Category Archives: Books

The Day After and Other Stories – Kindle edition

My very short collection of very short stories, The Day After And Other Stories, is now in the Kindle store for $2.99 (prices slightly higher outside of the US. This is beyond my control.) It's DRM-free, because DRM makes me stabby.

Here's the description thing I wrote for it:

In The Day After and Other Stories, Author Wil Wheaton explores the tenuous bonds that hold us all together. Also, there's zombies.

The Day After – Tim is an angry and scared 18 year-old, trying to decide if surviving the zombie apocalypse is worth it.

Room 302 – Something is very wrong with this picture.

The Language Barrier – Sometimes it takes someone who doesn't speak your language to fully understand you.

Poor Places – Eddie used to be somebody, but now he's a guy who plays poker and takes a lot of pills.

You can grab your own copy in the Kindle store, and you can still get the pdf version at Lulu. Eventually, I'll make ePub versions for nook and other readers, but I'm going to take a break from the digital-edition-making business to get back into the writing-original-stuff business first.

For those of you keeping score at home (and not using AdBlock,) here are some spiffy links to my original works in the Kindle store:

  

Yay!

Sunken Treasure joins Hunter in the Kindle store.

Kindle readers! You can get your very own DRM-free copies of Sunken Treasure and Hunter directly from the Kindle store.

Sunken Treasure is $2.99, and Hunter is 99 cents.

You can get to Sunken Treasure and Hunter by clicking those links, or you can use these snazzy clicky-image-buying-the-book things (which you won't see if you're running AdBlock):

 

Neat!

From the Vault: see this place where stories all ring true

This morning, while driving around town, Anne and I heard Green Grass and High Tides on the radio. It was part of a set of songs with "green" in the title, on account of it being St. Patrick's Day. It's a stretch, but any excuse to play a great song on the radio — especially a song that's nearly 10 minutes long — is fine with me.

After a minute or two, I said, "it feels kind of weird to just listen to this song, and not feel worried about failing out of it before it's over."

"Is this that song from Rock Band?" She asked.

"Yeah."

"I totally remember you and Ryan playing it over and over a couple years ago."

"Well, it's –"

"and over and over"

"I know. It's a really great song," I said, "it's just so … evil … at the end."

We drove on and just listened to it, until there were about three minutes left in the song.

"This is where it gets brutal," I said. In my mind, I could see the bar on the left side of the screen turning yellow, then red. I kept my hands on the wheel and resisted the urge to reflexively activate Overdrive, which we will always call Star Power, no matter what music game we're playing (even DJ Hero, which doesn't make any sense at all.)

I realized that my heart was beating harder than it should have, and I felt flush.

"Oh my god," I said, "I'm getting stressed out! It's like I have Rock Band PTSD!"

"Nice," she said. "You want to slow down?"

"What?"

I looked at the speedometer and realized I was going … a little too fast for the street we were on. I took my foot off the gas and gently applied the brake.

"Whoops."

Speaking of Rock Band and Green Grass and High Tides, here's a story I originally wrote about it in 2008, which is included in the Chapbook I did for GenCon last year, called Games Matter.

Ryan goes back to school in just under 2 weeks, and I've been bugging him to play the Endless Setlist with me on Rock Band before he leaves.

If you're unfamiliar with Rock Band's multiplayer thing, the Endless Setlist is the last thing you unlock in the game when you're playing as a band. It is exactly what it sounds like: a concert featuring all 58 songs that come with the game. It takes about six hours to play if you don't take any extended breaks.

Today, Ryan and I tackled it on expert. He played guitar, and I played bass. It was awesome. We got five stars on pretty much everything for the first 20 or so songs, including three gold stars. I got the authentic strummer thing and 99% on about half of them.

We were seriously having a good time, striking the rock pose, putting our backs together while we jammed through epic songs, bonding through the power of rock.

Then, with five songs left to go, we got to Green Grass and High Tides.

For those of you unfamiliar with Rock Band, this is a fantastic southern rock song by the Outlaws. It's also one of the hardest in the game, and the longest, weighing in at around 10 minutes. It's a song that you don't play as much as survive, and it does its best to really beat you down. If a song could kick you in the junk, this would be it. If this song were a poker game, it would be Razz.

