Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Neil Gaiman Came to Town

Twice I have thought, "He is really cool." The first time while watching It Might Get Loud as Jimmy Page played his guitar. The second time tonight, during Neil Gaiman's appearance at the Saban Theatre in Beverly Hills.

Yes, a cool, smart, English writer dude. He is brilliant. His body of work includes comic books, children's books, adult books, scripts, and more. And then there is Neil himself. This is the second time I have sat in one of his audiences, and between these appearances and his online persona, I think he is a genuinely nice guy. One who I would enjoy having conversation with over a beer.

What I appreciate most is his connection to his fans. If you follow Neil Gaiman on Twitter, you will see how he answers his fans, shares their news and just appreciates them. Today he signed about 800 books for fans who pre-purchased the tenth anniversary edition of American Gods. Which is much more than I can say for another author who stamped books for an appearance.

If you ever need book recommendations, Mr. Gaiman's are great. Thanks to him I found my way to Robin McKinley (Sunshine is a new favorite), Gene Wolfe, Diana Wynne Jones, and Robert Holdstock.

About the event. It was wonderful. Once it got started. The show should have started at 8:00 p.m., but at the appointed hour we were still standing in a line that wrapped around the Saban, along Hamilton Drive. My guess is that the long wait occurred because all tickets were will call, as well as signed books to be picked up inside. Thankfully the show did not start until most of the audience was seated, somewhere around 9:00 p.m.

Patton Oswalt was the moderator/interviewer. Funny, funny guy. I saw him do something similar at Comic-Con two years ago, but this was better. Like us audience members, Mr. Oswalt is a big fan, and that went a long way. The evening included a hilarious book reading by Neil himself, Mr. Oswalt and Zelda Williams, as well as some extra tidbits on what the lot of us might soon expect. The future's looking good for American Gods Two; a musical set in 1920s Paris; non-fiction work; a children's book called Chu's Day; and American Gods, the TV show. One of the best things about the night besides Neil Gaiman? The fact that there were about 1,500 people in the Saban Theatre to see an author.

I highly encourage you to go see Neil Gaiman is he is ever in your town for an appearance. He does not disappoint. Plus, your vocabulary may grow.

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