Tag Archives: Penny Arcade

Signed Art and Awesome Miscellany

This is a Worldbuilders Blog.

Today we’ve got kind of a mixed bag of cool things, a lot of it is art-related. Some of it’s comic-related. It’s really kind of a big batch of cool hodgelany.

No big preamble today. Let’s just get right to the goods.

  • A copy of the Penny Arcade Kvothe strip, signed by Gabe and Tycho.

I got a ridiculous amount of geeky joy when Penny Arcade did a strip about The Wise Man’s Fear. I count it as one of my proudest geeky achievements so far in life.

This 12″ x 18″ print is on heavy cardstock, signed by both Gabe and Tycho. I can sign it too, if you like….

If you want to celebrate Kvothe having sex with two ninjas, you can bid on this lovely item here.

  • Original Name of the Wind cover art giclee, number 22 of 1000.  Signed by Donato.

For those of you who have never seen a first edition of Name of the Wind, you might have never seen the original cover art, done by the Hugo Award winning artist Donato.

Donato was nice enough to donate some smaller giclees for to us to sell in the Tinker’s Packs. But we also have one of the numbered, full size copies as well.

It’s a beautiful print in a plastic case. This isn’t just a poster, the paper and printing are much higher quality than that.

It’s signed by Donato, and if you want, I’ll happily sign it too. But only if you win the auction over here.

This is a really cool comic concept.  Here’s what Paul had to say on his website:

“The book is an experiment in visual storytelling that attempts to use comicbook visual language in a free-form way; a kind of ‘visual poem’ on the theme of the human search for knowledge and other life, inspired by SETI, and Carl Sagan’s series Cosmos.”

So yeah.  Pretty cool.

3 of these are going into the lottery, but one will be an auction.

  • 2 sets of Zed Vol. 1, Insanely Twisted Rabbits, Parables: An Anthology.  All signed by Michel Gagné.

(Click to embiggen)

The art here is really like nothing I’ve ever seen. It’s some crazy stuff.

One set will be put into the lottery, and one set is an auction over here.

  • 4 copies of the Looking for Group Omnibus.  Signed by Ryan Sohmer.

Fuck yeah you want this.  Just look at it. Can’t you hear the 2001 music playing in the background?

3 of these are going into the lottery, but one will be an auction right here.

This book is so cool.  It was a Kickstarter that turned into an awesome project.  It’s about a first time parent’s relationship with their child, and it depicts it though some truly beautiful paintings.

As a dad myself, it makes me all misty. But then again, I get weepy at the drop of a hat these days.

24 of these are going into the lottery, but we thought we’d auction one off over here.

  • Auction: Bloom County Complete Vol 4.  Signed by Berke Breathed, #441 of 500

Bloom County was one of the top comics through the ’80s. It was crazy, topical and filled with social and political commentary. At this point, this book is almost a time capsule that reflects the me-decade. The brilliant part is that Breathed’s characters and humor are timeless, keeping most of the humor accessible. 

This numbered, limited edition is signed by Breathed himself. To bid click here.

  • Auction: The Art of George R.R. Martin’s Song of Ice & Fire 2005 Fantasy Flight edition.

This is the first edition of The Art of George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire from Fantasy Flight Publishing. It came out *ages* before the HBO show back before Martin was more famous than the Beatles, so this edition is pretty rare.

This volume includes all kinds of illustrations from sketches to full paintings, all depicting your favorite characters and scenes from Martin’s epic series.

If you’re a Martin fan, you should go bid on this over here.

Priscilla and Jim have been great to us this year.  Jim was in the 2013 calendar with Priscilla as his model, and they’ve both been extremely supportive of the cause.

They both signed this awesome, heavy-duty map and sent it along for us. To bid on it, go to the e-bay listing here.

  • Auction: A poster for Legend of Neil.  Signed by the cast.  Includes the DVD.

Legend of Neil was one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen on the net. Written and Directed by Sandeep Parikh, it also features Felicia Day in the memorable role of a psychotic faerie. If you haven’t seen it, you’re really missing out.

The DVD came out just this year and is packed with extra awesome. Bid now.

  • Auction: A collector’s edition of Faeries.  Signed by Brian Froud. Comes with 8 prints and a pullout poster.

Originally published in 1978, this collection of world famous fantasy illustrator Brian Froud’s faerie art has become something of a benchmark by which all other faerie art is measured.  It also features 8 frameable prints of some of the more popular images in the book, as well as a pull-out poster. We don’t know what the poster is, because we didn’t pull it out. That’s for you, if you want.

If you want to see the secret poster, click here to bid on it.

