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Help Fund My Robot Army and Other Improbable Crowdfunding Projects

Help Fund My Robot Army and Other Improbable Crowdfunding Projects

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Help Fund My Robot Army and Other Improbable Crowdfunding Projects

Lunghezza:
457 pagine
4 ore
Pubblicato:
Oct 27, 2018
ISBN:
9781386828730
Formato:
Libro

Descrizione

If you're a regular backer of Kickstarters, you've probably seen some unique crowdfunding projects in your time. But one thing all of those campaigns—boringly!—had in common was: They abided by the physical laws of the universe!

HELP FUND MY ROBOT ARMY!!! is an anthology of science fiction/fantasy stories told in the form of fictional crowdfunding project pitches, using the components (and restrictions) of the format to tell the story. This includes but is not limited to: Project Goals, Rewards, User Comments, Project Updates, FAQs, and more. The idea is to replicate the feel of reading a crowdfunding pitch, so that even though the projects may be preposterous in the real world, they will feel like authentic crowdfunding projects as much as possible.

The anthology features original, never-before-published fiction by Bradley Beaulieu , Veronica Belmont, Brooke Bolander, Maurice Broaddus, Tobias S. Buckell, Harry Connolly, Monte Cook, Matt Forbeck, Jason Gurley, Kat Howard, Jonathan L. Howard, Vylar Kaftan, Jake Kerr, Mary Robinette Kowal, Mur Lafferty, David D. Levine, Heather Lindsley, Carmen Maria Machado, David Malki!, Seanan McGuire, Samuel Peralta, Tim Pratt, Andy Penn Romine, Scott Sigler, Michael J. Sullivan, Jeremiah Tolbert, Genevieve Valentine, Derek Van Gorder, Chuck Wendig, Matt Williamson, Daniel H. Wilson, and Sylvia Spruck Wrigley. Plus, a reprint of the eponymous story that inspired the anthology by Keffy R.M. Kehrli, for a total of 33 crowdfunding-style stories.

So if what you've always been looking for in a Kickstarter—and couldn't find—was a project that allowed you to protect yourself from spoilers, buy wishes, find lost objects, or support a wildlife preserve for supernatural creatures, then HELP FUND MY ROBOT ARMY!!! & Other Improbable Crowdfunding Projects may be just the thing you've been looking for.

Pubblicato:
Oct 27, 2018
ISBN:
9781386828730
Formato:
Libro

Informazioni sull'autore

John Joseph Adams is the series editor of Best American Science Fiction & Fantasy. He is also the bestselling editor of many other anthologies, such as The Mad Scientist’s Guide to World Domination, Armored, Brave New Worlds, Wastelands, and The Living Dead. Recent books include The Apocalypse Triptych (consisting of The End is Nigh, The End is Now, and The End Has Come), and series editor for The Best American Fantasy and Science Fiction. John is a two-time winner of the Hugo Award and is a six-time World Fantasy Award finalist. John is also the editor and publisher of the digital magazines Lightspeed and Nightmare, and is a producer for WIRED’s The Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy podcast.

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Help Fund My Robot Army and Other Improbable Crowdfunding Projects - John Joseph Adams

HELP FUND MY ROBOT ARMY!!!

and Other Improbable Crowdfunding Projects

edited by

JOHN JOSEPH ADAMS

TABLE OF CONTENTS

INTRODUCTION

FORMATTING NOTE

DISCLAIMER

John Joseph Adams

HELP FUND MY ROBOT ARMY!!!

Keffy R.M. Kehrli

FOR ENTERTAINMENT PURPOSES ONLY

Jeremiah Tolbert

ZERO G R&J

Mary Robinette Kowal

A MEMORIAL TO THE PATRIOTS

Jake Kerr

I WANT TO BE A LIONESS

Chuck Wendig

LIBERTY: SEEKING SUPPORT FOR A WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS FOR A NON-HUMAN BEING

Samuel Peralta

HELP SUMMON THE MOST HOLY FOLDED ONE!

