A story, A gift, and A Book from Neil Gaiman

Neil Gaiman has been very supportive of Worldbuilders from the very beginning. Not only has he helped spread the word about the fundraiser to his legion of fans, but he’s given us lovely donations of rare books.

Following in that fine tradition, here’s his donation for this year:


This is a pretty, pretty book. Hardcover in its own slipcase with original woodcut illustrations.

[Edit: Neil left a note in the comments below that I thought I’d post up here:

A note — the SNOW GLASS APPLES book is the text of the Play for Voices (as recorded by Seeing Ear Theatre, starring Bebe Neuwirth), with the Queen’s dialogue printed in red ink. (I only found one for sale online, for over $300.)

Now I have to go take a moment to get over the fact that Gaiman left a comment on my blog….]

They only printed 250 of these, and even when you could buy them from Biting Dog Press they would cost you over a hundred bucks. But the book has been sold out for ages, of course.

Simply said, this is a real treasure, signed by Zipes and Gaiman and Walker.

And we’re entering it into the general lottery. That means for every 10 bucks you donate to Heifer International on our Team Heifer webpage, you get the chance to win this book and hundreds of others.

Plus, Worldbuilders will match 50% of your donation. You can’t ask for a better deal than that…

Since we’re on the subject of cool books from Neil Gaiman, I’d like to share some good news and a little story…

Those of you who have been following the fundraiser probably remember the signed ARC of stardust that Gaiman donated last year.

As I mentioned a few weeks back, the person who won that book in 2009 donated it back to the fundraiser with instructions that we auction it off to raise more money for Worldbuilders.

So that’s exactly what we did. Much to my delight the ARC sold for over 2500 dollars to a lovely gentleman named Dan.

In a way, I was sad to see the book go. It’s been living here at Worldbuilders for more than two years now. It’s a beautiful book:

But still, $2500 bucks buys a lot of goats. No matter how you looked at the deal, it was a good trade.

So we contacted Dan to congratulate him, arrange payment details, and make sure we had the right shipping address for the book.

Then something strange happened.

Dan told us that he’d like to donate the book back to Worldbuilders again. He wants it entered in to next year’s lottery so that anyone can win it, not just the person with the most money.

Needless to say, I was stunned. This is a book that I have spent more than a little time coveting. It’s a book I considered bidding on myself in the auction. And if I’d won it, I wouldn’t have given it back. Hell, I probably wouldn’t have let anyone touch it….

But Dan, apparently, is a better person than I am.

We chatted for a while over e-mail, and when I asked Dan how he got to be so cool, he said a big piece of it was the fact that he was inspired by the story of how last year’s winner re-donated the book.

But most of the credit, he says, goes to his mom. She always made a point of donating to charity even though she never had a lot of money. Not only that, but she was a died-in-the-wool geek like the rest of us: she read fantasy and sci-fi, she played Infocom games…

I have to say, she sounds like my kind of lady.

Dan told me that she passed away this March. Most of the money he inherited from her went into buying this book. He thinks she would be proud and happy to know that the money will go to helping as many people as possible.

Dan also said that he was a big Gaiman fan, and that he hoped that this whole exchange didn’t give Gaiman a complex because nobody would keep his book….

Ever since I found out that Dan was redonating the book to Worldbuilders, I’ve been trying to think of something nice I can do for him in return.

Complicating the matter is the fact that Dan’s doesn’t want anything from me. When I saw he’d ordered a few t-shirts from the store, I tried to refund his money. He refused.

Then, last night when I way trying to plan out the blogs for the rest of the fundraiser, I realized I hadn’t posted up the auction for this year’s Golden Ticket yet. The winner of the Golden Ticket gets one official favor from me. As the Marquis de Carabas would say, “a really big favor.”

I’ve been meaning to post that auction for weeks, since last year’s auction was stupefyingly successful. (It raised over 15,000 dollars.) But in the process of posting all the other blogs, finishing revisions, and shipping t-shirts, the Golden Ticket auction went straight out of my head.

So this year, rather than auctioning it off, I think I’m just going to give it to Dan.