  • Auction: Dreamquests: the Art of Don Maitz.  Signed and doodled by Don Maitz.

If you’re not sure if you’ve ever seen Don’s work, assume you have. He’s been doing commercial art for years, running the gamut from book covers to commercial art. If you’ve ever poured a glass of Captain Morgan’s Spiced Rum, you’ve seen Don’s art.

He’s everywhere. Don’t even try to escape.

Click here to bid on the awesome.

  • Auction: A copy of Tell Me a Dragon.  Signed and doodled by Jackie Morris.

This book is about dragons. Specifically, the details that set one person’s dragon apart from the dragons of others: some are big, some are small, some breathe fire, some know the music of the wind… which sounds like a cool thing to know if you ask me.

The art is really beautiful, truly above and beyond. And the artist has done more than merely sign the book, she’s drawn a dragon on the title page.

Click here to bid.

  • Auction: A hardcover copy of the French edition of La Royaume Enchanté.  Signed by Paul Kidby with a bookmark and signed promo card.

This is a gorgeous hardcover edition of the French printing of Paul Kidby’s Le Royaume Enchanté, a collection of his non-Discworld art.  It’s gorgeous, even if it’s in French so I have no idea what it says.

To bid, head over to the auction here.

Last and sure as hell not least is this shiny print of Mal and Serenity.  Jason Palmer donated it, and signed it, but even cooler is that he got Nathan Fillion to sign it too.

Bid on it. Buy it, and hang it up in your living room. Brag about it.  Show it off.

Go on. Live the dream.

*     *     *

It’s crunch time, folks.  If you want to be in the lottery, go donate on the Worldbuilders Team Page. For every $10 you pitch in, you get another chance to win thousands of books and DVD’s.

There were tons of auctions in this blog, and we have even more running. You can view all of our current auctions over here.

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 our main page.

Posted in hodgelany, Worldbuilders 2012 | By Pat12 Responses

Webcomics Galore!

This is Worldbuilders blog.

Today we have a great delicious slurry of donated cool from the webcomic community.

Most of these goodies are going into the general lottery, but we’ve got a good number of auctions, too. We’ve got guest appearances in various comics, some signed art, a few cool collections, and a frikkin Dr. Who scarf that will be going to the highest bidder.

First we’ve got some stuff from Blind Ferret Entertainment

There is a place, set in a reality and time unlike our own, where the eating of small children is not necessarily frowned upon; where beings of extraordinary power can destroy entire villages with only “because I could” as an excuse; where families are comically torn apart and sold into slavery in exchange for powerful weapons or a really nice hat; where prophecy, magic, and adventure is as common place as setting fire to and then re-animating a chipmunk into a skeletal minion (it happens more than you’d think); and where an epic journey can begin by an accident of fate. This is the world of Looking For Group.

The winner of this auction will work with webcomic writer Ryan Sohmer, on making a guest appearance in Looking for Group. The guest appearance will happen sometime in February. It will be a one-time event with the possibility of a few pages. The winner of the auction will be put in touch with Ryan.

You can bid on this auction over here.

Least I Could Do is what comics should be. It makes you laugh, sometimes it makes you a little sad, but more often than not it makes you think, about who you are, and where you are going. Perhaps if everyone had just a little tiny spark of Rayne in them (and I do mean tiny. Dear God, too much Rayne would make for a terrifying world), perhaps our world would be a better, more honest place… If you aren’t reading Least I Could Do yet, then click your browser over there and get started. Believe me, you’ll be glad you did.” – Geek-life.com

  • AUCTION: Signed Hardcover of The Absolute Ultimate Gutters Omnibus Volume 1 by Ryan Sohmer

Pat’s Note: I didn’t know about this project by Ryan Sohmer until the book showed up for the fundraiser. I like to think that I’m pretty on top of the good comics that are out there, but the fact that I didn’t know about Gutters proves that I’m desperately out of touch. It’s really clever stuff.

The Absolute Ultimate Gutters Omnibus Volume 1 is the first printed collection of the wildly popular Gutters comic. Written by Ryan Sohmer (Least I Could Do, Looking For Group), Gutters is a series of standalone pages that parody the comic book industry and the heroes and characters that dwell within. Each page is penciled, inked and colored by a different artist, varying from the industry veteran to the newcomer.

Volume 1 is an over-sized full color (and glossy) printed book. With a cover by Darick Robertson (The Boys, Transmetropolitan) and a forward by Daniel Way (Deadpool, Wolverine), you won’t want to miss this.

You can bid on this giant book over here.

