I went out to lunch with my editor and publisher at Bloomsbury books, talking about next year’s FORTUNATELY, THE MILK (the silliest book I’ve ever written. Also the timey-wimiest. Also it has a bit with dinosaurs on a space ship, although was written long long before Doctor Who put dinosaurs on a space ship, and was actually vaguely inspired by a line about dinosaurs in a space ship I put in Good Omens, long long long ago). The English edition will be illustrated by an English illustrator, the American by an American. I vaguely hope this will continue to hold true all around the world….
After lunch I looked at my phone, and learned that Philip Pullman had gone to hospital, and that the Cambridge Theatre would now be me and someone else.
In the end the part of Philip Pullman was played by three other people: author Meg Rosoff, interviewer and moderator Rosie Boycott, and (special guest Philip Pullman) Audrey Niffenegger, who read “The Three Snake Leaves” from Philip’s Grimm Tales. I finished the evening by reading “Click-Clack the Rattlebag” to everyone, and telling them they could get it free from Audible. Then I did a signing, which was one of the mad kind, because there were many hundreds of people to sign for before the theatre closed. Did it all, stumbled away, hugged friends, ate dinner, bumped into more friends (including special surprise what-the-hell-are-you-doing-here friends Margaret Cho and Andrew O’Neill), and got home knackered but happy, throat sore from talking too much.
The housemouse that’s living in the place I’m staying has ignored all the humane traps I put down and instead ate most of a probar and an entire packet of airplane peanuts from inside my jacket pockets. It is wiser than I am, at least in the ways of mice and men.
I went to see Arthur Darvill and a wonderful cast inOur Boys at the Duchess Theatre. Funny, sad, moving, relevant — and playing to a house that seemed about half full, which seemed wrong. (Arthur has promised me music.) If you’re in London, go and see it.
(I wonder why I can’t easily embed audio into Blogger any longer. I spend too much time on Tumblr, and then I come back to Blogger, and miss the simple easy Tumblr functionality.)
SO FAR “Click-Clack The Rattlebag”, the free audible download, has raised about $31,000 via the US website for Donor’s Choose, and about £5,700 via the UK website for Booktrust.
There’s been a fair amount of confusion and problems with people signing into or signing up for Audible or getting it to play, for which apologies: I think the biggest problem with something like this is the speed with which it was put together, and I appreciate those of you who have made it work.
Sorry for being nosey, but is your relationship with Amanda purely monogamous? I've been an AFP fan for years, and it's still hard to believe she's married (albeit, easy to believe it's with you). Either way, cheers to your happy and healthy relationship, lord knows you both deserve it!
Hiya Neil, I've been following the Coraline readings on Mousecircus com, but suddenly I couldn't so much as load the URL anymore. I was enjoying the wonderful people reading each chapter so much and now am stuck in limbo. Is this something to do with being in New Zealand? Or is there an issue at their end? I know you aren't the tech person for the site, but I can't get onto it to find out who else to email. Thanks for your time.
I checked and the server is hosted in New York, and a lot of New York is without power right now. So I think it may be a few days before it’s back up.
What leads a person to do such a thing, which his critics have likened to shouting “fire” in a crowded movie theater? It’s unclear. But perhaps it has something to do with the nature of anonymity. If there are no consequences for posting false “BREAKING” news, there’s an incentive to do it to an accumulate a large audience.
What @comfortablysmug didn’t count on, apparently, was losing that anonymity. Based on photos he censored and posted to the account but I found unedited elsewhere, @comfortablysmug is Shashank Tripathi, a hedge-fund analyst and the campaign manager of Christopher R. Wight, this year’s Republican candidate for the U.S. House from New York’s 12th congressional district.
FEC documents show Wight has paid Tripathi thousands of dollars this election cycle as a “consultant.” @comfortablysmug has been a vocal supporter of Mitt Romney and posted tweets suggesting he attended this year’s Republican convention. He’s listed here by a local Republican group coordinating volunteers for a Romney phone bank. He’s 29 years old.