Harry Connolly

FULFILL MY DESTINY—AND SAVE THE WORLD!

Matt Forbeck

LARPING THE APOCALYPSE 2: THE NANO-PLAGUE

Tim Pratt

FUND TAPHOGNOSIS INDUSTRIES

Tobias S. Buckell

CATASSASSINS!

Veronica Belmont

FINDER OF LOST THINGS

Monte Cook

PRIMA NOCTA DETECTIVE AGENCY NEEDS YOU

Genevieve Valentine

SO JUICY TRANSFORMING STRIPS

Matt Williamson

THE SPIRIT OF MARS: FUND A SACRED JOURNEY TO THE RED PLANET

Andrew Penn Romine

FLASHED FORWARD

Bradley Beaulieu

HELP ME FOLLOW MY SISTER INTO THE LAND OF THE DEAD

Carmen Maria Machado

BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR

Michael J. Sullivan

A PRACTICAL MECHANISM FOR OVERCOMING THE DIRECTIONALITY OF TEMPORAL FLOW

David D. Levine

LIFE-SIZED ARENA TETRIS!

David Malki !

ZIPPERS

Derek Van Gorder

I USED TO LOVE H.E.R.

Maurice Broaddus

LOCALLY GROWN, ORGANIC

Kat Howard

LET’S KEEP BURT GRIMSBY’S HEAD FROZEN!

Heather Lindsley

JEROME 3.0

Jason Gurley

HELP ME DESTROY CANNES!

Jonathan L. Howard

SAVE THE PHOTOPHOBIC HEMOGLOBIVORES WITH THE SANGUINE RESERVE!

Mur Lafferty

NOSFERATU, BRUTUS?

Scott Sigler

UPDATES

Vylar Kaftan & Shannon Prickett

YOU ONLY LIVE ONCE

Sylvia Spruck Wrigley

MECHANICAL ANIMALS

Brooke Bolander

KISMET™

Daniel H. Wilson

BRING ABOUT THE HALLOWEEN ETERNAL!!!

Seanan McGuire

About the Editor

Acknowledgments

Kickstarter Backers

Copyright Information

Cover Design by Jason Gurley

Ebook Design by John Joseph Adams

INTRODUCTION

John Joseph Adams

Like the fictional crowdfunding projects depicted in these stories, this anthology itself was rather improbable. It was one of those ideas that just sort of struck as a bolt of inspiration, and it seemed so fun that I had no choice but to pursue it once it occurred to me. (Even though, at the time, I was super busy and the last thing I needed was another anthology on my plate!)

It all started when I was reading submissions for Lightspeed, the digital science fiction/fantasy short fiction magazine I edit. I came across a story by Keffy R.M. Kehrli called HELP FUND MY ROBOT ARMY!!! which was told in the form of a fictional Kickstarter pitch. My first thought when I read the story was: This story is really funny. My second thought was: I should build an anthology around it. My third thought was: Obviously the anthology should be published via a crowdfunding campaign.

So I bought the story for Lightspeed and then, with Keffy’s permission, built an anthology around it, and thus HELP FUND MY ROBOT ARMY!!! and Other Improbable Crowdfunding Projects was born. And, as I mentioned, once I conceived of the idea for the book, it was obvious that it was a project that would have to be funded via Kickstarter. (Because how meta and cool is that?) So in October 2013, we launched our campaign to fund the project. We went into it seeking $6,000, and ended up raising more than $11,000, or 185% of our funding goal. Thanks so much to all of you who backed the project and made the anthology possible.

And so what does it mean exactly to tell a story in the form of a fictional crowdfunding pitch? Well, the stories all use the components (and restrictions) of the standard crowdfunding format to tell the story. This includes but is not limited to: Project Goals, Rewards, User Comments, Project Updates, FAQs, and more. The idea was to replicate the feel of reading a crowdfunding pitch, so that even though these projects may be preposterous in the real world, they feel like authentic crowdfunding projects as much as possible.

