Dear Neil, thought this might be useful in response to khaizarin's question: Mary Roach mentions the University of Tennessee's Forensic Anthropology Center in her book Stiff. Their entire purpose is to study human decomposition. (And yes I'm a librarian and Neil is 100% correct about the weird questions. And the unsettling smiles.)
Hey Neil. First off you're an incredible writer. Anansi boys and stardust are absolutely amazing stories. I just started good omens and I can't help but think that Kevin smith got some of his inspiration for dogma from this book. Similar undertones of impending apocalyptic doom and dry sarcastic wit. Just a thought I had. What do you think? I have a picture in mind of Kevin reading this and laughing while thinking how he could turn this into a movie. Anyways, thanks for all you do. Keep it up!!!
Look carefully at the Thank Yous at the end of Dogma, next time you watch it.
I believe you may have answered this question before, but I can't seem to find it in your archive. What would you say to someone who keeps starting stories, but doesn't finish them? They generally start to get frustrated with themselves and beat themselves up, because they don't finish any of the stories.
I’d say, either make yourself finish the stories, or stop writing and do other things for a while.
I've read a lot of your books & have loved some more than others. American Gods fell somewhere in the middle. I read it at a bad time & do think that played a factor, but also just don't think it was meant to be my favorite. I get SO MUCH criticism for this opinion, most of it fairly condescending as it's such an intelligent book. I read everything from Lemony Snicket to Shakespeare, so I find this offensive. Do you have any thoughts on how to handle this without just telling these people off?
You like what you like. Nobody can tell you to like something that you don’t, or not to like something you do — or if they do, it’s not going to change anything in your head, no more than they can be made to like or dislike garlic or lobster or chocolate or olives or natto by you telling them to change their minds.
I don’t expect everyone to love everything I write. I don’t think that if you like something I write you’ll like the next thing, any more than I love everything that the people whose work I enjoy do.
There are Dickens novels I think as good as anything anyone’s ever done, and Dickens books I will be very happy never to read again or think of again. I’m happy to know that my judgment is subjective, but then, that’s the whole point of having a point of view.
I published AMERICAN GODS after STARDUST, and most of the people who loved STARDUST did not love AMERICAN GODS, and the people who loved AMERICAN GODS and picked up STARDUST next were often very disappointed indeed. And I am proud of both of them, as I am of all my art-children…
Messy. I worry that for the Scots, the YES vote has become essentially a gigantic Vote of No Confidence in Westminster and the Westminster Party system, which I share. As someone who has a house in Scotland, lives in Scotland when he can, and adopted his wife’s clan name as his middle name when we married, I hope that, in the case of a YES vote, life in Scotland continues to be as good or better than it is right now; and that in the case of a NO vote, the fractures between people of different opinions heal rapidly and that Westminster’s recent offers of concessions to Scotland are real.
I don’t get a vote, which is a good thing, as I’d probably be a Don’t Know until I got to the ballot box, and would then choose based on a hundred different reasons, including how much I disliked any particular politicians and whether the sun was shining that day and whether I was particularly missing Iain Banks.
So, can you talk about your process for making movies while being blind? What kind of a camera do you use?
I try to create films from my perspective. I like to do most of the work, I write my own stuff, direct, film and edit. I’m interested in films that are from my perspective specifically since it’s different than so many peoples. I’m interested mostly in independent work, I can work with other people but my visions are always very clear and I want to create them within my own means. I do have trouble getting things in focus on a camera to be perfectly honest but as long as I’m creating something that is beautiful to me then I’m sure someone else can find it beautiful. I love composing shots and I tend to put the camera in a place where sighted people wouldn’t necessarily put it.
I could go on for days about the content of my films but mostly I like making films that feature the less featured people of this world. I’m less interested in the average and overdone heroes, I like complicated stories about people who are more realistic and less represented. I want everyone to see themselves in my films but especially people who never get to see themselves so blatantly. I know I never saw a young blind girl in film, I want everyone to have a chance to see someone with their unique struggles.
As for cameras, I tend to use the different cameras provided for different classes at my University. Each class has a different camera available to students, so I’ve gotten to use a Sony EA50, NEX-FS100, PMW-EX1 and a Panasonic HMC150. When I’m not making something for a course I just use a Canon T3i since it’s a lot cheaper.
Hello! It was nice to find your tumblr. Since the start of this year I'm gradually losing my vision, but no doctor knows the reason yet. Well, I know you must have been asked about this tons of times, but what caused your impairment? And what course are you taking on university?
No doctor was able to diagnose me for ten years of my life. I have a disease called Stargardt’s disease. It’s pretty uncommon (1 in 10,000 Americans have it) and hard to diagnose. It’s a form of macular degeneration that appears in young children which is quite rare.
There is so little help for people without a diagnosis and that can be extremely difficult when young. I had to live like a sighted person for so many years and was expected to do so much that I couldn’t do.
If you (or anyone on here) ever have any worries about going blind with or without a diagnosis please message me and I can privately or publicly answer any questions you have. It’s a difficult thing to live through and I wish that I had more support even now.
