Tag Archives: Charles Stross

Cool Things from Awesome Supporters

It’s been a great couple of days of fundraising here, and with less than a week left, we have a little bit of business to attend to.

  • Odds of winning a prize

First of all, yesterday, someone asked what their odds of winning a prize in the lottery were. What a fantastic question! we thought to ourselves. Surely it’ll take us ages to do such a difficult calculation, so alas, we won’t be able to answer it.

At least, that’s what we’ve said in years past. We’ve proven that we really shouldn’t be the ones trusted to do the math for odds, as evidenced by the multiple fundraiser blogs where we tried and and got the math wrong. That’s why we brought in a pro last year.

Vi Hart did the math, and we used that to create this little widget. Put in your donation, and it will tell you what the odds are that you win at least one prize.

Right now if you donate $20, enough for a flock of chickens, you have a 6% (ish) chance of winning something. (Better odds that rolling a 1 on your saving throw, and we all know how often *that* happens.)

If you donate $120, enough for a goat, you have a 34% chance of winning.

Donate enough to bring clean water to a village ($250) you have a 55% chance.

Donate enough for a Heifer ($500)  and you have a 78% chance of winning.

Keep in mind that the widget doesn’t tell you how likely you are to win multiple prizes. And some prizes contain multiple books.

What’s more, the odds will shimmy around a bit. As more people donate, the odds go down. But the more prizes we post, the odds go up. It’s also worthwhile to note that some people opt out of the prize draw, and as a result, your odds are actually a little *better* than what the widget tells you.

There is one slight flaw. If you donate enter more than 2700 dollars, the widget will show a 100% chance of winning a prize. This isn’t really true. But the widget can’t show 99.999999999%, so it rounds up.

These are amazingly good odds, folks. And We’re still got an entire weeks worth of material to add to the pot.

  • Holiday Shipping Times

If you’re like me, you’re probably *just* starting to think about doing your Holiday shopping. Luckily for you, you can do some of your shopping in The Tinker’s Packs whereas I’m denied that joy, because it’s considered tacky to give your family and friends your own merch as presents.

If you *are* considering making a few purchaces for time-sensitive holidays, you might want to check the data below. Because shipping times can be pretty brutal this time of year….

2015 Holiday Shipping Dates (1)

The international times, as always, are hard to guess and highly variable. We give a rough estimate of 2-8 weeks, not because it’ll take that long to get to your country, but because we have no way of knowing how long customs might take to get your package processed. We don’t want to make promises at this point, but it’s likely you’re still safe for another few days.

But as you can see, the last day to get the cheapest domestic shipping and be sure it’ll be there in time for Christmas is today. Every day you wait after today is going to cost you more money in shipping, so I advise at least checking things out to make sure you’re not missing out on something you desperately want.

Or, if you don’t want to worry about shipping times, get them a Gift Card. Ships to your email inbox in a matter of seconds with no risk of embarrassingly choosing the wrong size t-shirt! This is a service we provide to the community out of the love of our hearts.

* * *

The authors, publishers, and game companies that donate to us get a lot of glory, and rightfully so. They donate thousands of dollars worth of prizes to the fundraiser. They make a huge impact on things here.

But there are always people supporting the cause in their own way. Lots of our team pages are made by people asking their families to contribute to the fundraiser instead of giving Christmas gifts. There’s people holding bake sales, or their own little mini fundraisers, in honor of Worldbuilders.

And there are people sending us their own treasured possessions. Books from their personal collections, some of them signed, limited, or rare.

Today’s blog is made up entirely of these. Books that our supporters gave, a few at a time, out of the goodness of their own hearts.

We have the best supporters.

Almost all of the books in today’s blog are signed, which is an added bonus. If not by the author, then perhaps by the illustrator…

necronomicon

This is a hefty tome. It has some of Lovecraft’s best-known work, including the entire Cthulu Mythos. The illustrator, Les Edwards, doodled a full page in the front, making it particularly valuable.

If you want to add this to your collection, you can bid right here.

