Special Relativity
Nerdcasts

NerdcastsIf you’ve looked at the IndieGoGo page for Special Relativity’s fundraising campaign (which you probably haven’t) you might have noticed that for a $50 donation you receive the mysterious perk of something called Nerdcasts. Whazzat?

Each full episode of Special Relativity will have an accompanying Nerdcast — a mini-episode, maybe three minutes long, expounding on the nerdiest part of that week’s show.For example, I  the first Nerdcast will feature Nox expanding on the science behind her technique for destroying the Universe. I won’t give it away right now so that you wiseguys don’t get any smart ideas, but I can tell you that it relies on an authentic outlying theory in inflationary physics which suggests that the Universe might not in fact be a true vacuum.

Nerdcasts will be within the continuity of Special Relativity but will capture moments not vital enough to make it into the main storyline. Someday they will be considered totally canon. I’m sure you’ll have hours of fun at home trying to guess at which points in the main episodes the Nerdcasts take place. Of course, you’ll only be able to have that fun if you donate $50 or more to the fundraising campaign. Nerdcasts will be delivered directly to that select group of funders and won’t be made otherwise available. I’ve thoroughly thought it through and decided there is no possibility that they could make it out to the rest of the world in some sort of unauthorized fashion.

Let me now do away with any subtext and tell you that the point of this whole Nerdcast thing is to make it clear that this is THE show for sci fi nerds. If every time you use your iPhone you realize you’re holding in your hand an actual Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, if your PC ever ran the distributed-computing SETI@Home screensaver, if you’re one of the thousands of exceptional people who gave serious consideration to my theory about how lightsabers work, Special Relativity is the show for you.

Click here to contribute now.

Here is Orson Welles’s “The War of the Worlds” and the Reasons Why You Should Listen to It

Orson Welles on the air with the Mercury TheatreAs today’s incentive to get you to donate to Special Relativity’s sprint to raise $125 a day for the next 20 18 days, I’m giving you a gift of my favorite radio show ever, which also happens to be one of the most important works of art of the 20th century. (I know that the way these pledge drives usually work is that I give you the gift after you donate, but we’re all family here, and if I had any business acumen I wouldn’t have driven six miles yesterday to save $1 on a box of Fruity Pebbles.)

The show isn’t comedy, but it is science fiction. It’s the Mercury Theatre’s adaptation of H.G. Wells’s The War of the Worlds, first broadcast on CBS Radio October 30, 1938, produced/directed by and starring Orson Welles. You can stream or download the entire hour-long broadcast after the jump, though you’re obligated to read through my explanation of why you should think it’s great. 1I should mention that the reason I’ve decided that it’s okay for me to distribute this recording is that the question of who, if anyone, owns the copyright to old broadcasts like this one is very unsettled. That’s partly because at this point nobody really gives a shit. And while the estate of the show’s writer Howard Koch unquestionably holds the rights to the script, those don’t extend to the actual broadcast. Lots of folks with no claim to the material at all make money by selling CDs and MP3s of the broadcast, so I figure I can give it to the world for free.

Listen to the show…

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1. I should mention that the reason I’ve decided that it’s okay for me to distribute this recording is that the question of who, if anyone, owns the copyright to old broadcasts like this one is very unsettled. That’s partly because at this point nobody really gives a shit. And while the estate of the show’s writer Howard Koch unquestionably holds the rights to the script, those don’t extend to the actual broadcast. Lots of folks with no claim to the material at all make money by selling CDs and MP3s of the broadcast, so I figure I can give it to the world for free.
Keep Score

While I’m figuring out while the next Special Relativity donation inducement will be, you can keep track of how we’re doing in our 20-day sprint using this little widget I created. It’s right over there:

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Special Relativity: The 20-Day Sprint Starts Now

The fundraising campaign for my sci-fi/comedy radio series Special Relativity is down to its last 20 days. I have just under three weeks to raise the minimum amount I need to produce the first three episodes, or I’ll have to do the right thing and return all the donations I’ve received so far and then cry until I puke. I’m pegging that minimum amount at $4000, half of my original target. So the sprint is on to reach that goal:

Special Relativity’s supporters need to donate $125 every day for the next 20 days.

To make that happen, I’m going into full pledge-drive mode. I don’t know what that means, though I have kidnapped Susan Stamberg. And over the next 20 days I’ll parade out all the special enticements and incentives I can think of to convince you to contribute. That starts right now. I’m about to let you do something that I normally would never, ever allow. You can read part of the script before the show is finished.

Click here to read a couple of early minutes from the first episode in which our hero Nox and her pet UCA (the Universe’s Cutest Animal) pay a visit to the prince of the planet of the pigeon people:

Click here to read an excerpt from Special Relativity

Click here for more about why you should donate…

Special Relativity Week 5: A Tale of Self Pity

A metaphorToday marks the end of the fifth week of fundraising for my radio series Special Relativity, and the time has come for honesty. Things aren’t looking good. The project’s received only three donations in the last two weeks. It’s now so off track that I’ll need to raise over $140 a day for the next seven weeks to meet the campaign’s $8000 goal.

Yesterday I was thinking about the whole thing, and I realized how easy it might be to misunderstand why I’ve undertaken this uphill boulder roll. I can imagine someone looking at me and thinking, “This guy’s a writer who can’t get someone to pay for his work, so he figures he’ll take the easy road and just beg people for cash.” One could, very understandably, interpret what I’m doing with the same disdain one directs toward an obviously able-bodied guy panhandling on the subway.

So I want to clarify here that asking people for money — especially asking my friends for money — is not something I want to be doing. It’s not easy. I don’t enjoy it. It’s difficult and humiliating. Imagine turning to folks who you respect and care about and who are successful and saying to them, “I haven’t been successful lately. Can you give me a handout, just out of faith that I’ll do something good with it?” It hurts.

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For Gawdsake Listen to This Great Radio Comedy

If you’re a supporter of my series Special Relativity, then you either enjoy radio comedy or are something of a sucker. I’ll assume it’s the former and thus you’ll like the best example of radio comedy I’ve heard in a long time: the first episode of Mike Henry’s new podcast, The Songs We Sing. It features blues legend Lester “Polecat” Brown and is positively — dare I say? — Frebergian.

You can listen to it right here in the player below. Then go subscribe to new episodes via Tumblr or iTunes. And if you like it, Mike would probably appreciate you telling him so.

Special Relativity: The Digestion Has Begun

A couple of weeks ago, I predicted that as people became absorbed by the holidays, fundraising for my radio series Special Relativity would dwindle to such a point that the project would fall into a deep pit in which it would slowly be digested over 1000 years. Dear reader, I spoke the truth. Gastric juices have already eaten a third of my seventh toe. The fourth week of fundraising ends today, and we are now a full 50% off track. By now I’d hoped to raise $2800, and we’re just shy of $1400.

I don’t like to resort to negative reinforcement, but I feel like I have no choice. I’m forcing you to look at this image, which will now be burned into your mind for eternity:

It's better if you don't ask

Please, if you’ve been meaning to support the project, do it today. All donations make a difference. You can get a Fundamental Force Manipulator or a shirt for your dog or even have your name officially declared the cutest in the Universe. And remember that if you’re unable to donate, simply sharing a link to Special Relativity’s IndieGoGo page helps immensely by increasing the project’s secret and enigmatic “GoGo factor,” which fell for the first time last week. Simply use these links to share the campaign by email, Twitter, Facebook, or your web site.

Many donors have said they gave not out of charity, obligation, or the crushing guilt I bestow on those who don’t, but simply because they want to hear the show. I’d like to give them that chance. Please donate now.