In an effort to lend more of that feeling of verisimilitude to the project, we also tried to make the formatting of the stories resemble crowdfunding projects in every way we could think of. We were somewhat limited by the constraints of ebook formatting standards, but we’re quite happy with the results and we think you will be too. (For more about the formatting, please see the Formatting Note following this introduction.)

We ended up with thirty-three stories—thirty-two never-before-published tales, plus a reprint of Keffy’s eponymous story that inspired the book—covering a wide spectrum of styles and themes. The stories range from comedies like Jonathan Howard’s Help Me Destroy Cannes! or Veronica Belmont’s CatAssassins! to dystopian tales such as Jake Kerr’s A Memorial to the Patriots; to satires, like Kat Howard’s Locally Grown, Organic; to spacefaring tales such as Andrew Penn Romine’s The Spirit of Mars or Sylvia Spruck Wrigley’s You Only Live Once; to the super-weird like Matt Williamson’s So Juicy Transforming Strips; to somber tales of love and loss such as Carmen Maria Machado’s Help Me Follow My Sister Into the Land of the Dead.

So if what you’ve always been looking for in a Kickstarter—and couldn’t find—was a project that allowed you to protect yourself from spoilers, buy wishes, find lost objects, or support a wildlife preserve for supernatural creatures, then HELP FUND MY ROBOT ARMY!!! and Other Improbable Crowdfunding Projects may be just the thing you’ve been looking for.

FORMATTING NOTE

John Joseph Adams

If you’ve already read the introduction, backed our crowdfunding campaign, read the cover copy, or, heck, even the title of the book, then you probably know that this is an anthology in which the authors use the format of crowdfunding projects to tell their stories.

As such, the formatting is actually a very important part of the reading experience. I tried to replicate the look and feel of popular crowdfunding sites (mainly Kickstarter) as much as possible to help make each of these stories really feel like a crowdfunding pitch, even though they are all obviously fictional and, in most cases, highly improbable.

To present the projects properly in ebook format, I initially tried to employ some advanced ebook coding to achieve the desired result. If all ebook devices rendered code the same way, you would be reading a very different book. (Formatting-wise, at least.) But since some ebook readers decided to change how they parse code in the middle of the design process, in the end I had to simplify the coding more than I had planned, and so the layout is not quite as fancy as I had hoped to present.

All that said, if you do have any trouble reading this ebook due to the formatting issues mentioned above, please email the editor/publisher, John Joseph Adams (i.e., me), at johnjosephadams@gmail.com, and I will attempt to provide you with an alternate version of the ebook that will display properly on your device. When you email me, just forward the receipt you got from whatever store you bought it from, and that’ll serve as proof of purchase.

Before you email me, though, if you think the formatting looks wonky on your device, please check your settings panel to make sure that you haven’t selected anything that says Ignore Publisher Defaults or the like. Most, if not all, ebook readers have such a setting. What that does is it forces the reader to ignore the CSS (cascading style sheets) of the ebook; while that’s fine for some ebooks, for a format-heavy ebook like this one (even in its current more simplified state), it would look really, really terrible. If you don’t have any such setting checked and it still looks wonky, then it might be time to email old J.J. and ask him for the even-less-fancy edition.

• • • •

Assuming the formatting is displaying properly, there’s just one bit of instruction I want to pass along.

All of the stories are presented as they would be on a crowdfunding page, so as you page through the story, it would be like scrolling down a Kickstarter page. Any time the story jumps to a different section of the crowdfunding project—like to the reward tiers, or to the project updates, or comments—you’ll see a scene break indicator in the form of four bullets, like the little dots right above this paragraph. That’s your cue that the story is jumping to a different section of the crowdfunding page.

Otherwise, the only other thing you might encounter that might cause you some vexation is that some of the projects have fake links to help replicate the feeling that the projects are online. Obviously those links don’t go anywhere, so don’t try to click them. (I mean, go ahead, but they don't go anywhere. They’re just pretty decoration!)