  • Lovecraft Library Bundle: Six Lovecraft Books.

lovecraft

If that Necronomicon is a little outside of your price range, you can make a contribution of $10 or more to the team page to be entered to win one of thousands of prizes, including this six-pack of Lovecraft stories.

First Editions

A surprising number of signed first edition books made their way to us this year, and we knew they’d be loved if we put them into the lottery.

  • First edition copy of Lock In. Signed by John Scalzi.

scalzi

Lock In is one of Amanda’s favorite books, and getting a signed first edition is extra cool. But you don’t have to take our word for it.

“The novel–which contains plenty of action, great character development, vivid and believable worldbuilding and a thought-provoking examination of disability culture and politics–is definitely worth the ride.” ―Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

  • First edition copy of The Boy with the Porcelain Blade. Signed by Den Patrick.

patrick

“The Boy with the Porcelain Blade is an intriguing novel that opens like a flower to reveal all to those who choose to read it” –Fantasy Book Review

This is the first book in a new dark fantasy series, and we’re really excited to have one to show off in the fundraiser. The signature is even dated with March 21, 2014, so it’s got some bonus value to it. It’s going right into the lottery, so a lucky donor is going to win it…

dying

“A beautiful story, honestly told.”―Neil Gaiman

Honestly, we’re all willing to pick up any book with a blurb like that from Neil Gaiman, and this one is particularly beautiful.

moore

“Moore is endlessly inventive … This cetacean picaresque is no fluke – it is a sure winner” —Publishers Weekly

A lot of us in the office are big Chrsitopher Moore fans, so this first edition is particularly lusted after here at Worldbuilders HQ.

  • A set of first edition copies of Echopraxia and Blindsight. Both signed by Peter Watts.

watts

“A paranoid tale that would make Philip K. Dick proud, told in a literary style that should seduce readers who don’t typically enjoy science fiction.” ―Kirkus Reviews

  • Auction: First edition copy of The Slow Regard of Silent Things. Signed by me, signed and remarqued by Nate Taylor.

srost

This is a lovely donation from a supporter, who wanted to remain anonymous. Nate did a gorgeous remarque of Auri and Foxen on the dedication page, and I haven’t seen many with such extensive art before.

This one is up for auction, so if you’re interested, you can bid right here.

Otherwise Awesome Books

First editions are great, but we have a lot more signed, doodled, and otherwise awesome books we’re adding to the fundraiser, as well.

  • Auction: Collector’s edition of The Gormenghast Novels two-volume set, by Mervyn Peake.

gormenghast

This is super cool. The Gormenghast novels are a huge part of the history of fantasy, and they’ve all been compiled into two beautiful leatherbound volumes. One of our supporters, Jill, sent it along, and we knew we had to make sure it went to a home that would love it deeply.

If you can provide that home, bid here.

mccammon

“This story blends the gripping horror and action of McCammon’s earliest novels with the empathy of his more recent work, making it one of his finest.” –Publishers Weekly

This is one of Subterranean Press’s beautiful books, and it’s been all signed up to make it that much cooler.

  • 3 copies of Diary of a Mad Brownie. Signed by the illustrator, Paul Kidby, one also signed by  Bruce Coville.

coville

“It’s not easy to merge such disparate elements as traditional Scottish lore and modern American life, but Coville brings it off with wit, style, and respect. The first volume of the Enchanted Files series is smart, amusing, and a lot of fun” —Booklist (starred review)

This is a particular treat. Not only do we have three copies to put into the lottery, but they’re all signed by both the author and illustrator, making them extra special.

conquest

“Densely plotted and decidedly grown-up, this is YA fiction for readers who are bored of fluff and sparkles.” –SFX Magazine

demons

“Whelan juggles wisecracking demons, Wicca, a World of Warcraft-style game, and even a sly Morrissey quote […] It’s a hoot.” –The Guardian

hegarty

“Hegarty’s debut and the first of a projected series is Ghostbusters meets Percy Jackson as written by Terry Pratchett. Readers will be hunting for the sequel in short order.” –Kirkus Reviews

brennan

“Full of vivid characters and terrific world building, Generation V is a fun, fast-packed romp of a story that kept me glued tot he pages to the very last word. Loved it! Bravo, M.L. Brennan, bravo!”–Devon Monk

I love seeing inscriptions like this, because the winner of this in the lottery is going to be able to look back on it for a long time, brag to their friends, and show it off as something cool they got for doing something cool. It’s a win-win-win.

