Wil Wheaton/John Scalzi Fan Fiction Contest to Benefit the Lupus Alliance of America

To begin, behold this exquisite illustration, created by request by artist Jeff Zugale:

Yes, yes, I know. Hold on a minute and I’ll explain. But first:

Short Form: For the benefit of the Lupus Alliance of America, John Scalzi, Wil Wheaton and Subterranean Press are running a fan fiction contest, in which contestants write a 400 to 2,000 word story describing the picture above. Any form of fan fiction is acceptable except slash explicit sex. The winner of the contest will be paid for their story (10 cents a word), win a prize pack of books from Subterranean Press, and will have their story published in a special electronic chapbook featuring stories about the painting, written by Scalzi, Wheaton, Catherynne Valente and Patrick Rothfuss, to be published later this year, with profits to benefit the Lupus Foundation of America. E-mail the stories with the text in the e-mail to fanfic@scalzi.com by 11:59pm Eastern, June 30, 2010. One entry per person.

Long Form:

To answer your question: Yes. That’s me. As an Orc. With an axe. And Wil Wheaton. In the INFAMOUS clown sweater. With a spear. On a unicorn pegasus kitten. With volcanoes. I mean, of course, because how could you have Wil Wheaton and a ScalzOrc together without volcanoes?

And now, to your other question, which is: ZOMFG WHY?

The answer: Oh, come on. You really have to ask why to the man who commissioned The Velvet Wesley? There is no why. There is just: The picture. Of me. As an Orc. And Wil. With a spear. On a unicorn pegasus kitten.

So, there is no why. But there is a what, as in, what is Wil Wheaton doing astride a unicorn unicorn pegasus kitten, in the INFAMOUS clown sweater, aiming a spear at an Orc version of me?

And that’s where you come in.

You see, the fact is that neither Wil nor I know how we got to the point where we are in the picture. We are open to theories. Theories in the form of fanfic. That’s right: We’re looking for fan fiction which explains what the holy hell is going on in that picture. Because if ever a work was made for fan fiction exegesis, it is the image above.

So, here’s the plan: You write a 400 to 2,000 word fanfic about the picture above. Come at it from any angle you like to explain, illuminate or otherwise bring to life what’s going on in the picture above. Our only request is NO slash fanfic stories with explicit sex (please). But other than that, knock yourself out.

When you’re finished with the story, in addition to whatever else you do with it (hey, it’s your fanfic, we hold no claim to it), send a copy of the story to fanfic@scalzi.com by 11:59pm Eastern, June 30, 2010 (one entry per person), with the text of the story in the e-mail (no attachments, please). When you do, you’ll enter your fan fiction into a contest.

If your fanfic of the picture is chosen by our Jury of Awesomeness, your story will appear in a special electronic chapbook about the picture, with other stories written by me, by Wil, by Norton Award winner and Best Novel Hugo Award nominee Catherynne Valente and by Patrick Rothfuss, best selling author of The Name of the Wind. You will be paid for your story at the rate of ten cents a word (twice the SFWA minimum professional rate), and you’ll receive a special prize pack of books from Subterranean Press, which will publish the electronic chapbook later in the year.

We have plans for the chapbook: We’re going to sell it online, and the proceeds of the chapbook will go to benefit the Lupus Alliance of America, an organization dedicated to finding the causes of and cure for lupus and providing support, services and hope to all people affected by lupus. As folks who know and love people affected by this disease, this a cause and foundation we believe in and want to help. The donation will go through the Alliance’s Michigan/Indiana affiliate.

So look at again at the picture. Of me. As an Orc. And Wil. In his clown sweater. With a spear. On a Unicorn Pegasus Kitten. With volcanoes. You know that’s a story you want to tell. So tell it. And please feel free to tell everyone you know about this contest — and this image. Clearly, it’s something best shared with as many people as humanly (or Orcishly) possible.

Update, 8:44pm: Artist Jeff Zugale shares the process of creating this time work of art.

Update, 6/1, 9:28am: There’s been some discussion in the comments about the “no slash” request, so let me clarify: “slash” in this case is meant to refer to explicit sex depictions, not the general possibilities of m/m-liciousness. Slashy non-explicit stories? Go nuts. Sorry for any confusion. Also, to be super-clear, no explicit sex of any kind, please.

Update, 6/1, 11:18am: Video of the reveal of the work during the Super Happy Fun Time With John and Wil at Phoenix Comicon.

Update, 6/3, 11:55am: Follow up post answering some questions and comments is here.

220 Comments on “Wil Wheaton/John Scalzi Fan Fiction Contest to Benefit the Lupus Alliance of America”

  1. Okay, John. I’m in tears. I really am.

    As you are aware, I’ve been doing quite a bit to raise awareness for Lupus. It is something I live with and that has tried to kill me way too many times. I’ve written a book where proceeds go to Lupus research and treatment, have various merch and started a World Lupus Day Virtual Art Gallery (http://lupus.juliasherred.com) with the endorsement of the Lupus Foundation of America.

    So to say this… well

    I’m crying and this means more to me that I could ever say and will mean so much to the other Lupus sufferers around the world.

