Announcing Clash of the Geeks, a Chapbook from Wil Wheaton, John Scalzi and Subterranean Press, to Benefit the Lupus Alliance of America

Unspeakably Awesome Art: Jeff Zugale

Yes, folks: It Is Here. Directly below you’ll find the short form of the announcement, which includes where to get it and how to help us fight the battle against lupus. After the short form, I’ll have some thoughts for you.


Wil Wheaton, John Scalzi and Subterranean Press are proud to announce the publication of CLASH OF THE GEEKS, a special and fantastical electronic chapbook. It features stories by Wheaton, Scalzi, New York Times bestseller Patrick Rothfuss, Norton Award winner and Hugo Best Novel nominee Catherynne M. Valente, Hugo and Nebula Award nominee Rachel Swirsky, and others, and is for the benefit of the Michigan/Indiana affiliate of the Lupus Alliance of America.

The chapbook is available in multiple DRM-free electronic formats at It is free to download, but voluntary payment is strongly encouraged, via Paypal or by tax-deductible donation, with links to both provided at the Web site. All proceeds from this chapbook will go to the Michigan/Indiana affiliate of the Lupus Alliance of America.


Holy crap, is this a great little chapbook.

I’m not just saying that. Look, like probably the rest of you, I figured that when the stories for this thing came in, they would be cute and silly, and that we’d all just bask in the glow of doing something useful, namely, raising money to help folks afflicted with lupus. But then the stories did come in, and, well, damn, y’all:

We’ve got an actual epic poem by Patrick Rothfuss. We’ve got a one act play by online gaming community legend Stephen Toulouse. We’ve got Wil having a ball playing with his own image (and mine). We’ve got a song, complete with notation, from John Anealio (listen to it here). We’ve got Cat Valente hitting one completely over the wall with her awesome. We’ve got a surprise special guest appearance by Rachel Swirsky, who submitted to the fanfic contest, and who I took out of contention because that’s just not fair for the other kids. And speaking of the fanfic contest, Bernadette Durbin and Scott Mattes’ pieces are going to just knock  you out. Oh, and yeah, I put a little something in there, too.

Seriously, people. This is great stuff. And the fact it is great stuff about the most ridiculous picture that has ever existed in the world just makes it that much more amazing. I really couldn’t wait to show it to you all. And now I don’t have to wait. Here it is. Go get it, and enjoy it, and have as much fun with it as we have, and tell all your friends about it as well.

No, really: TELL ALL YOUR FRIENDS ABOUT IT. We really really really want you to. We want as many people as possible to see it, because we’re proud as hell of these stories, and because we’re trying to do something good here for other people.

Which is the other thing.

You’ll notice that we’re offering Clash of the Geeks as a free download. You don’t have to pay for it, or make a donation to fight against lupus. And if you don’t, that’s fine. But if you can — if you’ve got the suggested minimum payment of $5 to spare — we would really like it if you did. All of the money that comes to us for this is going back out the door again, into the coffers of the Michigan/Indiana affiliate of the Lupus Alliance of America. We paid our writers and our artist, but we did that out of our own pockets. Wil, Subterranean Press and I aren’t seeing a cent from this. That’s not what this is about.

We did this thing because we thought it would be fun and because we thought you would have fun reading these stories. But we also did it because people we know and love and care about are afflicted with lupus. Lupus, if you don’t know, is not an easy disease to live with: it attacks your immune system and does all sorts of damage, and those who live with it genuinely do struggle. We’re doing this for fun, but we’re also doing this to help those people living with lupus, some of whom are family. It’s a personal thing.

Which is why, again: If you can pay, we hope you will pay. Our $5 suggested payment is not a lot for you, especially when you consider the sheer amount of awesome this chapbook contains. But if each of you chip in (and tell your friends about it, and they chip in, too), those $5 payments will add up pretty quickly. And then we’ll be doing some real good, as well having fun. We’ve made it to easy to pay through PayPal, but for those of you who would enjoy a tax deduction, we’ve also set up a way for you to get one of those as well. In both cases, just go over to the site and we’ll get you all set up.

And now I’ve blathered on long enough. Go and get this thing, and enjoy it. I know I did. I know you will, too.

48 Comments on “Announcing Clash of the Geeks, a Chapbook from Wil Wheaton, John Scalzi and Subterranean Press, to Benefit the Lupus Alliance of America”

  1. Done!

    I did PayPal, but there was no “return to vendor, riding in triumph having donated” link or button, so I just reentered and downloaded.

