In Speaking in Tongues, Hugo, Nebula, and World Fantasy Award-winning author Neil Gaiman reads a selection of his own stories and poems:
Instructions "is a poem about what to do if you find yourself in a fairy tale. It is guaranteed to work."
The Facts in the Case of the Disappearance of Miss Finch "is a mostly true story, and it has several real people in it, although I have made no attempt to imitate either Jonathan or Jane while reading it. This is about the only time I’ve ever written a story around a painting – in this case a Frank Frazetta painting of a woman and a sabre-toothed tiger that was the cover image of the magazine in question."
The Price "is more or less true. At least, the narrator in both of these stories is pretty much me, the house is my house, the cats my cats, and the family is my family."
Daughter of Owls "was based on a sculpture by Lisa Snellings of a girl surrounded by owls. I knew the story immediately, but didn’t have a clue what the voice of the story was. I tried it as a poem, and it was terrible. So I wrote it in the voice of a marvelous writer, John Aubrey, and was happy."
The Sea Change "was also inspired by a Lisa Snellings statue, this one of an undersea siren. I wrote it in a tiny mews house in Earls Court, with the beaches of my childhood in my mind, remembering the rattling noises that the sea made when it dragged down the pebbles. It was Kipling who called the sea the “old grey widowmaker”, and it’s a name I’ll not forget."
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