Category Archives: Neil Gaiman

Gaiman and Goats: Gifts that Keep on Giving

Those of you who have been following Worldbuilders for a couple years will probably recognize this book.

It’s a book with a story behind it. And the story goes like this.

2008: A gift from Gaiman.

On a whim in 2008, I decided to try raising money for Heifer International. Things quickly spiraled out of control (in a good way) and soon all sorts of authors were mentioning the fundraiser on their blogs and donating books to help out.

The pinnacle of the coolness/madness came when Neil Gaiman mentioned us to his vast legion of readers. He also donated a rare ARC of Stardust to the cause.

Unfortunately, the mail was slow around the holidays, and we didn’t get hold of the book until after that year’s fundraiser was over. That meant we couldn’t use it until….

2009: Stardust for the people.

The second year of the fundraiser was going well, but I was having a hard time deciding how best to use Gaiman’s beautiful donation. I knew I could auction it off and raise at least a thousand dollars…. but that didn’t seem right somehow.

So in the end, I decided to put it into the lottery, that way anyone who donated to Heifer on our team page would have a chance at winning it. That seemed fair to me, more egalitarian.

At the end of the fundraiser someone wins it, and in a surprise turn of generosity, they donate it straight back to Worldbuilders. Their one stipulation is that I auction it off next year, so it can bring in more money for Heifer next year.

2010: Stardust on the auction block.

During year three of Worldbuilders, we auctioned off all manner of things. And as the previous winner requested, we put Gaiman’s copy of the Stardust ARC up on e-bay too.

After some fierce bidding it sold for over $2500 to a lovely guy named Dan. There were many high-fives in Worldbuilders central. We were sad to see the book go, but $2500 bucks buys a lot of goats.

But when I e-mailed Dan to arrange shipping, he said he wanted to donate the book back to Worldbuilders.

I asked Dan if he was sure. He said he was sure. I asked Dan how he got to be so cool, and he said he was inspired by the story of how last year’s winner re-donated the book.

But most of the credit, he said, should go 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…

From everything I’ve heard, she sounds like my kind of lady.

Dan told me she had passed away recently, and that 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 through Heifer.

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….

Dan’s only stipulation was that we put the book back into the general lottery next year, so anyone would be able to win it….

2011: Full circle.

As per Dan’s request, we’re not including the ARC in the Worldbuilders auctions this year. (Though we do have some other stuff in there from Gaiman and some other big-name authors, if you want to go look.)

Instead, we’re putting the book back into the general lottery, where anyone can win it:

  • A rare, numbered ARC of Stardust. Signed by Neil Gaiman.

Not much remains to be said here. It’s a beautiful book with its own slipcase. Numbered 28 out of 250. Signed by Gaiman.

You have a chance of winning it if you donate on our Team Heifer page before Feb 7th.

How much of a chance do you have of winning this book or one of the other thousands of books that have been donated to the fundraiser?

Well, funny you should ask, because today I’ve been doing a little math….

A brief discussion of odds.

Last year, I tried to calculate what the odds of winning a book from Worldbuilders would be. After careful calculation, I shamed myself by declaring that if someone donated 170 dollars to the fundraiser, they would have a better than 100% chance of winning a prize.

Specifically, they’d have a  106.25 % chance of winning something.

It was bold math, considering the fact that conventional wisdom tells us you can’t have more than 100% likelihood of anything happening.

Luckily some of my clever readers clued me in to the fact that while my math was strong, my understanding of binomial distributions was somewhat flawed.

I’d like to suggest that my carefully calculated 106.25% actually reflected the likelihood of winning a prize in any number of alternate realities, combined with the chance of having two prizes delivered to your house due to a shipping mistake at the post office.

Yeah. Not my proudest math moment. You can see the whole shameful thing over here if you’re interested.

Anyway, this year I looked up what the hell a binomial was and brought in some helpful facebook friends to check my math.

For those of you who don’t care about the numbers, here’s the non-math version:

We have so many books.

(Click to Embiggen and you can actually read the titles….)