He can cash it in however he likes. If he wants, he can get an early look at The Wise Man’s Fear. If he’d prefer to get his name somewhere in book three, we can negotiate that instead.

Dan doesn’t know about this yet. I’m announcing this on the blog so that he won’t have a chance to say no.

And just in case you were thinking it, you can’t re-donate this to the fundraiser either, Dan. It’s yours.

For any of the rest of you who might be thinking, “Gee, I wish I had a Golden Ticket.” Remember that there’s already one in this year’s general lottery. That means for every ten bucks you donate on our Team Heifer page, you get another chance at winning it.

Lastly, I feel like I should mention that yesterday we blew past last year’s donation total.

That means that in the last three years we’ve raised more than a half a million dollars for Heifer International.

We’ve still got a couple days left before the end of the fundraiser, but still, I feel like I should start thanking people now for making the Fundraiser a success again this year:

Thank you Gaiman. Thank you Dan. Thank you to all the mothers out there that taught us to be generous even when times were tight. Thank you publishers and bookstores and authors for donating books. Thank you twitterers and bloggers for spreading the word. Thank you geeks of all colors and creeds. Thank you everyone.

Alright. Enough touchy- feely. Let’s see if we can hit $150,000 by the end of the fundraiser on Friday.

Edit: Wow. We hit 150,000 in less than ten hours. So I’ve decided to re-set the donation thermometer yet again.

Our last goal, the goal that I really don’t know if we’ll be able to meet, is going to be 166,700 dollars.

It’s a rather odd number. But if we raise that much it means that after Worldbuilders makes its matching donation, we will have raised a quarter million dollars for Heifer International this year.

That would be an amazing milestone for us. And it means that when I’m trying to persuade people to donate books next year, I could say to them, “Last year we raised a quarter million dollars.” That’s a persuasive piece of information…

I don’t know if we’ll be able to make it. But I’m excited to try…

pat

This entry was posted in fan coolness, Golden Ticket, Neil Gaiman, Stardust ARC, Worldbuilders 2010By Pat57 Responses

57 Comments

  1. Slamadoca
    Posted December 15, 2010 at 4:17 PM | Permalink

    Wow. Yet another example of people being even more awesome than me. Way to go, Dan! I’m not sure I could give up such a thing to be honest, but I’m glad that there are others out there who are cool with that sort of thing.

  2. Kyndig
    Posted December 15, 2010 at 4:29 PM | Permalink

    Wow. That Dan is a better Dan than this Dan. Way to make our name equal to awesomeness. I’m humbled.

  3. nickvicious
    Posted December 15, 2010 at 4:35 PM | Permalink

    I’m a horrible person for saying this, but Pat: I highly recommend you read the book “Diet for a Small Planet”. The author makes the point that world hunger is not caused by a shortage of resources, but how we use them. Animal agriculture has always been very expensive, and uses a heck of a lot of resources that neither Heifer International, nor impoverished countries can afford. This from the The Independent (old, and I’m sorry) really hits the nail on the head. Please give it a read: http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/andrew-tyler-dont-follow-the-herd-and-give-a-cow-for-christmas-426054.html

    • Naznarreb
      Posted December 15, 2010 at 5:12 PM | Permalink

      Yeah, you are being a horrible person for posting that, and calling yourself on it doesn’t excuse your actions.

      You’ve essentially stood up in the middle of his fundraiser, something he believe very strongly in, and shouted to all and sundry “Wait! Wait you idiots! I know better! Heifer International can’t solve anything! They’ll only make it worse! Look! I have a link that proves it! Listen to meeeeeeee!” Which is pretty much shitting in everyone’s cereal.

      If you feel strongly about this, blindsiding Pat and all his readers with this info is patently NOT the way to go about it. Pat’s email address is not that hard to find. There is a contact form on this very site. You can send him a private message via Facebook. Send his a copy of the book and a letter explaining it via snail mail c/o his publisher or agent. In other words, contact him privately.

      What you don’t get to do is jump up and down and shout and make people who’ve already donated feel bad, or people who are considering donating second guess themselves, or make Pat feel like he has to take time out of his already overloaded schedule to defend his charity drive against your asshattery.