Pat’s Note: Okay. Fine. This isn’t a webcomic. But the lovely Jim Zub donated these books after we’d posted up the list of graphic novel donations. Rather than save these for next year, we decided to tuck them in here…

Two nameless mercenaries are mashing monsters and making a name for themselves. Image’s new hit fantasy action-comedy series has gone through multiple printings of each issue released so far and is getting rave reviews from readers and critics alike. Pick up the first collection and find out what all the excitement is about. Collects Skullkickers #1-5 and the short stories from Popgun Volumes 2 & 3.

Pat’s Note: XKCD is one of my favorite comics. Smart, funny, plus extra smart and extra funny.

Randall Munroe describes xkcd as a webcomic of romance, sarcasm, math, and language. While it’s practically required reading in the geek community, xkcd fans are as varied as the comic’s subject matter. This book creates laughs from science jokes on one page to relationship humor on another.

Pat’s note: I can’t remember when I first stumbled onto Biff, but these comics are like little zen stories. They’re little haiku of bizarre misery. Fun stuff.

“R. K. Milholland has created one of the most entertaining web comics online right now. He has done this through excellent character development, precise comedic timing, a cynical attitude and a craftsman’s attention to detail in his art. The strip is not for everyone. It can be offensive, cynical, and textually graphic. Language is not filtered at all, and so the strip is not suitable for children. If you enjoy cynicism, dislike stupidity or self-righteousness, or if you simply wish you could express yourself with a baseball bat rather than a snarky letter to the editor, you’ll enjoy this.” – A.G. Hopkins at The Webcomics Examiner

  • One set of Hijinks Ensue Volume 1 and 2: Godspeed, You Fancy Bastard and My Heart Is A Hate-filled Pineapple by Joel Watson. Signed by Joel Watson.

“Watson’s account on the origins of his webcomic is a fascinating read on how he came to the decision to quit his job and do HijiNKS Ensue full time. It’s a nice testimonial on the values of following your dreams and leaving a legacy. Watson doesn’t hide the fears he has of failure. I appreciate the sometimes uncomfortable honesty of a man who’s willing to risk it all on a crazy dream.” – TheWebcomicOverlook.com

“When Willis flexes his crazy, nerdy sense of humor, he can squeeze out classics. And while the content is catered toward basement dwellers, Willis does possess a sense of comedic timing that makes the strip funny for everyone, even if you have no idea what a KISS Player Transformer is. (Philistine.)” -TheWebcomicOverlook.com

The winner of this auction will collaborate with webcomic artist Greg Dean, on making a guest appearance in a Real Life comic. While only one comic is guaranteed, the guest appearance may span more than one strip if the character becomes entangled in a longer storyline. And while the nature of the strip will be collaborative, the final call on content does belong to Greg. The winner of the auction will be put in touch with Greg.

You can bid to be in the Real Life world here.

  • Auction: Fourth Docter Who Scarf donated by Greg Dean.

Proving just how cool and talented he is, Greg Dean of Real Life Comics fame, has donated this amazing reproduction of the Fourth Doctor’s famous scarf. What makes this total win? Greg Dean spent around 70 hours knitting this beauty on his own. A month of toil led to the creation of 13 feet of woolen Doctor Who splendor. Just to make sure it was up to snuff, Greg wore the scarf a bit this winter before sending it to Worldbuilders. He also wore it in Real Life as well. So not only are you getting this neat Doctor Who inspired swag, but the creator of Real Life Comics made and briefly wore it.

You can bid here for this delicious scarf.

“Questionable Content is kind of like if the guy from Office Space turned into a disaffected twenty-something year old with a pet robot who spent his off work hours hanging out with baristas and discussing indie-rock, poop, relationships, and ladies’ bottoms.” – Examiner.com

Gaming fans will appreciate this awesome imagined scene that Jeph Jacques has created featuring the cool characters from his quirky webcomic Questionable Content.

This print measures 11 inches by 17 inches and is signed by the man himself.

You can view and bid on the auction here.

  • AUCTION: Signed & Numbered The Complete Collection of Girly by Josh Lesnick.

The super sexy Complete Collection of Girly by Josh Lesnick. Pat is donating this signed and numbered collection, 270 of 500. Josh Lesnick’s cool comic was published at girlyyy.com from 2003 to 2010 and now this auction winner can get one of the few copies of the Complete Collection of Girly.

This auction also comes with a signed illustration from Josh Lesnick.

To view and bid on this auction, click here.