This isn’t even all of them. This is just the books on one wall that we’ve put up on the blog. We’ve got another 100-150 books that we’ll be adding before the fundraiser is over on Feb 7th.

So let’s say you donate 20 bucks, enough to give a family a flock ducklings.

Your odds of winning something are really good. They’re like, a hajillion times better than winning the lottery. Roughly two-point-five hajillion times better.

For those of you who do like numbers, here’s the mathy version:

As of now, we’ve raised $185,000 for Heifer, and there are almost exactly 800 prizes in the fundraiser. Not just 800 books. (We’ve got way more than that.) There’s 800 prizes you can win, a lot of those prizes are sets of books, trilogies or longer series. Other prizes are limited editions, signed by the authors, or otherwise rare.

So let’s say you donate $30. That’s enough to give a family a hive of bees that will provide honey and pollinate plants, increasing the productivity of farms and gardens throughout the community.

With that $30 donation, your odds of winning at least one prize are better than 12%.

You could donate $120. That’s enough to buy a family a goat. The milk the goat produces means children have more protein and calcium in their diets, and the family can sell the extra milk as a source of income.

With that $120 donation, your odds of winning at least one prize are over 40%. Your odds of winning more than one prize are about 10%.

Let’s say you go all the way and donate $500, enough to buy a Heifer.

There’s a reason the project’s called Heifer International, you know. As their website says:

A good dairy cow can produce four gallons of milk a day – enough for a family to drink and share with neighbors. Milk protein transforms sick, malnourished children into healthy boys and girls. The sale of surplus milk earns money for school fees, medicine, clothing and home improvements.

Better still, every gift multiplies. The animal’s first offspring is passed to another family. That family also agrees to pass on an animal, and so on. Because a healthy cow can produce a calf every year, a single heifer will eventually help an entire community move from poverty to self-reliance.

If that isn’t enough for you, you should know that a $500 dollar donation gives you a 90% chance of winning some swag.

Lastly, keep in mind that if you donate on our team page before Feb 7th, Worldbuilders will match 50% of your donation. So in addition to getting good odds, and doing good work, you’re getting a good deal with a matching donation, too.

Will these odds change over time? Yeah. A little. As people donate more money, the odds will go down a bit. But we’re going to be adding new books to the fundraiser almost every day for the next week, and that will bring the odds back up.

*     *     *

Y’know, I didn’t plan on this being a long blog. My plan was to talk about Gaiman’s book, throw some odds at you, and call it an early evening.

The truth is, the Worldbuilders is a lot of work on this end, and I’ve been close to burning out. But looking at these pictures and talking about the good work that Heifer does… it’s actually made me excited about the fundraiser again.

Here are some kids in Romania that are growing up happier and healthier because of Heifer. You and me, we’re actually helping make this happen.

How cool is that?

We’ve got a little more than a week left, and I still have books to show you. We have a few more auctions to run, too.

Right now, if you really want to help, the best thing you can do is help spread the word. Talk to your friends. Drop your parents an e-mail. Point people toward the main Worldbuilders blog so they can see all the books that authors and publishers have donated.

Facebook it. Tweet it. Tell that cute hippy boy/girl in the coffee shop about it. You’ve been looking for an excuse to talk to them anyway, and this will make a great conversation starter….

We’ve got a week left, let’s go out with a bang.

pat

P.S. Some of our auctions will be ending soon. You might want to check them out before they’re finished.

Also posted in fan coolness, Stardust ARC, Worldbuilders 2011 | By Pat36 Responses

Photo Contest: Prelude

So for a while now, I’ve been sifting through all the photos that people submitted to the contest. More than a thousand photos in all.

Needless to say, it’s been taking a lot longer than I expected.

It’s not just that life seems determined to get in the way. Neither is it the fact that there are more photos than I expected, or that so many of them are clever. It’s not even that so many of them were so obviously taken as an act of love. (And I mean that literally in some cases.)

The real problem is that so many of the pictures are really good.

