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The Engineer

The Life and Times of Donald F. Simmons

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Neil Gaiman

Completely forgot to say anything about the Neil Gaiman event last week. It was held at the Bloor St. United Church, and about 700 people attended. While we were all in line (myself near the end, as I wasn't going to try and get anything autographed) people kept walking by and asking what the line was for, and then not recognizing Neil's name.

Managed to get a decent seat up in the balcony, just avoiding a pillar. Space was taping the event, and we started off with a selection of video clips they had of Neil at various conventions. Neil did a reading from Anansi Boys, was interviewed about the book by Nalo Hopkinson, and did a Q&A hosted by Mark Askwith, using written questions submitted by the audience.

Like always, I much preferred hearing Neil speak about whatever came to mind than the reading itself (I can just get the book). High points:

Nalo was aghast that Neil writes in longhand in a journal these days instead of on a computer, making backups of backups like she does. Neil used to use a computer, but finds that he's more concise in longhand, if you alternate pens you can easily see how much you've written from day to day, and you get a complete first draft this way, instead of a constantly revised document.

Toronto is the only city where he's recognized by people in the street, thanks to Prisoners of Gravity.

Q: If you were a crayon, what color would you be? A: Brunt Umber

Q: What author's have influenced you? A: It turns out that C.S. Lewis has been a huge influence he didn't realize, because he's reading the Narnia books to his kids now and keeps stopping to think "I completely stole that!".

Good news: His years-old script of Beowulf looks like it'll be finally going into production. Bad News: It'll be directed by Robert Zemeckis, using the same motion-capture technique he used for Polar Express. Neil admitted that all parties involved just succumbed to the wheel barrels filled with money they were offered.

The presentation part ended at about 8:30ish, and Neil swore he was going to stay until everyone who wanted the book signed got an autograph. He figured he could do 100 people an hour, which means that Midnight was the absolutely earliest he left. They handed out numbered bracelets for the autograph lineup, but I heard from redeem147 that that system broke down really fast. I'm glad I got autographs out of my system years ago once I got both him and Terry Pratchett to autograph my Good Omens.