I’m currently reading Neil Gaiman’s Adventures in the Dream Trade, which is a collection of miscellaneous stuff, including introductions he’s written for other people’s books, some poetry and song lyrics, and a bunch of his blog entries from 2001, right after he had finished writing American Gods and was beginning the process of promoting it. I’m in that section now, and have made it through to mid-2001, when he had wrapped up his US book tour and just started his UK tour. I’m wondering how far into 2001 this goes, and whether or not we get as far as September 11, and what his thoughts might be on that.
I’ve also been rewatching the Lord of the Rings movies, including listening to some of the commentaries, and also listening to the Ringheads podcast, which has been discussing the movies at length (about 10 hour-long episodes per movie). The Fellowship of the Ring was released in 2001, with Two Towers coming out in 2002 and Return of the King in 2003. I’d gone into NYC to see a presentation on the first movie in September 2001, just a couple of days before 9/11.
So reading Gaiman’s blog entries, and watching the LOTR movies, has got me living in the past a bit this weekend, for better or worse. Gaiman’s blog was, at the time, done with Blogger, which I was also using at that time. (I started this blog in June 2001.) So reading about his struggles with Blogger brings back some memories. And he writes about buying a Japanese laptop from Dynamism, which is a company that used to import nifty laptops from Japan. (I’d never bought anything from them, but I know at least one person who did, and I was a bit jealous of his nifty Japanese laptop.) And there are mentions of early e-readers, and other fun esoteric stuff.
There are links in many of those blog entries, some of which still work and some of which don’t. It’s been interesting to follow some of them, and get sucked back into the web circa 2001. The review of American Gods from sfsite.com is still up, but the site itself seems to be pretty much dead, having gone on hiatus in 2018. SciFi’s Seeing Ear Theatre is long gone, but there’s a good list of the stuff they did here, with some of it still available for download from various places. (I could go on with more of this, but you get the idea.)
This has all got me thinking about big events, and how we see things differently before and after them, and how there are weird unintended resonances in fiction sometimes. (I have more to say about that, but I’m struggling to get it into words properly, so I’m just going to leave it at that for now.) So, some good memories, and some mixed feelings, and some amusement at old forgotten tech.