While I’ve been sifting through them, organizing them into categories, and trying to winnow some of them out. I keep thinking of what happened last year when I went to Neil Gaiman’s House on the Rock shindig on Halloween.

He had a costume contest there, American Gods themed. And the winners were going to get to ride the carousel. Yeah. The carousel that nobody gets to ride.

Needless to say, the competition was fierce. Of the thousand or so people that attended, I’m guessing almost half dressed up.

(One of these days I’ll get around to telling the whole story of that day, the story of how I got to ride the carousel with Gaiman, but for now I’m just going to tell a tiny piece of the story.)

Anyway, the vast array of costumes paraded in front of Gaiman. The line went on and on. The outfits were clever and funny and elaborate.

And, more than anything, they were acts of love.

It goes on for hours. Sexy costumes, smart costumes, detailed costumes. Then, eventually, after everyone has had their turn in the spotlight, Gaiman goes up to the microphone, shaking his head.

“I hate you all,” he said.

He gets a big laugh, because he has enough charisma to pull off a line line that and make it charming.

He explains that he was expecting maybe a hundred costumes. He said he thought it would be fairly simple to weed out the rubbish ones, and pick the good ones as winners. (I specifically remember that he said “rubbish,” because that’s a word you can only really get away with if you’re British.)

There were too many good costumes, he complained, and he only got to let 8 people on the carousel. There could only be 8 winners.

Then he settled down to the hard job of picking the winners.

I’ve been thinking about that a lot these last couple weeks as I look through all the photos that were sent in for the contest. Honestly, I’m amazed at the lengths people went to for some of their pictures.

Anyway, I just wanted you to know that you’ll start seeing the results of the contest soon.

Soon….

pat

Also posted in contests, fan coolness, Photo Contest 2011 | By Pat31 Responses

Future Readings and Conventions Past….

So a long time ago, just a couple weeks after my first book came out, I received my first-ever professional convention invite. The convention was called Fantasy Matters, and it was there that I first met Neil Gaiman.

Fast forward to now, the same people that ran the Fantasy Matters convention just started up their own website, and they asked me if I’d write something to help with the launch. So I wrote a little something that talked about attending their convention back in the day. It was one of the very first that I attended as a professional writer, and meeting Neil Gaiman at that point in my life had a bit of an impact on me.

Here’s a link, if you’re interested in reading it…

In other news, I’m going to be doing a reading, Q&A, and signing up in Rhinelander on the 27th.

This should be a fun event for a couple reasons:

1) It should be cozy. (By which I mean there will probably be less than 400 people there.) That means I’ll have more time to hang out and personalize books for people.

2) Since the second book has been out for a couple months now, I can finally answer questions about it during the Q&A, and maybe read a piece of it, too. I couldn’t do that during my tour for fear of spoilers.

3) We’ve got a nice venue in an auditorium. So everyone can have a seat, even if we get 150 people or so. It’s flattering when so many people show up to an event that it’s standing room only, but I feel bad for the people that get stuck standing behind shelves or sitting on the floor.

4) I’ll have access to a projector, which means I might be able to show y’all some things I don’t normally get to share with people….

Here’s a link to the facebook event, if you’d like more details.

pat

Also posted in appearances, meeting famous people, My checkered past | By Pat36 Responses

On the Ambiguity of Gods and The Dangers of Stew

So a while back Tor.com posted up a poll asking readers to vote on what they considered the best Sci-fi and Fantasy novels of the last decade.

Imagine my delight when The Name of the Wind came in #3 in the top 10, right behind Scalzi’s Old Man’s War and Gaiman’s American Gods.

Imagine my further delight when I found out they were asking authors to do little write ups about each of the books that made the top 10.

“Would you like, to do a write up for American Gods?” they asked me. “We know you’re a bit of a Gaiman fan….”

“Yes,” I said. “Yes I am.”

So I wrote a little piece about American Gods.