    Thank you from the bottom of my soul.

  2. I think the kitten wants to mate with the orc. Or eat him. Either way, the expression of malevolent glee on its fluffy face is a thing of beauty.

  3. First, the clown sweater makes that picture.

    Second, awesome cause and I love that you’re doing a fanfic contest.

    Third….I agree we need a poster.

    @8 You tell us! In a short story!

  4. A long time ago I made some decisions in my life that lead me to becoming a professional computer programmer instead of a professional writer. At times like this I regret those decisions…

  5. It burns! It burns! Now I’m afraid I AM going to think up the backstory.

    But, totally worth it for a good cause.

  6. No slash, huh? *grump*

    Oh, I wasn’t going to write Wil/Scalzi slash. I was going to write Scalzi/Unikitten slash.


  7. Wheaton, you fool! Always look where you’re aiming!

    That Scalzi is a tricky one…

  8. Rather alarmingly, the Wheaton hot pants are more disturbing than the clown sweater… and OrcScalzi appears to be wearing an armoured miniskirt.

  9. ….I’m stunned and pleased and amused and am considering entering.

  10. Fantastically disturbing picture, even if OrcScalzi is showing far, far too much leg.

  11. Oh, I am so getting something in for this. All other writing projects are officially on hold until I get this in.

  12. Such a story probably falls into the category of RPF (real person fic) not fanfic, and “any type of story but slash” still leaves, well, Vore, and all sorts of fun stuff.

    This should be hilarious.

  13. Scalzi, Wil and Jeff,
    Money earned selling the wallpaper/posters etc of this image could go to help the Lupus Fund. You guys should do that.

    Not that I would buy it. I prefer to avoid repeatedly viewing demented images that cause long term nightmares (and possibly brain damage). But to each his/her own.

    Oh God, I just saw it again…Its haunting me…….

  14. Is a chaste kiss at the end considered “slash”? Or even a not so chaste kiss, but a JUST a kiss even implying that more is coming? *heh, I said coming*

  15. I thought I’d reached my quota of *disturbed* for the night before coming here, but I was wrong.

    Jeff, that pic is Made of Awesomesauce – but I’m still sending you my therapy bill. I think it’s UniPegKitteh’s expression of psychotic glee that tips me over the edge. Or possibly Wil’s denim hotpants. Remind me to tell you all some time about the denim hotpants/clog sartorial combo favoured by many German longhaul articulated lorry drivers. In graphic detail.

    I don’t see why I should carry this pain alone.

  16. O.K. now. We have a picture of Wil riding a unicorn attacking ScalziOrc carrying a phallic weapon and slash isn’t allowed? Who thinks up stuff like this?

  17. I was lucky enough to be at this panel when this picture was unveiled.

    As awesome as it is in digital format, it is just unspeakably glorious in person.

    Another vote for having prints and/or posters of this. Also high resolution desktop would be much appreciated as well.

  18. If Jeff had made you a goblin instead of an orc, I would be all over that story.

    I may still have to put together a submission for this. That picture is awesomely disturbing, or vice versa. Either way, a truly inspiring piece of art.

  19. I will only ever write Scalzi/Wheaton slash. Witness:

    The Orc Scalzi snarled at Wheaton and dared his entreaties with a thrust of his bulging groin.

    “I’ll show you how to treat a lady!” shouted Sir Wil in reply. With a single deft thrust of his lance he slit open the orc’s armor and made visible his foul orcan nakedness.

    “Nglaar!” shouted the Orc Scalzi. “Disrobing me will not be enough to stop me!”

    Sir Wil dismounted his kitten steed and adjusted his snug shorts around his own rising tide.

    “I don’t plan to stop you, Orc,” said Sir Wil, tugging at the clown sweater suggestively. “In fact, I plan to keep you going all night long.”

    There’s more that I will gladly write it if will help the cause. :)

  20. Laz @30: Remind me to tell you all some time about the denim hotpants/clog sartorial combo favoured by many German longhaul articulated lorry drivers.”

    Where do you think I cribbed it from? I have the Internet, my friend.

    I did consider adding sandals to Wil, but I figured a buff, unikitteh-riding Wil would be too badass for footwear.

  21. Oh wow. That picture… just. It’s just…

    I would love to enter this contest, but MY BRAIN WILL NOT WORK NOW.

  22. I do SO hope that the unicorn pegasus kitten ends up being bacon-powered. That said, however it turns out, I very much look forward to reading the result of this wondeful madness!

  23. There is so much going on in that picture that I am not sure I could limit myself to only 2000 words.

    But I shall surely try.

    Also, if there was ever a piece of art that deserved to have applied to it the word “Epic”… This, sir, is it.

  24. So what is the unicorn pegasus kitten’s name?

    And I agree with the above commenters in wondering what’s going to happen regarding the “original” artwork and copies.

  25. vian, fastfinge: 1) Thank you, and 2) Ick.

    I don’t know whether the fetish itself or the bastardized terminology (it should certainly be phagephilia) is ickier.