“For more than 20 years, various cartoonists have jostled for the title of spiritual heir to Gary Larson, the famously weird creator of the groundbreaking strip The Far Side. Web cartoonist Gurewitch is a solid contender for the title. His preferred subject matter certainly tracks Larson: murderous mimes, vengeful T. Rexes and adulterous rolls of coins all make appearances… Subtle, sly and deeply, deeply weird, The Perry Bible Fellowship is one of the best comics out there.” – Publishers Weekly

AUCTION: A full set of the signed Girl Genius softcover collections AND your name will appear in Girl Genius in 2012.

That’s right, a full set of the Girl Genius softcover collections (That’s 10 books, each with a cover price of $22.95) mailed to you or to that special friend who once saved your life. They will all be signed by Kaja and Phil, AND- The high bidder will see their name appear within Girl Genius sometime in the next calendar year. Maybe you will just run a shop in Mechanicsburg. Maybe you will be a walk–on character with lines. Maybe you will become a recurring major villain with your own mini-series and sexy minions and an action figure and underoos and everything (this is extremely unlikely, but in an infinite universe, anything can happen).

You may recall a certain Doctor Rothfuss who made his own appearance in the Girl Genius world…

We love Kaja and Phil. They are awesome clever folks. Check them out on their webpage.

And check out this tempting auction here.

  • One copy of The Splendid Magic of Penny Arcade: The 11 1/2 Anniversary Edition by Jerry Holkins and Mike Krahulik. Signed by Gabe and Tyco.

Pat’s Note: If you’re interested, last year I did a fun interview with Jerry.

“If you’ve been living under a rock for the last ten years or so, you might not have heard of the web comic Penny Arcade. Produced by Mike Krahulik and Jerry Holkins, the comic, featuring two cameo characters called Tycho and Gabe, covers not only the ins and outs of the latest news and releases from the video game industry, but geekdom in general. Well-known SFF figures such as John Scalzi and Wil Wheaton are staunch fans of the comic and well acquainted with the authors in real life; the foreword of this book is written lovingly by Scalzi himself… The book is an easy, often hilarious read, and an absolute must-have for fans of the comic and newcomers alike.” – SFSite.com

  • Three copies of Penny Arcade Volume 7: Be Good, Little Puppy by Jerry Holkins and Mike Krahulik. Signed by Gabe and Tyco. Introduction by Pat Rothfuss.

Pat’s Note: I got to write the intro to this book. Which makes me feel like a big man…

“Do not be deceived by this cutesy cover of Tycho and Gabe having fun with a puppy and butterflies, for within these pages lies tales of damnation and lust; whatever you do, don’t let a child get ahold of this book… and for those who are already familiar with the unforgettable and endlessly entertaining comic know as Penny Arcade, then this cover works as an excellent camouflage for the sordid-laughter-inducing artwork within its pages…” – Bookbanter

  • One set of Penny Arcade Volumes 1-7 by Jerry Holkins and Mike Krahulik. Signed by Gabe and Tyco.

“Forget your warm and fuzzy newspaper strips. Penny Arcade is a scathing send-up of geek culture with jokes sharp enough to injure an eye… To say that Tycho and Gabe, its, uh, heroes, are video-game enthusiasts would be like saying that Anakin Skywalker has issues.” – Booklist

  • AUCTION: Penny Arcade Signed Print of When Larry Met Mary.

Pat’s Note: Can I be honest here? Having Kvothe make a cameo appearance in a PA comic might be the biggest geek-out moment of my life. Seriously. I love Mike and Jerry with the nerdy passion of a thousand white-hot suns.

This signed print comes right from the fine folks at Penny Arcade. Pat’s mentioned this particular treat in his blog last spring. Starting as a Penny Arcade strip, this clever 12” x 18” print is signed by Gabe and Tycho.

Shouldn’t you have a visual of Kvothe and his prowess hanging from your bedroom wall?

Place your bids for this beautiful print here.

*     *     *

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

For a list of all the auctions Worldbuilders is currently running, you can head over here.

If you want to see all the other items that have been donated to Worldbuilders, or just learn more about the fundraiser itself, you head over to the main page.

Posted in cool things, geeking out, Webcomics, Worldbuilders 2011 | By Pat13 Responses

San Diego 2011: Wednesday

Okay. ComicCon was cool this year, and people have been asking for details.

So here they are.

*     *     *

As I mentioned earlier, my trip to comic-con had a pretty rocky start.

This seems to be a theme of ComicCon for me. My first trip to ComicCon was fraught with peril, as mentioned in this comic by Greg Dean. While my second trip had a delayed flight that left me stranded in Chicago for a night.

Luckily, this year I had Valerie to help me out, so I made it to the con without too much stress. Though I did only get about an hour and a half of sleep Tuesday night.

Wednesday:

  • 11:00 – Nap.