For years, he’s been a prolific commenter at NYmag.com and a popular conservative presence on Twitter. In 2008, he penned an entry for the site’s popular sex diary feature that “detailed a week of obsession, rough sex, and Ambien.”
A year later, they interviewed him. Tripathi, appearing with the same censored face that shows up in Twitter photos, said he was “not as blatantly an asshole in person” but still has “asshole tendencies.” He credits Adderall with his skill at writing so many provocative comments.
When I called Tripathi and introduced myself, he immediately hung up. @comfortablysmug did not respond to a DM request for comment. Wight could not immediately be reached for comment. Jordan Terry, founder of hedge fund consultancy Stone Street Partners, whose blog @comfortablysmug links to in his Twitter profile, said “Smug” no longer writes for the blog, but Terry had “otherwise no comment” on Tripathi.
Since the controversy last night, @comfortablysmug has not tweeted.
Disclaimer: this is, in fact, not a photo of me reading Neil Gaiman in the bath, but a photo of me listening to Neil Gaiman in the bath. My apologies to anyone who objects to this violation of the nonexistent rules. I also go on for a bit below, in encouragement to anyone dithering over downloading the story before Halloween. Also, almost-spoilers below the break. Not quite. But almost. You should read it anyway. It might help if you’ve been scared.
Hello Mr. Gaiman, I don’t know if you covered this before so I’ll ask it anyway. I read somewhere that your Doctor Who episode The Doctor’s Wife was originally written for use during the reign of the Tenth Doctor but ended up getting postponed and rewritten to accommodate the Eleventh Doctor. If this is true what were the significant changes you had to make to the script and what were some of the original things that were supposed to take place with a different Doctor and companions?
No, that’s not true. I started writing it before Matt had been cast as the Doctor, and before Karen had been cast as Amy, but they were still the leads.
Selected Shorts: Happy Halloween from Edgar Allan Poe & Neil Gaiman
Here on the shores of Gowanus, Brooklyn, we are all awaiting the arrival of hurricane Sandy, wondering how many dead bodies may wash up on our doorstep when the canal overflows. It all feels appropriate for Halloween, somehow, and makes me wonder what kind of wild tale Edgar Allan Poe might have penned if he lived next to a superfund site. Poe has been on my mind for a few weeks, ever since I had the great pleasure of spending an afternoon with Neil Gaiman talking about his work. We covered three famous pieces by the master of the macabre, all featured on this week’s special Halloween edition of Selected Shorts:“The Tell-Tale Heart” (read by Terrence Mann), “The Black Cat” and “The Raven” (both read by Rene Auberjonois). Neil Gaiman is a fearless explorer of the dark side, intelligent and witty, with an imagination just as wild as Poe’s. It was a treat to get his insight into these wonderful tales and to hear him talk about his own writing process. You can listen to the program at WNYC, on podcast at Selected Shorts, or on your local public radio station. For those wanting more, you can check out Neil Gaiman’s essay, entitled: “Some Strangeness in the Proportion: The Exquisite Beauties of Edgar Allan Poe,” or click below to listen to our extended interview, where Neil recites selections of Poe from memory, talks about the influence of the master on his own writing, and contemplates what would happen if Poe had made his famous raven a parrot. Happy Halloween!
Neil Gaiman on Poe, Parrots, Unreliable Narrators, and the magic of reading aloud:
I’ll be on the radio tomorrow with Philip Pullman. About 8:20 am UK time on the TODAY show, Radio 4. Subject to breaking news, American Frankenstorms, new revelations about which stars have been arrested for what, and subject to complete cancellation in the event of an alien invasion.
This is the account of one of my closest friends in the whole wide world. We’re trying to spread the word about her story, because this kind of thing happens much, much more often than anyone knows. It’s scary stuff, but please, spread the word. Show your friends, tell you family, especially those who are in college or college-bound. If you feel compelled to do so, then by all means tweet it, facebook-share it, re-blog it, but most especially: read it.