  • 3 copies of A Study In Scarlet. Signed by the illustrator, Gris Grimly.

scarlet

I think we all know a Sherlock Holmes story or two, but an illustrated version signed by the illustrator would be a good addition to your collection. And the quick doodle with the signature is pretty awesome. We had a copy of Neil Gaiman’s The Dangerous Alphabet last year, illustrated by Gris Grimly, and everyone crowded around it for a while, pointing out all the brilliant details he adds to his art.

got

This is a pretty rare book. Subterranean Press doesn’t even allow people to order more than one, and it was limited to only 500 copies. This particular copy is number 331, and includes roughly 70 black and white interior illustrations, including chapter heads, full page illustrations, and vignettes, as well as three full-color interior illustrations.

It’s signed by both Martin and the artist, Ted Nasmith, and it’s already being bid on pretty ferociously over on ebay. If you want it, get in on it quick.

  • A Buttload of ARCs from Shane.

arcs

One of our supporters, Shane, runs a book review blog and ends up with a lot of ARCs because of it. He sent us “a giant Target diaper box” (his words) full of ARCs, and rather than keep all the coolness for people who can afford to bid, we’re putting them all into the lottery.

There are ARCs from authors like Neal StephesonKen Liu, Chris Beckett, David Weber, and a lot, lot more. And yes, they arrived taped safely inside a Target diaper box. Size 6.

Since they’re all in the lottery, every $10 you donate gets you another chance to win some of these ARCs. If you’ve been holding back, the fundraiser has less than a week left at this point, so you might want to jump in soon…

* * *

Don’t forget to check out the store if you’re shopping for holiday gifts. You’re kind of late for Hanukkah, but maybe that’s an endearing trait to your loved ones. Like we said, today’s the last day for cheap shipping for Christmas, and it’s only going to get riskier the longer you wait.

There are lots more auctions up right now, too, and we haven’t even featured most of them yet. If you want to get a jump on the bidding, you can check them out right here.

And, as always, you can get your name in the hat for one of the thousands of prizes in the lottery, and help make the world a better place at the same time, by making a donation to our fundraiser page. The entire Worldbuilders Team will grin like idiots if you do. It’s been a pretty goofy looking office for a while now.

Posted in Worldbuilders 2015 | By Pat11 Responses

Short Story Collections

This is a Worldbuilders Blog.

Some of these books came from publishers, some from authors, or fans. Some of them are signed. Some of them are rare or out of print. Some of them are limited editions you can’t find in any store.

What do they have in common? They’re all short story collections.

As you all know, while I love story, I’m not very good at the *short* part. But I respect the hell out of the people that can do it well.

All of today’s books are going into the Worldbuilders Lottery. That means you can win these and over a thousand other books by donating on the Worldbuilders Team Page. Every ten bucks you kick in gives you another chance to win.

So let’s see what we have today, shall we?

This is a collection of short stories about bookstores.  It’s numbered 127 of 1000, and it is signed by all of the contributing authors, including the editors and Neil Gaiman.  How effing cool.

We could easily auction this off. But instead, we’re going to throw it into the lottery, where anyone who donates $10 possibly win it.

  • A set of A Pleasure to Burn and Summer Morning, Summer Night by Ray Bradbury.

“[About Summer Morning, Summer Night] As intoxicating as Bradbury’s legendary Dandelion Wine , the 27 new and old stories in this potent collection resonate with timeless power.” – Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“Whates intends the stories[in Solaris Rising] to illustrate the diversity of the SF field at present. I think the book does this brilliantly. The stories are extremely varied and there should be something for everyone in here.” –  Patrick Mahon

  • 2 copies of Bronies: For the Love of Ponies from Kazka Press.
Okay. First off, I need to make it clear that I’m not a Brony.

