Crowd funding is the in thing for obtaining money to fund a variety of projects, with Kickstarter being the most prominent of these sites. With new projects going live daily, it’s a chore to keep up with, let alone find, interesting genre projects. The Crowd Funding Roundup will be our effort to bring projects we think are interesting to your attention so you can, if you so choose, decide to help out. These posts are a collaborative effort between James Aquilone and JP Frantz.


The Stanley Hotel Writers Retreat

What’s it about?

A 5-day writers retreat at The Stanley Hotel – Estes Park, Colorado. October 23-27, 2014.

Why it’s interesting: Jack Torrance didn’t get much writing done on his little Colorado getaway, but hopefully that won’t be a problem for the folks going to the upcoming writers retreat at The Stanley Hotel—the birthplace of Stephen King’s The Shining. R.J. Cavender will host the event, which will include daily critique groups and nightly dinners. Packages for the retreat (not including hotel or travel expenses) start at $150. For $500, you get a full, undisturbed afternoon to write alone in the hotel’s infamous Room 217. The psychological trauma, we presume, is free.

True Patriot: Volume 2

What’s it about?

A comic book anthology featuring Canadian superheroes written and drawn by some of your favorite Canadian creators!

Why it’s interesting: Canada isn’t all hockey, maple syrup, and snow. They have superheroes, too! And the True Patriot series proves it. The first volume was released this past summer, and now they’re looking to launch the second volume in summer 2014. The 104-page, full-color, limited hardcover features work by Adrian Alphona (Uncanny X-Force), J. Bone (Rocketeer), Jack Briglio (Scooby Doo), and Tim Levins (Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes). A PDF of True Patriot: Volume 2 is $10 CAD. The hardcover is $35.

Clarion’s 2014 Literary Pin-up Calendar

What’s it about?

A 2014 pin-up calendar highlighting Clarion alumni, teachers, and other greats of SF and fantasy.

Why it’s interesting: The year is almost over and you know what that means? Time to get a new calendar. The folks at Clarion and artist Lee Moyer make your decision easy. Their full-color, 9-by-12-inch wall calendar features pin-ups resulting from collaboration between artist Lee Moyer and 12 of Clarion’s co-founders, alumni, and Workshop teachers and friends. Each month features a painted pin-up reflecting the author’s work, as well as customized calendar pages.

Winter in the City: A Collection of Urban Fantasy Tales

What’s it about?

A collection of urban fantasy tales that take place in different cities around the world during the bleak—sometimes harsh—season of winter.

Why it’s interesting: If urban fantasy or the winter theme don’t do it for you, the amazing lineup of authors should. Writers include Kevin J. Anderson, Bradley P. Beaulieu, Pat Cadigan, Ken Liu, Paul Di Filippo, Mike Resnick, Mercedes M. Yardley, Nick Mamatas, and Harry Turtledove. The ebook version of Winter in the City is $8, while the paperback is $25.

The Strange

What’s it about?

The Strange is a game that crosses multiple worlds, called recursions, which player characters can explore and defend. In The Strange, your characters change with each world they travel to, taking on new aspects suited to help them function in that recursion’s unique laws and structures.

Why it’s interesting: Monte Cook latest RPG is Numenara (see SF Signal’s review) and its story-based Cypher System is re-used here for The Strange. Cook comes up with a lot of unique settings, and this one, where characters change based on the world they are inhabiting, is no different. Add in the Cypher System which favors story/exploration based XP over combat and The Strange certainly looks very interesting. $25 nets you the core rulebook and the Player’s Guide in PDF, while $50 gets you all the PDFs, including any unlocks.

Bo&Yana – Programmable Robots For Kids

What’s it about?

Delightful robots that fuse play with programming for kids of all ages.

Why it’s interesting: These robots look awesome! Learning toys are usually kind of boring or obviously meant to teach, but these robots turn programming into fun, with coding languages available for kids as young as 5. They are a bit steep, $49 for Yana, $149 for Bo and $198 for both, but goodness, if they are as easy to use as the video makes it seem, your kids will get an early introduction into programming, minus all the messy build code and revision databases. I almost wish I was a kid again…

Siege Toys: Desktop Catapults & Ballistas

What’s it about?

Snap-together catapults and ballistas that are perfect for gifts, office warfare, or annoying your roommate.

Why it’s interesting: And now some toys for the adult kids in the audience: snap-together siege engines! These look like a lot of fun and there’s now woodcutting or gluing/stapling to get in your way (or your hand). $40 for either the catapult or ballista (ballista!) with ammo. Christmas delivery is now available, even for the two-pack with one engine each for $70.

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Filed under: Crowd Funding Roundup

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