of lovely people who ran the event too.

After Portland, I went ot Seattle and had a magical break in order to teach 18 of the smartest writers I've ever encountered how to... well, I'm not sure what I taught them how to, actually. Mostly I learned from them. But they were students at Clarion West: I inherited them from Elizabeth Hand, and I passed them on to Joe Hill, and I think they all have a great future ahead of them. (Over 700 writers applied for the 18 places.)

You can see some of them (and me) if you click on this link, then go to extreme right of the third row: http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/interactive/2013/aug/03/selfies-celebrity-instagram-twitter-photography

Then I went back on the road. It turns into a bit of blur again immediately, because a plane tragically crashed in San Francisco on landing, which threw all plans into disarray closed off a runway and meant that the following day I didn't get to Ann Arbor until two hours after the signing was meant to have started, and everyone was really nice...

My bag was lost and spent 4 days following me around the country.

The tour finished in Lexington, when John Scalzi introduced me and interrogated me while a rock band played loudly next door: Look, here is me in a Cyberman head backstage with Scalzi. And then it finished properly in Cambridge two days after that. And then it finished later that week at Comic-Con in San Diego.

By the time of Comic-Con I was VERY tired indeed.

Entertainment Weekly took a photo of me there. I looked like this:


I presented Eisners, avoided being snogged by my co-presenter Jonathan Ross (as a follow up to this 2007 moment)(Mr Ross kissed John Barrowman instead), although I made up for it by kissing Chip Kidd instead when he came up to collect Chris Ware's final Eisner Award. I was on a great Sandman panel with Sam Kieth, J. H, Williams III, Dave McKean, Todd Klein and Shelly Bond. I was on  panels about Jack Kirby and Will Eisner, and there was a Spotlight panel, where I was interviewed (and, unsurprisingly, embarrassed) by Jonathan Ross:

I went home. My wife came off tour. I picked her up at the airport with a handmade sign.

We went to the Newport Folk Festival. We painted a mural on an unborn baby's wall.




 We both recovered a bit more.

Yesterday, I started writing again.

Today I flew to Canada for the start of the next leg of the tour. Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver. All sold out, I'm afraid.

Next week I go to the Netherlands and sign in Rotterdam and Utrecht (Details on WHERE'S NEIL), and will be at the Lowlands Festival at 17:30 on Saturday afternoon. Then round two of the UK, and on to the Edinburgh Book Festival. The Edinburgh Book Festival events are sold out...

If you are in the South of England, and free on the evening of the 18th of August, come to Portsmouth and watch me do an EVENING WITH NEIL GAIMAN and a book signing in the Guildhall. That afternoon, there will be a naming ceremony as a small road by the Canoe Lake becomes "The Ocean at the End of the" Lane. It points at the Atlantic Ocean -- or at least at the English Channel...  (
Baffled, undoubtedly, but proud nonetheless.






Labels:  signing as much as I can, The naming of lanes, Touring, San Diego Comic Con, The Ocean At The End of the Lane

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Published on August 05, 2013 21:36 • 3,157 views

June 17, 2013

posted by Neil Gaiman


I've been stumbling across the UK, although mostly in and out of the BBC. I spent a day at the Guardian offices, editing their book website. (Here's a video: http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/video/2013/jun/17/neil-gaiman-guardian-books-video).

My favourite thing was talking about Richard Dadd's painting, The Fairy Feller's Master Stroke, with Mark Lawson for Radio 4's Cultural Exchange. Check it all out at http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p016p5mb/profiles/neil-gaiman
(The BBC have put up some wonderful stuff to go with it, ranging from Angela Carter to Freddie Mercury.)

You can also just click here:


One reason I picked the Dadd was that I'd just been spending time at the Tate in company with the painting, for Intelligent Life magazine.


You can read what I wrote at http://moreintelligentlife.com/content/arts/anonymous/gaiman?page=full

There's a great feature by Lev Grossman in this week's TIME Magazine. It's only for subscribers: Here's the opening: http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,2145490,00.html

Today THE OCEAN AT THE END OF THE LANE comes out officially. I will get up in a few hours and fly to New York for the Brooklyn signing.

