A Beautiful Game

This probably won’t come as a surprise to many of you, but I’m a geek for video games. Computer games in particular.

What you might not know is how deep my roots go: I’ve been playing computer games for 33 years. Since 1982. Since I was nine years old.

To give you a frame of reference, the first game I played was entirely text. Which is a good thing, because the computer I played it on didn’t have a hard drive. I learned to type playing those early Infocom games, and played some of them for *years* before finally solving them.


Long before I ever tried to write a book, I tried to write a computer game. It had puzzles and monsters, and I wrote it in the only programming language I knew: basic. By the time I gave up on the project, the printout of the program was over 32 feet long.

Later on I played King’s Quest, Populous, Alone in the Dark…. But eventually I found Fallout and Fallout 2. They became the  yardstick I use as an example of how good a game can be.

There have been a lot of games I’ve wanted to play these past two years. Bioshock Infinite. Witcher 3. Dragon Age. Borderlands…. So many games I wanted to try. But I didn’t play any of them. I had writing to do, and Worldbuilders to oversee, and a new baby. Contracts to read. Foreign translations to assist with. I had to give up something, so I gave up the games.

This is to give you some context so you can realize how big a deal it was when I heard Fallout 4 was being released. I marked it on my calendar. I watched the trailers. I had someone build me a new computer so I could play it, because my current compy is about 8 years old….

Then I realized Fallout was coming out on November 10th. The same day I was scheduled to drive down to Milwaukee and interview Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Craynor as part of their Welcome to Night Vale book tour.

Even worse, Worldbuilder’s was starting its Big Yearly Fundraiser on November 9th. It happens every year around this time: My team and I rally the geek community to raise money for Heifer International. It’s a lot of fun, and aver the last several years, we’ve raised more than $3,500,000 dollars.

But it’s a lot of work. Every day we post up blogs full of books and games that we give away lottery-style to donors. Thousands of books and games supplied by publishers and authors. We launch dozens of auctions. We shoot video, post stretch goals, do AMA’s. And offer up new items in our online store.

In short, Fallout was dropping at the most insanely busy time of my year.

*     *     *

There’s another part of my life I’m guessing many of you already know about. But for those of you who don’t follow me much on social media…


(I wish it had been hard for me to find this example, but it wasn’t.)

It happens anywhere I have an online presence.


That’s a comment on a review I wrote on Goodreads. I’d shared a story about reading to my boys.

Tweet bitching

The moral of the story is that there are a lot of people who are really interested in reading book 3. And while I appreciate their sentiment, the way they express this desire… well… It’s exhausting at best.

Now this isn’t the only thing that happens to me online. Far from it. A lot of folks are amazingly kind and graceful.

Many of them step up to defend me from the abuse I’ve shown above:

Book Three - Shut the fuck up

So here’s some truths I think are fairly self-evident.

  • I want to play Fallout 4. And I deserve to play a game every once in a while.
  • I understand a lot of you are impatient for book three. (So am I, honestly.)
  • We *are* in the middle of the Worldbuilders fundraiser.

So here’s what we’re going to do. We’re going to have some fun with this. I have a supervillain-esque delight in certain types of gambling. So I’m going to put precious gaming time on the line for the good of the fundraiser.

As of now, anyone who donates to Worldbuilders gets to vote on what I do with this precious time I’ve set aside for gaming.

Behold: The Pat-o-Meter.

If you’re frothing at the mouth for book 3, this is your chance. In this limited time offer, I’m willing to let you have a say in how I spend my personal time if you’re willing to help us make the world a better place.

When you donate, you’ll see this option:


(Pick whatever one your heart desires. Seriously.)

Every day at 4:00 CST, we’ll tally the donations. And if people have ponied up and demanded I write more of book 3, I’ll give up my gaming time and put in another three hours above and beyond my normal writing time for the day.

What’s more, I’ll stream my writing session on Twitch.

If the will of the people is that I play Fallout 4, I’ll do a live stream of that instead. Since I haven’t gamed in a while, I expect the result will either be the live stream equivalent of riding a unicorn made entirely of orgasms. Or, if my mad skillz have atrophied, it might be an embarrassing train wreck as I’m endlessly killed by rats in the basement of whatever inn we start the adventure in.