      Good day, Sir.

    • MisterMerf
      Posted December 15, 2010 at 5:17 PM | Permalink

      Nick, I read your article and here’s what I got out of it:

      Giving animals to the wrong people is worse than giving them nothing, for both the people and their land.
      Giving animals without training the recipients can fall under the same category.

      The author had a different lesson in mind, but most of his concerns can be lumped togethe as “here are things that can go wrong” rather than his intended “here is how disaster results”.

    • Posted December 15, 2010 at 6:35 PM | Permalink

      Someone always drags up that same article every year. They never seem to notice:

      1. That the guy that wrote the article was actually pimping his own charity. He’s the director of the group he speaks so glowingly about at the end of his article. This does not make him a reliable source. Neither does it make him a journalist.

      2. He never mentions Heifer in the article. He criticizes other “donate an animal” charities that don’t take into account local climate, ecology, and culture. And from what he says, he has good reason to criticize them.

      But there’s a reason he can’t criticize Heifer. Heifer takes all those things into account.

      [snark removed] Sorry. I got a little irritated there. I know you were just trying to be helpful.

  4. Chocolate Sushi
    Posted December 15, 2010 at 4:49 PM | Permalink

    I’m dying to know what the winner of last year’s Golden Ticket asked for. Was this in a blog I missed?

    • Posted December 15, 2010 at 6:19 PM | Permalink

      No, I just haven’t had a chance to write it.

      • Aerron
        Posted December 15, 2010 at 6:27 PM | Permalink

        I thought “The Adventures of Princess and Mr. Wiffle” was the result of the last Golden Ticket.

        • Posted December 16, 2010 at 8:19 AM | Permalink

          No, “The Adventures of the Princess and Mr. Whiffle” originated from a bedtime story Pat told to Sarah. That’s why it has three endings: one from the way he originally told it, one from a re-telling to let Sarah sleep better, and one true ending.

          At least, that’s what I believe I remember reading. There’s a blog post about this somewhere…

  5. Thebackpack
    Posted December 15, 2010 at 5:17 PM | Permalink

    Awesome Dan! Now cash in your favor! You’ve earned it!
    Best wishes

  6. justinistired
    Posted December 15, 2010 at 5:25 PM | Permalink

    Aww, well done.

    • justinistired
      Posted December 15, 2010 at 5:26 PM | Permalink

      (I created an account for the site just to post that.)

  7. eldrelore
    Posted December 15, 2010 at 5:34 PM | Permalink

    I read this blog for the fun factor most of the time. During December, I read it to restore my faith in humanity. Awesome, Dan. Awesome Pat.

  8. lyraadriana
    Posted December 15, 2010 at 5:56 PM | Permalink

    Nice job making me cry in the middle of work. (I shouldn’t be reading your blog at work anyway, but that’s beside the point)
    Being here at the beginning of this fundraiser makes me feel like I’m a part of history, the good part that makes the world a better place. Dan is truly a good human being.
    I have a dream that 20 years down the road Stardust will still be in circulation, being won, then donated right back again.

  9. eustressor
    Posted December 15, 2010 at 7:05 PM | Permalink

    This post was really inspiring. Made me shed happy tears very early in the morning in my part of the world. Thanks Dan and Pat!

  10. chaelek
    Posted December 15, 2010 at 7:10 PM | Permalink

    Wow. Just wow. This blog keeps me thinking that people are genuinely decent, or in Dan’s case, really awesome. And I’m glad you’re forcing him to take a prize, Mr. Rothfuss, I like it when awesomeness begets awesomeness.

  11. Neil Gaiman
    Posted December 15, 2010 at 7:33 PM | Permalink

    That’s wonderful of Dan. I love people. People are so amazing.

    A note — the SNOW GLASS APPLES book is the text of the Play for Voices (as recorded by Seeing Ear Theatre, starring Bebe Neuwirth), with the Queen’s dialogue printed in red ink. (I only found one for sale online, for over $300.)