I think that’s about all the instruction I’ve got for you, so I’ll just step out of the way and let you get to it; those fake projects won’t fake back themselves!

DISCLAIMER

This is a work of fiction and parody. Names, companies, services, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the authors’ imaginations or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

HELP FUND MY ROBOT ARMY!!!

Keffy R.M. Kehrli

Keffy R.M. Kehrli is a science fiction and fantasy writer currently living in Seattle. Although his degrees are in physics and linguistics, he spends most of his time in a basement performing molecular biology experiments for fun and profit. In 2008, he attended Clarion UCSD where he learned that, unfortunately, rattlesnakes don’t always rattle. His short fiction has appeared in publications such as Apex Magazine, Fantasy, and Escape Pod, among others. He is also an editor and slush reader for Shimmer magazine.

HELP FUND MY ROBOT ARMY!!!

by Doctor Crushamous


Funding Unsuccessful. This project reached the deadline without achieving its funding goal on September 30.


81

backers

$6,655

pledged of $40,000,000,000

0

seconds to go

HELP FUND MY ROBOT ARMY so I can crush your hopes and dreams by making my own come true!

Project Goals

As late as ten years ago, a mad scientist with a dream could expect to turn a decent profit with his lesser inventions and build enough capital to put his (or her!) real plans into play.

Those days are sadly over, although my father, fool that he was, claimed that they never existed. You knew him as Doctor Cetaceaux, at least up until last year, when his orca henchmen, fed-up with being paid in inferior tuna, turned on him. Oh, how he screamed as they tossed him around like a stringy, bony seal . . . but that’s neither here nor there. He claimed that he and my mother were quite poor back in the day, and that it has always been difficult for new talent to get a start. NONSENSE! Absolute nonsense—why, when he was young, a handcrafted reverse-aging ray might make an enterprising scientist enough money to live comfortably in an abandoned Alpine castle for several years. Now, such items are mass-produced by Beauticience Incorporated for a pittance.

I have been obsessed (moderately!) with robots from a very young age. According to my mother—who you would know as Doctor Electronautía—I was accidentally left in an android servicing center overnight at the tender age of four, and ever since that day I have been utterly uninterested in having any friends with disgusting, oozing, fleshy bodies. And why should I? Human children are squalling animals with no sense of style and no appreciation for genius. Their parents, of course, are worse.

The field of robotics is full of hacks, engineers with no creative impulse. Scientists who wouldn’t know ambition if it hit them in the face with a laser cannon. Well! I have spent the past twenty years designing my robot army—no machine out of place—to take over the world for my own nefarious purposes.

With this in mind, I am asking for $40,000,000,000 to pay for equipment, raw materials, rent for my secret lair, and a Playstation.

I have no doubt that you are wondering what I will do if—ah, though it is not if so much as when!—I surpass my initial funding goals. My stretch goals include a squad of Steam Punk robots, including gears, parasols, and gold inlay; a domed city to house survivors, surrounded by a moat complete with robot sharks to keep them safe; and a collection of plush versions of my most popular robot models.

You may be wondering why you should fund my creation of a robot army! I think that if you have this question it shows that you are thinking about everything all wrong! Consider this: What if I am unsuccessful and the next supergenius decides to make a robot army and is not so cheerful, friendly, and gracious as I am?

• • • •


Pledge $5 or more

² backers

MY HEARTFELT THANKS. After I have taken over the world and repopulated most of it with my robotic creations, I will have your name written down somewhere.


Pledge $50 or more

⁶⁰ backers

YOU WILL BE SPARED. (Probably.)


Pledge $125 or more

¹⁷ backers

YOU AND YOUR THREE CLOSEST FRIENDS WILL BE SPARED. (Probably.)


Pledge $200 or more

⁰ backers

RADIOACTIVE COOKIES! I will bake them, test them on several lab rats for suitable potency, and then ship at least a dozen right to your door. NOTE: To save on costs, they will be shipped as media mail and may take some time to reach you.


