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October 10, 2005

Back in Brooklyn
Posted by Patrick at 08:31 AM * 39 comments

We’re back from this year’s Viable Paradise; we’re pooped; we have 5,271,009 things to deal with before running off to Capclave later this week. Posting may continue light to nonexistent for a few more days, at least.

On a trivial note, do you suppose Salon could possibly have run a more inept drawing of Neil Gaiman and Susanna Clarke? (If that link runs you into the paywall, just click on “preview home page” and then load the interview from there.) Neil is at least vaguely recognizable, although he appears to have been morphed with John Travolta. I wouldn’t have recognized the other figure as Susanna in a million years.

Comments on Back in Brooklyn:
#1 ::: Sumana ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2005, 09:31 AM:

Welcome back! Hope you had a good time. Looking forward to amusing anecdotes, etc.

I find the Clarke and Gaiman drawings pretty good caricatures of their subjects, but then again I'm just going on photos and have met them once at the most.

#2 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2005, 09:49 AM:

Welcome back indeed.

As for Salon's illustration of Clarke & Gaiman... When I saw it yesterday, I thought that Gaiman was sort-of recognizable, but Clarke? Nope. Not even close.

By the way, am I the only person who thinks that Gaiman sounds like Alan Rickman? (That's meant as praise.)

#3 ::: Arthur D. Hlavaty ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2005, 11:53 AM:

Who are these people, and what have they done with Neil & Susanna?

#4 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2005, 12:22 PM:

The hair in that illustration is more frightening than Shepherd Book's. And why are crows nesting in it?

#5 ::: Madeleine Robins ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2005, 01:35 PM:

Welcome home. Catch your breaths.

The illo of Neil makes him look like his own pudgy cousin, the one to whom people occasionally say "You're not--that writer guy, are you?" The one of Susanna looks like a weird amalgam of Helena Bonham Carter and Lotte Lenya. Scary.

#6 ::: SeanH ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2005, 01:38 PM:

I'm not actually sure I'd've recognised that image of Neil Gaiman if I'd seen it without context...

#7 ::: Charlie Stross ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2005, 01:57 PM:

Nope, that's definitely not Susannah. Maybe she's acquired an evil twin, Diane Duane style?

#8 ::: Mary Kay ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2005, 03:51 PM:

The noses are just impossibly wrong. And the nose is the center of the face. Well, ok, the face shapes are wrong too.


#9 ::: rhandir ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2005, 04:00 PM:

Oh, Neil sounding like Alan Rickman, that's facinating.

I actually have envisoned him sounding that way for more than ten years.
However, I was most struck by the uncanny resemblance of this fellow to Neil in a recent, popular movie.

That's intentional, yes?

#10 ::: jennie ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2005, 04:10 PM:

Well, I think they sort of got Neil Gaiman's hair close to the way it looks in some of the photos I've seen.

That's the best I can say.

Of course, I've never seen either author up close, in person. But the drawing doesn't look like either of their photos. Except for maybe Neil's hair, on a bad day.

#11 ::: Eric Sadoyama ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2005, 04:25 PM:

Neil has audio and video clips of himself at his web site, here and here.

#12 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2005, 05:10 PM:

I saw Neil twice last weekend (once for the signing at Vroman's, and then the next day at the West Hollywood Book Fair - where I was going to go anyway; I am not an author stalker.) and the only thing that looks even remotely Neil-like about that pic is the hair.

As for sounding like Alan Rickman, I'm not sure I think he does, although the card catalog in my brain does tend to file them both in the same "dark hair, British, related to fantasy/horror, dishy" drawer. He mentioned at one of the Q&As that when he first started signing and doing appearances, many people were disappointed that he wasn't a 6'7", mysteriously dressed man with a vague air of melancholy, which is what they apparantly envisioned him as. In person he seems like a very nice man, and not at all like someone who would write about eating babies.

#13 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2005, 06:07 PM:

But Neil Gaiman does have an air of melancholy to him, especially when he uses the 'F' word during the Hugos.

#14 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2005, 06:10 PM:

Neil sounding like Rickman? Not on the top level, to these ears; maybe it's just that I've recently heard Rickman only in his pissed-at-the-world roles (Marvin in Hitchhiker, Galaxy Quest's science officer, the Metatron in Dogma), but I hear a strong nasal quality even through the grumpiness. He also tends to draw out, while Neil's speech is very crisp -- not faster, just spending less time on vowels and leaving more silence between words. If you ran both voices through a computer to average out the above, you \might/ get some similarity in pitch changes and rhythm.