  12. Mossy Toes
    Posted December 15, 2010 at 7:48 PM | Permalink

    Don’t you dare try to turn this down, Dan. You have passed the Test of Selflessness, and are reaping the well-earned +exp and loot.

    You are people. And as the esteemed Mr. Gaiman says and I parrot, people are amazing.

  13. SavvyP
    Posted December 15, 2010 at 7:49 PM | Permalink

    Can I just say that Dan has restored my faith in humanity?

  14. teewords
    Posted December 15, 2010 at 8:39 PM | Permalink

    There’s something about the Gaiman/Rothfuss/Wheaton/Palmer people that give me at least one huge FEEL GOOD everyday (which I seriously appreciate). Also feel good making my Heifer Donation, because I did do my research, and they are awesome.

  15. innov8d
    Posted December 15, 2010 at 9:02 PM | Permalink

    As the Dan in question, I can only say thank you Pat, thank you very much. (See I learned the lesson *grin*). That is an outrageously, unbelievably cool thank you gift and I honestly have no idea what to do with it. Is that best friend position open? Hmmm.. you said I can’t donate the golden ticket, but you DIDN’T say I couldn’t donate what I ask for a favor. *grin*

    I truly hope that whomever gets the Stardust ARC next year truly cherishes it (and keeps it, it deserves a good home)! It was an unbelievably generous donation from Neil Gaiman and equally generous of last year’s winner to re-donate it. Just so everyone’s clear, when it comes to that ARC all I can say is “ME COVET”. It’s probably best that I will never lay my hands or eyes directly on it, I’m not sure I’d have the strength to donate it at that point. Heck if I were Pat and had it in my possession it might have “fallen off the truck” ages ago. Don’t let Pat kid you, he’s awesomeness incarnate.

    Everyone who has donated to this fundraiser in any way is a testament to the basic goodness of people. These donations can make a very real difference and have an impact in a way that just isn’t usually possible on the scale of what an average person can donate. If you’ve got a few dollars, I definitely encourage you to donate now. Lets keep Worldbuilders growing and help as many people as we can! Pat said it better than I ever could, but I want to echo that Heifer is truly a wonderful organization and I hope that both they and Worldbuilders continue to be wildly successful. I especially want to see Pat on next year’s Heifer gift catalog cover hugging a water buffalo. *grin*

    My mom is truly the reason for this donation. She was a wonderful, selfless woman who always made sure other’s needs were met before her own. She was taken away much too soon and we miss her dearly. I hope this donation can keep her energy alive in the world and spread her love and goodness around the globe.

    Take time to cherish your friends and family and always be on the lookout for little ways to make a difference in someone else’s life. The world needs more goodness.

    • innov8d
      Posted December 15, 2010 at 9:09 PM | Permalink

      Oh and major points to Pat for the Neverwhere reference. :)

    • priscellie
      Posted December 15, 2010 at 9:24 PM | Permalink

      Thank you, Dan! Your extraordinary generosity is an inspiration. I already made a donation to Heifer this year, and you make me want to donate more. Your mother must have been a truly remarkable woman, and I’m sure wherever she is, she couldn’t be more proud of her son.

    • dankinney
      Posted December 16, 2010 at 7:48 AM | Permalink

      You’re truly an amazing person, Dan. It’s so nice to know that there are still some good people out there who have some good core values.

    • SavvyP
      Posted December 16, 2010 at 5:59 PM | Permalink

      *hugs Dan*

  16. Dryft
    Posted December 15, 2010 at 9:42 PM | Permalink

    I read this blog entry three times before it sunk in why: I think a little of my faith in humanity was just restored.

  17. Widow Of Sirius
    Posted December 15, 2010 at 9:44 PM | Permalink

    I have so many warm fuzzies right now I’m about to cry with happiness. This is so great, and I really respect everyone involved in Worldbuilders, from people who donate, to people who just give $2500 to charity, to Pat for setting this up…

    I need to go compose myself and get ready for finals. But know that I’m going to be carrying around a warm globe of happiness in this frigid world for a long time :)

  18. Brock
    Posted December 15, 2010 at 10:25 PM | Permalink

    Okay, I’m not really a charitable person. As a member of the underclass, for now anyway, I figured I was exempt from caring about others. Most charities didn’t appeal to me anyway. I felt this way until I read about Heifer and about Dan.