So, after already playing for 5 hours, (and not exactly conserving our energy) we started to play this rock epic, knowing it would be the greatest challenge we'd faced yet.

Our first time through, we failed at 84%. It was entirely my fault for holding my guitar too high and deploying our emergency overdrive when we didn't need it.

"Sorry about that," I said as we lost 360,000 fans. "I blame my guitar."

Ryan looked at me.

"Okay, I blame myself."

Ryan laughed and said it was no big deal. He was confident we'd get it on the next try, and when we started the song, I could see why. He was in the zone, nailing 97% of the first solo. I wanted to holler about how awesome he was, but I felt like it would have been the same as talking to my pitcher in the middle of a no-hitter, so I stayed quiet and did my best not to screw things up.

I screwed things up, and we failed the song at 96%. We lost another 360,000 fans, almost wiping out the million we'd picked up when we did the Southern Rock Marathon last week. Compared to the nearly 5 and a half hours we'd spent playing, that 18 minutes wasn't that long, but it sure felt demoralizing, especially because it was, again, entirely my fault we'd failed. See, there's this bass phrase that's repeated over and over and over, and if you're just a tiny bit off (like I was) you're screwed, and . . . well, you get the point.

I dropped my hands to my side and let the guitar hand around my neck. My arms were tired, my legs hurt, and my vision was getting blurry.

"I think I've identified the weak link in our band, and it's me," I said. "I'm really sorry."

"It's okay," Ryan said, "but I think I want to take a break."

"Good idea," I said. "Let's pause this, go out for something to eat, and come back later."

Ryan walked into his room and turned on his shower. I unplugged my guitar so we didn't have to worry about our dogs knocking it down and starting the game again while we were gone.

In my memory, the next few moments happen in slow motion:

  • I pick up Ryan's guitar, the wireless PS2 guitar from GHIII.
  • I hold down the button to get the control screen.
  • The dashboard comes up, and it gives me the option to cancel, turn off the controller, or turn off the system.
  • I click the strum bar to select "turn off the controller."
  • I set the guitar on the ground — carefully — and reach up to click the green fret button.
  • I hear the Xbox beep.
  • I push the button.
  • I realize that the beep was the strum bar clicking one more time when I set the guitar down, selecting "Shutdown the System."
  • The system shuts down, taking all of our progress with it.
  • Time resumes to normal. For the next 120 seconds, I use every curse word I know, until my throat is raw. It takes everything I have not to grab the guitar and get all Pete Townshend on it.

Ryan came out of his room.

"What happened?" He said.

I told him.

What happened next was astonishing to me: Ryan didn't freak out. He didn't get upset. Instead, he told me, "Calm down, Wil. It's just a game. We can do it again."

I was still really upset. It was an accident, yes, but it was my fault. In my head, I kept replaying all the different ways I could have powered down his guitar that were more careful. I really felt like an asshole, because I screwed up twice and caused us to fail both times. I felt like an asshole, because I screwed up and lost all the progress we'd made. Mostly, though, I felt like an asshole because I really wanted to accomplish this feat with my son. I really wanted to have that memory.

What I got, though, was better than what I'd hoped for. I got to see Ryan exhibit one of the key values I'd raised him with: he kept everything in perspective, and found all the good things in the experience, like the gold stars we scored, the fun we had playing all the other songs, and the time we spent together. He reminded me that it's not about winning, it's about playing the game.

If you've read my blog for any amount of time, I'm sure you can appreciate how great it felt to hear my words and my values come out of my son's mouth.

I don't write about my boys very often these days. Their friends read my blog, and they sometimes read my blog. They're not little kids any more and I feel like it's not cool to talk about everything we do together with the Internet . . .

. . . but in this case, I'm making an exception.

You can hear me read this story on Radio Free Burrito Episode 20, if you're into that sort of thing.

HUNTER is in the Kindle Store for 99 cents

Project Kindle Store Get Books In has begun:

I started with Hunter because it was already in .mobi format, and it's my most recent thing (it's still in pay-what-you-want-even-nothing format, incidentally.) Assuming the world doesn't implode around me, I'll get Sunken Treasure in the Kindle store next.