#15 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2005, 06:38 PM:

By the way, whatever happened to that big-screen version of Neverwhere that Gaiman was working on? I suppose it fell into Development Hell...

#16 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2005, 07:29 PM:

Perhaps the person who spells her first name "Susannah" is Susanna Clarke's evil twin. Goodness knows I hear quite a bit about her.

#17 ::: Marith ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2005, 07:51 PM:

Rhandir: The protagonist of Corpse Bride looks more to me like a morphing of Johnny Depp and Hugh Grant. It's that same hapless puppydog look.

#18 ::: Laurie Mann ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2005, 10:33 PM:

Actually, the woman in the Salon cartoon looks more like Harriet Miers (Bush's latest Supreme Court nominee) than like Susannah Clarke (who looks more like this:

And Alan Rickman and Neil Gaiman can sound surprisingly alike, particularly if you're half asleep...

No, wait, maybe I should clarify that...

No, wait...maybe not... ;->

[[I dozed off during the Hugo Ceremony in 2004 that Neil MCed, and as I awoke, I thought I was listening to Alan Rickman.]]

#19 ::: antukin ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2005, 11:19 PM:

Serge, no, you're not the only person who thinks that. And yes, it is praise, since both of them are immensely talented and, as nerdycellist so aptly put it, "dishy."

Hmm now out of curiosity I want to hear Alan Rickman do a reading of Anansi Boys, just for comparison. Though I can't imagine Neil Gaiman as Severus Snape. Bwahahaha.

Yes, yes, I know, "sound alike" does not equal "interchangeable." ;p

PS I think Patrick hit the nail on the head with the John Travolta description. Though a pudgy John Travolta, to be more exact.

#20 ::: antukin ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2005, 11:34 PM:

Btw, Neverwhere was a British miniseries (though not a patch on the book, from the looks of it). Were they planning a big-screen version, as well?

#21 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2005, 11:36 PM:

I Neil Gaiman starts telling us that by Gramtha's Hammer, I shall be avenged, I'm outta here.

#22 ::: Georgiana ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2005, 01:04 AM:

I don't hear it. Neil and Alan Rickman are both guys but that's all the resemblance I can hear. Mr. Rickman tends to drawl a lot more I think.

Apropos of nothing much except that it was a nifty spot, I was in Something the Lord Made with Mr. Rickman a couple of Christmases ago. The scene I am in was filmed in an old lunatic asylumn, which we were pretending was Johns Hopkins. It was very spooky and fun, esp. with all the little blue faced kids running around in their makeup, looking like they should be at death's door and actually full of both vim and vigor.

Meanwhile my son Cullen, who will be at Capclave this weekend, was hiding behind a locker at his school because a student dropped a gun and it went off right next to him. It was an odd day for all of us.

Welcome back P and T.

#23 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2005, 01:47 AM:

Alan Rickman has pretty much become typecast as a villain, but I thought he was hilarious in Dogma, as a rather gaimanesque angel, especially when he explains why angels can't get drunk. All because of angel Matt Damon who, after having had one too many, was very rude to God...

And one doesn't think of Rickman as the leading man in romantic comedies and yet there he goes, in Truly Madly Deeply.

Damn typecasting. Sure it pays the grocery bills, but...

#24 ::: marrije ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2005, 03:47 AM:

Rickman was also a delightfully tormented and human Colonel Bradford in Sense and Sensibility, in which he married Kate Winslet's Marianne Dashwood. If that's not a (semi-)leading man in a romantic comedy...

#25 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2005, 04:44 AM:

Put me down among those who (and I just got to hear Neil do reading and Q+A not two weeks ago) think that he doesn't sound anything like Alan Rickman. His voice is higher in register and far less gravelly, just for a start.

#26 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2005, 06:23 AM:

Oh yeah, marrije... I remembered that Rickman was in one Jane Austen adaptation, but not which. I should have checked on The Internet Movie Database.

So, what's the overall verdict about Gaiman vs Rickman? "Yes"? "Not a perfect match"? "Not even close"? "You've got to be kidding me"?

#27 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2005, 06:33 AM:

Back to what started this thread, which is that Salon interview... At some point it says that, while continental fairy tales's characteristics can be pinned down, it's not so with those of the British Isles. I wonder what it was like across the Channel in France's Bretagne, where they were called korrigans...