Either way, I will have my snark turned up to eleven, so it’s bound to be a good time.

As an extra bonus, every day the Worldbuilders team will pull a random winner out of that day’s donors. (We’ll work it the same way we do the main lottery, where every 10 bucks you contribute gives you a chance to win the cool thing.) So even if your team doesn’t win, you have a chance to get something cool. These items will be specific to my books, and they’ll mostly be stuff you can’t buy in the store because I’ve only hoarded a few of them.


(Your donation will still enter you into the main prize lottery, too.)

You’ll be able to watch the live stream on my newly forged Twitch channel: twitch.tv/PatrickRothfuss. I’ll start at 4:00 pm CST every night. If you don’t want to constantly be peeking at the widget, you can follow @FalloutVsBook3 on Twitter to see which side is currently winning….

We’re starting today (Thursday) and we’ll do this for two weeks. If folks enjoy it, maybe we’ll extend it all the way through the end of the fundraiser….

I’m going to be honest with you. I only had this idea a couple days ago, and until today, I wasn’t sure if we were actually going to be able to pull it off. As a result, we’re kinda making this up as we go along. (As you can see, above, we haven’t figured out a way to automate the widget, so the Worldbuilders team is having to update it manually.)

Because of this, we might tweak a few details as we move forward. Fair warning.

But no matter which team wins, I win. Either I get to play the game I love, or I get closer to moving book three off my back. This will be an interesting social experiment, I’m genuinely curious as to what will happen.

And no matter what, it will be a beautiful game.


P.S. If you don’t know anything about Worldbuilders. Here’s a link to the blog where I explain everything in some detail. Here’s a link to the auctions we’re currently running.

And here’s a link to the page where you can donate and case your vote.

Posted in Acts of Whimsy, Beautiful Games, Worldbuilders 2015 | By Pat235 Responses

Hundreds of Games from Mayfair

Last year, Mayfair Games came in as a sponsor for Worldbuilders. And to be honest, we were a little unprepared for the sheer level of awesome they brought to the table.

Some of you might remember the entire semi-trailer full of games….

It was so many games it took the Worldbuilders team 4 hours just to get them inside. (There were 18 pallets full.)

This year’s donation arrived on Monday, but this time it only took my team an hour and a half to get them inside. I like to think that it’s because my team has leveled up somehow, becoming more efficient. It’s better than the alternative, which is that over the past year they’ve somehow managed to become 200% stronger. That would not bode well for me, my position as leader and alpha male is already rather tenuous….

Anyway, today I drove down to Milwaukee to interview Jeffery Craynor and Joseph Fink, helping out with the tour they’re having for their delightful new book.

So guess what happens when I’m away? This happens….


(I wasn’t even gone 12 hours.)

You know, I’m not upset that as soon as I leave town, you all start to goof off. And I’m not upset that you made a fort out of the games Mayfair sent us….

No. It’s that you built a *square* fort. A circular fort would have been more aesthetically pleasing while at the same time being much more more structurally sound.

Also, where the hell are the crenelations?

I swear. It’s like you people haven’t been listening to a thing I’ve said all these years….

I’m not mad. I’m just…. disappointed.


 (If your game arrives damaged, blame Amanda.)

I’m going to have to come into the office tomorrow and make my disappointed dad face, aren’t I?

Anyway, as you can see, we have more than six hundred games that are going into our prize lottery. 100 of each of the following: Pillars of the Earth: Builders Duel, Dos Rios, Oceania, Patrician, Revolution: The Dutch Revolt, and Shear Panic.



That’s over $18,000 worth of games in this blog alone. Give or take a little, depending on if you value the ones touched by Amanda’s butt as worth more or less than their… uninitiated counterparts.

For every 10 dollars you chip in on our the donation page worldbuilders has set up, you have a chance to win these games, as well as everything else entered over the course of the fundraiser.

Big news tomorrow. Tune in for it.

Posted in gaming, Worldbuilders 2015 | By Pat10 Responses

Beautiful Jewelry from Badali

These past couple years, Badali has really extended their licensing with fantasy authors. As a result, they have a really great mix of nerdy jewelry from a multitude of fandoms.

This year they’re sharing a selection of those goodies with us, including a couple pieces they haven’t even made available to the public yet…

Let’s dive in.