  26. Great cause and all . . . but have you reviewed your prescription meds with your physician lately?

  27. Are there any restrictions on explicit language? I don’t mean excessive, just one or two slipping here or there?

  28. I find it hilarious that it is the Wil Wheaton/John Scalzi fanfic contest and yet, no slash is allowed.

    That aside, that is a worthy cause indeed.

  29. How can you say “no slash” when the very title of this post calls it the “Wil Wheaton/John Scalzi Fan Fiction Contest

  30. As an example of how AR I can be, after looking at the painting my subconscious will not give me any peace until I confirm whether or not both John and Wil are left-handed.

    Can anyone answer this question?

  31. – et – @55: Look at Zugale’s step-by-step. The final image is flopped from the initial sketches. So I guess that means they’re ambidextrous.

    (Also BTW too: I bet we could raise more money by collecting donations to pay Chang to stop writing — right. where. he. is.)

  32. et @55: The original drawing layout of the painting was flipped left-for-right compared to this final. I started it with both of them being right-handed; actually I have no idea of either of their actual handedness!

    We can pretend they’re Muppets! (All Muppets, or at least all Muppet musicians, are lefties.)

  33. My mother has lupus. On an irregular basis, my body pulls crap that I’m fairly sure is due to an inherited immune system issue. I know there are those who are far worse off than either my mother or myself.

    So, thank you much for this. I know why I *heart* both you and Wil.

  34. you…you might end up regretting that slash is the *only* thing you blacklisted.

    …is it time to break out the mpreg, bbs? yes, I think it is.

  35. No slash means no Wheaton/Scalzi, right?

    I mean, the two of you can have sex with other people in the story, right?

  36. Fine. No slash. You said nothing about bestiality! \o/

    And really, an orc isn’t human, is it? ;)

    *shall not submit teh awesome slashy slash to burn your eyes*

  37. I think Wil is saying “Only after you have kissed the fleeting stead of death, wretch!”

  38. I am really confused about the use of punctuation in the title of this entry if no slash fiction is permitted in the contest. Neither the ampersand nor the hyphen was good enough?

  39. No slash? But this looks like a “Hell hath no fury like a man-in-a-clown-jumper spurned” sort of a thing.

  40. I for one eagerly await the winning entry, an epistolary novella by one Chang (who is not Chang) regretfully explaining how the Executive Committee was forced to employ Mr. Wheaton as depicted above.

  41. Everyone complaining about the slash ban needs to hear what horrors Wil intends on inflicting on those who write it anyway. My friend was recording the panel where John and Wil announced this, I’ll get him to upload it and supply the link. It was one of the best panels I went to at Phoenix Comicon. Laughs all around, and there was even bacon involved.

  42. Well at least here the no slash complaints are tongue in cheek while over at ONTD, where true to form they copy paste the original article, it gets the starting waft of wank.

  43. I love how Wil Wheaton and Scalzi attract slash fans. The Ho Yay is undeniable, you guys! (See TvTropes if you don’t understand.)

    That’s my way of saying: I’ll be participating, despite how the “no slash” doesn’t sit well with me, because my mum has lupus.

  44. Wait, a picture of a cat on Whatever without bacon involved? The meme is dead, long live the meme.

  45. 1. WWJSFFCBLAA will get so many submissions that one story in one collection just won’t cut it. How about a small volume of the top 10 or 20 runners-up as well? You could raise more money for Lupus that way.

    2. That picture simply must be available for computer wallpaper. Pretty Please? I’d even pay for it! It’s the only thing that could dethrone the Android’s Dream cover that has been on my computer ever since it became available.

  46. I don’t know if I can write a story, but I’d love to play a tabletop RPG in a world with unicorn kittens and spearwielding holy warriors in clown sweaters. But we’ve been playing in the WH 40K universe recently, and I could use a change from what my wife calls the “Grimdark McAngstypants” of it all.

  47. Now, I know you said no Slash FanFic, but does that also mean no Axl Rose FanFic?

  48. @85 – Jeff – I am now so in trouble at work. I do not know where the fortitude will come from to not call a certain co-worker “Grimdark McAngstypants.”

  49. I cannot write. I look at the picture and I chortle with unholy, uncontainable joy, and so I cannot write.

    I’ll just have to wait with snickering evil glee until I can contribute my monies to this most worthy and glorious cause.

  50. @85 – Mary – Personally, I reckon you should just go ahead and call him Grimdark McAngstypants.

  51. Sara@28

    I would love a poster version of this masterpiece(?) to go next to my autographed photo of Steve Reeves as Hercules.

    Can’t wait to read the stories.

  52. This is picture is wrong, on so many levels, yet so right. It makes me think of, I’m sure this was all engineered by the great wizard Sheldon …..Hmmmmmmm (opens up word processer and starts typing).

  53. When you say any type of fan fiction is OK, would that include a story in which a grown up Wesley Crusher, who has recently escaped from a Federation hospital for the criminally insane with the help of his mutant cat/bird/unicorn thing, builds a time machine out of stuff he finds in his pockets and goes back in time to kill famous science fiction writers because his evil clown sweater told him to. Oh and you’re dressed like Shrek for Halloween. Or would that be too likely to cause trouble with the Star Trek people? Because that just souns like a cool idea to me.