I arrive in San Diego, find my hotel, and promptly fall asleep. The people at the hotel seem a little confused when I ask them for a 3:00 wake up call.

“You want us to wake you up at 3:00 AM tomorrow morning?” they say.

“No.” I say. “3:00 this afternoon. Four hours from now.”

Eventually they catch on, but I feel like they’re judging me. And I guess that’s fair. When the first thing I do at the convention is take a nap, I am officially old.

The fact remains that it was a delicious nap. I wake up refreshed and ready to get my geek on.

  • 4:00 – Blog.

Because I didn’t have the chance the night before, I decide to post a blog telling everyone about the talent pipes Badali Jewelry is making based on my books.

(This one is shown with black antiquing)

I’ve been approached by various people over these last couple years who want to do merchandising. Most of the time I’ve replied with a polite, “Thank you, no.”

The biggest reason is that I don’t want to feel like a great big whore. I don’t want to churn out a bunch of gimmicky merch just to make some extra money. That sort of thing has always struck me as being tacky, if not downright unethical. It seems like a betrayal of trust, like taking advantage of my readers.

But Badali Jewelry does wonderful work. They hold the jewelry licenses for several big-name geek properties (LOTR and Wheel of Time, just to name a few.) What’s more, they’re actually fans of my books. They’re proper geeks, and their love for what they do shows in their work. I trusted them enough to let them beta read The Wise Man’s Fear, and that says a lot right there.

Anyway, the pipes turned out great. That’s the moral of the story here. You’ll be seeing some more stuff from them before too long.

  • 5:00 – Crash.

After banging out  quick blog on the computer in the hotel lobby, I head to the convention center. I end up standing next to Seth Green while waiting for a stoplight to change. I try to think of a way to say, “Your stuff is awesome” that doesn’t sound gushy and fanboy, but I can’t think of anything. So I settle on a companionable silence instead.

Despite the long line, getting my badge is a remarkably painless process. I’m just putting the program book in my backpack when my phone rings.

I open it up. “Hello?”

Hey,” Valerie says. “It’s Valerie.

“I know,” I say. “Your text is green. What’s up?”

Badali’s website is down. A bunch of people posted comments about it.

“Really?” I say. “When did it go down?”

About twenty minutes after you posted the link on your blog.

My first reaction was to feel pretty cool. My second reaction was terrible guilt. I thank Valerie and give my contact at Badali a call. They’re only a couple hundred feet away, but I don’t have an exhibitor badge, so I can’t go into the hall until 6:00.

“Janelle?” I say as soon as she picks up. “I’m sorry. I think I broke your stuff.”

“What?”

“I posted up a link to the talent pipes on my blog. But I think the traffic crashed your website.”

“Wow,” she says. A pause. “That’s kinda awesome!”

A wave of relief fills me, and I’m no longer overwhelmed with guilt. “I know!” I say. “I feel like Neil Gaiman!”

  • 5:30 – First contact.

I get off the phone and finish putting some stuff away into my backpack. I sling it over one shoulder and look around, wondering how I’m going to kill half an hour until the hall opens up for preview night.

A pretty young Asian woman makes eye contact with me. She cocks her head to one side. “Are you Patrick Rothfuss?” she asks.

“I am,” I say.

She looks hesitant, then says, “Can I have a hug?”

“Absolutely,” I say.

And we hug.

I decide that this is probably going to be a pretty good convention.

  • 6:00 – On the Floor.

For those of you that don’t know much about San Diego ComicCon, let me explain. Wednesday night from 6:00-9:00 is preview night. Only people with 4-day passes can get in.

This makes it a great time to meet people in the exhibit hall. Not only is the place relatively uncrowded, but all the exhibitors are bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. (Both literally and/or figuratively, depending on the booth.)

I wander around pretty aimlessly at first. But luck takes me past Donato’s booth, and I get to say howdy to him. He’s a hell of a nice guy, to say nothing of the fact that he’s amazing artist. We chat for a bit, and I thank him for the donation of some prints he made to Worldbuilders this year. (You’ll be seeing those in the Tinker’s Packs before too long.)

I swing by Jason Palmer’s booth too, but he’s not at the con yet. I shrug it off, knowing that I’ll have plenty of time to stop back later in the con.

Next I stumble onto a booth where the cast of the Guild is doing a signing. The con is barely half an hour old, and they already have a huge line. I consider stopping to say hello to Felicia and Sandeep, but even though they’re not signing yet, I can tell the cast is kinda hanging out together. Besides, Felicia and Sandeep are chatting with some guy and I don’t want to barge into their conversation.