  • Auctions: Oberon’s Iron Amulet and Atticus’s Necklace from the Iron Druid Chronicles by Kevin Hearne.


The Iron Druid Chronicles have become an office favorite here at Worldbuilders. Almost everyone here has read them, and Oberon is particularly beloved among the Worldbuilders Crew.

There are two different pieces here. One is Oberon’s Iron Amulet, which is on a keychain, and there’s Atticus’s full charm necklace. Both amulets are made of real iron, and crafted with all of the incredible care that Badali puts into all of their jewelry.

You can bid on Oberon’s amulet here, or Atticus’s necklace right here. Auctions end on Sunday night, but you should definitely bid early and often.


This medallion shows the sixteen Allomantic metals from Sanderson’s irritatingly well-written Mistborn universe. It’s made of pewter, which isn’t currently available from Badali, so you’re getting a cool rarity if you pick this one up.

You can bid to have your own Steel Alphabet Medallion right here.

  • Auctions: Bridge Four Sterling Silver, Blue Enamel Medallion and Bridge Four Bronze Medallion from Stormlight Archive by Brandon Sanderson.


This symbol was designed to be a symbol of honor for the Bridge Four crew in the Stormlight Archive. Badali did a beautiful job replicating the glyphs from the series, and we have two different options for you to bid on.

One is a blue enameled badge, set in sterling silver, while the other is an antiqued bronze badge, and slightly larger than the sterling silver one.

You can bid on the blue enamel medallion right here, or the bronze one over here.

  • AuctionsOathbringer Shardblade Necklace and Nan Glyph Necklace from Stormlight Archive by Brandon Sanderson.


There’s a lot of cool jewelry to be had from the Stormlight Archive, and Badali didn’t hold back. The first auction here is for a pendant of the Oathbringer Shardblade, the legendary sword of the Knights Radiant. It’s got a round synthetic heliodor set into the hilt, showing of Badali’s incredible attention to detail.

The second one is the Nan Glyph Necklace, in all of its beautiful, smokestone-enameled glory. The glyph is associated with the Herald Nalan’Ein, with the ideal of justice, and would be a really nice holiday gift for the Stormlight Archive nerd in your life…

You can bid on the Nan Glyph Necklace here, or the Oathbringer Shardblade pendant here.


The Asha’man Dragon pin is a symbol of rank in the Wheel of Time series, and in the books they were originally created and distributed by Rand al’Thor. Luckily enough, you’re able to get your hands on one here, and all the proceeds will to go charity to boot.

The Wheel of Time image is really iconic, and Badali did a great job putting it into a pin, with all of its minute details. If you don’t feel good about pretending you’ve attained the status of Asha’man, but still want to show of your Wheel of Time cred, this is the way to go.

You can grab your own Asha’man Dragon Pin here, or the Wheel of Time pin here.


In Brian McClellan’s books, Powder Mages are people who can manipulate and draw strength from gunpowder. The most powerful of Powder Mages are awarded this pin as a part of their induction into the Powder Cabal, giving them carte blanche within the Adran army.

You too could be this cool. Bid on the pin right here.

  • Auctions: Underworld United Medallion and Underworld United Signet Ring from Court of the Dead.


The Underworld United symbol is from the original series Court of the Dead. It was forged as a symbol of allegiance to the Court of the Dead and worn as a sigil to the tenants the court holds dear…Balance, Loyalty, and Individuality.

The symbol is available both on a bronze medallion, as well as a sterling silver signet ring (in a size 8). If either of them tickle your fancy, you can bid on the medallion here, or the signet ring right here.

  • Auction: Elessar Elf Stone Pin from Lord of the Rings.


This is a particularly beautiful piece of jewelry. It’s Elessar, the gift Galadriel gave to Aragorn on behalf of Arwen as a token of hope and Arwen’s love.

You know, some of the deeper stuff that managed to get left out of the movies.

Get in on the bidding by clicking through over here.

  • Auctions: Ice Opal Earrings, for both pierced and un-pierced ears, from The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher.


Harry Dresden goes through some shit. Not the least of which are splitting migraines that need to be magically controlled. Luckily enough, he gets some help with that through the Ice Opal Earring.