    You guys rock!

  2. Got in late from work and decided to check a couple of favorite sites before turning in. When I saw the post I had to share the awesome with my wife. She insists that unicorn pegasus kittens don’t have leathery dragon wings; apparently they have broad feathery wings “like an archeopteryx”. She refuses to reveal how she knows this but insisted quite firmly, so I promised to Notify the Appropriate Authority. So, here.

    Now off to download, donate, etc.

  3. rsfinn: your wife is partially correct; the UPK does not have leathery dragon wings. However, rather than the primitive Archaeopteryx wing, the UPK has a modified modern raptor wing, similar in most ways to an eagle’s, but with owl-like features like a greater wing area (in proportion to body mass) and softer, longer interior trailing secondaries that allow a much slower stall speed, giving far greater control in low-speed and ground-effect flight. Rate of climb is also superior. These features make the UPK an ideal air-to-ground melee fighting platform, while retaining very good air-to-air maneuverability but sacrificing top speed in both dive and level flight.

    No, I’m not kidding, I did some research on the wings before I drew them!

    Meanwhile, I also urge everyone who downloads to donate at least the minimum. My good friend Jenzie has lupus and it’s really rough on her and everyone else who has it. She’s tough as nails and maintains a stiff upper lip, but we’d all rather this burden was lifted from her. I hope you’ll all help! Thanks in advance.

  4. Some call me Tim:

    There is likely to be a very limited printed run in the future, but we’re still working out the details. I will of course let everyone know when/if that happens.

  5. 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.

  6. Downloaded and donated. Thanks!

    Any chance you can get John Anealio to put an mp3 of him performing his song up on that site? I don’t read music, so the effect of his contribution is rather lost on me. I would gladly donate another five if he did. :)

  7. I’ll just copy and paste what I had to say on Wil’s blog here but change a few things because I’m a tad overwhelmed at the moment.


    All I can say is thank you from the bottom of my soul for doing this. On behalf of Lupus warriors every where, I cannot say how much this really means. The past little while has been extremely difficult for me… and that is really all I can say about that before I fall apart for the millionth time today.

    I will be sure to spread this awesomenicity all over the place.

    You and Wil are too awesome for words.

    Thank you, thank you, thank you.

  8. “Rachel Swirsky, who submitted to the fanfic contest, and who I took out of contention because that’s just not fair for the other kids.”

    I hope I didn’t upset anyone! I had to enter when I realized that writing a story about this painting would be fulfilling the dreams of the quivery, beating heart of my inner eleven year old TNG fan.

    Of course I’m thrilled to be in the book either way; I just hope my entry didn’t come across as gauche. May much money for Lupus be raised!

  9. Donated and downloaded. Couldn’t sleep and this is way better than playing online games. Now… read about Scalzorc or try to sleep…?

  10. Oh my sweet Chtulhu, that Patrick Rothfuss poem is wonderful. Worth donating for that alone, with all the rest as a bonus.

  11. It just dawned on me–what are Wil’s reins attached to? I see no signs of a bit in the UPK’s mouth…not that a cat would take one….

    this is super awesome of you and Wil and all the contributors. I don’t suffer from lupus, but am a victim of another “invisible” disease, and every time any of them are acknowledged as real illnesses and people work to help people with them, its fantastic

  12. Done, and thank you.

    I second Geoffrey Kidd @#2 about having PayPal link back to the UPK main page, I was confused for a moment about when I wound up on the Subterranean Press main page.

    Can’t wait to sit and read!

  13. Paid for it, downloaded it, read it, and yes without question the two fanfic stories that won were better than mine. And no surprise at all that John’s made me laugh so hard my ribs hurt. Now off to spread the word.

  14. I must download this now. No, I have to wait. I’m at work and I actually want to get something done today. Is it 5:00 yet? No? Come on clock, hurry up!

  15. One of us has 1.6 million Twitter followers and has been seen by an entire generation of geeks on the television, and the other has not. So, yes, Wil gets top billing, and I’m delighted to let him have it.

  16. “…I’m delighted to let him have it.”

    Well said, John. There are advantages to being the power behind the throne – like having the throne between you and potential assassins. Not to mention having Wil out there to distract them.

    But whatever the pecking order, you, Wil, Jeff, and the people who contributed time, words, and cash all rock with a capital RAWK.

  17. Mel @14: It’s a little hard to see at the size posted here, but there is a harness on the UPK. You can sort of see it on the neck area just below the chin, but at this size you can’t see the ornate scrollwork on the brass fittings, nor appreciate the oh yes, fine Corinthian leather straps.

