You leave something for a few weeks and look at it! Anyway, many weird, not all bad things have been going on, limiting my Internet activities to occasional spews at my usual hangouts, if at all. I got to swim with sea turtles, which was something I’d always wanted to do, did not expect to be doing and am very aware that most people will never get to do (although that is probably a good thing for the sea turtles overall.) I had to do a lot of work stuff, and say goodbye to things and people, I got sick, yada, yada. The New Year turned, as artificially created new years do, and I got to have mine with fireworks.
While I was dealing with all that, the world of people who like SFFH and talk to each other about it hummed along. One of the things it hummed with was a return by fantasy author Jim C. Hines to recreating ridiculous SFF book covers of women, only this time in a very huge way. Jim decided, after people kept pestering him to do more of them, to make a fundraiser out of it for the Aicardi Syndrome Foundation. Aicardi Syndrome is a rare, very nasty and deadly childhood condition and so Jim set a number of financial goalposts and as each one was met, he would do another cover pose (a couple of them were comic book covers cause people had specially asked.) The poses included two pose-off contests with fellow author John Scalzi (both of which Jim won,) and a group photo staged at ConFusion of Jim, Scalzi, Patrick Rothfuss, Charles Stross and Mary Robinette Kowal recreating a truly horrendous Baen Books cover. Jim, I think, seriously underestimated the interest in this endeavor — he raised just over $15,000 for the Foundation and had to risk his back in many cover poses. You can see the whole thing here (warning: it’s not for the faint of heart,) including the pose-offs and the group shot which is one of the most coolest, horriblest things I’ve ever seen. Jim is still arranging some of the poses promised and there will be a 2014 calendar that you can buy down the road, raising further funds for the Foundation.
Another fundraiser that’s still going on for another week or so is the medical fundraiser for SFF author Jay Lake, who has been fighting cancer for some time. The fundraiser was to raise money so Lake could have a gene sequencing procedure to give him a better chance and to help pay for all the wonderful medical expenses incurred in the U.S. medical system. The gene sequencing goal was reached and right quickly, but the family is hurting and further contributions are most welcome.
And one more now on-going, and this is a fun one because you simply can use some of your charitable giving that you might have been planning to do anyway. John Scalzi has been having gnat-irritation visits from pals of a fellow SFWA member to whom he’d once given a promotional break, long ago, without knowing the person was troubled, shall we say. This author and his friends are white male power enthusiasts, I guess you could call it, and they come over to troll the comment threads in Scalzi’s Whatever blog. Scalzi has developed various clean-up methods for this intrusion into his lair, including recently kittening, a method he borrowed from his friend The Bloggess, which is spreading out virally. This author is a bit obsessed with Scalzi and talks about him a lot on his blog, whereupon his pals then descend on Whatever to thump their chests and misunderstand wolf biology. (We only get to see the “polite” ones, which are sad enough.) So Scalzi decided to make a fundraiser out of it. Every time this author mentions Scalzi on his blog, Scalzi will be giving money to charities that help people who this author hates, $5 a mention, up to a max of $1,000. Scalzi is going with four organizations, and you can also chime in and give directly to those groups or ones of your own choosing, preferably groups helping women, non-whites, educational funding and scholarship, religious tolerance, etc. You can do it on the mention scale up to a set amount or just go ahead and give a set amount if you want. I’m going to be doing a .25 a mention up to $50 donation to Kiva.org, which is a non-profit group that, as I’ve mentioned here before, funds micro-loans to entrepreneurs trying to feed their families all over the world. You can pick who you loan the money to through Kiva and then when that person pays it back, you can loan it out again to another person. The organization basically stands for everything these people hate. So that’s a good one that some people are doing. Already the pledge count is pretty high, but the higher it gets, the better the fun of turning one of the most negative things about the Internet into a positive that helps people. If you can’t afford to give any money — and many cannot — you can still help out if you like by volunteering for charity groups like homeless shelters, women’s groups and the like. It’s a really nice way to start the year.
Stuff on books and movies and whatnot to come. Hope the shortest month finds you all happy.