As part of the same poll, John Scalzi wrote piece about how he first encountered The Name of the Wind. It’s a shameful tale that includes the details of how I stalked him like some sort of stealthy, cowardly… something. Perhaps a tree lizard of some kind. Or an ocelot. Or maybe one of those deep-sea fangly fish.

Here’s a link to his post, which is much more entertaining than mine.

I’m still sorting through the photos from the contest. There were more than a thousand of them in all, with very little chaff, so it’s taking some time. But don’t worry, you’ll be seeing them soon…

pat

Also posted in accolades | By Pat41 Responses

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

Also posted in fan coolness, Golden Ticket, Stardust ARC, Worldbuilders 2010 | By Pat57 Responses

Graphic Novels: Batman and Robin, Gaiman and Girl Genius.

This is a Worldbuilders blog.

It’s only been a couple days, and the auction for Gaiman’s signed, numbered ARC of Stardust is already at $1000 bucks. This makes me happy for Worldbuilders and Heifer international. But at the same time I can hear the wailing and gnashing of teeth from frustrated fans as they see the book pulled farther and farther from their desperately grasping fingertips.

So today I’m putting something from my personal collection into the general prize pool for the lottery. It isn’t quite as cool as the rare ARC, but it does have certain glow of awesome to it.

Best of all, you don’t have to bid against collectors for this book. Everyone who donates on our Team Heifer page has a chance at winning it.

When I first read Stardust, I read it as a novel. It wasn’t until a year later that I learned the story was originally published as a graphic novel of sorts. I say “of sorts” because it’s not a comic so much as it’s an novel with gorgeous illustrations by Charles Vess.

For example:

This is a beautiful hardcover, signed by Gaiman himself. And while it might not be all rare and numbered and such, I’m going to include something else to bring the coolness up a little closer to the ARC.

Since Stardust is a story about a star that fell from the sky, I thought I’d include a piece of honest-to-goodness star-iron with this book.

You see, before I was a book geek, I was a rock geek. By which I mean I used to collect rocks.

While I’ve let most of that particular madness go, I do still collect meteorites. This is a piece from my personal collection. It’s a cut, etched section of the Gibbeon meteorite. One of the rarer types of meteorites, it’s composed almost entirely of nickel and iron.

This picture shows one of the cooler things about the Gibeon irons. There’s a pattern embedded in the iron that looks like frost. Except frost shows up when water freezes, and these marks show up when iron and nickel slowly cool over millions of years.

It’s called a Widmanstätten pattern. And it forms because the different alloys of nickel and iron cool at slightly different rates while the molten iron is in space. The effect can’t be duplicated on earth, so it only shows up in iron-nickel meteorites.

Each different meteorite fall has a different mix of iron and nickel, so they each have a slightly different pattern. In my opinion, the Gibeon’s is one of the coolest looking.

Okay, enough rock-geekery. Let’s get back to the book-geekery.

*     *     *

This year, when I announced I was starting up Worldbuilders, several bookstores offered to donate to the fundraiser. Haven Comics contacted me and asked if I’d like to include some graphic novels in the mix this year.

“Yes,” I said. “Yes I would.”

“Do you have any suggestions?” they asked.

“Yes,” I said. “Yes I do.”

  • A copy of Batman: The Dark Knight Returns by Frank Miller.

Because of a few comments I’ve made in the past some people think I don’t like Batman. But this simply isn’t true.

The Dark Knight Returns is the very first comic I read as an adult, and it sold me on graphic novels as a legitimate medium for storytelling. Before that I was kinda stupid because I thought comics were only for kids. Grown ups read novels, right?

Wrong. This story absolutely knocked me over and I recommend it to anyone, whether or not they enjoy superhero comics or whether or not they give a damn about Batman. It’s just a brilliant story.

One of the main problems with trying to get into comics these days is that so many comics are superhero comics.

Now that by itself isn’t bad. The problem is all those superheros have 40 or 50 years of backstory. That means picking a comic off the rack and trying to read it can be unpleasantly similar to starting Wheel of Time with book #9.