    So I did something I haven’t done since high school. I gave 10 bucks that I would otherwise have been spent appeasing my landlord or buying books, I am eternally the student, to Heifer. Thanks Dan. You can add my 10 to your 2500 good feelings. Thank you as well Pat, for making me care about the well being of those less fortunate than me again.

  19. Posted December 15, 2010 at 10:43 PM | Permalink

    After having an absolutely horrible day and dealing with a bunch of completely crappy people, I love hearing stories like this. It makes me realize that there are people out there who aren’t inherently evil and out to get me.

  20. DShannon
    Posted December 15, 2010 at 11:35 PM | Permalink

    *nudges the total over $145,000*

  21. Posted December 15, 2010 at 11:58 PM | Permalink

    Had to take a break from my Legislation exam to say Dan, you sir are a marvelous human being.

  22. swedishness
    Posted December 16, 2010 at 2:38 AM | Permalink

    This is truly outstanding. I, like many others here, enjoy this blog immensely, much for the information about WMF and other projects of course, but even more so for the fantastic sense of wonder and humanity you all bring to us Pat.

    What you have started with this Worldbuilders donation is nothing short of wonderful and makes me believe in us as a species again, that we are basically good and decent.

    And to Dan, wow, just wow. Words fail me.

    I have intended now for a couple of weeks to donate and now this blog prompted me which feels really good.

    So here’s to all of us for participating in this and I know I at least will have a big fuzzy feeling all through Christmas and New Year’s due to this.

  23. dankinney
    Posted December 16, 2010 at 6:19 AM | Permalink

    Just wanted to let you know that I got my “Eolian Bar” shirt yesterday and it is AWESOME!! Thanks once again for being an awesome author who cares about his fans!

  24. Posted December 16, 2010 at 7:07 AM | Permalink

    Wow, what a great story. And what a great person Dan is. Me being who I am I wouldn’t have been able to part with it. I’m a huge Gaiman fan and I would covet that book like it was my child. Also, after reading this it made me feel guilty about my measly $20 donation. So I just put $30 more into the pot. Cheers Dan and Pat for being awesome people.

  25. Posted December 16, 2010 at 8:05 AM | Permalink

    It is this fundraiser and these kinds of actions that help restore some of my faith in people.

    Thank you Pat for doing what you do and all generous donators.

  26. eflin
    Posted December 16, 2010 at 8:10 AM | Permalink

    Way to go Dan. Your story single handily made me donate more than I did last year. I definitely wouldn’t have had the will power to give it back!

    Also thanks to Pat for being awesome enough to set this whole thing up.

    On a side note, last year my donation mentioned it was through world builders. This year it just gave me a donation ID#. Did I do something wrong? I just clicked the donate to this group button after following the link in Pat’s blog so I don’t see how i could have.

  27. innov8d
    Posted December 16, 2010 at 8:13 AM | Permalink

    Hi everyone, I just donated an additional $1200 in my mother’s name to help push us up over $148k. Let’s get the total to $150k TODAY and make Pat raise the goal again. We can do it! I know we can! Give if you’ve got it to give, otherwise spread the word and warm feelings to everyone you know!

  28. Maureen
    Posted December 16, 2010 at 8:45 AM | Permalink

    Also created an account just to comment on this post

    Dan, you rock.

    I hope the good that you have created gets visited back to you ten-fold.

  29. AuttieB
    Posted December 16, 2010 at 9:08 AM | Permalink

    Dan, You’re my new Hero! I think it’s so great that this is happening with Stardust. My favorite thing about that story was how some of the Characters became more then they even thought they could be and grew beyond the 100% they thought they already were. Now it’s spreading :)

  30. Crim
    Posted December 16, 2010 at 9:13 AM | Permalink

    Now usually I’m a stingy bugger this time of year but after reading this blog all Igot to say is Dan, you are made of so much awesomesauce!! :D

    I finally got off my backside and donated $25…that’s all my poor indebet former student self can afford (awe who am I kidding, I think that put my visa in the negatives lol). But I feel pretty good about it. Way to restore my faith in humanity, guess there are still really good people out there!