  54. *chortle* I don’t write RPF because it feels kind of icky to me, but if I’ve got permission, that’s a whole different kettle.

  55. My eight year old just looked at the painting, pumped her fist in the air, and shouted “Awesome!”

  56. If by “no slash” you meant “no explicit sexual content” that makes perfect sense, but is arguably a misreading of the term. If by “no slash” you meant “no queer content even of a non-explicit nature” that’s a bit uncomfortable.

    As a queer person, I’d hate to get the impression that after you’ve already allowed your likenesses to be in that HILARIOUS painting that you really think the worst thing in the world is a little bit of gay in your satire. It’s, for me, saddening and uncomfortable.

    But the cause is great, and I hope people do have a good time playing with this and that it raises lots of money. Some clarity or rephrasing on the “slash” point, however, may make many people who might want to participate happier.

  57. “Our only request is NO slash fanfic (please)”???
    Really? Hello homophobic people.
    You want to raise money for a Lupus Foundation but you don’t want the gay to come in the way.
    This is insulting and disgusting.
    I understand no NC17, but that would be for any kind of fiction.
    I would be sure to let everyone know how homophobic you all are.
    You don’t deserve money and you’re a disgrace for the Lupus Foundation.
    And please don’t delete this comment just because you don’t like it.

  58. I hardly think that “please don’t send me porn of myself” is homophobic.

  59. @98…. Your comment is laughable given John’s position on, among other things, gay marriage. And frankly, slash is the most boring of fanfic – i’ve never understood the ‘zomg, fanfic contest!?? Must write slash’ people.

  60. @MrsJeffRobinson: Slash isn’t inherently pornographic.

    Writing a story about Orc!Scalzi and Wil shopping for china for their summer home would be just as much “slash” as an explicit sex scene between them.

    Not wanting the latter is perfectly reasonable, not wanting the former is homophobic.

  61. @rights for everyone — You’re kidding with this, right? Wheaton and Scalzi are among the most supportive straight folks I’ve encountered. Just because they don’t care to see themselves portrayed in flagrante delicto with each other and have said so does not mean they’re homophobic. How completely and utterly absurd!

  62. Scalzorc and Wil shopping for china would make for one really dull story. Especially compared to the picture prompt.

    But seriously, I don’t think it’s unreasonable for someone to say “I don’t want to read about myself in a romantic relationship with this person” either, graphic sex or no. Not everything needs a love interest.

  63. rights for everyone:

    We said “no slash” because Wil and I are real live people who don’t want to have to read about us having sex with each other, even when I’m an Orc and he’s riding a Unicorn Pegasus Kitten. As there are no other people in the picture, and the UPK is safely neutered as you would with all pets, the more general admonition for no explicit sex in stories, please, seemed unnecessary. No homophobia intended.

    We can’t stop anyone from writing Wheaton/Scalzi slash, obviously. Which is why we said “please” and hoped people would respect the wishes. But more concretely, slash won’t be considered for the chapbook, so if you want to participate in the contest, it doesn’t make sense to write it.

    An exciting story featuring china shopping is fine.

  64. Saying “no slash” (in your clearly misunderstood fashion that assumes slash = pornography) in this situation is like sitting in the dunking booth and saying, “I don’t want to get wet.”

  65. Yeah, the problem there is that you seem to have confused “slash” with “explicit sex.” There is a lot of G and PG rated slash out there, into which category would fall the “shopping for china” story.

    Now, Rick up there saying that slash is somehow inherently “the most boring of fanfic” . . . *that* is homophobic.

  66. An exciting story featuring china shopping is fine.

    There’s a story concept riffing off the old “bull in a china shop” bit in there somewhere.

  67. Well, I’ve more clearly stated things in 105, so that should make things easier for everyone.

    Out of a desire for clarity, please forgive me one more question: (I’m not trying to stir a beehive in your front yard, I promise!)

    Are you referring to platonic china shopping or romantic non-sexual china shopping? The latter acknowledges slash != explicit sex, while the former does not, which is the heart of the issue.

  68. Actually, your comment left me with the impression that you were still confusing “slash” and “explicit sex.”

    If you really want to fix the misunderstanding, changing the wording in the actual post would be the best way to go. Not everyone reads down the comments, and as rm said, you’ll get a lot more of fandom interested if you clarify your actual guidelines.

  69. I personally have no problem with romantic content. It’s explicit sex we’d like to avoid.

  70. @sahiya… Sorry to disappoint you there but your snap judgement about someone from one comment is, unsurprisingly, wrong.

    I just find the tendency for a lot of fanfic to default to slash boring. While I’m sure that slash can be well-written, the “zomg I’m writing fanfic about two people, must do slash” is cliched and usually indicative of a lack of imagination. It’s the easy way out and usually not that well done.

    I also think it’s a bit creepy to put two real people in sexual situations that don’t fit the people themselves (i.e. to put two straight men in a gay relationship OR the reverse, to put a gay man in a straight relationship). It’s one thing to do that to your own characters, it’s more than a little odd to do it to real people.