(You can come and see me, listen to me talk and do a reading, possibly with some special guests, and you can say hello and get a book signed at 7 p.m., Howard Gilman Opera House, Brooklyn Academy of Music, 30 Lafayette Avenue, at Ashland Place, Fort Greene, Brooklyn, (718) 636-4100, bam.org;greenlightbookstore.com; $45 and $55, which includes a copy of the book.)

We have so many articles out there, and so many reviews:

http://www.startribune.com/entertainment/books/211547701.html by William Alexander is my favourite, because it tells you nothing about the plot and everything about what it feels like reading the book. But there are lots of other good ones. (I'm sure I will miss a lot.)

Here's the Washington Post:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/entertainment/books/neil-gaimans-beautifully-crafted-ocean-at-the-end-of-the-lane-marks-a-happy-return/2013/06/16/23db3890-d2ae-11e2-9f1a-1a7cdee20287_story.html

Laura Miller at Salon.com
http://www.salon.com/2013/06/16/the_ocean_at_the_end_of_the_lane_neil_gaiman_returns/

Carole Barrowman at the Journal Sentinel
http://www.jsonline.com/entertainment/books/gaimans-new-book-a-beautiful-collision-of-memory-mortality-b9928190z1-211575211.html

James Lovegrove at the Financial Times http://www.ft.com/cms/s/2/fa4ffac4-d28a-11e2-88ed-00144feab7de.html#axzz2WL41tJul

The Atlantic Monthly
http://www.theatlanticwire.com/entertainment/2013/06/why-you-should-finally-read-neil-gaiman/66244/


and a really lovely but slightly spoilery NPR review: http://www.npr.org/2013/06/17/191346480/a-deceptively-simple-tale-of-magic-and-peril-in-ocean


Here's the LA Times


with a longer story at http://www.latimes.com/features/books/jacketcopy/la-ca-jc-neil-gaiman-ocean-at-the-end-of-the-lane-20130616,0,518593.story



CANADA DATES, FINALLY...


August 6, 2013

Location: Toronto, ONTuesday, August 6, 6:30 PM
Presented by Indigo Books & Music
WHERE:Danforth Music Hall147 Danforth AvenueToronto, ON M4K 1N2
TICKETS:http://www.ticketmaster.ca/event/10004ACBC0AAAA0E$20 plus tax and service fees
Twitter: @indigogreenroomFacebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/560263064025483/Website: http://www.chapters.indigo.ca
***
August 7, 2013
An Evening with Neil Gaiman
Location: Montreal, QCWednesday, August 7, 7 PM
Presented by Librairie Drawn & Quarterly Bookstore
WHERE:Ukrainian Federation Hall5213 Hutchison StreetMontreal, QC H2X 2H3
TICKETS:Available in store – Librairie Drawn & Quarterly Bookstore, 211 Bernard Ouest$10 with $5 off THE OCEAN AT THE END OF THE LANE with ticket purchase.
Twitter: @librairiedandqFacebook: https://www.facebook.com/LibrairieDandQWebsite: http://211blog.drawnandquarterly.com/
***
August 8, 2013
An Evening with Neil Gaiman
Location: Vancouver, BCThursday, August 8, 6:30 PM
Presented by Vancouver Writers FestBook sales by Kidsbooks
WHERE:The Vogue Theatre918 Granville StreetVancouver, BC V6Z 1L2
TICKETS:Online: http://northerntickets.com/events/neil-gaiman/Phone: 604.569.1144In Person: 918 Granville Street$21 adults $19 students (with ID) and seniors plus service charges. General admission.
Twitter: @vanwritersfestFacebook: https://www.facebook.com/VanWritersFestWebsite: www.writersfest.bc.ca



Labels:  blame Canada, Richard Dadd, The Ocean At The End of the Lane

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Published on June 17, 2013 18:05 • 2,401 views

June 10, 2013

posted by Neil Gaiman

So much is happening. The tour machine has started to grind and whirr, and I have packed as much as I can of my life into a wheelie suitcase and a backpack, climbed onto a train, and I will not be home for a month and two days, and the tour proper, which starts tomorrow, does not end now until the very end of August. I will be on planes and I will be on a tourbus and I will sleep in hotels. I will see Amanda again at the end of July for about 8 days between getting back from San Diego Comic Con and going off to sign in Canada, and then again  for a few days at the end of September as she returns from Australia before we both go in different directions again.

I'm going to try and use this blog more, as a journal and as a place you can find out what's going on.