  31. Malana
    Posted December 16, 2010 at 9:32 AM | Permalink

    Just made my donation. It was just a few hundred away from 150,000. Wish I could have donated more (it’s my Christmas present to my dad) but a trip to the emergency room back in November has swallowed most of my extra money. But Heifer is worth it. I can live on PB&J for the next week.

    Also, let me join in the chorus of how awesome Dan is. I wish more people were that generous. Heck, I wish *I* were that generous.

  32. Maureen
    Posted December 16, 2010 at 10:23 AM | Permalink

    Donated an addition $50 in honor of Dan’s mom.

  33. vegetablelasagna
    Posted December 16, 2010 at 10:29 AM | Permalink

    Does anyone know how many items are in the “general lottery” at this point? I donated an extra hundo today because of Dan’s generosity! Way to go Dan!! I have never posted in a blog’s comment section (or any comment section for that matter) and have been really inspired by this fundraiser. Way to go everyone!

  34. innov8d
    Posted December 16, 2010 at 10:50 AM | Permalink

    WOO HOOO! Over $150k already! Way to go everyone!

  35. Smilingmug
    Posted December 16, 2010 at 10:53 AM | Permalink

    I had to create an account just to say thanks to Pat for putting this all together. To Dan a special thanks for inspiring so many people, myself included. All involved made my heart grow a few sizes today. Just saw that the $150k mark had been eclipsed prior to making a small donation. Congratulations!

  36. Jake Covert
    Posted December 16, 2010 at 11:57 AM | Permalink

    Blogs that actually inspire. Wow. Cool-ish-lish-ness for sure..

  37. jules
    Posted December 16, 2010 at 11:59 AM | Permalink

    I just went to the Team Heifer page to donate the few dollars that I’ve been wanting to give for about a week now and was surprised and happy to see that you, Mr Pat, have raised over 150k already. Congratulations on that, this is an incredible achievement.

    Before filling in the form, I came back here to see if there was already a blog about the 150k-mark. Then I read the story about you, Sir Dan, and had to wipe away a little tear of happiness. Congratulations! You’re an astonishingly selfless person!

    What can I say. I felt bad about giving only the lousy few bucks, especially after having bought pricy presents for all my family for Christmas recently. So I tripled the amount. There. That’s better. :-)

    I’ll sure be back with more next year! Go, Worldbuilders!

  38. Mouse
    Posted December 16, 2010 at 12:32 PM | Permalink

    I’ve been a fan since I read Name of the Wind right after it came out occasionally checking this blog and praying for the new book to come out. Yet I’ve never donated citing various stages of poverty and studenthood as reasons for my lack of coolness.

    Dan inspired me to donate. Dan and Pat, making the world a lot cooler one person at a time.

  39. allenca32
    Posted December 16, 2010 at 12:38 PM | Permalink

    Wow! Dan and Pat! I donated last week but just doubled it due to your inspiration! I wish I was as cool!

  40. Hxlgg
    Posted December 16, 2010 at 1:18 PM | Permalink

    Thank you to everybody involved in this. Heifer. Pat. Neil. Dan. Awesome Fans. Everybody! I hope everybody can have their very own goat someday. :)

  41. chaelek
    Posted December 16, 2010 at 2:09 PM | Permalink

    I’d already donated thirty dollars early in the run this year, but upon reading this blog yesterday I donated another thirty. I felt good about myself and went back to my nearly-done-with-finals routine.

    I was feeling a little down today, probably because of the finals, and re-read this blog to make myself feel better. It worked, and after reading all the comments I donated another 40 dollars.

    Pat please take this blog down!! I’ve got student loans to pay!!

    :) Kidding of course, let’s see how high we can drive the total this year!

  42. Jason S
    Posted December 17, 2010 at 11:11 AM | Permalink

    Snow, Glass, Apples. <3

    This is perhaps the holy grail of collectible Gaiman books.

    A great story and amazing woodcuts I've only heard about.

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