  71. @Rick: Ahhh, but that was not what you said. What you said was, “slash is the most boring of fanfic,” implying that somehow, inherently, fic involving queer relationships is less interesting than gen (no relationships) or het (heterosexual relationships, obviously). Why is that? Well, it might be because you find queer relationship inherently unbelievable, which, I’m sorry, is homophobic.

    Poorly written slash (of which there is reams and reams) is neither “the easy way out” nor “indicative of a lack of imagination” any more or less than poorly written het or gen.

  72. I’m somewhat tempted to write a harrowing nonfiction account of Jeff Zugale’s feverish obsession with the perfection of this image – the insomnia, the denial of nourishment, the cackling resounding from the depths of his artistmancave…

    All of this as observed by his VERY pregnant (hence hormonal, and somewhat paranoid to begin with) wife (me), whose son was due the same weekend as the painting was to be revealed.

    Teaser: Three weeks before the deadline for either, our son decided to arrive. I was in labor – WHAT WOULD IT MEAN FOR THE PAINTING?!

  73. @116 – Sigh. You really are reaching here and it’s insulting. I don’t find queer relationships unbelievable at all, nor do they disturb me. Amusingly, you want to label anyone who doesn’t like slash as homophobic. I find that ironic since labeling people without any real knowledge is usually a tactic of bigots.

    I find the tendency to default to slash when writing fanfic a copout. It actually doesn’t matter whether the fanfic relationship is queer or not actually – I’d say the same thing about fanfic that defaults to placing two straight people of the opposite sex in a sexual relationship. Taking two people and immediately defaulting to ‘let’s put them in a romantic or sexual place’ as a story is unimaginative and says more about the author than anything else.

    You seem to want to pick a fight, call me names and label me. I’ve got other things to do, but you have fun being wrong now, ok?

  74. Wil and I are real live people who don’t want to have to read about us having sex with each other


  75. First draft done – 2086 words, so have to cut some.

    John, you said no slasher stories, but is it okay for one of the “characters” in the picture to get skewered/chopped – in a creative way – if not too explicit?

  76. John, as soon as my eight-year-old son saw that picture and heard about the contest, he sat down and wrote a story for it. If it was long enough to meet the minimum word count, I’d submit it for him (it’s not even half long enough). Instead, I’ve posted it on my blog.

    Thanks, and I hope the anthology does well.

  77. @119 – At the risk of involving myself in a completely pointless discussion, I’m not sure where the heck you’re getting that slash is some sort of default position. (And therefore “boring.”)

    And it’s totally okay if you don’t like it. I’m not a particular fan of romance of any stripe unless it’s incredibly well done. But slash is no more “default” than hetero romance or alternate universe involving vampires or badly done angsty goth Mary Sue. If you look around, you can find any of those things in spades. :P

    Everybody’s got their particular style of thing they like to write. Sounds like you have a real problem with romance centered stories, which is fine. Everyone’s got their own tastes. But my goodness, can we tone it down a little, lest the romance lovers show up and draw the line at how boring it is that people default to writing testosterone fueled action fests or utterly boring political intrigue?

  78. Awesome!

    Re: china shopping. ClownWil needed some new plates for his plate spinning routine, and on his way to the china shop met OrcScalzi who’d just purchased a new sporran at the neighboring kilt shoppe. They were going to go for bacon, avocado, and chili sandwiches, when the universe …

  79. re C. Zugale @118:

    I love my wife more than, well, everything except our son. I’m sure glad she loves me enough to put up with an artist’s weirdness.

    More thanks for all the nice words, all!

  80. love the painting. mostly love it for the unicorn pegasus kitten! i would love to own a painting of that kitten.

    glad to see you are still doing well in the sci fi world. and so happy i got to know you (well sort of) back in the good old AOL J-land days.

  81. Hmmm. Lemme see….

    “John Scalzi, Wil Wheaton and the dead man walked into a bar….”

    It all makes sense once you know who the dead man is.

    I can’t believe I just wrote “It all makes sense” in this context.

  82. I was at the con yesterday (where my children were caught in the destruction in the back of the room when Wil destroyed it with the power of his mind…) and got to see the picture in person. It is epic. And I cannot wait to write for it. Unicorn pegasus kitten is my new hero.

  83. I’m also someone who mainly writes slash… but I have absolutely no problem with the no slash request. And I understood it in the spirit in which it was intended. (Maybe it’s because I was there. Yesterday) *shrug*

  84. This picture made me so happy, words almost cannot express it. I am not much of a writer, so I will impatiently wait for the book. I also would buy a poster, if one were made, of this incredible picture.

  85. … is there something wrong with me that I can only see the AWESOME in this picture, and don’t feel the slightest need for brain bleach?

    New desktop background!

    (Also, is Jeff Zugale going to put out shirts, mouse pads, mugs, etc? Pretty please let that be true!)

  86. I’m legally married to my same-sex spouse and I really, really don’t like slash fic.

    A request for no slash fan fic by the two heterosexual people involved is hardly homophobic, good gad!

    Love the kitten, Jeff. Such a gleefully carnivorous look on its face!

  87. I am so, so, so sorry that a vocal minority is attacking you for a perfectly valid ground rule in your fiction challenge.