Oh sure, I might watch My Little Pony with my little boy. And yes, I think it’s a good show. And yes, I even know which pony I would be. Oot has informed me that I’m applejack. (He’s Spike, and Sarah is Pinkie Pie.)

Ah fuck. I might be a brony.

Let’s not speak of this again….

  • The Otherworldly Pack: A set of The Door Gunner and Other Perilous Flights of Fancy; Winter’s Dreams; and a limited edition copy of In Waders From Mars. The last signed by Keith Lansdale, Karen Lansdale, Joe R. Lansdale. 

“Best known for his Black Company series of fantasy novels, Cook focuses on alternate realities, distant futures, self-sacrifice, and camaraderie born of loneliness in these 12 intimate stories… Close first-person perspectives tug heartstrings in these tragedies of thwarted expectations.” – Publishers Weekly (starred review)

  • A set of 100 Stories for Haiti and 100 Stories for Queensland.  Signed by Robert J. McCarter.

“One hundred beautiful stories. Our stories. When so much was lost or destroyed, this was created. That’s something that can never recede or wash away.” Kate Eltham.

“[This] collection, spanning more than two decades, contains Little’s trademark visceral descriptives and Southwest settings, sure to please fans who may have missed some of the more obscure entries.” – Publishers Weekly

“The sense of menace and melancholy sown into the pieces emanates primarily from the locales in which they are set and is in large part the reason I can’t recommend Strange Epiphanies highly enough.” – John Kenny

  • A copy of Strange Wonders: A Collection of Rare Fritz Leiber Works by Fritz Leiber.

“For anyone who loves great literature, Fritz Leiber walked on water.” – Harlan Ellison

  • A set of Vacancy & Ariel and The Dragon Griaule by Lucius Shepard.

“Lucius Shepard has one of the sharpest pens in the genre, and he’s in top form in this set of stories.” –  Tor.Com

“Doug Smith is, quite simply, the finest short-story writer Canada has ever produced in the science fiction and fantasy genres, and he’s also the most prolific. His stories are a treasure trove of riches that will touch your heart while making you think.” – Robert J. Sawyer

“[About River] I was surprised at how varied the stories were, from those in fantasy settings (like mine) to modern day settings, to post-apocalyptic and even SF settings … I think every reader will be able to find a couple of stories in here that they will love, and they’ll enjoy the rest of the stories as well.” – Joshua Palmatier

“[Reggie Oliver is] endowed with a fertile imagination and a superb writing technique. He’s a terrific storyteller who can write in a classy, elegant yet powerful narrative style, creating perfectly drawn characters and enticing plots.” – British Fantasy Society

In this beautiful collection from Subterranean Press, fans get something special.  It includes two novels written by Farmer,  Hadon of Ancient Opar and Flight to Opar, as well as The Song of Kwasin.  The last was written only in outline form when Farmer died, and so was finished by Chistopher Paul Carey and added into the mix.

“Fans of Farmer’s original series will appreciate this repackaging and enjoy the finale, both in tone and because of the closure it provides. Likewise, fans…will find the entire collection an accessible and enjoyable throwback.” – Publishers Weekly

“[John Crowley’s] trademark elegance shines through.” – Publishers Weekly

“[About Turns and Chances] The reader also gets a real sense of depth, of the world stretching away beyond the narrow confines of these pages, both in time and space.  It’s an impressive achievement.” – Joanne Hall

“These three reflective short-short stories employing Blaylock’s signature nostalgic prose are individually strong in technique.” – Publishers Weekly

This won the Hugo, folks. So you know it’s got something going for it…. Plus it’s signed by Stross. So it’s double-cool.

“Experienced SF readers will enjoy this intelligent look at the intricacies of time travel fiction.” – Publishers Weekly

The fact that this book is signed by both Robin Hobb and Megan Lindholm is pretty interesting, given that the two are actually the same person….

“An engaging, entertaining introduction to both sides of the author’s work.” – Booklist (Starred Review)

*     *     *

Remember, for every 10 dollars you donate on our Team Page, you get a chance to win these books and many, many more.

Or, if you want to see the other items that have been donated to Worldbuilders, or learn more about the fundraiser itself, you can head over to the main page here.

Posted in Worldbuilders 2012 | By Pat7 Responses

Interesting times….

I really don’t go in for talking about current events on the blog. The main reason for this is the fact that I am profoundly out of touch with the outside world. I don’t have cable and I don’t watch the news. On the rare occasion I miss the news and feel the need to absorb some fearmongering bullshit, I just drop a tab of acid and read a Lovecraft story. There’s less pretense that way.

I generally assume that if something really interesting happens, one of my friends will tell me, or it will show up in some of the webcomics I read. In a pinch, I assume I’ll simply absorb the knowledge through the aether, have it beamed into my mind with alien space rays, or apprehend it directly through examination of my Socratic soul using the dialectic.

I’m well aware that this isn’t the most efficient or comprehensive way to aggregate information. But it still beats the hell out of watching Fox News.

The other reason I don’t talk much about the issues on here is that when things are big enough to be interesting, they also tend to be so big that it’s hard for me to form easily encapsulated opinions about them.

For example, when there was the big kerfuffle about Google digitizing a shitload of books and thereby egregiously violating international copyright law, I was interested. Anything dealing with intellectual property rights effects me personally and professionally. So I read a bunch of stuff about it, thought some thoughts, and had a few really good conversations with a few of my librarian friends.

The upshot of my research? It’s a really complicated issue, and I have mixed feelings about it. Is Google being a bit of a dick and doing morally questionable stuff? Absolutely. But…. Well…. It’s more complicated than that.

See? Any blog I wrote on the issue would be nothing more than a long-winded shrug. Not terribly fun to write, and not particularly entertaining to read.

That’s my recent take on the current Amazon dealio.

For those of you who haven’t heard. Amazon (the bookseller) recently got into a bit of an argument with Macmillan (a book publisher) about e-book pricing. As a result, Amazon pulled all of Macmillan’s books off their website. Not just the e-books. All the books.

I’ve done some research and talked to some people and my conclusion is that.

1. This is a big deal.

2. Amazon is being a bit of a dick, and attempting to bully folks in order to get more of the publishing pie than is really fair.

This feels weird for me to say, because honestly, Amazon has been good to me over the years. They gave me good reviews and really helped promote my book early on. It was really nice.

But it really doesn’t matter how good they’ve been to me in the past. If you’re nice to me, then beat up my neighbor for his lunch money, you’re still a bully. I’m afraid there’s just no way around it.

3. This whole thing is pretty complicated, and I’m not well informed enough make any real intelligent assessment of the overall situation or what it might mean for publishing, DRM, or the future of e-books.

If you’re interested in that sort of thing, you might want to check out this blog written by the lovely and talented Charles Stross. He understands the landscape of publishing WAY better than me and does a great job of summing things up.

Amazon, Macmillan: an outsider’s guide to the fight.

Here’s also a blog from Tobias Buckell that has more technical details. He does some of the math for you and explains what all this really means in a delightfully low-bullshit way.

Link to Buckell’s blog.

Here’s the public statement from Macmillan too.

I’m bringing this to your attention because if you’re like me, you sometimes miss things like this unless someone points them out. Also, I’m guessing most of you kinda like books.

I like books too, and while two companies having a corporate slapfight might seem far removed from the book you pick up, read, and enjoy, the truth is that these corporate manoeuvrings have very real effects on which books get published in the future, their quality, and how well authors get treated in the process.

If anyone else has relevant links they’d like to post in the comments below, please feel free to do so. I’m way too tired to dig up more stuff right now. I’ve got to go to bed.

We’re living in interesting times, folks….

pat

Posted in a few words you're probably going to have to look up, Things I didn't know about publishing | By Pat52 Responses
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