Pledge $1,000 or more

⁰ backers

BECOME A ROBOT FOR A DAY! I will use the funds from this project to find a way to upload human intelligences. You can spend your last happy day on Earth inside the robot of your choice before I return you to your inferior body and what remains of your miserable life.


Pledge $10,000 or more

⁰ backers

PERMANENT NEURAL UPLOAD. The future looks grim for humanity’s survivors! Even if enough people are willing to pledge $50 apiece that the species will survive, it will be a hard life of gardening, fending off wild animals, robot attacks, and terrible hygiene. With this reward, you will thrive in a new body. For an additional $5,000 pledge, I will even allow you to choose your design.


Pledge $100,000 or more

⁰ backers  LIMITED (1 left of 1)

CO-CONSPIRATOR! Together we will rule the world with iron fists, at least until I tire of you, at which point I suppose we’ll end up as arch enemies and do battle across the scarred surface of the planet. It should be fun while it lasts. In order to make our harmonious co-habitation more feasible, I have built bunk beds.


• • • •

Risks and Challenges

Clearly, the only major risks associated with this project involve what will happen if you choose not to fund it. However, I do appreciate your concern for my well-being. In general, I have experienced very little personal damage while building robots. Occasionally errors by my human staff have caused them to suffer from burns, radiation sickness, missing fingers, missing eyes, missing limbs, and paper cuts.

I do not anticipate any aspect of this project will prove truly challenging, as I have never failed to achieve my goals.

• • • •

Comments

THE REAL Dupliticus Jones on Sep 29, 2013

This is going to fail the same way (and for the same reasons) as the clone army project that imploded a few months back.


Lizbet Flashbang on Sep 29, 2013

Don’t you think you should start with something smaller? Like, maybe just ONE killer robot, instead of an entire army of them?


Hagfish McCarthy on Sep 29, 2013

I don’t understand why we had to sit through a memoir just to find out what he wants money for.


Dupliticus Jones on Sep 28, 2013

This is completely subverting the purpose of this website, asshole. The point of crowdfunding isn’t so that the super rich can enslave the masses, it’s so that people who aren’t independently wealthy can fund their projects! NOBODY FUND THIS. IT IS A SCAM.


Seamus Gearsworth on Sep 11, 2013

Don’t forget clocks for the steampunk robots!


• • • •

Update #1 • Sep 1, 2013

How will I spend the money?

I thought that this would be obvious, but apparently you people need me to spell it out for you. R.O.B.O.T. A.R.M.Y.

Update #2 • Sep 8, 2013

New reward tiers!

I am not opposed to criticism, no matter what you brain-dead malcontents might think. As a result, I have added some new reward tiers for those of you who think that being spared is NOT worth $50. (Oh, and won’t you be SORRY in a few months). The new tiers are as follows:


Pledge $20 or more

² backers

AN 8X10 GLOSSY PHOTOGRAPH OF THE ROBOT OF YOUR CHOICE CRUSHING THE SKULL OF YOUR WORST ENEMY. UNLESS your enemy has already pledged $50, in which case you have the option of choosing your second worst enemy. NOTE: If you have not also pledged $50 to be spared, I will instruct my Death Bots to allow at least 10 minutes for appreciation of your backer reward prior to your inevitable death. Please add $15 for international shipping.


Pledge $1500 or more

¹ backers

CHOOSE A LANDMARK TO BE DESTROYED. Is there a building or monument that you find to be in particularly bad taste? With this reward, you will be allowed to direct one demolition. Restrictions: None of my current or future holdings are included in the list of eligible landmarks, nor is the World’s Largest Rubber Stamp for reasons that should need no explanation.


Pledge $2,000 or more

⁰ backers  LIMITED (1000 left of 1000)

FIRST CHOICE OF NEW LIVING QUARTERS. While you can potentially survive the destruction of all you hold dear for far less money, mere survival is unlikely to be any fun! At this reward tier, you will be first in line for a choice of premium living cubes within my domed city. Make your friends jealous!