    I really hope that, as one good friend already has, that this does not cause fanfic as a whole to be judged by the words of trolls. They happen everywhere, in every online community, and I’m sorry that they’re here too.

  88. BTW – I know hardly anything about either of you – writing a story would be basically casting you as actors, and have nothing to do with your real selves AFAIK. So, basically, two famous forty-somethings ending up in a fantasy battle situation. That OK?

  89. Can the fanfic be narrative verse. I’m a big fan of narrative verse (Homer, Dante, Milton, etc). Or must it be prose?

  90. Gary Willis, et al:

    Story can be any format, any style, any subject, save the previously discussed sexually explicit stuff. Basically, go nuts.

  91. I, too, would gladly give some shiny gold rocks for a poster, wallpaper, or temporary tattoo with this image on it.

  92. Jebus, I can’t believe how many people freak out because the author dared to use a certain punctuation mark, yet then went on to forbid a certain type of story.

    In the beginning “slash” referred to ANY story at all with two characters, pr0n or not. Some people still believe this to be true, some people will argue it’s not “real slash”.

    This is the first that I’ve heard that “slash” must be between characters of the same sex. When my friend was writing much Snape/Hermoine pr0n years ago, everyone referred to it as “slash”.

    My opinion? STFU and either respect the authors intent or don’t participate. Fuck.

  93. Goody griefey. That’s… that’s…

    Gosh. I’m torn between firing up a word-processor (spoiler: a terrible confusion between Coke Zero and Guinness, both being dark-coloured beverages, leads to a pint-spilling incident. Hijinks ensue) and pushing my own eyes out with my thumbs in the knowledge I will never see anything as beautiful again, should I live a thousand years.

    On balance, I think it’s the word-processor route. I’d never get that out of my fingernails. Especially with being freshly blinded and all.

  94. You know that thing about how every New Yorker cartoon can be successfully captioned “Christ, what an asshole”? I reckon it works here too.

  95. Is this picture representative of what it’s like to go insane? If so, I wonder why I’ve been fighting it all these years. :D

  96. Shirley, etc:

    I think we’ve just about exhausted the possibilities here of slash as a discussion topic. I think we should all move on.

  97. If I have nightmares this morning I’m blaming you – you and that picture. My conscious mind has no idea what’s happening in it, why you’re an orc or why Wil and the kitteh would threaten green-you like that, but I’m deeply worried my subconscious will clue me in.

    Sorry I couldn’t make it up I-10 this weekend. Husband John was working OT and I was ill. Next time! I’m glad you had fun!

  98. I might try this just for fun. How long is 2,000 words? Is that 10 pages double spaced?

  99. Why do I have a feeling that the winner will come down to picking between the only two non-slash entries?

  100. J:

    Heh. No, we’re getting a good range so far.

    Also on that score, updated the primary article to clarify what “slash” means in this situation.

  101. As I viewed this from your Memorial Day haunt of last year, so many things crossed my mind (including, “Do I really need to see this before I have my morning post-con-party coffee?” and “Do I really NEED any post-con-party morning coffee instead of tranquilizers after seeing THIS?”).

    Kitteh is horny.

    The scary clown can see me. It’s looking right at me.

    Focus on the target, Will…

    Most importantly, where’s the fishnet stockings? Didn’t Scalzi say something about fishnet stockings?

    OK, no explicit sex.

  102. I’ll have you know that in fact fishnet stockings were purchased for me for Comicon. However, that’s another story entirely.

  103. I’m not entering, but if I were, my opening sentence would be –

    “The first thing you should probably know about me is that I drop a LOT of acid.”

  104. My only “why” is this… Why is Wheaton not wearing pants or shoes? The rest of it I get, but why in the world is he only wearing the clown sweater and boxers?

    Addendum: Given that Wheaton’s in his underwear, how in the world can you justify banning slashfic? ;p

  105. In much the same way that by awarding Henry Kissinger the Nobel Peace Prize, the Nobel committee rendered political satire obsolete, this work has placed a cap and seal on Art itself. Art has accomplished the purpose for which humankind created it. Art, in other words, is *finished.* Done. All of you who are artists, I’m sorry, you will have to find something else to do.

    Our only condolence is that it turns out that Art is not the purpose for which God created the Universe, for otherwise, overhead, without any fuss, the stars would be going out.

  106. I’m catching a glimpse of some fine, fine abs on Wheaton.

    That said, he should be ashamed for attacking and invading what is obviously Scalzi’s home turf.

  107. Are you willing to bend a bit on the minimum word count? Mine’s coming in at a bit under 350, and I think any additions would just clutter it up.

  108. Wow – I’d always thought a slash (or slasher?) story was like the movies Friday the 13th, Halloween, or A Nightmare on Elm Street. Now I’m learning it’s something completely different!!! The things we learn at Whatever….

  109. Thanks John, Wil, Jeff, and SubPress. I know this has been in the works for a while, and I appreciate EVERYTHING more than you know.

