Help Fund My Robot Army!: An Oddity Odyssey Reading Challenge Submission…

1

 

image

Today I’m presenting to you a book that I stumbled across on one of my many “what extra books can I add to my already unattainable to-read list” internet jaunts.  The title, and subsequently, the blurb and format were so beguiling that I felt it should be added to said list immediately.  Then I noticed that the kindle price was less than $5, so I decided, “what the hey, let’s live a little!” and duly added it to my kindle hoard.  I speak of none other than speculative/sci-fi/fantasy/humour anthology Help Fund My Robot Army!!! & Other Improbably Crowdfunding Projects, edited by John Joseph Adams. I intend to submit this to my Oddity Odyssey Reading Challenge under the categories of “odd title” (note the three exclamation marks and ampersand), and “odd language element”.  Its inclusion in this second category is due to the fact that this anthology is composed entirely of imaginary crowdfunding pitches, as might be found on Kickstarter.

While I am familiar with the concept of crowdfunding and I’m aware that Kickstarter exists, I have never spent any time perusing that site.  Apparently though, many fleshlings wile away the hours surfing this site for projects they might like to fund, or simply to leave humorous comments on the less likely of such projects.  So if you are one of these fleshlings, this book may well be for you.  Let’s dive in.

From Goodreads:

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.

So if what you’ve always been looking for in a Kickstarter—and couldn’t find—was a project that allowed you to SUMMON DEMONS, DEFY GRAVITY, WIELD MAGIC, or VIOLATE CAUSALITY, then HELP FUND MY ROBOT ARMY!!! & Other Improbable Crowdfunding Projects may be just the thing you’ve been looking for.

robot army

There are 33 stories in this anthology and the majority of them are written by accomplished (to a greater or lesser degree) authors in the sci-fi/spec fiction realm.  Every single one of them follows the format of a Kickstarter crowdfunding pitch and while some others who have reviewed this collection on Goodreads mentioned that this format quickly got stale for them, I didn’t share that feeling as I was reading.  In fact, I quite enjoyed seeing how so many different authors worked within the same – pretty limiting – restrictions to produce some very engaging stories.

The collection includes tales from the sci-fi, speculative and fantasy genres but there are a few recurring themes in the bunch.  There are a number of pitches dealing with time travel, quite a few robot-related stories, a couple to do with granting wishes and desires. While the repetition in format didn’t put me off any, the repetition of themes did in some cases.  For instance there are two stories that are very similar in that they relate to pitches concerned with raising enough dosh to raise certain ancient deities.  I enjoyed (and chuckled repeatedly) at Help Summon The Most Holy Folded One! by Harry Connolly but was a bit so-so towards Bring About the Halloween Eternal!  by Seanan McGuire, which featured at the close of the collection and had a very similar tone and plot to Connolly’s tale.  Similarly, I was less enthused by each time-travel tale that I encountered and I felt that the selection process for the stories could have been tighter to avoid including tales that were very similar.

There’s a lot of humour going on in these stories (especially in some of the “comment threads”) and I particularly enjoyed Save the Photophobic Hemoglobivores with the Sanguine Reserve by Mur Lafferty, about creating a retreat for endangered vampires, Life Sized Arena Tetris! by David Malki!, whose title is self-explanatory (and a cracker of an idea in my opinion), and of course, the aforementioned Help Summon the Most Holy Folded One!, about the attempted raising of an ancient taco deity.  But not all the pitches are included for comic relief.  There’s the subtly sinister dystopian  A Memorial to the Patriots by Jake Kerr, the touching plea of a mother in crisis, I Want to Be a Lioness by Chuck Wendig, the slightly bizarre medical breakthrough of So Juicy Transforming Strips by Matt Williamson and the bittersweet sting of grief unprocessed in  Jerome 3.0 by Jason Gurley.