The Ocean at the End of the Lane comes out in a week. I am more nervous about this than I have been about any book I have ever published.

The Guardian has just posted the Prologue online: http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2013/jun/10/extract-ocean-end-lane-neil-gaiman

So many articles, so many interviews, so many reviews. You are not expected to read them all. Even I am not expected to read them all.

The reviews I'm liking best are ones like this one from PopMatters that tells you nothing about what happens in the book and everything about what it felt like to read the book: http://www.popmatters.com/pm/review/172252-the-ocean-at-the-end-of-the-lane-by-neil-gaiman/

Put simply, The Ocean at the End of the Lane is the best-written book of Gaiman’s career. It features a level of craftsmanship, focus, and control that we normally associate more with literary fiction than genre. The book is focused, lyrical, and profoundly perceptive in its exploration of childhood and memory, and it’s also quite frightening—like one of Truman Capote’s holiday stories by way of Stephen King.

The same goes for this Den of Geek review: http://www.denofgeek.com/books-comics/neil-gaiman/25898/neil-gaimans-the-ocean-at-the-end-of-the-lane-review

Is it, like Coraline or The Graveyard Book, suitable for children? It’s not being marketed as such. Reading some of the more nightmarish scenes, and the act of domestic abuse that lodges horribly in the novel’s throat like a silver shilling might (coins are a Gaiman staple and make a reappearance here), it’s easy to see why.
 If it’s not just for adults, and not quite for children, there is one age-flexible group it is written for. An obtuse thing to say about a book it may be, but The Ocean at the End of the Lane was written for readers. It’s for people to whom books were and are anaesthesia, companion, and tutor. If you’re one of them, you’ll want to wade into it, past your ankles, knees and shoulders, until it laps over the crown of your head. You’ll want to dive in.

This is an interview with me, about the book, by Joe Hill. If you wish to be completely unspoilered, bookmark it and then come back to it when you have read the book. It ends with a pancake recipe, which is a first for  me and interviews. http://www.omnivoracious.com/2013/06/uncharted-waters-joe-hill-explores-neil-gaimans-the-ocean-at-the-end-of-the-lane.html

So now here is The Ocean at the End of the Lane--an overpowering work of the imagination, a quietly devastating masterpiece, and Gaiman's most personal novel to date. I had a chance to talk to him about it. Here are some things we said:

Interviews:  a lovely interview with Tim Martin in the Telegraph: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/books/10091579/Neil-Gaiman-I-wanted-to-write-my-wife-a-story.html

The result is the most affecting book Gaiman has written, a novel whose intensity of real-world observation and feeling make its other-worldly episodes doubly startling and persuasive. “There are a few things I do in Ocean which technically are the hardest things I’ve ever done,” he acknowledges, “and I don’t think I could have pulled them off 10 years ago.” But even for a novelist with such a Midas touch, approaching his publishers with it was, he says, a heart-in-mouth affair. “It went in with an apologetic note saying ‘It’s small and personal, it’ll be OK if you guys don’t want to do it,” he laughs. “I definitely wasn’t going ‘I’ve written my best book!’”



And here's an interview, more about the year than the book, in the Independent by David Barnett: http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/books/features/neil-gaiman-interview-the-year-of-living-crazily-8650672.html

There are very adult themes in Ocean, which are obvious to the reader but which go over the head of the main character. Given his reputation as a children's author, is he at all concerned that younger readers might want to give Ocean a go?
"It isn't a children's book but some younger readers might think they're ready for it. That's why I started the book off with a couple of really dry chapters. It's like, if you've made it this far, then you might be ready for the rest of it." He smiles and holds a hand up high, palm downwards. "You have to be this tall to go on this ride."

...

The tour starts in the UK with two pre-publication signings: Bath on June 14th: http://www.toppingbooks.co.uk/events/bath/neil-gaiman/ for tickets and info (it just moved to a bigger Venue, The Forum).

Cambridge on Saturday June 15th at 8 pm: Tickets via Heffers http://www.neilgaiman.com/where/details.php?id=155

The Royal Society of Literature event on the night of the 17th in London is Sold Out.

