Tag Archives: Neal Stephenson

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

More Awesome Books

This is a Worldbuilders Blog.

As you know, a lot of the books we give away during Worldbuilders come from publishers or the authors themselves.

But over the last couple years, we’ve had more and more books donated by people who are just… well… people. Some work at bookstores, some are hardcore collectors, and some of them are just folks who love Heifer International and want to help out with the fundraiser.

This blog is composed entirely of books from those donors. Some of them are rare or out of print, most of them are signed by the authors.

You’ll notice two things below that are a little different from our previous years.

1. We’re grouping more books into sets. We have so many donations this year that we just don’t have time and space to list them all separately.

2. We’re offering more auctions. While we’re still putting the vast majority of our books into the lottery, most of the blogs will have at least a couple auctions. For example, in this blog  we’ve got two copies of Brennan’s Gold and Books to Die For, so one goes into the lottery, and the other goes up for auction.

And now, on to the books.

  • A hardcover, tenth anniversary edition of American Gods. Signed by Neil Gaiman.

I’m a big fan of Gaiman from way back, and I wrote up my thoughts about American Gods last year for a best SFF books of the decade blog on Tor.com. If you’re curious, you can head over there and read it.

Or, if you like, you can take the word of someone considerably more posh than me….

“More than a tourist in America, but not a native, Neil Gaiman offers an outside-in and inside-out perspective on the soul and spirituality of the country–our obsessions with money and power, our jumbled religious heritage and its societal outcomes, and the millennial decisions we face about what’s real and what’s not.” -Therese Littleton

“Set in a fascinating, unique world rich with detail, Shadow and Bone was unlike anything I’ve ever read.”  —Veronica Roth, New York Times bestselling author.

  • A set of three short story collections: Collected Ghost Stories by M.R. James, signed by Darryl Jones and John ConnollyBull Fighting, signed by Roddy Doyle; and Dark Lies the Island, signed by Kevin Barry.

“[About Collected Ghost Stories] For those who like their flesh to creep, there is an inimitable cumulative pleasure in reading these stories” – Daily Telegraph

“[About Dark Lies the Island] The most exciting Irish short story writer of his generation.” – John Burns, Sunday Times

“Shiner never fails to astound, and this collection highlights everything that makes him one of today’s best storytellers.” – Publisher’s Weekly (starred review)

[Egan] finds a way to balance the complexity of his ideas with enough story and character for the reader to care about them as stories and not just speculative essays on the latest in cosmology, physics or artificial intelligence research..” –  The SF Site

  • Auction: Advance Reading Copies of Best Served Cold and The Heroes. Both sign by Joe Abercrombie.

“[The Heroes is] one of Abercrombie’s most masterfully executed and compellingly readable novels to date.” – Carl Hays

Since both of these books are ARCs, and they’re both signed by the author, they’re fairly collectable. If you’d like to bid on them, the auction is over here.


“French has a knack for motives, always burying them deep within the world she builds.” – Janet Potter, Onion A.V. Club

 

The Leopard rewards you with a finale as unexpected and thought-provoking as any in recent mystery-fiction memory.” — San Francisco Chronicle

 

“This is a thoughtful and at times disarming novel about life, love, and discovery, set during a time when so much of life seems filled with deep portent.” – Chris Schluep

 

“Stephenson’s REAMDE: perfectly executed, mammoth, ambitious technothriller…a triumph, all 980 pages of it.” – Cory Doctorow

 

  • A hardcover copy of The Magician’s Guild. Signed by Trudi Canavan.
“A wonderfully and meticulously detailed world, and an edge-of-the-seat plot, this book is a must for all lovers of good fantasy.” – Jennifer Fallon

 

  • The Hollow Chocolate Bunnies of the ApocolypseThe Brightnomicon; and The Japanese Devil Fish Girl an Other Unnatural Attractions. All signed by author Robert Rankin.
“It’s easy to see why Rankin has a huge cult following. Drawing on a rich vein of English humour that encompasses Python, Adams and Stanshall, his comedy-fantasies are filled with pop culture references, music hall wordplay and ironic quips galore.”  — BBC FOCUS

 

“Casey handles several plot lines with ease, and she’s come up with an attractive series character in DC Maeve Kerrigan”. – Sunday Times

  • A hardcover copy of  Songs of the Earth. Signed and dated by Elspeth Cooper.

“Songs of the Earth is a fascinating and thoughtful fantasy debut quite unlike many others in the genre and the author has a unique voice that separates her from the competition.” – WALKER OF WORLDS

“Though it’s not the literary SF that has won Silverberg much of his fame, readers who love ancient myths will find much to admire.” – Publishers Weekly

A Matter of Blood is one of the more successful blends of police procedural, horror and fantasy I’ve encountered.” – LOCUS

“Glynn delivers an intricate plot and relentless suspense in this taut, top-notch thriller about the evils that men do.” – Allison Block, Booklist

“[The Istanbul Puzzle is] An impressive debut; well written, beautifully descriptive, and with a smart dialogue and a compelling air of menace throughout.” – The Lancashire Evening Post

“Books to Die For will thrill the individual mystery lover as much as it will prove an essential reference for the shelves of lending libraries. A vast, comprehensive undertaking, it is that rare breed of anthology of interest to both the initiated and the newcomer. Indeed, like the ideal mystery novel itself, this is a page-turner with an addictive quality.” – Irish Examiner

 

This book was mailed around to all of the authors in order for it to be signed.  It has a slight ding in the top of the spine, which is astonishingly little damage considering how often it was handled.

It’s a really unique item, and would make a great Christmas gift for the mystery aficionado in your life. You can check out the auction over here.

“A a slight but enjoyable tale with a light, almost YA feel. Newcomers will get an easy introduction as Arlen, still an apprentice Messenger, takes on his first solo excursion into the demon-haunted night.” – Publisher’s Weekly

This copy of Bryan’s Gold has been signed by Peter V. Brett as well as his cover artist, who, according to an additional the inscription by Brett, “is awesome!”

To bid on the auction, go here.

“[The] character development and Scalzi’s sharp ear for dialogue will draw in new readers, particularly young adults.” – Publishers Weekly

This book is truly beautiful, and the drawing from Vincent Chong on his signature page is amazing.

  •  A hardcover copy of The Prague Cemetery. Signed by Umberto Eco.

“[Eco] demonstrates once again that his is a voice that compels our attention.” – San Francisco Chronicle

  • Auction: A beautiful numbered, slipcased copy of Shades of Grey. Signed by Jasper Fforde.

Okay. First off, I have to stress that this book is NOT 50 Shades of Grey. 

This book is Shades of Grey, by Jasper Fforde. I read it a couple of years back, enjoyed it immensely, and am even now eagerly looking forward to the sequel. If you’d like more details, you can check out my Goodreads review.

Or, here’s a more professional opinion:

“A rich brew of dystopic fantasy and deadpan goofiness” – The Washington Post

They only printed a thousand of these so we’re putting this one up into the auction. To see more pictures or make a bid, you can head over here.

*     *     *

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

If you’d like to see all the auctions Worldbuilders is currently running, you can find them over here.

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 Pat8 Responses
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