    For those of you who don’t know (this would be most of you), I am Gretchen Schafer, wife of Bill Schafer (yes, of Subterranean Press fame), and I have SLE (lupus) to the extent that I am no longer able to work (and I’m not a writer, artist, or in any way talented or cool enough to be part of this world, except by marriage). The guys cooked this up behind my back (which is not easy to do – I’m pretty nosey) to support the Lupus Alliance, which I’m affiliated with. Please check out THEIR website (www.milupus.org) if you want to know more about the disease or the cause.

    Again, thanks guys, and thanks to EVERYONE who enters!

    gretchen schafer

  110. I adore Wil Wheaton, Patrick Rothfuss, and absurd art. Why must you make me like you too?

    Since losing the Hugo to you and enduring scathing comments about the cover of Zombie Raccoons and Killer Bunnies, I have stated ‘that bitch’ whenever your name comes up. (In good humor and with a smile of course as I have no ill will towards anyone.) Now that you are stumping for a good cause and with great humor I will stop calling you a bitch.

    Kerrie Hughes

    PS. Hey Wil, I saw that episode of Criminal Minds with you as the killer. Creepy. You make an excellent psychopath. :)

  111. Not to beat a dead horse,

    [Deleted because it’s beating a dead horse. But point taken, and updated — JS]

  112. Props to you and WIL for

    A. both having the geek chops to be willing to be featured in *this* painting :D

    for B. hiring an artist who was up to the task.

    Can I get this as a poster? Maybe we could see it painted on the side of a van for Comicon this year :D

    Kimberly Unger

  113. Yeah. I get it.
    He doesn’t like people on his lawn.
    That being said, he really shouldn’t be a dick like that!

  114. John,
    i dont even know what to say about that.
    but i’m left rather warm and squishy.
    possibly in several different ways.

    Much Love- Patch

  115. That is so effing awesomely cool, it almost makes up for the Most Evil Object in the Universe (don’t pretend you didn’t know that is “the velvet Wheaton”)

  116. Just a thought, fan fiction writers (of which I am one) DON”T get paid for their work. In fact we make it a point to mention when we post our work that we are doing it for fun and NEVER for profit. Maybe change it to a “short story” contest, rather than “fan fiction”.

    That being said, I have sent in my submission, I was very inspired by the awesome picture.

  117. Shirley:

    Hi, you’re unbelievably wrong. Slash began with the virgule mark – / – between K and S, for Kirk and Spock, and it meant specifically a homosexual relationship. It was used to differentiate those fanzines from the Star Trek fanzines that had never had a homosexual pairing in them. The definition of slash fiction, as homosexual relationship fiction, was created in the 1970s.

    Here’s Wikipedia’s entry on “slash” and “slash fiction” – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slash_fiction

    Here’s Fanlore’s entry on the history of “slash” and “slash fiction” – http://fanlore.org/wiki/Slash

    So *you* STFU. ‘kay?

    Also – Snape/Hermione *years* ago?

    AHAHAHAHA. Years ago. That’s rich. Get back to me when you invent a time machine and go back to the beginnings of television and film fanfiction, which started 40 years ago.

    Frankly, I’m not surprised that people in Harry Potter fandom called heterosexual pairings “slash,” and think they wrote fanfiction “years ago,” because Harry Potter fandom thought (and still thinks) it invented fandom and fanfiction.

  118. Aaaaand that’s all that I think we need to have re: discussion of slash. Actually, I started moderating these a message back, but this was a concrete (if snarky) bit of information correcting an earlier misapprehension, so I’m letting it through. But here on out the Mallet of Loving Correction is in play. Fair warning.

  119. for the first time in about nine years, I am moved to write fanfic again.

    you have been warned LOL

    Thank you for this chance. And the whole Lupus thing? Rocks my socks. Thank you.

  120. John, is there any chance you’d publish all of the works submitted somewhere in the net?

  121. Hi! I live in Buenos Aires (Argentina, South America, in the faaaaaaaaar far South).
    Can I participate anyway or is it only restricted to US residents?

  122. I don’t see why you can’t participate, although I would suspect shipping the books to you (if you were to win) would be a challenge. But we can worry about that later.

  123. It’s so… I just… How did…

    Oh gaaawwwwdd, every time I look at that image, my head feels like its going to explode.

    Maybe we could put the image “below the fold”, just you know, for the sake of the children?

  124. @59 I think I remember Wil saying he was left handed. John, are you also a lefty?

    (Thinking that this little detail could be important in the stories?)

  125. Geez, I hope all of this slash grumble doesn’t get the contest taken down. I’ve already half-written my story, and I want the priviledge of perhaps reading other stories as well.

  126. The short nature of Wil’s shorts and Scalzork’s skirt (or is it skort?) (manly though whatever-it-is be) is a tad disturbing. It likely explains the slashitude.

  127. I think it’s more of a tunic than a skirt.

    As for the slashitude, there are a few factors that could explain that, but I’d have to link to TV Tropes, and then everyone would be up all night opening tab after tab after tab and not writing their Scalzorc Meets Wil Wheaton and his Unicorn Pegasus Kitten stories.

  128. MJR — I thought it was a kilt. I hate you forever for mentioning TV whatever; I googled and didn’t escape for a half hour!