Also I study Film at UC Santa Cruz. So there you go, I’m loosing my eyesight and I’m still getting A’s in all of my film production classes (making movies is my concentration in my major and also my favorite thing in the world). I love making films so much and though people have told me it’s not the best choice for me, all the support and respect for my art was what really stuck.
Just because we can’t see doesn’t mean we can’t thrive. I’d love to hear more of your accounts of going blind. If you send me stories I’ll post them here on the blog.
Dear Mr. Gaiman. I'm an aspiring writer looking to be the best author I can be, and because of that, I try to research the things I write about so I know everything there is to know about it. However, the current project I'm writing is proving to be challenging. In fact, I need to talk to a coroner, to research the decaying of a human body and any means of which to slow it down. Do you have a suggestion as to how I can contact someone willing to talk to me, despite me sounding totally insane?
All research enquiries sound insane. Sometimes, as when you are squodging through a sewage tunnel researching Neverwhere, they seem insane to you too.
When I needed to write an autopsy in AMERICAN GODS I called my family doctor, and he turned out to have been the county prosector, and we spent a couple of hours on the phone with him answering all my questions, even the stupid ones. (“Why do you have to put the organs back in the same order you took them out?” “Because otherwise they won’t fit.” “Oh.”)
There are a LOT of books about death, dying and what happens to bodies post mortem, that you could use too. Check your library. Talk to your librarians. In my experience, they like the weird requests.*
*do not stare at them in an unsettling way while you ask, though. Try to smile, unless you have an unsettling smile.
Hi Neil! Since it's 18 years, I wanted to tell you that Neverwhere is a huge part of the reason I love to read. I had a very hard time learning to read as a kid. It caused me so much frustration that I refused to read anything I wasn't assigned. When I was 15, my mom convinced me to read Neverwhere. It's the first book I ever read that was worth the frustration, and now I can't ever stop reading! I still read slowly but it's brought me so much joy and comfort in life.I'm thankful for Neverwhere!
This week we’ve welcomed a book-shaped bench to Guardian Towers, illustrated by Chris Riddell and dedicated to Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere as voted for by our readers. Come see it before 3 October at the Guardian in King’s Place, London – Here we reveal the inside story of the bench, from Chris Riddell’s sketches to arrival on the streets of London where it had two celebrity visitors
I work as an editor and knew a LOT of living authors, some of them quite successful. If any of your followers ask about things for their homework where they need living authors, you can direct them to me. I work with most genres and mostly horror. I'm always happy to help, and most of the authors that I work with are happy to talk about their work with people.
(I’m going to post this here, and not actually individually send all the homework requests to you.)
I like having the ask box on the tumblr. On a good day I’ll probably answer two or three asks. On a bad week I probably won’t get time to answer any. And every day about fifty or sixty asks come in. More, if I just answered a cluster.
Most of them are really nice. And most of the people sending them in know that the odds are against me ever answering them, and that’s just the way it is.
(The odds are especially low if you are asking something I’ve answered already, and even lower than that if I answered it yesterday.)
But some of the people sending in asks are starting to get pushy, or whiny, or grumbly about me not answering, or they are taking it personally, or flooding the ask box, or writing really long messages split over a dozen boxes. And lots of them are starting to ask for things: will I read your book, or conduct your wedding, or call your beloved and tell her you want to marry her, or draw you something to be tattooed, or be interviewed, or do your homework because you have to get a reply from a living author or you’ll fail the course and please reply privately before 6 pm…
Which is of course your right.
I like things as they are right now. I like that Tumblr doesn’t feel like work, and it’s relatively guilt free. I treat the asks like I treat my Twitter feed - hundreds of them flow past, and here and there I answer, depending on auctorial whim, and what I happen to be doing at that moment.
You’re more likely to get a question answered if it’s relatively short, easily answerable, and you can’t simply find the reply by googling. I’ve probably answered every possible variant of what to do if you have writer’s block, or have lost interest in what you’re writing, or you want to be a writer, or you don’t want to be a writer, here or on the blog at neilgaiman.com already. If that’s your question, I’m not ignoring you. I just hate repeating myself.
You’re less likely to get a reply if you ask something like “People say that a good writer should hate everything they’ve done but I like what I write is there something wrong with me?” because I don’t know how to answer a lot of these kind of things without sounding impatient and grumpy (In this case, “Don’t be an idiot,” would be the best possible reply, and it’s not one that will make the person getting it happier).
I quite like having an ask box. I do not want to make it go away.
It seemed like a good time to reblog this. (The unanswered asks in-box just hit 28,000.)
As long as you are happy with knowing that I will probably see what you sent (as long as it’s not the kind of crazy day when a few hundred asks come in as Tumblr doesn’t really seem set up for dealing with anything but the most recent dozen or so things) but that the odds are always against you getting an answer, this thing will keep working.
Hello, I am getting excited for Halloween and want to read a horror anthology or two. I feel like you are the perfect person to ask. Do you have any recommendations?
