Which Neil?

Pursuant to my earlier post about Neil Gaiman, many thanks to Mike Ross from my Creative Non-fiction class who tipped me off to this delightful Twitter exchange between a midwestern mum and Neil himself (@neilhimself). You see, she thought she was writing to Neil Patrick Harris. When NG politely replied that she had the wrong Neil, she wrote “Sorry, doll. What do you do?” Their conversation proves once again what a stunningly Nice Guy Neil Gaiman is.

Who Is Neil Gaiman?

I get that question a lot.

And my inner response is “you haven’t heard of Neil Gaiman? Where have you been for the past year or so?”

But then I realize that his rock-star status, his ubiquity, is almost entirely within a) the internet community, b) the sf-fantasy community, or c) the graphic-novel community, or d) geekdom. These realms intersect with each other but perhaps not with the “real” world all that much.

But if you’re a writer, or a reader, it’s hard to imagine that you haven’t heard of him. He’s won many major literary awards, he does promos for the American Library Association, he does endless readings and book signings. His face is on a lot of posters. He’s a rock star.

He’s also a good writer and has built a huge fanbase through strategic but curiously genuine-seeming use of social software. He has a lovely blog, where he writes about his dogs and his bees and his cats. And, oh, the series of posts he wrote when one of his cats was dying was beautiful. He’s also on Twitter: one of the top celebrity Twitterers. He has children whom he obviously adores. He is engaged to be married to the performance artist Amanda Palmer, and writes beautifully about her here. He seems like a really nice guy.

And in the world of graphic novels, he’s a god. Up there with Alan Moore as one of the most important and influential, with his series The Sandman and related works. He’s also written scripts and screenplays and been involved in many other creative undertakings. He’s a talented guy.

I wish more people I knew had heard of him.

Match It for Pratchett

Science fiction and fantasy fans were shocked by Terry Pratchett’s announcement recently that he’s suffering from a rare form of early onset Alzheimer’s.

Many of us have been touched personally by this disease. As we age, more and more of us will have to face it ourselves, or watch as people we love become strangers.

Wonderfully, Pratchett announced recently that he is donating half a million pounds, or about a million dollars, to Alzheimer’s research, and now we have a chance to help, too. Terry Pratchett’s fans have launched a challenge, to “match it for Pratchett,” and word is sweeping the blogosphere.

Help spread the word! Link back here, create your own message, donate to the organization in your country.
Gill Othen, a British English teacher and blogger, created the graphic below and would be happy if you copied it and used it. I’ve supplied links to major Alzheimer’s Research sites.

In the UK

In Canada

In the US

In Australia

Jane Austen’s World

In keeping with the current “Jane” trend, here is a lovely blog on all things Austen. Not only are the main entries fascinating in and of themselves – interviews with people connected with recent movies, explorations of daily life, in depth treatment of all kinds of fascinating topics – but if you explore the additional pages you’ll find a wealth of links to other material. Even the most fanatical Austen-ite must find this a satisfying “world” to visit.