Before I begin, I want to apologize for the crappy photo. I had a much better view in person; unfortunately that didn’t translate on my iphone. I had to lean to my left the entire time. :( I’m a tiny thing and of course a gigantically tall man had the seat right in front of me. Also: pole.
After years and years of failed attempts, Pittsburgh finally managed to coerce Neil Gaiman into a visit. Naturally I immediately let at the chance to buy tickets. Sadly by the time I went to buy mine, all the meet-and-greet tickets had been sold.
The official title of the event was An Evening with Neil Gaiman & Stardust, since Stardust celebrates its fifteenth (!!) anniversary. Guys, I have a confession to make. Stardust isn’t one of my favorite Gaiman novels. It wasn’t bad (come on, this is Neil we’re talking about), but I was used to the darker stories: American Gods, Neverwhere, even Sandman. However, after hearing Neil speak, I have a completely different outlook and have an incredible urge to reread it.
The entire lecture lasted 1.5 hours, including the Q&A portion. I wish I could ramble on about every little thing he said – he was hilarious – but a sad, little bullet list will have to suffice.
Things Neil Discussed
‣ The origins of Stardust
It was right after Neil (& illustrator Charles Vess) won an award for A Midsummer Night’s Dream. (Haha, he told us the award is a ridiculously ugly silver H. P. Lovecraft head & years later a friend made a little bowler hat for it.) While Charles attended all the parties that night, Neil went for a walk in the desert when he saw a falling star. He said whereas other folks might look at it and see a meteorite, Neil looked at this star and saw a girl with a broken leg. Thus Stardust was born.
‣ His regret over not thinking to put Robert De Niro in drag in the book.
‣ Doctor Who.
Of course! You didn’t think we’d actually let him get out of there without telling us about his new DW episode, did you? We bullied a few details out of him, but Neil asked for the 2,000 people in the audience to keep it a secret, so I’m not going to say much other than it’ll be AWESOME and the Cybermen are going to be scary once again.
‣ NEW BOOK!!!
At the very end Neil read us a bit from his new book, The Ocean at the End of the Lane and it was wonderful. It’ll be out June 18, so mark your calendars, boys & girls! Neil told us this was a really personal novel for him, since the characters for this story had been in his head since he was 8. He also told us the original title was changed because no one could remember it and he didn’t want people going into bookstores for years to come and ask for a book with a blue cover. ♥ Bless you, Mr. Gaiman. It was as though he saw my job through my eyes. I deal with this on a daily basis. Yay for easy titles!
‣ The Day the Saucers Came
At the very, very end, Neil left us with a reading of his poem The Day the Saucers Came. Sadly I didn’t record it, but here’s a link to a reading he did Somewhere Else.
I know I’ve left out a ton of wonderful things (like the Morpheus that was sitting a few seats away!) and I’ll be kicking myself for it later. Just now that, even though I couldn’t meet him, the night was still fantastic and I wish it would have lasted much, MUCH longer.
I’ll leave you guys with this video. It was during the Q&A and Neil talks about how to find magic and adventure: