Tag Archives: Joss Whedon

50K Blog – A Few of my Favorite Things

This is a Worldbuilders blog.

Over the last couple years, I’ve been cautious about the donation goals I set for Worldbuilders. I set my sights on a goal I’m pretty sure we can hit, and only after we get there do I bump up the target number on our donation thermometer. Some years I’ve done this eight or nine times.

I do it this way because back in 2008 when I started all this, I thought to myself, “I wonder if I could get people to donate 5000 dollars if I gave away prizes and offered to match donations?”

When I raised that much in just a couple of days, I was stunned. So I moved it up to $10,000 dollars, worrying that I was overstepping myself, not really believing that we could raise that much….

Three years and 600,000 dollars later, I still feel the same way. Every year I find myself thinking, “Will publishers help out again? Will authors care enough to send me books? Will people tweet and link and spread the word to their friends? Will geeks of all creeds and nations step up to the plate one more time?”

Then it all comes together, and I’m full of stunned, warm-fuzzy joy all over again.

This year, I decided to try something different. Rather than move our donation goal around all higgledy-piggledy, I decided to set some target levels. Something we could shoot for as a team. Then, if people are awesome enough to help me hit those goals, I’d put extra stuff into the fundraiser as a way to thank everyone for contributing.

We hit our first goal of 50,000 last Friday, so today you get the first of these blogs. I’ve got four more planned, each with increasingly cool additions to the fundraiser.

This is the one I like to think of as the AV blog. Where I share some of my favorite non-book media with with y’all.

  • A complete DVD set of Buffy and Angel.

Over the years, I’ve made no secret of my love for Joss Whedon. I started watching Buffy seriously in 2002, right when I was seriously starting revision on The Name of the Wind. Watching this series changed how I thought about storytelling, and the tricks I learned from it taught me a lot about plot and characterization.

Simply said, I think this is the finest television show ever produced. So I’m adding it to the prize lottery.

  • Two DVD sets of Red Dwarf including Back to Earth: The Director’s Cut.

I started watching Red Dwarf way back in the day. Back when it was on VHS tapes, and you couldn’t find copies for love nor money in the US.

This is the full eight seasons and the recent three-part: Back to Earth.

In my opinion, you aren’t a real sci-fi geek if you haven’t watched this. It’s one of the classics. Best of all, because the show relies on the cleverness of the writing rather than special effects, it holds up very well these days even though the first season was more than 20 years ago.

  • Two DVD sets of Firefly.

I will never get over the cancellation of Firefly. Not in a hundred years. And I meant what I said earlier in the year when I wrote an open letter to Nathan Fillion.

If you don’t like this series, odds are we can’t be friends. I’m sorry. That’s just the way it is.

  • Two DVD sets of Dollhouse.

Some people didn’t like Dollhouse. Then again, some people are idiots who drink their own pee.

[P.S. If y’all in the marketing department at Fox would like to use this as a promotional quote for the series, feel free. Just spell my name right.]
  • One audio cd of Telling Tales by Neil Gaiman.

This is one of the CD’s that you can get from Dreamhaven. It’s one of the earlier recordings of Neil Gaiman reading his own work. Good stuff.

  • One audio cd of Speaking in Tongues by Neil Gaiman.

Like the above, but different. If you catch my meaning.

  • One copy of Warning: Contains Language by Neil Gaiman.

This is a two-CD set also features music by Dave McKean and the Flash girls. It features Gaiman reading poems and stories from Angels and Visitations.

As an interesting aside, in the liner notes, it reads:

Unauthorized Copying of this CD is not only forbidden, but will prey upon your conscience, spoil your sleep, destroy your complexion, and eventually will wind up turning you into the kind of person who drinks methylated spirits out of a bottle hidden in a brown paper bag and who lives under bridges, burps noxiously, and prays day and night for release from the unsupportable burden their life has become. We thought you’d appreciate the warning.

  • Three audio cds of 3 doz Poems read by Garrison Keillor from The Writer’s Almanac.

Some people think that I hate poetry, not realizing, perhaps, that Kvothe and I are actually two different people.

Believe it or not, we are separate entities with different thoughts and emotions. Other telltale differences include hair color: Mine is brown. His is red. He is mostly a fictional character, and I am mostly real. He is a better singer, while I am a better kisser.

We also radically differ on our opinions of poetry. He has an irrational loathing of it, while I myself quite enjoy it.

Well…. some of it. The good stuff.

This is the good stuff. Lovely poems selected and read by America’s greatest living storyteller: Garrison Keillor.

  • Two audio collections of Good Poems by Garrison Keillor.

You can also tell that these are good poems. Because, well, it says so right there: Good Poems. You can’t get much clearer than that.

This is a 4 CD set, containing a marvelous selection of poetry read by a number of wonderful readers, including Keillor himself. Honestly, I would listen to the man read a phone book. Getting to hear him read some of the finest poetry ever is just a bonus.

  • One set of The First and Second Seasons of Flight of the Conchords and an audio cd of The Distant Future.

I loved Flight of the Conchords before they were cool. If you haven’t watched their HBO series, you really need to.

  • Five copies of The Adventures of Sexton Blake.

I raved about this BBC Audio production last year on the blog.

And you know what? Everything I said about it then is just as true today. I listened to this a couple weeks ago and laughed my metaphorical ass off. If anything, I think it’s funnier the 20th time around.

  • A copy of The Ultimate David Sedaris Box Set.

While Garrison Keillor is my favorite living storyteller. David Sedaris takes a close second place.

I only discovered him a couple years ago when someone recommended I listen to “Six to Eight Black men.”

They were really insistent, so I looked it up on Youtube just to shut them up about it.

The next day I went out and bought this box set, which contains 20 CD worth of David Sedaris reading the entirety of Me Talk Pretty One Day, Naked, Holidays on Ice, Barrel Fever and Other Stories, and Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim.

I’ve been a fan of The Guild since back in 2008 when I interviewed Felicia Day and we became BFFs.

Because I love spreading the word about cool indi geekery like this, I picked up several sets of the first two seasons of The Guild when I was at San Diego ComicCon with the sole purpose of giving them away to people and getting them hooked on the series.

Felicia was nice enough to sign them for me. She’s just an all-around nice person.

*     *     *

Remember, you for every 10 dollars you donate on the Worldbuilders Team Page, you get a chance to win everything here, not to mention the hundreds of other books that have already been donated.

What’s more, if you donate before January 31st of 2012, Worldbuilders will match 50% of your donation.

Also, every dollar donated brings us closer to $100,000. Once we hit that, I’ll post up another blog with more personal additions to the fundraiser.

And lastly, don’t forget about the auctions Worldbuilders is running right now. Some of them will be ending soon…

Spread the word…

pat

Posted in buffy, Felicia Day, Firefly, Joss Whedon, The Guild, Worldbuilders 2011 | By Pat21 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.

Posted in Neil Gaiman, recommendations, Worldbuilders 2010 | By Pat49 Responses

What should I do #1 – Cat and Girl

Welcome to the first instalment of something I’m going to call “What-Should-I-do Tuesdays.”

Over the last several months I’ve received many e-mails where at some point the person says something very similar to this:

[…] I can’t wait for the sequel. Write faster! I don’t know what I’m going to do with myself until your next book comes out. […]

I usually thought of this as just a rhetorical comment until I got this e-mail:

Hi, Pat!

I was catching up on your blog and realized that one thing that would make it even better would be a list of your favorite authors, movies, games, etc… Clearly, you are a Joss Weedon fan, adore Orson Scott Card, and so on. It’s likely you could turn us, your humble audience, on to some other great stuff you like. I’d love to read your recommendations.

Kelly,

So I thought, why kill two birds with one stone. I turn you on to some good authors AND keep you from wasting away while you wait for book two.

Since this is the first week, let’s start at the top.

If you like good fantasy, you have to read Neil Gaiman.

If you’re into novels, I suggest starting with Neverwhere or Stardust. If you like comics, I suggest reading his Sandman series. Read it in the proper order too, or the continuity gods will strike you down.

Another of the best and brightest in the fantasy Genre is Terry Pratchett. He has written a metric ton of novels over the years. A few of them are merely great, but most of them are hands-down excellent. It isn’t that vital that you read them all in order, but I still recommend trying to start with some of the earlier books first, as there are continuing characters and plot lines.

And finally, a webcomic that I’m guessing many of you have never heard of. It’s not fantasy, but it is one of my favorites. It’s funny, clever, and has healthy doses of social satire. Other comics out there might be funnier, or have more stylish art. But Cat and Girl is possibly the smartest comic I’ve ever read. And it does it without getting snobby or preachy, and it makes me laugh too. It may not be for all of you, but I’m guessing that some of you will really dig it. Browse the archives and find out.

In other news, I’m going to be down at a new convention in Madison this weekend – Geek Kon.

Details are on the tour schedule page, but here are some of the panels I’ll be doing….

SATURDAY,
4pm – Lord of the Rings
6pm – Defining the Genres

SUNDAY
12 noon – SF/F Roundtable
1pm – The 36-Hour Day in Flatland

On Sunday I’m also have a reading/booksigning at Room of One’s Own just off State Street. It’s at 3:00.

Note: Those of you sending books out to me to get them signed, please remember to pack them carefully. One showed up today that had just been dropped in a box with no padding at all. It was banged up pretty badly and the dustjacket was in shreds. If you want specific advice about packaging, check out the details at the end of the blog I wrote on the subject.

Later all,

pat

Posted in appearances, conventions, Fanmail Q + A, Neil Gaiman, recommendations | By Pat30 Responses

Dinner With Joss Whedon….

Words cannot describe my geeky shame at how much I want THIS.

It’s probably a good thing I haven’t recieved my advance money for my UK deal yet. Otherwise I would be tempted to do something delicious, charitable, but profoundly financially unwise….

Alas,

pat

Posted in Joss Whedon | By Pat13 Responses

Calling all Browncoats.

I’m guessing that a large portion of you are Joss Whedon fans. Specifically, that you have watched, loved, and thoroughly geeked out to the the pure joy that is Firefly.

(Can I please assume this? I like to think of you all as intelligent, sensible people. If I discover that y’all haven’t watched Firefly, I will become ensaddened, and my little world will begin to crumble.)

Alright. Now that I know we’re all part of the same cool kids’ club, please let me direct your attention to THIS….

Yes. It’s an opportunity to see Serenity on the big screen, AND the money goes to a worthy charity at the same time. It doesn’t get any better than that….

Go. Reserve your tickets now. Spread the word.

Can’t stop the signal….

pat

P.S. For those of you that might have missed the boat, part two of the Dribble of Ink interview is up now.

Posted in cool things, Interviews | By Pat15 Responses
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