Also, while I did this, I made myself an Amazon Author's page. Neat!

here i dreamt i was an architect

My brain desperately wants to write some stories, so I've been digging through the pile of Ideas That Didn't Quite Make It to see if anything in there inspires me, or is at least worth dusting off and poking with a sharp stick. So far, two stories look promising, though one of them needs a fairly serious rewrite. I also have this Batman story that I really want to write, that I know is going to be extremely awesome, but I doubt would ever find life at DC. It refuses to let go of my creative forebrain, though, so I may end up writing … fan fiction. Ahem.

During my travels though the pile, I found ePub versions of a few of my works, and I used Calibre to convert them into DRM-free .mobi format. Everything seems to be okay in the conversion, so I put Hunter and Sunken Treasure into the Kindle Store for 99 cents and 2.99, respectively. It looks like they'll get through the system there by the end of the week. If they do well enough, I'll make it a priority to get Memories of the Future Volume 1 and Happiest Days converted and published there before I go back to Eureka next month.

I would very much like to be one of those people who are making mountains of money self-publishing through the Kindle store, but I'm not all that keen on learning about sparkly vampires and bullshit, so it may be more like molehills for me. Still, the idea of being able to reach a zillion people as easily as "go to the Kindle store" in their Kindle menu is pretty awesome.

A question before I dive back into the pile of Ideas That Didn't Quite Make It: The Complete Works DVDs I took to ECCC were snapped up pretty quickly, and I probably could have sold twice as many as I took with me. I had a lot of fun putting them together, making the little sleeves and putting the seals on them and all that stuff, so I was considering making some more and selling them online, right here. Are you interested in that? Leave a comment for me so I can get a sense of what, if any, demand there is for that sort of thing, okay?

If you got one of the DVDs, I'd love to hear what you thought about it, and if you are happy with your purchase, too.

My Emerald City Comicon schedule, and an ultra-limited merchandise thingy

Tomorrow, I head up to glorious Seattle for the Emerald City ComiCon. I'm doing the usual storytellings and autograph signings, though I have to leave on Saturday due to an unfortunately-timed family commitment. I'm hosting an Awesome Hour on Friday at 4pm, and I'll be on The Guild panel with Amy Okuda and Felicia Day on Saturday at noon, flattening out the OMG HOTNESS curve.

I've shipped up some copies of The Happiest Days of Our Lives (expanded edition), The Day After and Other Stories, Sunken Treasure, and Memories of the Future Volume One. I'll also bring along some 8x10s for people who want that sort of thing.

I always try to make a nifty Chapbook for cons, but the thing is, I've been working as an actor so much, I haven't had much time to be a writer, and there isn't anything new that is polished enough to release in Chapbook (or any other) form. HOWEVER, I've been kicking an idea around for a few months, and I thought I'd go ahead and give it a trial run at ECCC.

A bunch of my friends who are musicians release their entire catalogs on a USB drive (Paul and Storm, and Jonathan Coulton are two who you probably know), which lets people get a whole bunch of stuff on something that's small enough to fit in their pocket, and has the added bonus of being a nifty USB drive that can be used for TOTALLY DIFFERENT THINGS once the files are copied off of it. I know, right?! Isn't the future amazing?!

I have a bunch of work that's in multiple formats, including text, audio, and video, so I thought I'd collect as much of it as I could and offer my own USB drive thingy at cons, w00tstocks, and maybe as a big old honkin' zipfile at Lulu or something later this year.

I'm not sure anyone wants this sort of thing, though, so I haven't invested in the number of USB drives I'd need to purchase to make it cost-effective. I'm testing the waters at ECCC with an extremely limited number of DVDs containing something I'm calling The Complete Works of Me, Wil Wheaton (being an incomplete collection of the audio, video, and textual works of me, Wil Wheaton).

It's pretty much what it sounds like. Here's the README I created, which will make people who write and rely on actual README files twitch a little bit:

Congratulations, dear sir or madam! You are now in possession of a truly remarkable collection, guaranteed to restore even the most ill-humoured man, woman, or child to gaiety and mirth.

Included in this delightful volume are three separate collections. They are as follows:

Text: For the gentleman or lady who wishes to escape the hum drum modern world, we offer these portals to the past … and the future! These turgid tales of mirth and marauder can be read off an automatic teletype device, or given to a reputable printer for conversion to portable paper format.