None of the comics we’re putting up on the blog today have that problem. You can pick them up, start reading, and understand the story even if you’ve never read a comic before in your whole life…

Simply said, Fables is one of the best mainstream comics being written today.

The main characters aren’t superheroes. They’re figures from folklore. You have Prince Charming, Little Red Riding Hood, Aladdin, Baba Yaga, and the Big Bad Wolf. The basic premise is that these characters have been forced from their native lands and are taking refuge in our mundane world.

Bill Willingham just does a marvelous job of bringing these characters together into huge overarching story that comes to beautiful fruition over about 10 issues.

Another brilliant Batman story arc that I’m rather fond of. It maintains one artist and one author through the entire arc which I always tend to prefer, as I believe it helps a story maintain its consistent feel.

“Jeph Loeb has crafted a story that is unique to the characters. It’s a complex murder mystery, but its also a Batman story… Buoyed by a film noir-ish plot that features a Gothic twist on the gangster/murder mystery plot, terrific character-based subplots, and beautiful, cinematic art, [The Long Halloween is] an addition to your collection that you won’t regret.” – Yannick Belzil of The 11th Hour

Many of you might remember the Sin City movie that came out a while ago. It was a fairly good flick, but as is usually the case, the original book was better.

Normally I don’t notice the art of a graphic novel very much. I just don’t have much of an eye for the graphic. I’m in it for the words and the story. But even I have to acknowledge that Miller’s art style in Sin City is striking and unlike anything you’ll see anywhere else. The story itself is dark and gritty. And it has one of my all-time favorite characters in it: Marv. Marv is lovable and dark and vicious in way I know I can never hope to pull off in my own writing.

We’re all heartbroken over Firefly going away. But Joss Whedon has managed to continue the story in a few graphic novels.

So if you’re like me, still weeping bitter tears about the cancellation of Firefly. You can read Those Left Behind and spend a little more time with the crew of Serenity. It’s not season two. But it’s good.

Zombies movies have been fashionable for good long while now.

The problem is, a zombie movie almost has to be an action flick. You only have an hour and a half to tell the story in a movie, and so the story ends up being plot-driven. How do we get out of the city? What caused this? How do we survive?

What’s cool about The Walking Dead is that it’s a longer story arc. That means you get to see the long-term psychological story of a society that has fallen apart because of a zombie apocalypse.

This story doesn’t focus on the characters running around saying, “oh my god! Why is this happening? How do we survive until the government saves us?”  Instead you see them surviving for years after the apocalypse, dealing the a broken society and their incredible emotional baggage. It’s a brilliant concept for a comic, wonderfully well-executed.

*     *     *

Once I started entering the comics that Haven sent in, I started thinking about some other comics that I wanted to mention to people. So here are a few of my personal favorites I’m kicking in to this year’s lottery.

Warren Ellis is one of my favorite comic authors. He’s written so many books I adore, but I think I like Transmetropolitan the best.

How can I describe this book…?

Okay. Imagine if Henry Rollins and John Stewart had a baby. Then that baby grew up and had a baby with Hunter S. Thomson. Then that baby grew up and had Tourettes. Transmetropolitan would be that kid’s favorite book.

Right, I’ll admit that’s a terrible analogy. But it kind of gets the point across, this book is insane and hugely fucking smart. I love its dystopian future and over-arching storyline.

And I totally want a pair of glasses like Spider Jerusalem.

Mike Carey is another favorite comic author of mine. He has a particular gift for bringing together unique and obscure mythologies in his stories.

Crossing Midnight is a particular favorite of mine because it brings subtle elements of eastern culture and folklore into the story. No no. Not ninja and samurai. There’s more to Japan than Ninja and samurai. I’m talking about cool folklore. Things you probably never heard of before…

  • A copy of Scud the Disposable Assassin by Rob Schrab.

I’ve been wanting to talk about this book for more than a year. It deserves an entire blog all to itself, full of gushy enthusiasm and lavish praise. I’ll try to give it the credit it deserves in just a couple paragraphs.

