Friday, January 1, 2010
Sanderson, Gaiman, and a piece of iron that fell from the sky...

This is a Worldbuilders blog.

Those of you who have been following the fundraiser closely will know that I've been debating what to do with a few of the books that were donated.

Specifically, I've been wondering what to do with two very lovely, very collectible books given to us by Neil Gaiman and Brandon Sanderson.

After reading the hundred plus suggestions that were made on the blog and doing a lot of thinking, I've decided *not* to auction these books off. I'm going to enter them into the general lottery instead.

I'm not going to witter on about all the pros and cons I weighed to come up with this decision. Suffice to say that:

1. I think the books will be a nice draw for the lottery, and will help tempt people to donate a little more for a chance to win something so cool.

2. It's nice to have a couple super-rare prizes in the mix.

3. The lottery appeals to my egalitarian nature. Everyone has a chance to win.

That said, here are the two new additions to the lottery:

  • A first edition hardcover of The Gathering Storm, signed by Brandon Sanderson, Harriet Jordan, and many others.

Brandon was nice enough to take some time out from his crazed touring schedule to send us this copy of The Gathering Storm, signed by himself, Harriet Jordan (Robert Jordan's wife) and many of the people who made the book possible, including his agent and some of the production staff at Tor.

  • A signed, numbered ARC of Stardust. Hardcover in its own slipcase. Signed by Neil Gaiman.

This is a gorgeous book. I covet it to an almost ridiculous degree.

It's a numbered ARC of Stardust: number 28 of 250. Signed by Neil Gaiman.

Also, because I'm a bit of a geek, I'll donate a little extra something to go along with Gaiman's book. I happen to have a piece of the Gibeon meteorite laying around the house. It seems like an appropriate addition to this book, as it's an actual piece of iron that fell from the sky.

Here's a picture:

(Click to Embiggen)

I'm sorry it's not a very good picture. I can't find my camera, and I had trouble making Sarah's focus in on it properly. For reference, it's about an inch and a half on a side and weighs about 60 grams.

Gibeon meteorites are one of the rarer types, made almost entirely of nickel and iron. The top of the piece you see here is covered in a black coating called the fusion crust, caused by the surface of the meteorite getting really hot as it passes through the atmosphere.

You can see a better example of it in this picture:

(That's not my hand.)

The smooth faces where the meteorite has been cut show one of the cooler things about the Gibeon irons. There's a pattern embedded in the iron that looks like frost. And in some ways, it is like frost. Except frost shows up when water freezes, and these marks show up when iron and nickel slowly cool down over millions of years.

It's called a
Widmanstätten pattern. And it forms because the different alloys of nickel and iron cool at slightly different rates while the molten iron is in space. The effect can't be duplicated on earth, so it only shows up in iron-nickel meteorites.

Each different meteorite fall has a different mix of iron and nickel, so they each have a slightly different pattern. In my opinion, the Gibeon's is one of the coolest looking.

Here's a better picture if you want to see what it looks like:

That's not my hand either, and the photo is actually from a site called Arizona Skies. If you're curious to get more information about meteorites, or just look at some cool pictures, they're a good place to start.

Okay. Enough meteoriticist geekery. I need some dinner.

Remember folks, for every 10 dollars you donate to Heifer International, you get a chance to win these books and hundreds more like them. Plus there's the whole helping make the world a better place thing. That's nice too.

So why not head over to my page at Team Heifer and chip in.
Not only will you be automatically entered in the lottery to win these books and more. But I'm matching 50% of all donations made. Trust me. You'll feel great afterward.

If you want all the details about the Worldbuilders fundraiser, you can read all the details HERE.

Oh, and Happy New Years...


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posted by Pat at


Blogger Bombie said...

Oh gods that must've been hard for you! What momentous decisions! Those books are lovely.. To have a chance at them.. Wow.. Also, a mere 500 dollars short of the latest goal! We'll beat last year! Yay! We're helping people! Double yay!

January 1, 2010 4:11 AM  
Anonymous Zack Truel said...

A meteorite??? Awesome! That is an interesting but cool addition to the lottery. I will not even ask how you came upon it... lol

January 1, 2010 7:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can't believe there's an even better reason to have donated! wahoo! Thanks, Patrick!! Lara Robinson

January 1, 2010 8:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well I know I'll be adding some more to the lottery now. Thanks Pat and Happy New Year!

January 1, 2010 9:31 AM  
Anonymous Thaís said...

Hi! Very nice initiative!
Will be anyone around the world allowed to participate?

January 1, 2010 10:50 AM  
Blogger kai said...

lovely lottery. So...if I enter your page on heifer,, and I donate, Ill automaticly be in the lottery for the Gaiman-book?

January 1, 2010 10:52 AM  
Blogger Anthony said...

How to buy tickets for the Gaiman book lotery ?

January 1, 2010 12:08 PM  
Blogger Bombie said...

How to donate and join in the lottery is all explained and linked to quite nicely at the end of this very blog entry.

It starts with
"Remember folks, for every 10 dollars you donate to Heifer International, you get a chance to win these books and hundreds more like them. Plus there's the whole helping make the world a better place thing. That's nice too."
and gives links for the general Worldbuilders blog and the Worldbuilders Donation Page after that. It's not too hard to find.

Also, Go Worldbuilders! We beat last year!

January 1, 2010 12:37 PM  
Anonymous Zack Truel said...