Audio: Voices and music appear, as if drawn by magic from the aether itself, or perhaps from a more sinister locale beyond! A warning to the faint of heart or soft of spirit: some of these recordings are of a most uncouth and ribald nature! Let the listener beware!

Video: Pictures that appear to magically move, transporting the viewer to locations mundane and fantastical. 

The buyer is cautioned that these files are for personal use, and unless expressly and explicitly noted, are not to be reproduced for commercial or personal gain.

All files are copyright 2010-2011 Wil Wheaton. Some files are released under Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial-Share-Alike license. For more information, please visit creativecommons.org

There are three different directories, described thusly:

Audio

This directory contains the following:

Audiobooks:

Just A Geek

This is an audio performance of my first book Just A Geek. It is the super-bonus-holy-crap-is-it-really-nine-hours-long version because my friend David and I ended up including a lot of asides and what I called “audio footnotes”. You could think of it as the Director’s Extended Cut That Runs in Parallel With The Regular Cut, if you like.

The Happiest Days of Our Lives

I was so happy with Just A Geek, David and I got together again to do this one. It’s similar to Just A Geek, but David added in some nice interstitial music between each chapter. You know, for kids.

Podcasts:

Memories of the Futurecast Episodes 1-13

In the weeks leading up to the release of Memories of the Future Volume One, I started a promotional podcast. Each week, I read an excerpt from the book, and added some of my own comments. I’m especially proud of this podcast, and if you enjoy it, you’ll certainly enjoy Memories of the Future, which is in the text directory. All the shownotes and links are at http://memoriesofthefuturecast.com

Radio Free Burrito Episodes 0-4 and 9-31. 

Let me save you some searching: I never did an episode 2, and for some reason skipped straight to episode 3. I’m not sure exactly why, that’s just how we did things back in those days.

I left out Episodes 5-8 because the really, really suck. If you are determined to hear them, they are online. After Episode 9, though, the show starts to come together as I get comfortable and have more and more fun each time.

In addition to almost all the RFBs, I included Lakeside Shadow as a stand alone track, and Radio Free Burrito’s Mixtape (Volume One).

All files are .mp3, except for RFB episode 9, which is an enhanced podcast that apparently only plays on Apple devices. Sorry about that; I was young and foolish then (I feel old and foolish now). Just for shits and giggles, another short original tune I made, JazzyJazzJazz is also included. Don’t ever say I never gave you something for shits and giggles, kids.

All the shownotes and other neat-o things can be found at: http://radiofreeburrito.com

W00tstock from Los Angeles

This is an audience recording of the third w00tstock we did, at Largo. I think it’s hilarious and awesome, and I hope it inspires you to come see us to w00tstock in person whenever we come to a town near you. More information about w00tstock is at http://www.w00tstock.net

The Criminal Minds Production Diary

In July 2008, I worked on Criminal Minds, in episode 404, titled Paradise. I played serial killer and all around Very Bad Man Floyd Hansen. I keep a diary during production, which was printed in Sunken Treasure. I recorded it as a standalone audio thingy, with my usual asides and additional comments.

Video

Moments With Wil

One day I got it into my head that it would be amusing to make these little 30 second videos where I did something stupid, and then thanked the viewer for “spending this moment with me.” The problem was, they just didn’t work on their own, and I ended up showing the 15 I made to a few friends, before forgetting about them.

When we were putting together w00tstock, and the decision was made to include some short silly films, I knew that Moments With Wil had finally found a home. This is the first time all of them have been collected into one place and viewed by anyone who doesn’t also live in my house.

Stupid Cellphone Videos

While working on Eureka in 2010, I had one of those days where I was called in early, but ended up not working for almost seven hours. Sure, it was nice to earn a paycheck for sitting around and playing Plants Versus Zombies all day on my iPad, but I eventually got bored … and these stupid cellphone videos were born. It’s basically the Moments With Wil concept, without the fancy-smanchy titles and credits. As of this collection, there are 14 of them.

Text (which I wanted to call Text-eo, but didn't, because I'm apparently a chicken)

This directory contains nearly all of my writing, with the notable exception of Just A Geek and Dancing Barefoot, to which I sadly do not own the electronic rights. The Happiest Days of Our Lives is also absent, because a decent electronic version simply does not exist at the moment.