Badali worked really hard on these earrings, and has managed to make them in two forms: one for people with pierced ears, and one with magnetic backs for those of us who maybe don’t want to pierce our ears, but still want to look badass.

You can bid on the pierced version right here, and the magnetic version over here.

  • Auction: Dresden’s Force Ring from The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher.


This is something that hasn’t been released yet, and we’re super grateful to Badali for letting us get the first crack at it.

This is Harry Dresden’s Force Ring. That nifty piece of wizardy that stores back a little bit of kinetic energy every time Harry moves his arm, so when he wants to pack a big punch he can release all of that energy he’s been storing through days or weeks of walking, waving, and working out.

It’s sterling silver, size 12 for display or a chain, and available right here for you to bid on.

  • Auction: Pentacle Necklace with Margaret LeFay’s Ruby from The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher.


The Pentacle Necklace is something Badali’s had around for a while, but as you can see, this is a little different.

This is their first available necklace with Margaret LeFay’s ruby inlaid to the middle. This ruby gives Harry all of his mother’s knowledge of the Ways through the Nevernever, and it’s a cool addition to an already-cool piece.

You can be one of the first to own one if you bid on it over here.

* * *

Badali’s always been good to us, so be sure to check out the auctions if they interest you, and thank Badali for being so awesome.

If you want to see all of the auctions, make a donation to be entered into the lottery, or otherwise peruse the fundraiser so far, you can find everything you might want in these fancy clickable pictures below.

[Edit: Hey guys, Amanda here! Badali just let us know that they've added another layer to the awesome they're doing for us. In addition to these auctions, they've got a coupon code in their online store for anyone who doesn't want to risk not getting an item.

This years code will be WBLD15 and it will give you $10.00 Off Shipping, and Badali Jewelry will match 10% of the value of Items Purchased to us here at Worldbuilders! It runs until December 31st, so do all of your nerdy holiday shopping there, and help out the cause.]

See some of you in Milwaukee tonight,


Posted in Worldbuilders 2015 | By Pat1 Response

Fantastic Books from Subterranean Press

This year begins like many years before it, with some amazing books from Subterranean Press.

It’s because of them that we get to start our big yearly fundraiser out right. As they donate a ton of books that are designed to be high-quality, long-lasting beautiful works of art.

They’ve been with us from the beginning, and every year we’re delighted to see them return.

Enough gushing. We’ve got books to showcase. All of these are signed, numbered, and limited editions, and pretty much all of them are going into the lottery where anyone has a chance to win them if they’re willing to chip in some money to make the world a better place.

  • 20 numbered, limited edition copies of Working for Bigfoot. Signed by Jim Butcher.


This is a collection of 3 Dresden Files novellas surrounding his jobs working for Bigfoot and his scion son, Irwin. If that’s not enough for you, then add in that there are beautiful illustrations from Vincent Chong.

It’s a beautiful and funny collection, so if you’re interested, we have 20 copies in the lottery. Every $10 you donate gives you another chance to win.

  • 20 numbered, limited edition copies of Stinger. Signed by Robert McCammon.


Here we have a beautiful reprint of one of Robert McCammon’s classic stories. There are new interior illustrations by Les Edwards, and we have 20 out of the 1000 ever printed right here for you to drool over.

  • 20 numbered, limited edition copies of Blue World. Signed by Robert McCammon.


This collection of short stories has full-color interior illustrations by Vincent Chong, which are exclusive to the 1000 book print run of limited editions. It has 16 McCammon short stories, including 3 that were previously uncollected.

  • 20 numbered, limited edition copies of Voice of the Fire. Signed by Alan Moore.


If you know anything about comics, you know who Alan Moore is.

Voice of the Fire was Alan Moore’s first novel, and while he’s generally known for his graphic novels (WatchmenV for Vendetta, and From Hell), you know this novel is pretty stand out too, because if it wasn’t it wouldn’t have an introduction by Joe Hill.

Did we mention it’s also illustrated by Dave McKean, too? Because it who else could you bring in for a project like this?

  • 20 numbered, limited edition copies of Best of Nancy Kress. Signed by Nancy Kress.


“Another candidate for the title of best collection of the year, in a year that’s turning out to be very strong for short-story collections, is The Best of Nancy Kress… worth it for the extensive amount of really first-class fiction you get, including several Hugo and Nebula Award winners.” –Locus

  • 20 numbered, limited edition copies of Savages. Signed by K.J. Parker.


