Neil Gaiman, book tours, and frozen peas

Neil Gaiman reads from one of his books as his wife, Amanda Palmer, listens during the Mayan Doomsday/Gala Party benefit for Torrent Engine 18 at the First Parish Church Dorchester on Friday December 21 2012. (Matthew J. Lee/Globe staff)
Neil Gaiman reads from one of his books as his wife, Amanda Palmer, listens during the Mayan Doomsday/Gala Party benefit for Torrent Engine 18 at the First Parish Church Dorchester on Friday December 21 2012. (Matthew J. Lee/Globe staff)

“American Gods” and “The Sandman” writer Neil Gaiman and his wife, Lexington-bred Dresden Dolls frontwoman Amanda Palmer, kept their promise over the weekend by spending the last night of the Mayan calendar in Dorchester with locals who are turning a neighborhood firehouse into a space for visual and performing arts. Gaiman and Palmer performed at the Friday night Gala Party for Torrent Engine 18, which is being turned into an art space by Katherine Bergeron — a.k.a. performer Katrina Galore — and E. Stephen Frederick, of the Empire S.N.A.F.U. Restoration Project. Guests donated $125 to get a ticket to the party, which also featured a burlesque performance and some stage time with Bergeron. The appearance by Gaiman was especially timely for fans who read on his website last week that his next book-signing tour will be his last. Gaiman explained in a blog post that book tours are exhausting for writers, and that “I love meeting people, but the sixth hour of signing, for people who have been standing in a line for seven hours, is no fun for anybody. (The last proper US signing I did, it lasted over 7 hours and I signed for over 1,000 people. I’d suspect a lot of the signings on this tour will be like that, or bigger.)” Gaiman, whose forthcoming novel is “The Ocean at the End of the Lane,” told the Globe before Friday’s party that he won’t disappear on fans, and that he will absolutely continue to tour with his books — he just won’t sit for hours and autograph each one. He joked that when he does his final signing tour for “Ocean” next year, he’ll wind up “plunging [his hand] into bags of frozen peas.” “But I love the book and I’m really proud of it,” he said. “And if I’m going to go out, I’m going to go out with a bang.”

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