HOWEVER! What is here is pretty swell:

The directory HUNTER contains three different formats of my short tale Hunter (see how that works?), which is a short sci-fi story, set in a dark and desperate world. 

I have also included several chapbooks. They are:

Sunken Treasure – Wil Wheaton’s Hot Cocoa Box Sampler. 

This is just what it sounds like: a sample collection of all the different types of writing I do. I often suggest this book to people who are unfamiliar with my work, as it gives them a chance to find out if they’re going to like my work, and if they do, where they’d like to go next.

Games Matter

This is a collection of gaming-related essays and stories. It was prepared for GenCon in 2010. I’m really proud of this little book, and I plan to give it a wider release in 2011, with some additional material, including my two keynotes to PAX and PAX East.

Memories of The Future Volume One

Part memoir, part episode guide, part behind-the-scenes, all told from the perspective of a guy who is looking though his high school yearbook, facepalming and declaring “I can’t believe I thought that was cool.”

Volume One covers the first season of Star Trek: The Next Generation from Farpoint to Datalore. Volume Two, which goes from Angel One to The Neutral Zone will be released in 2011.

The Day After and Other Stories

A short collection of short fiction, originally released as a chapbook at PAX in 2009. In order to get over my fear of writing and publishing short (and eventually longer) fiction, I released it as a print book in December 2010 for just 10 days, then released it as an eBook in January 2011. It is presented here in PDF and pub formats.

140 – The Stupid Twitter Book

I had this idea to make a short, small book, like the little Tao and Zen books you see in card stores and car washes. It would contain 140 of my stupid little Twitter things that made me laugh. I spent the better part of a day putting it all together, and then realized that Lulu, where I do most of my self-publishing, was going to charge something like $60 per copy, because it was a full color printing process for some strange reason. I didn’t think it was worth $60 (or anything more than $5, really) so I shelved the project. It’s not the same to read it as an eBook, but it’s still funny, and I think it’s kind of cool. For the moment, you’re one of 11 people in the world to see it, which includes the 9 other people who bought this DVD at Emerald City Comic Con (assuming I sell all 10) and my wife.

I did some quick math, and figured out that if these things were to be bought separately, the Moneybags who collected them all would end up spending about $85. In light of this being an ultra-limited edition of just 10 — did I mention that? That's kind of important, so let me say it again: this is a signed, numbered edition of 10, in a spiffy little paper sleeve with a silly picture that I created entirely by myself at bighugelabs.com and sealed with actual sealing wax — I have decided to sell them for $100 each. I'm not sure if anyone will want to buy them (and if I have any left over, I'll sell them online, right here, to the first people who do want them), but I think it's a pretty neat collection that I had a whole lot of fun putting together. Hopefully, it will be successful enough to warrant investing in a hundred or so USB drives to carry around to my various convention and w00tstock gigs this year.

 

in a sea black with ink

The greatest reward I can receive as a writer is the knowledge that something I wrote affected someone who read it. Earlier today, a HUNTER reader e-mailed the following:

I'd like to make a request: Please don't make it so dark next time.

I know just how foolish it is to "make a request" about your writing — I'm not your muse, your boss, your editor or your conscience. I understand that the darkness is actually the reason for the actions of the characters in Hunter (i.e. it isn't gratuitous), and that without it, it would have been a completely different story. I understand that the degree of darkness in Hunter is nothing compared to some of the other mainstream fantasy/sci-fi fiction that's out there in bookstores.

I just don't like it. It makes me feel very sad when I read dark stories like that, and it makes me want to curl up and recover from it.

There's enough real evil in the real world; please don't add more fictional evil to it. 

HUNTER is just 2700 words, but it affected this reader so much, he/she/it wrote me this e-mail, and I've been walking on air all day because of it. HUNTER is set in a dark and desperate world, where good and evil is really a matter of perspective, and if readers left that world feeling really good, I either didn't hit the target I was aiming for, or I'm going to keep my distance from that reader if it's at all possible.