“Parker delivers another solid standalone adventure filled with political and social intrigue…there’s much to enjoy in the well-crafted action, battle sequences, and assorted political and social twists within a society in upheaval.” –Publishers Weekly

  • 20 numbered, limited edition copies of Teaching the Dog to Read. Signed by Jonathan Carroll.


This cover made Amanda all kinds of uncomfortable. Which means it probably did its job.

“Carroll’s pacing is perfect, as he introduces new elements of oddness one by one. And his insight into matters of the heart is deep. ‘There are moments in any relationship which can come at the beginning, middle or end, where everything balances on a single word or sentence.’ In elegant yet utterly unpretentious prose, Carroll provides one of those pivotal instances right here.” –Locus Online

  • 20 numbered, limited edition copies of Best of Gregory Benford. Signed by Gregory Benford.


“The Best of Gregory Benford, edited by David G. Hartwell, brings together almost 40 of his 200 stories. They’re the best introduction you can find to how scientists think…. The odd thing is that, for all the chill of the situations, this collection is actually ‘heartwarming’ (to use an adjective Mr. Benford would scorn)” –The Wall Street Journal


“Valente’s Prohibtion-era spin on the classic story of ‘The Twelve Dancing Princesses’ is thoroughly eerie and enchanting… this fresh fairytale gets under your skin quicker than Zelda Fair’s black-market booze.” –RT Reviews

  • 25 numbered, limited edition copies of The Adventures of The Princess and Mr. Whiffle: The Dark of Deep Below. Signed by me and Nate Taylor.


The Princess books are my beloved, demented little side project, and this is a really cool edition of the second one. In the back it has an extra section of Nate’s concept sketches, as well as my original script for the book, which ended up being *really* different from the final thing.

It has signatures from me and Nate, and it’s numbered.  There are 25 of these going into the lottery, and only 2,000 were printed.

  • Auction: One Complete Set of Everything Published in 2015. That’s 41 books total.


(You really want to click this to embiggen it. Trust me.)

In addition to being our longest-standing sponsor. Sub Press has made a regular habit of donating one of our coolest auction items every year.

These days, the lovely folks at Subterranean Press set aside one of every single book they publish over the course of the year just to give to Worldbuilders. There are 41 books in this set, and almost all of them are signed, limited or otherwise amazingly sparkly.

A lot of these books are sold out at this point, which means this is the only place you can conceivably get a copy.

There’s a bunch of stuff in there designed to make you tingly, but of particular interest to me were two lovely slipcased of Tim Powers books, including Drawing of the Dark. There’s a slipcased Diamond Age too. There’s some Gaiman in there, and Leckie, and Abercrombie…

Seriously, the Worldbuilders team had to slap my hands away from these books so I’d quit pawing at them.

It’s a huge prize, and one we want to make sure goes to a collector or other enthusiastic geek, so it’s up for auction right over here, where you’ll also be able to see the full list of all 41 books.

* * *

There we go. As always, Subterranean Press has started us off right with hundreds of books in the lottery and one massive auction.

Don’t forget that every $10 donation you make to our fundraising page gets you another chance to win something in the lottery.

Ready for the cool clickable image thing?

Mmmmm… clickable…..

Posted in Subterranean Press, Worldbuilders 2015 | By Pat6 Responses

Worldbuilders 2015

It’s that time, folks. Who’s ready to make the world a better place while winning fabulous prizes?Worldbuilders-Logo_Web_Smaller Heifer International is my favorite charity. It helps people raise themselves out of poverty and starvation. For more than 60 years, Heifer has worked to improve education, sustainable agriculture, and local industry all over the world.

They don’t just keep kids from starving, they make it so people can take care of themselves. They give families goats, chickens, and sheep so children have milk to drink, eggs to eat, and warm clothes to wear. They provide communities with clean water to drink, building materials to improve homes, and business training to help families become self-sufficient.

goat 4

(This is my favorite time of the year. Let’s do something awesome, folks.)

We’re always looking for ways to improve the fundraiser. So while much of Worldbuilders is the same as last year, some things are entirely new, and some things have changed a little. So even if you’re a Worldbuilders Veteran, you might want to give this blog a close look so you don’t miss any changes.

