Based on word from three of my subscribed mailing lists (as well as the chorused rumors of hundreds of fans), Neil Gaiman's dropping by the Philippines for a few days. The most recent schedule I've received appears to set his itinerary as follows:
July 9 - Rockwell area
July 10 - Greenhills
July 11 - Gateway
Generally, Gaiman's also supposed to be appearing in various branches of Fully Booked's bookstores throughout these three days. Autograph- and dedication- signing will most certainly be involved.
You must forgive my looking at all this from a very clinical point of view; I regret to say that I'm not a fan of Neil Gaiman, despite the fact that a lot of readers see him as one of the greater writers of our time. I read his works every now and then, but I neither actively seek his books in stores, nor do I build up a collection of his writings. I'm just not a Neil Gaiman man, to tell the truth.
I think I first met Neil Gaiman through the Sandman series of books, which, while profound, didn't quite leave me with an accomplished sense of story. Perhaps there was something about them that I couldn't understand, some particular aspect that every other reader but me knew how to experience.
Over the years, however, Gaiman's name popped up in various news articles I read, most of them dealing with comics or graphic novels. A good friend was nice enough to lend me a copy of Good Omens, Gaiman's collaboration with Terry Pratchett, and I liked the book. Some years later, after finding my own copy of Good Omens, I found that Neil Gaiman had written another novel (the much-marketed American Gods), and I pulled a copy of that, too.
American Gods, unfortunately, left me feeling unfulfilled. It gave me a good impression of international mythology and its devices, but it didn't quite fit the sense of story and development that I usually look for. The fact that it had what I felt was an odd climax and ending didn't help me very much, either.
I've been recommended Stardust and Coraline since then, and I've mulled picking up a copy of one or the other, but the honest truth is that I've got better fish to fry. I'm a puzzlist, I'm a Terry Pratchett reader, I'm an experimental writer, and I think that there are simply too many other books I want to pick up that -- I feel certain -- are of good quality or better. Neil Gaiman simply, sadly, doesn't command a high priority on my list.
And the net result is that I find this very odd, because so many people seem to be enjoying Neil Gaiman's works while I can't.
So, while the great Gaiman gets mobbed by thousands of fans during his three-day stay, I'm probably going to be at home watching TV. Or perhaps I'll be in the bookstores themselves, browsing the new releases and estimating the length of the lines. Or perhaps I'll be at the nearest Internet Cafe, blogging about how I can't seem to understand Neil Gaiman or his works.
Then again, I've done that already. But I suppose that it wouldn't hurt to continue trying to understand why.