Friday, November 7, 2008

Neil Gaiman & Vegas Bookfest

I'm going to do this entry of last night's sequence of events covering Neil Gaiman's keynote address for the Vegas Valley Book Festival in reserve order because my best photos of the night are in reverse order.

This first photo was taken at The Mixx at the Mandalay Bay reception (which followed Gaiman's address at the Clark County Library) benefitting Nevada Humanities. From left to right is Derrick (Comic Oasis, also here in Las Vegas), Neil Gaiman, myself, and Kate (thanks for taking the photo, Holly!). The Mixx is one of those trendy expensive nightclubs that you have to wait in a line to enter. Normally I avoid such places, but a good time was had there and the view of the city from The Mixx's 64th floor is pretty incredible.

(Photo two) Yesterday morning I remembered that I had a piece of original art hanging up in my store from the Neil Gaiman written Legend Of The Green Flame, with art by the amazing John Totleben, so I took this with me and was happy to have gotten it signed by Neil Gaiman.

(Photo Three) This somewhat blurry photo is of Neil Gaiman giving his keynote address. They requested no flashes so I turned my flash off (which explains the quality of the photo), even though several people where taking pictures throughout the presentation with their flashes on.

I'm sure that just about everyone who reads my blog knows that Neil Gaiman is an award-winning, much-beloved writer of comic books and novels, so I'm not going to enumerate all of what he's done. Neil Gaiman's latest novel is called The Graveyard Book and he did a reading from that as well as reading two short children's books he has forthcoming (in addition to writing comic books and novels for adults, Gaiman is also a celebrated children's author, with his Coraline coming out as a stop-motion animation movie next year).

My favorite part of Gaiman's address was when he talked about attending the second science-fiction / fantasy convention in China last year. Gaiman explained that in China, it has only been in the last few years that their government has been accepting of people there enjoying those genres. Gaiman said this acceptance of science-fiction / fantasy in China came about because they looked at companies like Microsoft, Apple, and Google and found that a high proportion of those companies' employees and innovators enjoy those genres. China has been really good at developing better versions of existing products / technologies, but they come up short in creating the new driving technologies that are the foundation of companies like Microsoft, Apple, and Google. So China has made the correlation that science-fiction / fantasy fuels the imagination with what could be and engages thinking outside of the box. One of Neil Gaiman's books next year is a non-fiction novel on China.


Todd said...

I just read your post and the following from Gaiman's journal and I just want to cry for being too sick to attend.

"Just did a lovely signing -- only about fifty people altogether, which meant that I got to talk to everyone and draw in their books, admire their tattoos and so forth. Really pleasant"

-sigh- In every life a little mucus must prevent you from doing something cool.

Warren said...

My girlfriend, Linda, told me she saw you there. I would have loved to see him speak. I hear he's even MORE charming in person.

Ralph Mathieu said...

Todd and Warren, too bad you couldn't attend.

Hope you feel better soon Todd.

What a great week for this country and for Las Vegas comic fans!

Jennifer said...

I'm, glad that I got to be at Neil's lovely signing which I wouldn't have known about if you hadn't told me.

And I'm still chuckling about Kate's comment that night that Mix had never seen so many geeks and probably never would again.

Ralph Mathieu said...

Jennifer, actually I think the Mixx nightclub willl be poorer for not having the geek turnout as I'd think it's a better group than the "notice how much money I have, will you sleep with me crowd."