It’s strange: with the UK going through twists and angry self-inspection over the Jimmy Savile case (where a serial abuser appears to have got away with it for over 40 years on an almost unimaginable scale, because the power and fame disparities between himself and his victims meant that they were never taken seriously when they did have the guts to complain,) and after posting something like Neverwear’s account the other day, something like this leaves me fuming, but also puzzled that an institution would want things like this swept under the carpet. When the facts come out they cause more damage to the institution, and in the meantime it just causes more hurt to the victims.
I wanted to thank you for posting the link to Bold Moves October. Last night I finally told my family that I'm gay. (I've wanted to do this for over 10 years.) The inspiring stories you post, along with the advice to be yourself and live the life that makes you happy had a lot to do with my reveal. My family loves and fully supports me. I feel so much happier and more myself now. Thank you for the encouragement, support, and kind words you post each day; it really means the world to some of us.
I am on a long break between shows, but my theatre is locked and the greenroom is full of costumers and actors from the other shows, so I've gone to sit in a quiet corner, up some stairs and near a bank of windows that look out on the alley. It's a nice spot except, well, I thought I'd listen to Neil Gaiman's #AllHallowsRead story while I had some time and it's quiet. I don't scare easy and it's not dark or anything where I am. But now that it's done, I don't really feel like I want to get up and wander back through the empty halls. No I don't think I want to do that at all. Does somebody want to come and get me, maybe? I'll be right here waiting. Where it's light.
Hi, I had serious issues with audible too. I talked with a rep and they suggested that if you have downloaded the software and it is not recognizing the software is installed to go to the top right and hit account details. From there click the turn off software verification button. Download went perfectly after that. Hopefully that helps anyone that is stuck still. <3 Thanks for the new short.
It isn't true that if you download the book through Audible you must use their software to play it on your device. You can use iTunes alone and perfectly legally! When you download the file and import it into iTunes, it places it in the Books tab - right-click on the file, select Get Info, go to the Options tab and under "Media Type" change it from 'audiobook' to 'music'. This will allow it to sync to your device just like a song, sorted with "Neil Gaiman" as the artist. Listen away!
Two years ago Neil fucking Gaiman proposed that every year for Halloween people give each other scary books. This year the tradition becomes even more kickass, with Neil’s short storyClick-Clack the Rattlebagbeing given away for free at Audible.
And, for every download through Halloween up to $100,000, Audible will donate 1 dollar to the education charity DonorsChoose.org. How fucking Gaiman is that? Yes, I’m totally using Gaiman as a synonym for cool, now.
Now, I knew some people had troubles getting the file. Some people found it better to use the iTunes option, for others any non-pc option worked. To me nothing was working until I finally gave up and did what everyone was telling me not to. So, after one hour of trying every possible method I just gave up and downloaded/installed the PC version of Audible’s manager after “buying” (for zero euros) the audiofile from there with the login of my Amazon account. And then I went to the Audible app, clicked the “My Library Online” button, which prompted me for a login. Since I don’t have an account at Audible I inserted the one I use at Amazon and it worked. From then on it was smooth as a breeze. It let me download and listen to the file.
The catch? You really have to listen to it in Audible’s software, it seems.
Buuuuuuuuuuuut! it’s for a good cause, and it’s a short-story from Gaiman, narrated by himself. Come on! I don’t care if it take you all night till you get that download from Audible. Do eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeet! NOW! o/
Oh, and pro-tip: Do NOT. I repeat, do NOT listen to that story alone, at night, in your room. (You’re going to do exactly that, right? Atta boy/girl! ^^)
Also, mister fucking Gaiman, if you’re reading this: You’re awesome! I’m a fan since my readings of The Black Orchid and American Gods. I’m also a fan of Dr.Who and I totally did NOT see that coming in the Click-Clack the Rattlebag story. Shit. Fuck. Damn!
Where you aware Enrique Gomez de Molina plead guilty to illegally smuggling animals for use in his taxidermy? Some of the animals were endangered species and some were alive before being sent to him (and we can assume they were killed for his benefit). They are beautiful works of art but I feel a bit funny after reading how they came about - Huffington Post Miami 03/02/2012 - Artist Gomez De Molina Sentenced To Prison For Wildlife Smuggling. Where do you stand ethically on the issue?