I’m also vaguely anxious that if I run into them 30 minutes into the convention, I’ll look like I’m stalking them. Which I’m not. Not at the current moment, that is.

I decide to leave them to their throng of adoring fans and see what else the floor has to offer.

I swing by the Penny Arcade booth, where I say howdy to Mike and Jerry. I wrote an intro for their most recent anthology, and hadn’t had a chance to see it in the real world yet.

Jerry comes out from the booth and gives me a hug. “We said terrible things,” he says.

At first, I have no idea what he’s talking about. Then I realize he’s probably referring to the comic they did a while back, and the podcast where they talked about the book in frank terms, and, well… mocked me.

Honestly, I’m a little flabbergasted. “I don’t know what it’s like where you live,” I say. “But where I come from, mocking is how we express love.”

And it’s true. There’s a world of difference between snarkery, loving satire, and full-blown vitriolic excoriation. Penny Arcade does all of these things, and does them well, but I can tell the difference.

After establishing that we’re all still best friends, I wander by Mysterious Galaxy’s booth, where it turns out they’re selling copies of Ghost Story even though the book technically wasn’t going to be released for days yet.

Needless to say, I bought a copy and clutched it lovingly.

“Is Butcher going to be here at the con?” I ask the people at the booth.

They tell me he is.

This is good news. I’ve read all the Dresden Files books at least twice, many of them three or four times. I’m a huge fan and I’ve been hoping to meet Butcher for years.

So Wednesday was full of win. A great way to start the convention. Best of all, I’d managed to make it through the whole thing without committing any huge social gaffs and making an ass of myself.

But it was only Wednesday, I still had four days of convention left….

*     *     *

This is part of the San Diego Diary: Wednesday, Thursday Part I, Thursday Part II (Wootstock), and Friday Ad Infinitum.

Posted in geeking out, meeting famous people, my dumbness, my rockstar life | By Pat56 Responses

In the spring, a young man’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of Penny Arcade

So last week I attended a romance convention and did a signing with Amber Benson. Needless to say, I have some stories to tell.

But first I should deal with the current news: Kvothe got a mention in Penny Arcade today.

This fills me with a geeky joy which words can hardly express. I’m a long-time fan of Penny Arcade. When they called me this weekend to give me an early peek at the comic, I bolted upstairs to my hotel room in a most undignified manner. Then, when I saw it, I laughed uncontrollably for a solid minute.

Did they make fun of the book? Of course they did. That’s their job.

The more important question is, “Did they poke *legitimate* fun at the book.” Did they mock something that, viewed in the proper light, deserved to be mocked a little?

And the answer, again, is yes. That’s what makes them more than mere humorists. Mike and Jerry consistently stride the lofty realms of satire, where they harvest raw platonic truth, forge it in the white-hot fire of their anger, then hurl it down at the howling monkeys below.

I, for one, am honored to be their monkey.

Does it sting? Nah. Not really.

For one, I know them. They’re lovely people. And being gently mocked by skilled professionals is a treat. Like I said, they make a fair point.

But also, my best friends have always been very honest people. Mockery has always been the way we’ve shown each other love. I’d flatter a stranger. But if I’m making fun of you, you know that I like you.

So I guess what I’m saying is this: “Thanks Jerry. Thanks Mike. I love you too.”

Here’s a link to the strip. Be warned: there is some very mild spoilerage. If you’re a purist and haven’t read through Chapter 128 yet, you might want to wait before you check it out.

It’s getting late, and I’m still recovering from the convention. So I think I’ll tell my other stories in a day or two. If you want a teaser though, I’ll say this: The romance convention was a headtrip, and the reading with Amber Benson was, well, sexy.

More soon,

pat

Posted in conventions, cool things, sexy, Webcomics | By Pat37 Responses

Fanmail Q&A: YA Recomendations

Hello, Pat!

Today, my 10-year-old daughter, Becca, came home from school with a book pressed to her nose. This is nothing unexpected; she’s been addicted to books for nearly as long as she’s been able to speak!

But today, I had a little smile when I noted the title that she’d selected from her school’s library: “A Wrinkle In Time.”

I recently read your blog post about your early experience with the book, and it gave me pause to think. I had one of those thoroughly “mom” moments, suddenly picturing my redheaded, freckle-faced, bespectacled, skinny 10 year old as a grown-up with a career!

I hope I don’t sound dreadfully stage-momish when I say that I’ve long guessed she would end up being a writer. She thinks differently from other kids. She’s never been afraid of spiders or robbers, instead, her real-life fears include the concept of infinity and people one day traveling at the speed of light. Many nightmares over the size of the universe. She’s bizarre, but pretty darned cute, so it balances. ;)

(Editor’s note: She is pretty cute.)