Those of you who were reading comics back around the early 90’s might remember Scud. It was absolutely different from any other comic out there. Frantic. Light-hearted. Irreverent. Sweet. Bizarre. Dark. Sarcastic. Touching.

Unfortunately in 1998 the comic published a cliffhanger and just… stopped. Really stopped. For years. For a decade.

Then, in 2008, the artist and writer, Rob Schrab came back to finish the story. Despite the fact that he’s all Hollywood famous now, he came back and finished the series. What’s more, he put such a lovely ending on it that I actually cried.

This is a gorgeous collection, and it includes the entire story arc. As it says in the title: Beginning, Middle, and End.

This is Joss Whedon. What else do I need to say? This comic actually made me give a damn about the X-Men despite the fact that I didn’t know anything much about them before I picked up the book.

So yeah. Joss Whedon. Brilliant.

*     *     *

These next few books were donated by artist Ray McCarthy. Turns out he’s a fan of Name of the Wind, and after checking out some of the titles he’s worked on, I’m a fan of his, too.

  • A copy of Batman: Contagion. Signed by illustrator Ray McCarthy.

This is one of the classic Batman storylines from back in the mid-90’s. A slew of great writers and illustrators collaborated on it, including Ray McCarthy who donated this book and has signed it.

  • Two copies of Catwoman and Vampirella by Chuck Dixon and illustrated by Ray McCarthy. Signed by the illustrator.

Part of me wants to feel guilty about looking at this cover for as long as I have, and the rest of me doesn’t care.

  • A set of Red Robin graphic novels . Collision signed by Ray McCarthy.

I’ll admit that this new series was completely off my radar until Ray brought it to my attention. But I picked it up and was immediately pulled in despite the fact that I’m not up-to-date on the current Batman storylines. Dynamic storytelling. Cool art.

  • Original Red Robin Art and matching comic from Ray McCarthy.

Lastly, Ray was cool enough to donate an original page of art from Red Robin #16.

To make sure this unique item ends up in the hands of someone who will love it properly, we’re putting it up for auction. Remember, the proceeds from the auctions go to support Worldbuilders and Heifer International.

You can bid on the Red Robin original art over here.

*     *     *

Two months ago I gushed about Girl Genius on the blog.

In that blog I professed my undying love for the series. I even went so far as to tell people that if they bought the first book on my recommendation and didn’t like it, I would buy the comic back from them.

Since then, people keep emailing me, wondering how many copies of the book I’ve had to buy back.

The answer: None. Not a single one.

Given my love for this series, I’m so excited to add this item to the mix today.

Phil and Kaja Foglio were cool enough to donate two full sets of Girl Genius to Worldbuilders this year. Both sets are signed by both Phil and Kaja.

One of these will be going into the general lottery so anyone can win it.

The other one we’re putting up for auction.

You can bid on the autographed set of Girl Genius over  here.

*     *     *

Remember folks, for every 10 dollars you donate to Heifer International, you get a chance to win these books and hundreds of others like them.

In addition to that, Worldbuilders is matching 50% of all donations made on our Team Heifer page.

Matching donations and a chance to win cool swag. What more could you ask for? Go on. Do it. You know you want to.

To see the other books you can win, and other auctions Worldbuilders is running, you can head over to the main page HERE.

Also posted in recommendations, Worldbuilders 2010 | By Pat49 Responses

Rare books from Gaiman, Sanderson, and Generous Fans

Before I talk about today’s donations to Worldbuilders, I feel a moral obligation to point out that you only have until Dec 3rd to bid on the professional read-and-critiques we have up on e-bay.

So if you have a manuscript you’re dying to have professionally critiqued, or if you’re looking for the perfect Christmas gift for the aspiring writer in your life: be warned. You only have a few days left to bid….

*     *     *

Those of you who participated in last year’s fundraiser might remember that I had a hard time deciding what to do with a couple cool books donated by Gaiman and Sanderson. Specifically, I didn’t know if I wanted to auction them off to the highest bidder, or put them in the general lottery so anyone could win them.