  129. As someone who has been living with Lupus for two years now–and who was hospitalized for three months as a result of that, and who is currently going through a rather nasty Lupus flare–I wholeheartedly support this contest, whether it involves Wheaton-on-Scalzi sex or not.

    Thanks, guys.

  130. htom: maybe it’s a kilt. All I know is that in my story I’m referring to it as “skimpy leather armour”.

  131. [deleted because as noted before we’re done discussing this subject in this thread — JS]

  132. i’m sorry, but john looks kind of shrekish, he should be darker as an orc… but this is a picture destined to haunt my dreams — waking and sleeping — and to tantalize that fanfic writer screaming to get out. must. get. to. computer….

  133. Ah, okay. This explains what happened to all the paintings which were once in Saddam Hussein’s palace. John bought `em, and now he’s putting them on his web site.

  134. @ #200 Steele Ha! I love that the Saddam Hussein Fantasy Pictures exist/existed? It just goes to show that even an evil homocidal megalomaniacal dictator can be a geek at heart. Or perhaps that at heart geeks are evil homocidal megalomaniacal dictators…Not sure which. Though I can say for certian that I have never murdered nor dictated. I confess, I have lusted for power and I might just be evil…

    @Scalzi Sorry about the errant post. I did not read far enough down to see the prohibition. Won’t happen again.

  135. ) I have two questions to ensure that I am not dis qualified.
    1. is there a buffer zone on the 2000 word limit? I am not looking for a reward based on anything beyond the first 2000 words, but I am somewhat of a verbose writer. currently my entry is 9.5 pages long hand written. I am cutting it down, but I don’t think I’m going to make 2000 words. so what is the absolute maximum that I have to cut down to?

    2. my entry is actually a short story that leads to an event epitomized by the picture. is this ok?
    Thank you for your time, and I hope to hear back from you soon.

  136. This will be the first story I’ve ever submitted to a contest or in any kind of professional context, so I’m just looking for some clarification. The story goes into the body of the email in plain text, bold text is indicated *like this* and italics are indicated _like this_, is that right?

    I wouldn’t like my entry to be junked for being unreadable because of bad formatting on my part, especially because I was too nervous to just ask the question in the place where other people probably know the answer.

  137. Daniel:

    That should be fine. Don’t worry about it too much, I’m not planning to hold formatting against anyone.


    2000 words is the max length. If you go a few words over, no big deal, but more than 5% over is going to be a problem.

  138. Just a question… When will we know the winners?
    More or less, don’t need an exact answer. Just want to know when should I start eating my fingernails.

  139. My mom turned me on to this contest as I’m pretty much a full-time writer and I’m SUPREMELY nervous about this but I can’t wait to see how I fair. I’m not sure I’m writing what you want, as it’s mostly Wil POV, but it’s worth a shot, right? The pic is fantastic and though I’m a big fan of slash (reading and writing) I’ve left the sex out entirely. One of the only things I’ve written without it, I hope it’s not to my detriment and you end up with just my story and a pile of slash to read through. ((chuckles nervously))

  140. I’ve had a crush on Wil Wheaton since Stand by Me. Seeing him in a midriff baring clown sweater and shorts riding a winged unikitten has cured me. My husband will be pleased. Thank you for releasing me.

  141. I just submitted my entry…and like an idiot, I got JEFF Zugale’s name wrong in the title.

    *head desk*

    I really, really, really shouldn’t try to do something like this in the throes of graduate school…..

    *throws self face-first into the Chicago Blackhawks’ skate sharpener*

  142. :D Thanks! You’re a scholar, a gentleman, and you draw a really, really disturbing unicorn pegasus kitten :)

  143. Ah, the poetic nonsense of it all. Thank you for the cool project for a good cause! And thanks Jeff for revealing John’s secret Orc fantasy.

  144. Did anybody else get an automated message saying that their submission had arrived too late, even though they submitted before noon on June 30th, and then cried themselves to sleep on their little pillows for the travesty of it all?

  145. The book is out now. I’ve been waiting for this day, and have posted my rejected tale on my web site with links back to the book – and, of course, a picture of the front cover. I know others have been posting rejected tales in various places, so hopefully this is our chance to help.

  146. I know I’m really late to the game here but I was overwhelmed with the need to thank you for doing this. My son is living with lupus and is currently on chemotherapy to try and stave off the damage being done to his organs by this awful disease. We’re so very grateful for the awareness you raised and the money you’re donating. We’re hoping that a cure can be found before it’s too late.

  147. Wow, I’m not quite sure how to take the fact that someone other than my best friend and I came up with the concept of a cat with wings and a horn. We have always called it the “unicorn cat,” but since so many people who’ve seen my drawings and Halloween costume from year have called it an “uni-cat” instead, I’ve given up and just call it the “uni-cat” instead. We first came up with the uni-cat when we were in 2nd grade, and would play games pretending we were uni-cats during recess. There used to be an “uni-dog,” but even to grade schoolers, a horn on a dog just doesn’t look right. Seeing this picture and knowing that it is part of a story, I am a bit concerned that I will be sued sometime in the near future for copyright infringement since some of my storylines have uni-cats in them and I must admit, being sued for an idea you thought up of as a 7 year old is a bit upsetting.

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