Pledge $5,000 or more

⁰ backers

BECOME A ROBOT TECHNICIAN. While the rest of your friends and family are sitting around unemployed and bemoaning their fates, you will have a full time job maintaining my robot army.


IN ADDITION: All tiers above the $50 mark will now include the $50 reward and I will spare your life.

Update #3 • Sep 23, 2013

This is not a scam!

Apparently, the owner of this website has been receiving complaints from the populace. The complaints, as far as I can tell based on several open letters, are simply that I am tricking innocent people into giving me money.

I assure you! This is no scam! It is the best way to ensure that you will survive the next ten years. Or months, depending on how quickly I’m able to move beyond the prototype stage. Simply because you do not wish to purchase additional months or years of life does not mean that you should prevent others from doing so!

It is absolutely ridiculous to claim that this is a scam! People are funding me of their own free will, and I assure you they will be satisfied with the results!

I am tired of being held back by petulant whiners with no drive to achieve their own goals. I will succeed! None of you can stop me now!

Update #4 • Sep 27, 2013

Please retweet!

Dear lovely backers! As you may have noticed, we are currently four days away from my deadline and have so far only raised a paltry $6,655. This is less than 0.000017% of my funding goal! I currently have access to your email addresses, which I can use to triangulate your location due to nefarious sciency techniques that I will not divulge in this missive. It is absolutely essential to your continued existence that you fund this project.

I have released several short documents on Twitter. I urge you to retweet them, especially if you happen to know someone famous.

Update #5 • Oct 1, 2013

SCREW YOU ALL!

I knew that it would be difficult to be recognized as the genius I am, but I did not think that my work would be SO disregarded!

Clearly not one of you understands my works of staggering genius! You would rather fund an entire run of tiny kitten Jacuzzis, but robots? The future? THE TRUE FUTURE, THE ONLY FUTURE OF HUMANITY? NO! NOTHING!

But I shall have the last laugh! I will build this army regardless, and when I return oh, how you will RUE the day you failed to contribute!

You have not heard the last of Doctor Crushamous!

FOR ENTERTAINMENT PURPOSES ONLY

Jeremiah Tolbert

Jeremiah Tolbert is a writer and web designer living in Northeast Kansas. His stories have previously appeared in publications such as Lightspeed Magazine, Way of the Wizard, and Asimov’s. He’s an avid watcher of television and films, and has completely given up on avoiding spoilers.

Spoilerfree: A Device for 21st Century Entertainment Living

by Memory Palace Renovators, Inc.


Funding Suspended. Funding for this project was suspended 1 day ago.


499

backers

$127,000

pledged of $250,000

A brain-altering device and app for dealing with an all-too-common problem of television and film spoilers. With our device, you can live a SpoilerFree life and enjoy the media you consume without concern.

The SpoilerFree Plan

How many of us have lived through this situation on both sides?

Friend: Man, I still can’t believe how they killed Walt’s dog in the season finale of Breaking Bad.

You: But . . . we’re still watching the first season on DVD. You’re a big jerk!

Friend: The show’s been over for a year! It’s not my fault you’re slow at TV.

You: We are no longer friends!

Friend: Fine! By the way, I slept with your husband and/or wife!

You: YOU WHAT? Now I have no reason to live. Please excuse me while I kill myself.

Friend: Oh no! My friend is dead. This never would have happened if he or she had just backed the SpoilerFree Crowdfunder project!

It’s kind of amazing that any of us have any friends left at all thanks to spoilers, isn’t it?

Spoilers ruin lives and end friendships, and until now, there hasn’t been anything we could do about them but live with the horrible consequences.

If we meet our goals for SpoilerFree, these ruined relationships will be a relic of a primitive era, like manual transmissions or Jay Leno.

How The SpoilerFree Device Works

Simply place the neural harness on your head and adjust the straps until it is comfortably snug and the electrode pads are as close as possible to your scalp; for maximum effectiveness, please shave your head. If we meet our first stretch goal, you will also have the option of

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