As always, you’ve got three different options for donating:

  • Option 1: The Lottery.

This is the option most of you will want. It’s quick, easy, and tax deductible. You just hop directly over to the fundraiser page we’ve set up, and donate.

When you donate on that page, two things happen.

1. You’ll move us closer to our stretch goals (shown below).

2. You’ll be entered into our lottery, which contains over $100,000 worth of games and books.

For every $10 you donate on our fundraiser page, your name will be entered into our random drawing for all the swag that’s been donated. Thousands of books, comics, and games.

So if you donate $30, (enough for a flock of chickens) your name goes in three times. Donate enough for a goat ($120) and your name goes in 12 times.

What’s in the lottery? A lot. So much that if I showed it to you all at once, the raw intensity of the aggregate awesome would cook your brain like a toad thrown into the sun. So for everyone’s safety, we’ll be posting up a new blog every weekday until the end of the fundraiser on December 14th. Occasionally we might take a Wednesday off, during which I will graciously allow the Worldbuilders team time to eat and sleep.

You can see *all* the books currently in the mix on our snazzy Lottery Library page, which will be updated throughout the fundraiser.

Or you can check out the individual blogs here:

Thanks to our sponsors, we have even more games in this year’s fundraiser. A lot more. We know some of you aren’t big gamers, so you’ll be able to select whether you want to win books, games, or books AND games.


That way everyone gets what they like best.

Another thing we’re doing is that every day for the next two weeks, you can vote with your charity dollars what I’m going to do for the evening: play Fallout 4 or work on Book 3.

Here’s the current progress. Check back often to see what’s in the lead…

Stretch goals.

To help spread the word about the fundraiser (and encourage donations) we’ve brought members of the geek community together to do whimsical things as our donation total grows. There will be fan fiction, tongue twisters, alcohol, cooking, and so, so much more….

Note: Worldbuilders ends December 14, 2015 at 11:59 pm UTC-11. To be eligible for the lottery, you must have made your donation on the Fundraiser Page before then.

  • Option 2: The Sure Thing

For those of you who might be interested in getting some holiday shopping done early, we have a well-stocked store, lovingly named The Tinker’s Packs.  All proceeds from the store go to Worldbuilders, as well as helping nudge our donation total up to hit our stretch goals.

We’ve got t-shirtsposters, and other coolness available for purchase. We also have foreign editions of many titles, donated and signed by the authors.

Additionally, this year we’ve published another calendar featuring the art of the wonderful Karen Hallion.


(Click to embiggen)

You can see many more pictures of the calendar in The Tinker’s Packs.

We’ll be adding new items to the store throughout the fundraiser, so keep an eye on the blog. If you’re worried you might miss some of the coolness, you can sign up for the newsletter, or follow the Tinker’s Packs on Twitter and Facebook. We’ll post updates there whenever something new happens.

  • Option 3: Auctions.

Sometimes we get donations that are really cool… but only to a select group of people. Some people would squee with delight at winning a portal gun, but some people (sad, unhappy people) have never played Portal, and as a result they just don’t care.

The same thing is true with action figures, musical instruments, manuscripts, or other collectibles.

So we put those items up for auction.

This year we have professionals willing to read and critique unpublished manuscripts. We have signed art and rare books. We’re auctioning off cameo appearances in comics and the chance to have your name in upcoming books.

All our current auctions are over on the Worldbuilders eBay page. Keep an eye on it. We’ll be adding stuff all the time.

Important Links and Contact Information

Our website has all of the information you’ll need, including a nifty bar that shows off how much money we’ve raised from all of our various avenues. Worldbuilders also has a Facebook page and a Twitter account for those of you who like to have the internet injected directly into your veins.

If you have a question that isn’t answered here, you could check out our handy FAQ.

Want to donate something to Worldbuilders? Help us spread the word? Do a stretch goal? Write a story for your local paper? Drop us a line here: donations [at] worldbuilders.org.

All right folks. Are you ready? I’m so ready.

Let’s do this thing.


P.S. Just in case you missed it, here’s one more link to our Fundraiser donation page.

Posted in Worldbuilders 2015 | By Pat7 Responses

Stretch Goals, Teaming Up, and the Impending Fundraiser

I’m guessing you know what’s right around the corner.