In the end, I asked y’all what you thought would be best. Most people seemed to want it in the general lottery, because they hoped to win it. But everyone also seemed to agree that they would raise more money for Heifer International if we auctioned them off.

In the end, I ended up putting them in the lottery. Mostly because I’m egalitarian at heart, and I like having some really cool prizes in the mix.

Eventually the fundraiser came to a close. We drew names to see who won Gaiman’s and Sanderson’s books and it turned out that both the winners had donated 120 dollars. Enough for a goat. I contacted the winners personally to tell them  that they had won two of the cooler prizes in the auction. Needless to say, they were delighted.

Then something unexpected happened.

Both of the winners offered to donate the books back to Worldbuilders so we could use them again for next year’s fundraiser. But they both said the same thing: that the books should be auctioned off to bring in more money for Heifer International.

Needless to say, I was more than slightly amazed. I mean, personally, if I’d won Gaiman’s book, I don’t think I would have been able to give it up.

All in all, this goes a long way to proving my theory that people are basically good. Sometimes we screw up. Sometimes we’re lazy. Sometimes our animal natures get the better of us. But deep down, given the chance, most people are kind, helpful, and generous beyond all expectations.

Anyway, it’s next year. So I’m putting those books up for auction. In my opinion, these books are even cooler than before because they’ve been donated twice, once by the author, and again by the fans.

  • A first edition hardcover of The Gathering Storm, signed by Brandon Sanderson, Harriet Jordan, and many others.

Huh. I just noticed that Sanderson’s handwriting is a little bit like mine. His signature is much cooler though…

Needless to say, this is pretty much a one-of a kind item.

You can bid on the auction for The Gathering Storm over here.

  • A numbered, limited edition ARC of Stardust in its own slipcase. Signed by Neil Gaiman.

This is a cool book, folks. I covet.

You can bid on the auction for the Gaiman’s signed ARC over here.

  • A hardcover copy of Spectrum 8. Signed my 52 of the featured artists, including Dave McKean, Todd Lockwood, and Charles Vess.

It seems appropriate to include this book alongside these previous two auctions. Not only is it above-and-beyond cool. But it was also donated to Worldbuilders by a generous reader and book collector. It goes without saying that this book is about as unique as it gets.

You ready for the list of artists who have signed their work in the book?

Here we go:

Thom Ang, Brom, Dennis Beckstrom, Nancy Butler-Beckstrom, Frank Cho, Stuart Compton, Mark Covell, Kinuko Y. Craft, Brian Despain, Tony DiTerlizzi, Dave Dorman, Tommy Lee Edwards, Bob Eggleton, Jason Felix, Arnie Fenner, Cathy Fenner, John Van Fleet, Jon Foster, Donato Giancola, Gary Gianni, James Gurney, Richard Hescox, Greg Hidebrandt, Tim Hidebrandt, Joe Jusko, Todd Lockwood, Larry MacDougall, Gregory Manchess, Stephan Martiniere, Tony Mauro, Dave McKean, Christopher Moeller, Steve Montiglio, Jon J. Muth, Terese Nielsen, Glen Orbik, Martina Picerova, Greg Polutanovich, R.K. Post, George Pratt, Luis Royo, Robh Ruppel, Ron Spears, William Stout, Michael Sutfin, Brian R. Thompson, Bleu Turrell, Matt Wilson, Christopher Vacher, Charles Vess, Ashley Wood, and John Zeleznik.

You can bid on the autographed copy of Spectrum 8 (and see pictures of some of the autographs) by following this link.

*     *     *

Don’t forget, Worldbuilders is matching 50% of all donations made on our Team Heifer page until December 13th. What’s more, every 10 dollars you donate to Heifer International gets you a chance to rare signed books like these.

To see the other books and learn more about Worldbuilders, you can head over to the main page.

Stay tuned, folks. In the next week we’re going to posting up more hundreds of donated books, graphic novels, and DVDs. We’ll be doing more auctions too. More general coolness all around.

pat

Also posted in Worldbuilders 2010 | By Pat29 Responses
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