Last night, I was lucky enough to attend the DC event for Neil Gaiman‘s reading / signing tour for his brand-new novel,[amazon_link id=”B009NFHF0Q” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ] The Ocean at the End of the Lane[/amazon_link]. It was presented by the Politics & Prose bookstore, and was held at the GW Lisner Auditorium.
The first thing I can tell you was that the place was PACKED; just in case anyone was under the impression Neil had faded into the background, let me rectify that belief for you right now. There were 1000+ people, all carrying various works ranging from Sandman trades to Coraline, American Gods to Doctor Who shooting scripts. There was even a rather awesome, rather creepy Neil Gaiman Muppet, which he declined to pose with because he was “certain it would end up being some bizarre meme.”
That statement right there should tell you all you need to know about his personality, but I’ll throw in a few of my favorite parts as well. He discussed being bad with feelings, because he is both male and British; he revealed that working on Doctor Who was, in a word, “fun”; he told a charming tale about working with Harlan Ellison on a collaborative piece, which after many years and two writing sessions at conventions has been whittled down from five pages to a much more manageable three pages; and he lamented a lost short story that never saw completion because he was trying to write it in a journal a fan hand-made for him, only to discover that fountain pens and paper containing rose petals are incompatible.
He also did a reading from the novel, which was one of the most wonderful things I have ever experienced. Not wanting to only read the same first chapter during this entire tour, he instead read from the fourth chapter, which no one else had gotten to hear him do yet. Although, “read” is maybe not the correct word, since it was more akin to being told a story by someone who had been telling it for a long time, and yet never gotten bored with the telling. I can say that the experience left me even more convinced that he is just some aspect of Dream of the Endless; I mean, just look at the resemblance!
For those who are interested, the audiobook is actually read by Gaiman himself; after last night, I am certain I will find the time to experience it this way at some point. I gave the novel my full attention this afternoon, and am both pleased and saddened to say I have already finished it. A full review will be forthcoming this week, but I urge you to pick up a copy at the first opportunity. As for myself, I’m going to gets tarted on my favorite piece of advice from last night: When asked if he had anything useful to tell up-and-coming authors who wanted to make a living from it, his response was simply “Write things, and then sell them to people.”
Leave a Reply