#28 ::: SeanH ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2005, 10:03 AM:

Re: big-screen Neverwhere - I'd not heard anything about that, but it does sound fun. I love Neverwhere, it's a highlight of my DVD collection. Wouldn't surprise me at all to hear it'd fallen into Development Hell - that nether region seems to hold a special attraction for Gaiman's creations. What happened to that Gilliam adaptation of Good Omens, anyway?

#29 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2005, 10:24 AM:

Good Omens? I didn't even know it was being worked on. Wouldn't surprise me that someone got cold feet, considering the subject matter.

As for Neverwhere, yes, that was happening. I think Gaiman himself was working on a script. But not a peep for a long time. Well, there is still the DVD. Sure, it's very low-budget, but that, in a way, lets us see the story.

#30 ::: Georgiana ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2005, 11:41 AM:

If you go to Neil's journal and a search on Terry Gilliam's name you can find all kinds of stuff about the film adaptation of Good Omens. Some of it is extremely funny and some of it is heartbreaking.

I think that even though the film had to be put on hold for a long time its future is looking better than it has in years. Both Depp and Gilliam have more clout at the box office than they did a few years ago.

That's a film I would love to do. Oh yes.

#31 ::: Cat Eldridge ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2005, 03:14 PM:

Serge says: 'Good Omens? I didn't even know it was being worked on. Wouldn't surprise me that someone got cold feet, considering the subject matter.'

Actually there's a script that Neil wrote for Good Omens. I reviewed it here.

It was done by Hill House for aprt of their Preferred Editions series.

Both it and Neverwhere are in development limbo, the latter at
the Hensons.

#32 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2005, 03:34 PM:

Thanks, Cat. Still, I wonder what's holding things up for either project.

#33 ::: Laurie Mann ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2005, 09:28 PM:

I wouldn't say Gaiman and Rickman's voices are "perfect matches," but their accents are quite similar when they talk slowly, at least to this Yank.

I've seen almost every Rickman movie ever, from Truly, Madly, Deeply to the last Harry Potter flick. The description of his character in Dogma as "Gaimanesque" is spot on! (Some scenes of Dogma were filmed near my town, but, other than seeing the large movie trucks, I never saw any of the actors or Kevin Smith.)

#34 ::: Georgiana ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2005, 09:41 PM:

Serge - Gilliam had 45 of the 60 million he needed to do Good Omens and Hollywood wouldn't give him the other fifteen because Gilliam and Depp didn't have the box office draw. It sounds ridiculous and like it couldn't be true when I say it which is one reason I suggested you take a look at Neil's posts because he's so good at describing the sublimely stupid.

Plus there is this, which still makes me laugh four years later:

I asked Terry Gilliam how the Good Omens movie was going. His reply?

I'll warn you in advance that we created a very different climax. And we dropped favorite characters. We added some scenes involving cattle drives in the Old West and song and dance sequences from our favorite Bollywood films. We also tried to make the Metratron more Jewish for the sake of the financiers. Woody Allen would be perfect...or maybe Mel Brooks. Then there is the snuff movie that Crowley is producing which we get to see in utterly graphic detail...we thought it would make him more active in believable evil. And we eliminated most of the comedy. I felt it held the book back from being the "great and profound work" which we hope the film will be.

So I don't think we're going to have anything to worry about....

And before that starts rumors again, it was a joke and a very fine one at that.

#35 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2005, 11:11 PM:

That sounds like Gilliam all right. Also sounds like the last 15 minutes of Mel Brooks's .

As for Rickman's gaimanesque angel in Dogma... The film's director, Kevin Smith, is a comic-book fan and was the writer on the (literally) revived Green Arrow so I'm not surprised to see the influence of Sandman's creator in that movie.

#36 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2005, 10:39 AM:

So I guess I'm the only one here who looked at that and thought, there's that nice hobbit from that movie, eh? I'll clean my specs.

#37 ::: Brooke C. ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2005, 03:07 PM:

The cartoon Neil at Nice Hair looks a bit like Rickman, while still being obviously Gaiman-y.

IMHO, they have similar, well-enunciated accents but different voices. To each their own separate, dishy tones.

#38 ::: Brooke C. ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2005, 03:13 PM:

Blast. That's:

#39 ::: Julia Jones sees comment spam ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2006, 11:12 AM:

Comment spam by Gaven at what's currently #39.

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