You know, it’s funny. This isn’t the first time I’ve attended a literary event and Neil Gaiman has shown up as the surprise guest. An Evening of Awesome at Carnegie Hall, John Green’s celebration of his novel The Fault in Our Stars being on the NYT best-seller list for a full year, was sold out, so they certainly didn’t need Gaiman’s name to sell tickets, and indeed, it was a secret. The brothers Green (John and Hank Green of YouTube’s VlogBrothers), along with the Mountain Goats, were enough to sell out the entire Carnegie Hall all on their own. Apparently the last time Carnegie Hall was sold out for a literary event, it was Norman Mailer’s memorial.
Anyway, Neil Gaiman’s appearance made me wonder if people invite him because they are insecure about the quality of performance they themselves will give. Because let’s face it, no matter how bad of a job you do at your event, if Neil Gaiman surprisingly turns up, nobody is going to leave there believing they didn’t get their money’s worth. Nobody. I don’t know how to explain that phenomenon, nor do I know why it happens, but it is disturbingly odd and mysterious how completely his presence changes the air in the room.
Admittedly, when they announced that they are now bringing to the stage a best-selling novelist who has also written for Doctor Who, I didn’t guess it. Instead, I was thinking, what Doctor Who writer is a best-selling novelist? Has Mark Gatiss written a book? And then they announced, “It’s Neil Gaiman!” I went, “Well of course it is.”