  18. Donated and downloaded and I have to second that Rothfuss’ poem alone is worth the donation. I can’t wait until this evening to finish it and revise that sentence with others. :)

  19. The interesting thing is that I thought an epic poem would be just perfect for that picture, and I’m very pleased that Patrick Rothfuss took it on. He did a most excellent job of it.

  20. Printed my own chapbook at work. Using acrobat and “booklet printing” mode. Even has a colour cover.

    Donated $25. Too bad a tax receipt would be useless for this Canadian :)

    Good luck in the fund raising. I’m sure it’s been said, but an update with a total raised in a week would be kinda interesting.

  21. Reading through the chapbook now. That epic poem was *outstanding*, and really neat. I also got a laugh out of “can not has!”. Haven’t gotten any further yet.

  22. SO I got this in the wee hours of the AM, read a few stories and… look, people just go get this. It’s awesome so far (I’ve only read Scott’s story, Wil’s story and the epic poem by that madman Rothfuss) and if it’s that good after 3 stories… why are you still here? Go download and DONATE!

  23. Scalzi, can I ask how you wound up choosing Lupus as your disease to help fund the fight against?

    I am not complaining at all. I was diagnosed with Lupus two years ago, and have had kind of a rough time with it (hospitalized for three months at one point, and I’ve been having a debilitating flare since May. In fact, I’m writing this while being home from work because of the disease again). It’s just that Lupus isn’t a very high profile disease, and it’s got kind of a funny name that has it used for jokes more than anything else, like Warren Ellis’s use of it a couple of months ago.

    So how’d that happen?

    Thanks, by the way.

  24. Glad to see the final product and I will download it once I get home. When I decided we should bring John out to Phoenix ComiCon and get him together with Wil, I figured it would be a fun panel. I did not expect (or even know until John showed us the art) that something really special was in the works. I’m glad I got to help out with the unveiling of the art and the announcement of the whole project. Now off to get the word appropriately spread (or at least via venues I can access from work on my lunch break…).

  25. Done and done! Man, I see my procrastination did eventually pay off as Patrick’s poem definitely outdoes anything I could’ve written! Epic poetry was the first thing I thought of when you announced the contest.

    Promise to distribute links on FB later too, so friends far and wide will see!

  26. (Originally posted on Wil’s blog)

    Donated, downloaded and tweeted. I’ll be enjoying this later. This is Geek Power at its finest!

    Now, I hope this doesn’t annoy or irritate or make anyone think I’m a dick, but…

    I entered the fan-fic competition back in June and didn’t win. So, while I didn’t end up in the book, at least I can now do this to further help out the Lupus Alliance of America:

    For every critique I get on my writing blog, up to a maximum of 50, I’ll donate another dollar to the LAA (that’s not just critiquing “In The Playground Of The Fire Kings”, but any of my published writing). The final amount will be rounded up to the nearest $5. There’s no time limit, apart from how long and the PayPal link are available for.

    Thanks for your time!

  27. HELP!

    I donated and then dowloaded in PDF format.

    -I then sent the pdf to my Kindle email so it would be sent to my Kindle.

    It came through, but in so tiny a font that I cannot read it – and I can’t change font sizes in the normal Kindle way.

    I’m not tech savvy in the least – can’t even figure out how to send files from my pc direct to kindle, hence the messing about above.

    Can anyone advise me?

    Did I download the wrong format?



  28. Thanks John, but no go – just a bunch of code on my screen – my office computer is still running XP if that’s relevant.

    Any other thoughts?

  29. Terrible feeling I’m doing something wrong here, but the PayPal link at just takes me to the main PayPal home page.

    Anybody else have this problem?

  30. JVA: Do you have cookies disabled in your browser, perhaps? When I clicked the “Buy Now” button I got a page asking for PayPal login credentials, and that said Subterranean Press at the top.

  31. Dave H: Made a browser change from Firefox to Safari. Worked like a charm; must have been some kind of embedded redirect that FireFox didn’t like.

  32. I must say, I have never read anything like Wil’s story. It’s worth the donation all by itself. I have never seen so many in-jokes in such a small number of words. Thank you Mr. Wheaton.

  33. @mel #14: The reins Wheaton is holding in his left hand appear to go around the kittens neck. Rather than real reins, it appears to be a sort of leash.

    I’m concerned that Wheaton’s story has Izalc removing a saddle from the UPK, but none is visible in the painting.

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