Hmm. Alberto Manguel’s BLACK WATER anthology (it may be out of print, but there are copies around aplenty). Then Kirby McCauley’s DARK FORCES anthology (a 25th anniversary edition came out a few years ago). Both big, definitive and spooky. The Manguel is a nice look at horror/weird fiction over the years, the McCauley a terrific snapshot of most of the best writers we had thirty years ago.
…net neutrality is in jeopardy. Net Neutrality is the principle that says ISPs can’t discriminate between different types of traffic.
That means that…
…whether you’re a bedroom music producer, a couple on an amateur porn site, or just someone with a start up idea - you get access to the same users as Netflix, Facebook or Amazon. On the Internet, anyone can succeed.
…America’s ISPs wanna set up a pay-for-play system where rich companies pay extra to get to those users first.
If this happens…
…instead of a wonderful playground if innovation that it is now, the Internet will become like cable TV where you can only get stuff that’s been pre-approved by a bunch of old rich guys.
Ten years from now…
…your Internet bill could be a bigger “fustercluck” than your cable bill.
Now, you might be thinking…
…isn’t the government supposed to protect me from fragrant doucheholery like this?
…the former chairman of the FCC (government agency that’s SUPPOSED to protect you) is now the cable industry’s head lobbyist. And another former cable industry lobbyist is now the CURRENT head of the FCC.
…we can’t trust the FCC to make the right decision on their own. That’s why WE need to protect the Internet we love. The chaotic, AWESOME, often quite weird, place where literally everyone’s voice can be heard.
In a few months…
…the FCC will approve this festering soal of proposal unless we speak up. The Internet is one of the few places where human voices speak louder than money. So while that’s still the case, let’s use those voices. Go to DEARFCC.ORG and tell them to protect Net Neutrality. Thanks for doing your part to protect the Internet.
Hey, Sir, I was wondering if you ever considered collaborating with Terry Gilliam? I feel as if your sensibilities would line up nicely. Just a thought. Post Script: I'm in the middle of American Gods and it is delightful. Keep up the good work, for all our sakes. -T
Terry and I have been failing to collaborate now for 25 years. Not for vague want of trying though.
or..What causes one image to grip the imagination as opposed to those that don’t? This is a pragmatic talk by Rick on how to foment creative production for any enterprise requiring original vision. All are welcome. MIT Johnson Athletic Center / THIS SATURDAY, Sept 13 3:45pm RM 2 Register @ BostonFIG.com
LET ART THINK Talk by Rick Berry at Boston Festival of Indie Games
If you are in the Boston area, go and listen to Rick. Trust me on this. You can thank me afterwards.
“People always look for excuses. My favorite one is, “Well that’s easy for you because you have a really popular blog.” As if my really popular blog was something I won in the lottery. I had a really unpopular blog for three years in a row where 10 or 20 people were reading it. When I got started in the book business, I received 900 rejection letters. So you don’t look at the end result — at the Richard Bransons and Maria Popovas — and say, “Well they have that thing that I don’t.” They got that thing by showing up. I am really focused on helping people understand that not showing up is a failure of will more than it is a failure of birth.”—
Excerpt from an interview with Seth Godin in the 10th anniversary issue of the wonderful Australian creative culture magazine Dumbo Feather.
I’m occasionally baffled when young writers ask me for advice, and I give it, and then I see comments that say that none of my advice applies because I’m a best-selling author. As if I had spent my whole life as a best-selling author, and had never been anything else…
Hey, Neil!I wondered why many of your works are not in Spanish, when ever that publishers (Norma, Planeta...) publish some of them, your fans (include myself) we bought and consumed VERY quickly. For example, not long ago I read online (only way to enjoy your works, I'm so sorry) the work of Neverwhere, which I LOVED. But any comicbook publisher in the Spanish have to buy it. And again, it's not for lack of fans or buyers.... And excuse my bad English, but I hope you have understood.A big hug.
In his best-selling novel Ready Player One, Ernest Cline predicted that decades from now, Doctorow (Homeland, 2013, etc.) should share the presidency of the Internet with actor Wil Wheaton. Consider this manifesto to be Doctorow’s qualifications for the job.
The author provides a guide to the operation of the Internet that not only makes sense, but is also written for general readers. Using straightforward language and clear analogies, Doctorow breaks down the complex issues and tangled arguments surrounding technology, commerce, copyright, intellectual property, crowd funding, privacy and value—not to mention the tricky situation of becoming “Internet Famous.” Following a characteristically thoughtful introduction by novelist Neil Gaiman, rock star Amanda Palmer offers a blunt summary of today’s world: “We are a new generation of artists, makers, supporters, and consumers who believe that the old system through which we exchanged content and money is dead. Not dying: dead.” So the primary thesis of the book becomes a question of, where do we go from here? Identifying the Web’s constituents as creators, investors, intermediaries and audiences is just the first smart move. Doctorow also files his forthright, tactically savvy arguments under three “laws,” the most important of which has been well-broadcast: “Any time someone puts a lock on something that belongs to you and won’t give you the key, that lock isn’t there for your benefit.”