Tue 21 Jul 2009
I often give Neil Gaiman’s works as presents. Fantasy and horror and superheroes make his stories tango and polka and twist. In fact, I have one of his books being delivered from Amazon via UPS that I will give as a gift later this year.
“Who Killed Amanda Palmer” is not that book. I got it today from JSR Merchandising, and it came by FedEx. Amanda Palmer was a singer and musician. She was one half of the Dresden Dolls. The Dolls have a song that turns up on our local college radio every now and then called “Coin Operated Doll”. I bought the song and put it on my iPod. John Scalzi claims the song works better as a video. John Scalzi is wrong. The visuals of the song without the video are so much more magical.
Download the video below. Please do not watch it.
Shut your eyes tightly and enjoy.
The book “Who Killed Amanda Palmer” is magic of the blackest sort. Apparently, Palmer has made a habit of being dead in photographs for a while. While working on her lastest solo project, she decided being dead for it would be great. So she had even more photographs of her corpse taken. She also ran into Neil Gaiman and asked him if he wanted to write short stories to go with the pictures. Eventually that became a book of photographs taken by Kyle Cassidy, Beth Hommel, and others, with lyrics by Palmer and stories by Gaiman to go along with the album by Palmer. Somewhere during that time, Amanda and Neil started dating. I’m unclear on whether or not she was alive during the first date, but it’s impolite to pry, so we’ll just have to make due with whispers and innuendo.
That can’t be good for the furniture.
The resulting book is beautiful, dark, and unpleasant. Page after page of pictures of dead women, clearly killed in unpleasant ways, both mundane and magical, makes for a work that I hope no visitors to my house randomly pick up. Palmer’s lyrics and Gaiman’s stories make a great accompaniment for the images. Noteworthy are a couple of Gaiman’s stories where he has to explain why Amanda is dead right there and then standing a couple feet away in the same photo, sometimes as a bystander, sometimes as the murderer.
It is an unsettling book that destroyed my initial excitement of getting a new Gaiman-based gift for friends. Instead, I’ll tuck it on the shelf between some of his other works, where it will hopefully sit unnoticed by visitors to my small private library. No one should be exposed to such materials, unaware of their existence. Unless they’re already Gaiman fans and heard of Amanda Palmer’s death, and thus forewarned, pull it of the shelf….