Be Careful What You Wish For by Michael J. Sullivan has inspired me to seek out W. W. Jacob’s original story, The Monkey’s Paw (another one for the mountainous TBR pile – at least it’s a short story) and, ironically, Spoilerfree: A Device for 21st Century Entertainment Living by Jeremiah Tolbert has lodged in my brain as one of the most memorable (and devilishly cheeky!) stories in the group.

Overall, I appreciated the fresh format of this short story collection and I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys a bit of sci-fi and fantasy and is looking for some bite-sized chunks of originality and fun from a whole range of accomplished authors.

Progress toward Oddity Odyssey Challenge Goal: 5/16

To find out more about the Oddity Odyssey Challenge (and join in!) just click on the pretty image at the start of this post.

Until next time,

Bruce

 

An opportunity for lovers of free things and kickstarter campaigns: The Ghost Heart Kickstarter is Here!

0

Good morning to you, lovely creatures! Allow me to point out how open to new opportunities you look today.  Your eyebrows are looking particularly ravishing too, I might add!  Well, you’re welcome. I pride myself on noticing the minor details.

Now that the pleasantries are out of the way, let’s get to the good (better!) stuff.  Later this month, on May 30th to be exact, I will be pointing a blinding spotlight of revelation in the general direction of Ripley Patton, author of the PSS Chronicles.  After reading the first book in the series, Ghost Hand, I was enamoured.  Ripley has moved on with the series (I’m a bit behind the times!) and is now working on book three – and she needs YOUR help! Read on to find out all about it (and what exciting free offer you might be able to redeem) – remember, ask not what your authors can do for you, but what you can do for your authors….

The PSS Chronicles is the acclaimed young adult paranormal thriller series written and self-published by award-winning author Ripley Patton.

If you’re already familiar with the series, you know how great these books are. They are true paranormal thrillers and almost impossible to put down.

Ghost Hold quotes

Book One, GHOST HAND, was a semi-finalist for the 2013 Kindle Book Review Best Indie Book Awards and it was a 2013 Cybil Award Nominee. It has over 200 reviews on Amazon with a 4.4 overall rating.

ghost hand

GHOST HOLD has been just as well received with over 40 reviews, only one under 3-stars. Readers often comment that is is even more compelling than the first book.

ghost hold

And NOW, Ripley Patton is gearing up for the release of the third book in this series, GHOST HEART, by running a Kickstrater Project HERE.

All Ripley’s books have been funded successfully through Kickstarter, which allows readers to pre-order the books in e-book and paperback format, in addition to ensuring she can publish them to the highest quality. Plus, its just fun to be a part of the amazing process of making a book a reality.

This time around, Ripley has something special going on. Backers of the project will actually be helping unveil the GHOST HEART cover, one piece at a time, as the funds for the book are raised.

The rest is up to you and all the backers of the GHOST HEART KICKSTARTER PROJECT. But I really hope it doesn’t take too long because I’m dying to see that cover.

NEW TO THE SERIES?

If you’re new to The PSS Chronicles, never fear. The GHOST HEART Kickstarter Project has reward options to purchase all the books, both in e-book and signed paperback format for some amazing prices.

Not only that, but if you want to test drive the series before committing, Ripley is currently offering the first book of the series, GHOST HAND, FREE on Amazon and Kobo, and for only 99 cents on B&N.

SO, WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?

Run over to Ripley’s Project now and back GHOST HEART. Tell your friends and family and fellow booklovers. Share the project on social media and help Ripley unveil that cover and blow this Kickstarter Project up.

And to find out even more about Ripley, you can check her out on her WEBSITE, on FACEBOOK, on TWITTER, on GOODREADS, and on GOOGLE +.  She’d love to connect with you and talk about books, writing, movies, or whatever strikes your fancy.

 

Did you hear that folks? Ghost Hand is FREE, FREEEEEEEE! Go and get it now. Then come back on May 30th and tell me what you think of it.  I promise I will do likewise.

Until next time,

Bruce