Writing all that down probably seals her fate as a future tax accountant!

So, here begins my question to you… She’s read all of the usual suspects for children at her age, including Harry Potter and the Narnia series. She also spent a whole month reading every BabySitter’s Club book she could scrounge up! (She is a little girl, after all!!)

But finding books that really challenge and appeal to her as a voracious reader has been a years-long sprint to stay ahead of her curiosity! She adores fantasy, but a LOT of fantasy novels are just too sexual, or too violent for her, at this age.

I’ve loved your recommendations of books over the years, and I wonder if you could think of a list of books that little budding geeks would adore? …a geekery primer, as it were.

Thank you so much for sharing your time and talent with the world.

-Carrie

Well Carrie, I won’t lie to you. You do sound slightly stage-mom. But at least you’re aware of it. Knowing is half the battle, after all.

I have a lot of control-freak tendencies myself. (I think some of it comes from being an author.) But so far I’ve managed to reign in those elements of my personality when it comes to planning Oot’s future.

Sarah constantly wants to speculate about what he’ll be like when he grows up. What job will he have? Will he be right handed? Will his hair be curly or wavy? Will he be gay or straight? What will his secondary mutation be?

I decided early on that I don’t care about any of that stuff. I only want two things from him when he grows up.

He must:

1. Make the world a better place.

2. Be happy.

That’s all I require of him. He can even do them in whatever order he likes. Concurrently or consecutively. Everything else is meaningless detail as far as I’m concerned. (Though it would be nice if he was a bit of a reader, too.)

But yeah, back to the point of your letter. Let me see if I can think of some good YA reads for you….

The first thing that leaps to mind is:

  • Terry Pratchett’s Tiffany Aching books.

I don’t really feel the need to sell these books to you. If you know anything about fantasy, you know who Terry Pratchett is. You know he’s great.

On the off chance that you don’t, I’ll simply say what I’ve said before: There may be authors as good as Terry Pratchett, but there are no authors better. And the Tiffany Aching books are as good as anything he’s ever written. I just pulled one down off the shelf and right now I’m having to actively fight my desire start reading it again.

In order, they are: Wee Free Men, Hat Full of Sky, and Wintersmith.

The fourth book in the series, I Shall Wear Midnight, is coming out in less than a month. I plan on reading it the day it’s released.

Side note: I’d probably recommend *any* of Pratchett’s books as a safe YA read. They’re all really good, and by opening that single door, you instantly add more than thirty exceptionally high-quality books to your reading list.

  • Neil Gaiman’s Coraline

Again, I don’t feel like I need to push you very hard about this book. It’s Neil Gaiman. You know how good he is.

Side note: The audiobook version of this is really excellent. I just listened to it for the third time about two weeks ago. Gaiman reads it himself, and does an absolutely brilliant job.

  • Peter S. Beagle’s The Last Unicorn.

Again. I rave about this book all the time, so I won’t go on and on. I didn’t read it when I was a kid, but I can’t help but feel that it would be a great YA read.

Secondary Recommendation: There’s a movie too.

  • The BFG by Roald Dahl.

I remember reading this one as a kid and loving it. Dahl has the rare gift that I’ve come to think of as The Divine Ridiculous.

You see, anybody can be goofy. Anybody can just make up some silly bullshit. But true inspired ridiculousness can’t be forced. You cannot strive for it, for in striving you fail. It’s like Nirvana. It’s like the eternal Tao.

Some authors manage to touch this odd piece of our Jungian collective consciousness, and when they do, they write things that are genuinely delightful and bizarre. Douglass Adams brushed up against it occasionally, as do the guys over at Penny Arcade.  Dahl kinda lived there. I remember reading his books as a kid and thinking the kid version of, “WTF?”

That’s a good thing for a kid to think, in my opinion.

Secondary recommendation: Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory is pretty good, too.

  • The Fledgling by Jane Langton.

Honestly. I can’t remember much about this book except that I read it when I was a kid and I loved it. When you asked this question it was one of the first books that sprung to mind, that says a lot, considering it’s probably been 25 years since I’ve read it, and usually I can barely remember to put on pants before I leave the house every day.

  • Zarah the Windseeker by Nnedi Okorafor.

I’ve interviewed Nnedi Okorafor on the website before, and talked about some of her newer books. But this was her first book, which I read years and years ago. I really enjoyed it, and have given away many copies as gifts. Not only does it have some cool non-western worldbuiding in it, but the protagonist is a clever, capable young girl.