That’s right. The annual Worldbuilders fundraiser starts on Monday, November 9th. Just a handful of days away.

It’s been a bit of a madhouse for the last couple weeks while we’ve been getting ready. Every year the fundraiser gets bigger and better. And this year we’re doing things we never could have dreamed of pulling off before.

As a result, we have a new addition to the Worldbuilders team. Her name is Mindy, and she’s been thrown into the fray at… well…  let’s just call it an interesting time.

So… yeah. This is it. Your official advance warning. Start your engines.

Huh. Okay. That felt kinda strange to say. I don’t know where that “start your engines” metaphor came from. I take that back.

Worldbuilders-Logo_Web - crop smaller

Did I mention we’ve raised $3,500,000 for Heifer International?
Because we have. We very have.

If you’re one of the true believers who read the blog regularly and enjoy helping out with the fundraiser ever year. Or if you’ve always kinda wanted to help out but didn’t know how, I have a few things you might want to consider before this year’s festivities kick off.

1. Team Pages

Last year was the first time we’ve had an easy option for people who wanted to create and manage their own teams inside the bigger Worldbuilders Fundraiser. We didn’t think much of it at the time because, well… we were busy getting all the books and prizes ready for the lottery.

But my readers are clever, quick witted folk, and some of you jumped right in and started making teams of your own. Some teams offered their own stretch goals and prizes. Some had friendly rivalries (Team Nerdfighteria and The Wayward Backers in particular)….

Worldbuilders 2014  teams

*Salutes The Wayward Backers*

It was, to be perfectly honest, one of the cooler things that happened last year. It delighted me to see what y’all came up with, and it made me proud to see so many people taking the fundraiser and making it their own.

Last year someone set up a Spanish team. A family decided to forego Christmas gifts and raise money for goats instead. A convention in Luxembourg rallied their members to donate.

And I’m sure many of you remember a young girl named Charlotte who made a video because she wanted to raise $500 dollars, enough for a Heifer. You can see her smiling face in the picture above. You’ll probably also notice that she helped raise a lot more than her initial goal.

So if you’re amazed at the fact that over 60% of the world still cooks dinner over an open fire, but you don’t have the $1000 it would take to help an entire village get stoves. Or if you wish you could help a town get clean water but on your budget $300 might as well be a piece of the moon….

Well, maybe you could start a team, then rally your friends and family to help make it happen.

Trust me on this. People are good. If you give them a chance they will surprise you.

2. Stretch Goals

Over the years, we’ve had some awesome stretch goals. Here’s some of my particular favorites:

Molly’s Greatest Adventure

Trey Ratcliff’s bathroom selfie:

Trey Ratcliff - Bathroom Selfie

Amanda is particularly fond of everything Hank Green did for us, but last year’s angsty cover of Shake it Off cover was particularly fine.

The Doubleclicks Love You Like a Burrito!

Or what about that time Kevin Hearne did the Thriller dance?

We’re always trying to think of cool new stretch goals, and cool new people to help out with them. So if you have a clever idea feel free to mention it the comments below.

That said, let’s be reasonable in our expectations. Of course it’d be cool to see me and Nathan Fillion kiss, but obviously I don’t know Nathan Fillion. Because if I knew Nathon Fillion, the two of us would be playing Betrayal at House on the Hill in my tree house right now.

3. Donations and General offers of assistance.

Are you an author? A book collector? Someone who desperately needs to reclaim some shelf-space and the illusion of control over your life?

Are you a publisher? A game designer? Are you a maker of cool geeky things and you’d like to make the world a better place by donating a few to a good cause?

Are you a juggler? A gymnast? A singer? Can you bend spoons with your mind or something else you think would make a fun stretch goal?

Are you a programmer? An artist? A musician? Are you Nathan Fillion?

(If so, I’m sorry about that whole kissing thing I wrote up there. I didn’t mean to make things weird.)

Either way, drop us a line. We’d love to hear from you.




P.S. Don’t forget to leave your stretch goal suggestions below.

Posted in Acts of Whimsy, Worldbuilders, Worldbuilders 2015 | By Pat30 Responses

Welcome to Nightvale: The Novel

It shouldn’t surprise any of you that I read a lot.