Every day, I struggle with the Voice of Self Doubt. When I get a note like this — that isn't condescending, demanding or unkind, but is sincere and thoughtful — I hold onto it, because it's worth +5 to my attacks (and grants 5d20 damage) against The Voice.

Mystery Reader who sent this: Thank you for reading, and thank you for writing. When I visit a world that isn't as dark as Goa, I hope you'll come along for the ride.

various items including: hunter, marketplace, batman, and a show with paul and storm

Various items that may be relevant to your interests begin … NOW!

* I talked to the Marketplace Tech Report recently, and our two interviews are now online.

I'm sure it will surprise you to learn that I'm a huge NPR geek, so getting to talk to John Moe for Marketplace (I did my side of the converstaion from KPCC) was pretty cool.

I am doing a show at Largo with Paul and Storm on Tuesday, March 29th! I'm going to perform stories with and without musical accompaniment, and Paul and Storm are going to play music. Then we'll sing about pirates for two hours. Los Angeles always asks me to do a show, and then nobody ever shows up when I do one here. Don't fucking let me down, Los Angeles; I'm getting tired of defending you to Chicago.

* I know I'm way late to the party on this, but I've been playing Batman: Arkham Asylum recently. It's sort of like being in control of an episode of the Batman animated series, but there are a couple of things that keep taking me out of the experience.

First, there is just way too much backtracking. I really hate it when games do this, because it feels like a cheap way to make a game appear longer than it is, and it's just boring. I already did the complicated zipline batclaw jumpglide across the poison gas room thing, guys. I don't need to do it again.

Second, It's incredibly fun to pretend that I'm Batman, but it's a little silly that I my progress is constantly thwarted by 5-foot high brick walls. And by a little, I mean goddamn fucking ridiculous. I AM THE GODDAMN BATMAN FOR FUCKS SAKE.

Still, those complaints aside, it's a lot (or alot, if you prefer) of fun. Beating up on bad guys requires timing and precision, so it doesn't turn into a button masher (you can try that, if you want, but you won't get very far). There are also two extra games that parallell the main storyline where you try to solve puzzles posed by The Riddler, and you try to find these tablets that reveal the history of Arkham Asylum.

Huh. I just sort of reviewed the game without meaning to. I guess I should grade it, then: B-

* I think it's really important that the story of HBGary, Bank of America, Wikileaks and The Chamber of Commerce doesn't die. This is serious ratfucking and is pretty much a perfect example of the war the ultra-rich and powerful are successfully waging against the middle class in America.

Digital: A Love Story is a computer mystery romance that is set "five minutes into the future in 1988". You read it by using an emulator that looks an awful lot like the Amiga, and it recreates the old BBS experience when 2400 baud was all the baud we needed. The story unfolds via messages. It's just amazing.

* A friend of Anne's makes and sells organic, eco-friendly clothing with positive messages. I really love it, and from time to time I remind the Internet about it, so people will check it out and tell their friends. It's called Capable Arts. Tell them Wil sent you. 

* Many people have asked how HUNTER is selling. Without getting into specifics, I'm delighted that so many people have chosen to give me donations for the story. Most are giving between 1 and 5 dollars, and close to one thousand readers have paid for the story. I stupidly set it up in a way that doesn't let me track individual downloads, so I have no idea what the ratio of downloads to customers is. The feedback has been overwhelmingly positive, and I'm inclined to revisit the world at least once in the future. I'm calling this a success, and I'll do pay-what-you-want again in the future. 

This goes on its own line because I want to make sure it gets seen: Thank you to everyone who read Hunter, left me feedback about it, paid something for it, and told friends and Internets about it. This wouldn't have been a success without you.

* Finally, Anne found a home for Velvet Wesley Crusher's Moustache:

IMAG0652

Terrifying Tales from The House of Secrets and The Witching Hour!

When I was in Vancouver for Eureka last year, I got to know downtown pretty well. I had a couple of pubs I loved, two grocery stores that took care of all my food needs, and more great restaurants than I could shake a hockey stick at. I also found a comic shop that was just a few blocks from my apartment, that became a frequent recipient of my per diem.