Then on the morning of the 18th, I fly back to the US, and the tour kicks off with BROOKLYN! It's 7pm at the Howard Gilman Opera House. There may be special guests too. I will sign for EVERYBODY THERE.  Ticket info at http://www.bam.org/literary/2013/neil-gaiman

More information on the rest of the tour (except for Canada and some of the August UK things that haven't yet been announced) over at http://www.neilgaiman.com/where/. It's not up-to-date on sold-out events though: New York, Washington DC, Atlanta, Phoenix, SF, Portland, Seattle, Chicago and Lexington are all sold out.

Right. Back to work. Back to reality.

(Also, we picked a hashtag for Twitter: it's #OceanLane.)




Labels:  early reviews of The Ocean at the End of the Lane, The Ocean At The End of the Lane, in which our author is very nervous

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Published on June 10, 2013 12:56 • 1,726 views

June 9, 2013

posted by Neil Gaiman

I should be blogging about The Ocean at the End of the Lane, because it comes out in 9 days and the reviews and articles are starting, and right this minute I should be doing the writing I have to finish before I hit the road.

But I just learned that Iain Banks is dead, and I'm alone in this house, and I cope with things by writing about them.



I met Iain in late 1983 or early 1984. It was a Macmillan/Futura Books presentation to their sales force, and to a handful of journalists. I was one of the journalists. Editor Richard Evans told me that he was proud that they had found The Wasp Factory on the slush pile -- it was an unsolicited manuscript. Iain was almost 30, and he got up and told stories about writing books, and sending them in to publishers, and how they came back, and how this one didn't come back. "You ask me what's The Wasp Factory about?" he said. "It's about 180 pages." He was brilliant and funny and smart.

He fitted right in. He was one of us, whatever that meant. He wrote really good books: The Wasp Factory, Walking on Glass and The Bridge all existed on the uneasy intersection of SF, Fantasy and mainstream literature (after those three he started drawing clearer distinctions between his SF and his mainstream work, not least by becoming Iain M. Banks in his SF). His work was mordant, surreal, and fiercely intelligent. In person, he was funny and cheerful and always easy to talk to. He became a convention bar friend, because we saw each other at conventions, and we would settle down in the bar and catch up. (A true story: In 1987 I was at a small party at the Brighton WorldCon in the wee hours, at which it was discovered that some jewellery belonging to the sleeping owner of the suite had been stolen. The police were called. A few minutes after the police arrived, so did Iain, on the balcony of the Metropole hotel: he'd been climbing the building from the outside. The police had to be persuaded that this was a respectable author who liked climbing things from the outside and not an inept cat burglar returning to the scene of his crime.)

We were never good friends, mostly because we were never in the right places long enough. We were pleased to see each other. We ate together. We talked. We liked each other's work. We always figured we'd have more time.

The last time I saw Iain was in Edinburgh, in August 2011. Amanda and I had taken a big house for the duration of the festival, and on the night that she did a gig in Glasgow, I invited over a bunch of writers and a bunch of  actors and comedians who really liked writers. Because Iain was coming over and he had written Raw Spirit, a book about going around Scotland to find the perfect dram of whisky, I bought the most special and fancy bottle of whisky I could for the night, especially for him.

He arrived with a large bottle of red wine. "I don't really drink whisky any more," he admitted. "Not since the book." The ridiculously fancy bottle of whisky was tasted by everyone except Iain.



It was a fine and glorious night. There were fireworks, which didn't go off as expected, and the best conversation, and I was looking forward to repeating it this year.
In April I heard Iain had terminal cancer.
I didn't write to him. I froze. And then, a week later, with no warning, my friend Bob Morales died, and I was upset that I hadn't replied to Bob's last email, from a week or so before. So I replied to Bob's last email, although I knew he'd never read it. And then I wrote to Iain. I told him how much I'd loved knowing him, how much I'd enjoyed being his friend, even if we only saw each other in the flesh every few years.
I finished,
I think you're a brilliant and an honest writer, and much more importantly, because I've known lots of brilliant writers who were absolute arses, I think you're a really good bloke, and I've loved knowing you.
And he wrote back and said good, comforting, sensible things. Goodbyes are few enough, and we take them where we can.

I hoped that he'd get better. Or that he'd have time. He didn't. Hearing of his death hit me hard.

If you've never read any of his books, read one of his books. Then read another. Even the bad ones were good, and the good ones were astonishing.




Labels:  Iain Banks, absent friends, Iain M Banks

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Published on June 09, 2013 11:22 • 1,570 views