I could go on and on. (The Hobbit, The Princess Bride, Podkayne of Mars or other Heinlein juveniles, Peter Pan, The Little Prince…) but I think I’ll stop there.

Feel free to post some of your childhood favorites in the comments below. Discuss and disagree. That’s one of the joys of threaded comments.

However, I do expect things to remain civilized. If you you don’t think a book is appropriate for kids, feel free to say so. Feel free to explain why. But don’t be a dick about it. Typical internet asshattery will result in suspension of posting privileges, the scorn of your peers, and my terrible, terrible wrath.

pat

Posted in Neil Gaiman, Oot, recommendations, Sarah, Young Adult | By Pat486 Responses

Heifer International Part II – Return of Baby Ducks…

Those of you who have been reading the blog for a while know we did a fundraiser for Heifer International last year.

For those of you who are new to the game, you can see some of the details HERE.

In a nutshell, I started what I thought would be a little fundraiser, offering prizes and various other incentives to get people to donate. Things quickly spiraled out of control, other people in the Fantasy and Sci-fi publishing world pitched in, and by the end of it we had raised over 100,000 dollars.

Have I mentioned yet that Heifer is my favorite charity? It’s my favorite charity.

So imagine my delight when Heifer’s publication, World Ark, showed up this week and I found this inside:

(Click to Embiggen)

They’re using us as an example of good fundraising. Go team us!

Seeing this has made me think of several things…

1. My hair looks pretty good in this picture.

2. We still need a good name for the fundraiser.

So far the best we’ve come up with is “Geeks for Goats” or “Worldbuilders Ink.” I kinda like the second one, but it’s punny. (Ink = Inc. Get it? Yeah. Not that funny.) What’s more, the pun makes me wonder if the possessive apostrophe is really appropriate. Should it be “Worldbuilder’s Ink” or maybe even “Worldbuilders’ Ink?”

And as for “Geeks for Goats” well… it’s kind of a silly name. While I’m not opposed to silliness, a fundraiser with a goofy name does not inspire confidence in donors. And we want donors. Many, many donors.

That means we need something clever, catchy, and subject-appropriate. Penny Arcade’s “Child’s Play” is a good example of a this.

3. In a couple months we’ll be starting fundraiser version 2.0. That means….

  • If you’re interested in participating, start saving your pennies.
  • If you’re going to *raise* money to donate, start gathering your troupes.
  • If you’d like to donate something, like signed books, collectibles, or a cool service, drop me a line at paperback.contest (squiggly at thinger) gmail.com.

Last year most of the prizes were Sci-fi and Fantasy books, given out lottery-style. This year, with more time to plan, I think we’ll be auctioning off some specialty stuff as well.

Some of the auction items will be things like signed books and one-of-a-kind manuscripts. Or services like having a pro author read your book and give you feedback.

Don’t get me wrong, we’ll still have the lottery prizes for people that want to donate. But in addition to that we’ll be running auctions for the specialty items: things like, say, getting your name into The Wise Man’s Fear.

So if you have stuff you’d like to donate to the cause, drop me a line. (Not money. That will come later. Right now I’m looking for stuff like signed books, memorabilia, stuff like that we can use as prizes.)

So stay tuned folks. It’s going to be a good time.

pat

P.S. If you have any clever ideas for what we could call the fundraiser, comment below. We’re creative people, right? We should be able to come up with something….

Posted in baby ducks, Heifer International | By Pat125 Responses

What should I do #9: Precipice

Odds are if you like computer games, you either know about Penny Arcade, or you live under a heavy, heavy rock.

What some folks don’t realize is that Penny Arcade recently put out their own video game titled On the Rain-Swept Precipice of Darkness. * I played it a while back and enjoyed it to a surprising degree. The interface is solid, the steampunk-ish world is appealing, and the game itself is pleasantly challenging in places, though by no means Nintendo hard.

As you can tell by the title, it’s rather tongue-in-cheek. The tone isn’t like anything else I’ve run into before. It’s like H. P. Lovecraft and Terry Pratchett had some sort of oddly charismatic love child with Tourette’s.

For me, the main selling point was the wit, the good use of language, and the irreverent humor. I’m a big fan of that sort of thing, if you hadn’t already guessed.

Best of all, if you’re like me and fear leaving the house during the summer for fear that the sun might touch you. You can download the whole game directly via the intertubes.

If you’re curious, there’s a demo available. If you like that, then I strongly urge you to buy the game and support them in their future endeavors.

That’s all for now folks,

pat

*** Edit: An attentive reader has pointed out that the title is actually “On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness.” I stand corrected. My bad.

Posted in recommendations, video games | By Pat19 Responses
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