One day I wandered into the comic shop, and after pulling a few current books and some TPBs, I came across a display near the back where they were selling bags of older comics for a couple of bucks each. I absolutely love these old books, because they remind me of the comics I bought at the drugstore when I was a kid and read until their pages were falling apart. I grabbed a bag of DC Mystery comics, and raced back to my apartment as excitedly as I raced home from Sunland Discount Variety when I was in elementary school.

If I could legally scan the entirety of each issue, just so I could share how wonderful it is with the world, I would, but since that's pretty much frowned upon by, well, everyone, I pulled a few scans to give you a sense of what I loved reading when I was 8 years-old.

You can click all of these images to embiggen them at Flickr.

To 8 year-old me, stories like this were creepy and cool without being too gruesome or corny. To 38 year-old me, they were simply delightful.

Unexpected #205Johnny Peril 1 Johnny Peril 2

Johnny Peril 3 The Witching Hour Bruce the Barbarian

I think the absolute best part of these old comics, though, are the adverts. For many of us in Generation X, these things are as much a part of the comic book experience as the actual stories themselves.

One Page of Adverts Superman Sells Twinkees

This is on the back cover of the magazine. I present it without comment, even though I desperately want to say … things.

Before he killed people, OJ Simpson sold boots

I'd like to thank the people who created these comics for entertaining me 30 years ago as much as they do today. I'd also like to thank DC in advance for not suing me.

HUNTER is here.

Hunter is a short Sci-Fi story set in a dark and desperate world. It is just about 2500 words, which is about the length of a story you'd read in a magazine. I'm not really sure what the appropriate cost is, so I'm experimenting with the Pay What You Want model that seems to be working really well for a lot of artists I respect and admire.

If I sold Hunter to a magazine, I'd probably get around $125 or so (assuming I could get the SFWA professional rate of five cents a word. I figure that at least 125 people will want to read this, so if all of them donated a dollar, I'd feel really good about this, and I'd be able to do it again in the future. If you're interested (and I hope you are) you can download Hunter and pay what you want (even the low low price of NOTHING AT ALL) at Wil Wheaton Books dot Com.

A couple of FAQs:

Is this about the amazing 80s cop drama HUNTER starring Fred Dryer?

No, it's an original work of fiction set in a world I made up. 

Where could I find out more about HUNTER and Fred Dryer?

Oh, I bet Wikipedia will help you with the show and its star.

Don't you mean "it's"?

No, I don't. This rhyme from Strongbad has served me well: "If you want to be possessive, it's just I-T-S … if you want to use an apostrophe, it's I-T-APOSTROPHE-S!"

Can I use something other than PayPal to give you filthy money?

Not at the moment, no.

But PayPal is evil!

I know. Luckily, you can stick it to me and PayPal at the same time, if you want. Yay!

What about Google Checkout?

I'm working on it. Well slap my fanny, I figured out how to use it. Yes, you can use Google Checkout. The only thing is, I couldn't find an option that lets you set your price, so I set it at $2.00, which seems to be the average people are choosing to pay.

Can I download the artwork and use it for the cover?

Yes! I tried to embed the neat image Will Hindmarch designed into the files, but apparently I haven't unlocked that skill yet.

Are you going to expand this story?

Maybe. I know a lot about the world and other stuff that would be spoilery, because I've thought about it a lot, but I don't know if I'm ready to expand this particular story much more. I think I'll be revisiting [spoiler] at some point, though, because it's very intriguing to me.

So I've decided to pay for this. What do you suggest?

A billon dollars seems about right to me, but most people are choosing between 1 and 5 bucks.

Can I print out the PDF?

Yes.

I bought the [mobi | pdf | epub] but now I want [some other format] do I have to pay you again?

Of course not, but thank you for asking. You're a good guy or girl.

Can I give my copy to a friend?

Yes, but I'd prefer you link them to the Hunter page at Wil Wheaton Books dot Com where they can download their own copy. I hope that this will introduce new readers to my work, and if they're at my virtual bookshelf, maybe they'll check out my other work.

Are you doing an audio version?

I don't know. Maybe in the future.

Isn't Wall of Voodoo an amazing band?

Hell yes! I've been listening to The Index Masters pretty much non-stop for three days.

Will you put this in the Amazon or iBooks store?

Probably not. I'd like to keep it DRM-free and pay-what-you-want.

Okay, that just about covers it. If you like this, please tell your friends.