I think you shouldn’t smuggle animals, and as a vegetarian I’m not actually big on killing on animals for food, let alone for art. I think the images I reblogged are beautiful, and that there is something strange and haunting and disturbing about the creation of Jenny Hanivers.
I just finished listening to Click-Clack the Rattlebag. That was brilliant! I've told all my friends to go and download a copy for themselves and to have a listen to it immediately! Beautifully written as always and great job at concealing the true horror of the story. I'm curious, have you narrated any other stories of yours?
The Graveyard Book, Neverwhere, Stardust, Fragile Things, Odd and the Frost Giants, Coraline, some shorter children’s stories (on The Neil Gaiman Audio Collection) and several others…
I am putting this under a read more, because it is fucking long. But here is the story of how I almost played on stage with Amanda Palmer, and joined a private Neil/Amanda cuddle puddle in her dressing room afterwards.
Sitting in the treehouse this morning, drinking tea with Neil-bee honey in it.
I didn’t really know how many people would see my post yesterday,
Was very lucky to have such a supporter in NG.
so many people are revealing to me their secret stories, steeped in societal shame, fearful of judgment, some have buried their past so far, now i know what Neil means by trigger alert. I read them all. I cried.
In my case, I was hurt by someone I didn’t know, had never seen, but the resulting shame was no less. The mental debates: “why couldn’t I fight?” “why did he pick me?” and even more confusing, “why would I get pregnant?”
I didn’t have a boyfriend at the time, wasn’t on any birth control, and was given the morning-after pill with a heavy dose of disapproval. The police were sure they had the guy and I knew they didn’t. He wasn’t in that line-up and they were very annoyed with me for not pinning it on the guy they liked. I will never forget that person’s face. He wasn’t there.
Yesterday I sat and made my comic book glass candy bars all afternoon, stopping every so often to read some more stories, notes of love and encouragement.
Modern therapy. It works.
My family came out in support, in such a way—so very grateful. People had known vaguely something “bad” had happened but never read it in my words. I was in San Diego, at the time and was very far away from my family on the east coast. I had a shattered kneecap, from a motorcycle accident, so I was already a wounded bird. Just a dumb kid, thinking she could do it all.
Each one of your stories was a puzzle piece back into my chipped-away spirit.
“He jests at scars that never felt a wound…” –WS.
That politicians are making this a debate, I am fearful for the future of our country. I can’t say voting will solve anything, i wish, i hope, but….it’s our right and our duty.
I was able to terminate my pregnancy, that mythical unicorn-story of pregnancy rape, to hear some tell it, and even back then, I had to go through counseling/group and I couldn’t face what really happened, even then, people cast a unbelieving eye.
So I lied. I told them what they were more comfortable hearing—conjured a fake boyfriend and played the too-young age card. I didn’t want to say, well the morning-after pill may just have made a monster mash out of the already-damaged DNA blend. As humans, we do put ourselves through the ringer, don’t we?
I was the lucky one to have heartfelt men in my life, my Dad, my brothers—and i would never ever retreat into a “men-are-bad” world. Men are one of the best inventions in the world. I adore them. Drew, my amazing Wookie-tall, Game of Thrones-looking husband, has saved me a million times, and he is the one that holds me when I wake up in the night, scared. He’s a roadie too, so we spend time apart and each time is a jewel-new meeting.
Now it’s time for me to give more back to these people reaching out, those who don’t have a light at the end of their tunnels yet.
I have always sent money to them, but now am going to go and volunteer with RAINN, Tori Amos’s survivor network.
I don’t know that tumblr is meant for this type of thing, but i guess i could only do it here, it felt safe.
Regarding the difficulty with Audible, do NOT download the one that is just for your computer. Use the download for one of the devices, like kindle or itunes. I was having a lot of trouble, too, until I used the itunes download, and now it works perfectly.