Here is the link that tells you everything you need to know about joining the lottery:

January 1, 2010 1:18 PM  
Blogger SansMerci said...

I definately have to donate. My BF ordered a hardback of Stardust from amazon for Christmas, and to his dismay when it arrived it was in spanish. lol I kept it though I can't read it.

January 1, 2010 1:20 PM  
Blogger Amanda said...

If I had a choice on what I won, the Gaiman/meteorite combo would SO be it :)

Donating extra now.

January 1, 2010 3:04 PM  
Blogger jessi said...

I wrote a brief article about Brandon Sanderson's "Warbreaker" a couple of days ago. I've rec'd a number of private emails from fans (his, not mine). I'll be sure to sure to forward this link. Excellent cause.

January 1, 2010 5:42 PM  
OpenID alwaysoptimistc said...


As one of those on the last post who tried to seem fair-minded on this question (but was sooooo hoping that you would go with this option) then I'm quite joyous (despite the fact that the odds are very much against me).

The only further suggestion that I have is that I think that it would be a good idea to soon start mentioning the last donating day in each post, as it looks like we are fast-approaching the 15th. I'm an almost professional procrastinator (though I will make sure not to miss this donating deadline) and I'm sure that I'm not alone in finding focus with a reminder that it's time to hurry up and give. Just a suggestion.

Meanwhile, thanks again for an extra Happy New Year!!

January 1, 2010 7:07 PM  
Blogger Peta said...

I did suggest these books were auctioned but I am so incredibly thrilled that they are in the lottery draw. My fingers and toes crossed!

January 2, 2010 4:48 AM  
Blogger Juhan said...

Holy shit, Pat you know your astrophysics! I sooo hope we get some of that stuff in Books Two and Three... :P (and no, it wouldn't be boring, that stuff about iron and nickel cooling in space is all kinds of awesome) !!

January 2, 2010 5:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great cause and a great idea to hold the raffle, as if anyone needed more incentive to donate. I'm all for teaching people how to fish.

For folks looking for additional good causes, check out Greg Mortenson's Central Asia Institute that provides schools for children in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Pat, I'll be the millionth person to tell you that I loved your first book and I'm excited about reading the second one. Take all the time you need, just don't die before you finish the series! :-)

Thanks for all your good work.


January 2, 2010 5:58 PM  
Blogger cakieg said...

Being a poor student, i wasn't going to donate, but i was finally swayed to enter in the lottery when i read that the meteorite was up for grabs! (i have a passion for rocks you see...)

plus all those wonderful books :) this fundraiser is great, i love seeing how much people are donating! Excellent work Pat! :D

January 3, 2010 12:28 AM  
Anonymous Estela said...

Hey Patrick! My name is Estela and I am from Spain. I've just finished The name of the wind and I've loved it (not an original comment but it's the truth)

For quite some time now I was willing to read some fantasy novel (maybe the word fantasy it's not enough or not exactly the perfect word to describe your book but my english is not very good). So I went to my dissapointing tiny local library and I found nothing.

But I'm a lucky girl and a few weeks ago I read "Me llamo Kvothe. Quizá hayas oído hablar de mí." in a book magazine and I though "I haven't heard about you, but I'll love to"

Gracias por los buenos momentos! Thank you very very much

January 3, 2010 7:25 AM  
Blogger Pat said...

Estela: Was that the piece in el Pais?

January 3, 2010 2:49 PM  
Blogger CottonCandy said...

This post has been removed by the author.

January 3, 2010 7:57 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

This post has been removed by the author.

January 3, 2010 8:55 PM  
Anonymous Estela said...

No, I read it in a magazine of a company that sells books. My mom works for them and this christmas your book has been one of the top sellers (actually one week ago my room was full of copies of your book)

And now I've read the El Pais' article, is great XD.

January 4, 2010 9:19 AM  
Blogger D said...

Awwwwesome. As soon as my next paycheck comes in, I am buying another brace of chickens. Note the use of the word 'brace.' I have this lovely mental image of a pair of chickens in baskets hanging from a wooden yoke on the shoulders of a grinning nine-year-old.

January 4, 2010 12:06 PM  
Anonymous Larry W said...

When you put up the idea originally, I promised an extra $50 in the kitty as an incentive to show the lotto would still bring in reasonable money. I am a man of my word. Plus, Santa was good to me this year, so I'm sending it your way and have upped the amount to $100.

The rest of my deal still applies, too- I'll take myself out of the running for Stardust (much to the chagrin of my wife, of which this is her favorite book of all time) in the draw. Do me one favor. If fate decides to giggle at me and my name gets pulled for the Stardust ARC, let me know that much. My sense of irony would be well pleased.

You are still my hero. (actually, you still would have been either way)

January 4, 2010 12:15 PM  
Blogger Pat said...

Estela: That's nice to know. Hope my books didn't crowd you too much....

January 4, 2010 1:52 PM  
Anonymous Estela said...

Don't worry, a book invasion it's always a good one. Maybe the only good one XD

January 4, 2010 4:20 PM  
Anonymous Anya said...

I couldn't donate much, but I guess someone might be getting some ducks in the nearby future. :D

(Now to use the rest of my available money to hunt down an elusive copy of your book in portuguese - those things sold out everywhere I looked during christmas!)

January 5, 2010 1:45 PM  
Anonymous Keri B. said...

Great Googlie Mooglie, I need money to donate!

January 6, 2010 7:59 PM  

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