Anything Neil Gaiman publishes these days deserves and grabs attention. This is deserved not least for his role as writer of the one of the most important graphic sequences The Sandman . This short story —original text is available on Gaiman’s website–will be a film directed by John Cameron Mitchell, in 2017. This version is illustrated by graphic artists Fabio Moon and Gabriel Ba.
Don’t look to Gaiman for the advice suggested in the title. It seems to boil down to “You just have to talk to them.” as Vic–the confident one–says to Enn–his shy friend. The two are trying to find a party without the full details, and instead gatecrash a different party that seems to be a mostly female gathering of exchange students. Where they are from is a mystery. Vic quickly finds a way to get Stella upstairs. After talking to a couple of girls–Enn finally meets Triolet (a poem of eight lines, typically of eight syllables each, rhyming abaaabab and so structured that the first line recurs as the fourth and seventh and the second as the eighth.). This story is a poem–the drawings add imagery that sparkles and takes you right to the heart of the solar system if not beyond. Triolet is more spirit than person. “She began to whisper something in my ear. It’s the strangest thing about poetry. You can tell it’s poetry even if you don’t speak the language.” Enn and Vic leave the party in a hurry after Stella seems to turn on Vic. They have touched a world outside of our own, but return to the everyday streets of an English town.
Gaiman, Moon and Bar have taken a simple story of two boys on the pull and turned it into a graphic poem. I am not sure what the film will do– it will have to make too many decisions, but I will see it anyway.
The original story won the Locus Award