He was at Google to give a short signing/reading tour (more reading than signing, as he puts it) of his short story collection, Fragile Things. As with every Authors@Google, copies of his new book was given out and I got one of them.
The Talk was fabulous and I enjoyed it very much. He was every bit as funny, irreverant and entertaining as one would expect from an author/writer as diverse as he is. I still think his graphic novels represent the epitome of his career, and his books suffered the same symptoms that his longer story arcs in his comics did, but he's still quite the talespinner.
The reading was nice, though not quite as interesting as the rest of the talk. He gave a reading on a variation of how the Arabian Nights came to be, describing it as how authors/writers work: often on threat of death, or the semblance of it.
Some choice quotes from his talk today (all from memory...so forgive if I got some of it wrong)
In Reference to working with Hollywood:
"You remember how in those stories with elves, and you work very hard for them, and they give you a bag of gold, but in the morning that bag of gold has turned into leaves and the leaves blow away with the wind? Well, Hollywood is like that too, except with a little twist. You work very hard for them, and they give you that bag of gold, but in the morning, your work turn into leaves and blows away and you're left with your bag of gold"In Reference to why Roger Avary is not directing the Beowulf Movie:
"Bob Zemeckis asked Roger if he could make a film based on our script, and Roger said "No, I'm going to direct this movie."All in all, a most excellent talk, and I even got my copy of Fragile Things signed.
"How about if we gave you this wheelbarrow full of cash?"
"No, I'm going to direct this movie."
"How about if we gave you two wheelbarrows full of cash?"
"oooh......no no...I want to direct this movie."
"How about if we gave you one wheelbarrow full of cash, another wheelbarrow full of cash for Neil, and a third wheelbarrow of cash for you to do whatever you want with it?"
"Sure! You can do the movie!"