I was looking through the list-of-things-I-had-planned-to-mention-here directory on my computer this week (photos, videos, bookmarks, etc) and am now thoroughly depressed. There's stuff going back years that I've neglected and I'm sure I will never get around to blathering on about any of it. But, that being said, I'm going to at least make an effort to mention a few of the things I found (and a few more recent things). I may unleash a barrage of drivel over the next few days as I try to catch up on my ranting. So to start us off, how about Neil Gaiman...
Neil Gaiman-ish stuff
I bought myself a birthday present this year - tickets to see Neil Gaiman speak on March 29 at the San Diego Civic Theater. This was the kind of thing that used to be much more personal (and free) in the old days before Neil became a rock star. In the olden days, Neil would do a book tour of signings at books stores and readings/question-answerings when he had a new book. Now, I guess we have to pay to hear him read from his books and answer questions (sent in advance of the tour) and not get books signed afterward. Admittedly, it was tough for someone as cheap as me to spend so much dough on tickets for a theater downtown (where I know I'd be paying for parking, too) to see Neil again. But I did it anyway.
All complaining aside, it was a nice night with Neil and 500 strangers. Neil read the entire Freya's Unusual Wedding story from Norse Mythology, read The October Tale from A Calendar of Tales and The Day the Saucers Came ( I think it was in Trigger Warning), told some fun stories about his childhood, Amanda Palmer, his new his family, and answered a bunch of questions submitted online (which led to many of the the aforementioned stories). He spoke briefly about Terry Pratchett and answered a question about what he misses most about Sir Terry (which was not having Terry there to share ideas with whenever he feels the urge). He also talked briefly about the upcoming American Gods TV series. He didn't mention the new American Gods comic adaptation, though he did briefly mention Sandman a couple of times.
The crowd was a little obnoxious at times (much less reserved than the book store events) and didn't quite fill the entire theater, but it was a pretty good-sized crowd. The entire event ran around an hour and a half. I brought a couple of books from the living room bookcase and a comic, hoping there would be a signing, but unless it happened after the event and away from the main crowds, there was no signing.
Speaking of Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman, here's a video clip of Neil speaking last April (2016) at a tribute to our badly missed Terry.
And here's Neil reading Green Eggs and Ham. Just because.
I didn't realize Neil's Norse Mythology had been sitting on the bestseller list for so long until Neil mentioned it that night. It seems strange that this - of all of his books - should achieve this milestone, because it's really not Neil's best work. I'm not saying that I didn't enjoy it, it just wasn't as good as any of his other stories. It reads as fiction written for a younger audience due to the simplicity of language used (probably an attempt to leave the original Norse myths mostly unchanged and unembellished). It's a very quick read, both length-wise and comprehensible-wise. All that said, it was an enjoyable read, if not really mentally stimulating.
Now back to the comic adaptation of American Gods mentioned briefly above. I picked up the first issue a couple of weeks after it came out and then waited a couple more weeks to read it (Neil didn't mention one word about this comic in his speaking engagement, though he did briefly mention Sandman). Not because the material wasn't intriguing (American Gods is a really good book), but because the comic book medium isn't nearly as appealing to me as it once was. That being said, I did finally read it and found it pretty well done. Not nearly as solid and engaging as the novel, but good. The upcoming TV series adaptation sounds like it may be even less true to the source (despite Neil's involvement - I suspect he's intentionally following in Douglas Adam's footsteps, creating a slightly different version of his stories in each medium). But back to the comic book - the art is good, but not amazing. It's not a fully-painted book or water-colored or mind-bendingly weird illustrations. It's sequential art that tells the story as it is. And it's definitely not pulling any punches with the adult content. There are no "tastefully-placed" objects obscuring anything. When the story calls for adult content, adult content there shall be.
The second issue came out this week. I'll probably pick it up tomorrow.
Watching too much TV
And now speaking of TV adaptations, I did finally watch the first few episodes of The Magicians season two. I love the source material and highly recommend reading the novels, but the TV adaptation is just wrong on so many levels that I don't really enjoy it. I don't mean "wrong" as in "bad," I just mean it doesn't hold up against the source material. If you haven't read the books, the TV show probably holds up just fine. My guess is that the changes were made to distance itself even further from the Harry Potter stories and Narnia. Or maybe no writer wants the same exact same story regurgitated in different mediums and they do this intentionally. Who knows? But how about niffin Alice? Wowza. All attempts to nerd her up are gone and the super-hotness within is shining brightly.
While on the topic of TV series adaptations that couldn't be further from the source material, let's talk about Dirk Gently's Detective Agency. There was an adaptation on BBC a few years ago that was pretty close to the source material (Dirk, the primary character, was much closer to the character in the book anyway), but it didn't seem to get much traction. After watching the BBC's previous attempt to adapt Dirk Gently, I re-read the two books (paperbacks purchased long before I could afford to buy anything in hardcover) just to confirm my "something is not quite right" feelings. The current version of Dirk Gently is strangely set in America and full of American characters. It shares nothing with the source material other than the holistic approach to crime solving (if that's what they're even doing on the show) and the main character's name. Everything else is so weird and so unlike anything in the very limited source material (two short books and possibly part of a story in The Salmon of Doubt) that it's a whole new story. But Dan told me he really likes the series and he hasn't read the books, so I guess it's just another disappointment to those of us who are fans of the source material. Most curious of all the characters to me is Bart, who is horrific and repugnant on the show, but not so bad in real life.
More to come tomorrow...ish.
** Oh, and I added Twoflower's luggage to the page just for Dan who has an aversion to annoying things floating around the screen.