Similarly, I’m guessing most of you won’t be hugely shocked to discover that I have strong opinions about books. When I like a book, I share it around with near-missionary zeal. And when I’m not fond of one…

… well, when I’m not fond of one. I mostly keep my mouth shut. Because life is too short. Plus it’s rude to shit on another author’s book in public. Plus I’d usually rather spend my time reading good books than bitching about bad ones.


(There are, of course, rare exceptions to this rule.)

But simply said, reading books is one of my greatest joys. Followed closely by sharing good books and talking about good books.

Which is why I have a profile over on Goodreads, where I constantly talk about books I’ve read.

To call what I do over there “reviewing” books really isn’t accurate. The truth is, I’ve never really read reviews of any sort, so I wouldn’t have the first clue as to how to write one.

Instead, I mostly talk about how I feel about the books. Sometimes as a writer. Sometimes as a reader, or a parent, or as a straight-up irrational fan. Quite frequently as an untidy mash comprised of all of the above.

But over the years, I’ve discovered an odd problem.

If I read a book and like it, writing up a little blurb on goodreads is the easiest thing in the world for me. Takes me 10-15 minutes. Tops.

Mind you, I don’t always do that. A lot of times I don’t have 10-15 minutes to spare, or I’m away from a computer when I finish a book, and by the time I think of entering it on Goodreads, the details have faded from my memory.

But what I’ve discovered is that a lot of times, if I really *really* like a book. If it absolutely knocks me over. If it has a huge emotional impact, I won’t write a review at all.

Oh I’ll *intend* to write a review. I’ll want to write one. But trying to put into words how much I adore certain books ends up being prohibitively daunting. I can think of three books like this off the top of my head. For more than a year I’ve been meaning to review: Gone Girl, A Fault in Our Stars, and The Sculptor.

And a newer book. A book that just came out, but that I’ve been meaning to write a review about for months now. A book that delighted and amazed me in a way no other book has done for years.

This book:


(This beautiful, stunning, delightful goddamn book.)

I’ve been a fan of Nightvale for a couple years now. And I’ll admit, I pulled favors so get an Advance Reading Copy. I was excited to read it. And I was terrified of what it might be like.

For those of you who don’t know, Welcome to Nightvale is a twice-monthly podcast. It’s like Tales from Lake Woebegone and The Dreamquest of Unknown Kadath had a hot, drunken make-out session, then had a beautiful baby together. It’s a great show, unlike anything else I’ve ever run into.

But that’s just it. It’s a radio show. And there’s a HUGE difference between writing a series of 25 minute radio episodes, and writing a 150,000 word novel. Novels are immeasurably more complex in their narrative and character, plus you don’t get to use a lot of the tools that audio production gives you.

So yeah. I was worried they might not be able to pull it off. Not because they weren’t good writers. But because writing your first novel is a whole different game.

Did they pull it off? Here’s the short answer.


(Click to embiggen if you’d like to read my blurb.)

While I review many books, I blurb very few. The reason for this is that when I’m reviewing a book, I can explain in detail why exactly I like a book. I can talk about what the upsides and downsides are. I can make comparisons to other books.

In short, when I’m writing about a book on goodreads, I have enough space to say things like, “If you don’t like the level of violence in Martin’s books, this will be too much for you.” Or “If your kids have read Harry Potter, they should be fine reading this, too.”

But a blurb is different. When I give a blurb, I’m effectively offering my imprimatur. No matter what the blurb actually says, me having my name on the cover for promotional purposes equates to me saying, “My name is Patrick Rothfuss, and I’m saying you should try this book.”

So yeah. That’s what I’m saying here. This book is amazing and you should read it.

In fact, I’m such a fan of the book, that I’m going to help out with Joseph and Jeffrey’s Book Tour. When they swing through Milwaukee on November 10th, I’m going to chat with them about writing and stuff. Deserts and Dogparks. It should be a good time.


You can get more details about their book tour and buy tickets to the Milwaukee event over here. (Note that the ticket price includes a copy of the book, so it’s actually a bargain.)

If you’d like more details about why exactly I liked this book so much, you can check out the review I wrote on Goodreads.

Later folks,


Posted in appearances, recommendations | By Pat30 Responses
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