About this project
Help us make this book of hard-hitting skepticism cartoons a reality...
WHEN REASON HAS FAILED
Fighting irrationality, superstition and psuedo science is one of the most crucial yet underestimated tasks facing us today. Humour is a potent weapon, and when reason has failed, ridicule should step into the ring and deliver some serious blows. Yes to lots of well argued, articulate 'God Delusion' style titles, but let's not forget to just openly take the piss.
We're thrilled to have already attracted support and publicity from The Skeptic Magazine, Lawrence Krauss, Peter Tatchell, Robert Llewellyn, Chris French, Simon Singh, Jesus & Mo and The Richard Dawkins Foundation.
The arrogant pomposity of irrational beliefs makes them a bubble ripe for popping, which is the precise aim of this book...
Let's encourage critical thinking by laughing at it's enemies. Mockery has been a powerful political tool throughout history- as skeptics it's one we need to pick up and use.
DANGEROUS PRESSURE LEVELS
'thINK' will be a mix of vicious one-panel gags, including some I've already published elsewhere. (I've been fuming about these issues for a long time, and now it's built up to dangerous pressure levels that need releasing through this book.) There's also gonna be plenty of new material... including several longer cartoon 'short stories'... one of which is a 10 page epic tale of a disastrous lab rat experiment, in which the subjects acquire self awareness... and then existential angst... and then maniacal religious delusions...
It's still a script and character sketches at this stage, naturally... but I'm proud of the fact that it raises a little explored point- that if you gave any animal our level of brain development, they too would make the same mistakes that we've made.
BUFFED UP SKEPTICISM
I'm aiming for 56 pages minimum, and at a compact A5 pocket book size. As well as the collected cartoons themselves, it's peppered and buffed up with juicy skeptic quotes from the likes of Carl Sagan, Thomas Paine, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Richard Dawkins, Noam Chomsky, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Charles Darwin... and the likes of you, the subscribers! (See below- 'JOIN THE thINK TANK')
HOW TO MAKE ENEMIES AND INFLUENCE PEOPLE
Myself and the team working on this bid all feel really strongly that you'll be backing this project not for the promise of 'bribery-style' rewards (though the ones we are offering are pretty cool, and are designed to be actually used in the fight!) but because like us, you just feel it's the right thing to do, and that something like this needs to be out there, influencing and emboldening people.
We're longing to see the gift posters popping up on walls- thINK how good No3 will look in your toilet, while your guests are doing a No2...
Despite the (relative) ease with which I've managed to get my other fairly controversial / challenging titles in print, I've found no agent or publisher wants to touch this one.
Even in the process of getting quotes from printers for this bid, I've had companies who I've previously worked with say no, because they suddenly “don't want to offend anyone.”
So that, in a nutshell, is why we're here on kickstarter.
If you like what you see, then help us publicize this bid by sharing the page anywhere you can... facebook, twitter, blogs... we need your help not just to fund it, but to get the message out there.
Some cartoonists have even lost their lives standing up to the extreme wing of these rabid, deluded idiots. 'thINK' is dedicated to them, and is in solidarity with their memory.
As advocates of logic and science, we're all in this together, and this book, like the fight itself, is a team effort- between us and you. We're stronger when we stand together- and to hell with the publishers and agents who were too afraid, or too dull to back this. We've got the message - fund us, and help us obtain the amplification we need to share it.
What's more, we want you to get actively involved in the editorial process- see the 'JOIN THE thINK TANK' section below...
A GAP IN THE MARKET
To our surprise, no-one really seems to have done anything harsh and punchy like this yet. (Though see 'censorship..?' above for a possible explanation...) A quick image search along variations of 'skeptics / cartoons / conspiracy theory / book' etc doesn't turn up much material at all, or just really bland puns(xkcd being one of the rare, brilliant exception) though it does bring up a whole pile of climate change denial 'skeptical' cartoons!
Let's make available a hilarious, precisely targeted, compact and potent bomb of humour that'll be an ideal gift to give to family and friends, one that'll provide another public front in the fight against-
Delusional 'political' beliefs like the 9/11 'inside job' fantasy
Oil industry funded climate change denial.
Hence the 'multiple copies' offer- give them to people! Hand them over to any of your friends who are a bit prone to delusional thinking! Get them into 'toilet bookstacks' around the world! They'll even make great prizes for skeptics groups to give away in fundraisers, etc...
It's a fairly modest and realistic target we've set, purely to just make this happen as easily as possible, but naturally our fingers are crossed for a robust oversubscription.
JOIN THE thINK TANK...
We want our backers to have the chance to get genuinely involved...
ADD YOUR QUOTE
Fancy seeing your quote in thINK, alongside the likes of Christopher Hitchens, Gypsy Rose Lee, Carl Sagan and Ayaan Hirsi Ali..?
We're reserving 3 of the quotation spaces in the book for our supporters. Once we're funded, anyone who backed us will be able to submit their entry, and also vote for which of these should be included. Details to follow...
We'd also be extremely pleased to hear any quotes by influential figures you feel we should include in the pages... in particular from women or non Western figures, who at the moment are quite badly under-represented in our cache of candidates.
FILL OUR FLOWCHART POSTER
One of the pieces in thINK we're most excited about will be our spoof 'truther' flowchart 'HOW TO 100% TOTALLY OWN A SKEPTIC- HANDY TRUTH WARRIOR DEBATING TIPS', which we'll be including as an A3 poster with every copy of the book we send out. (And as a PDF to those bidding the 'starter' amount.)
We've all had the nauseating online experience of dealing with the bizzare, infuriating and devious tactics that 'true believers' of any given batshit theory always seem to use. It's as if they're all reading from a single manual they've been issued- it's like they're clones of each other- with a cult-like, shared personality.
This is your chance for some sweet, sweet revenge. Send us the worst, most typical responses you've experienced, and we'll add the best / most infuriatingly familiar ones to the chart. Start saving them up, and feel free to share them in the comments section here...
"OPEN YOUR EYES!"
"Go back to watching CNN!"
"You're just another one of the brainwashed sheeple."
"Illuminati troll shillbot. ROFLMAO"
And so on... >sigh<
Anyone who funds the book gets to join in with the revengefest! Again, details to follow...
Whenever we're unsure about a new cartoon (we already have a huge pile of ideas) or a choice between a few variations on the same theme, we'll want to hear what you thINK. We'll post rough sketches to get your online feedback, and hopefully tweak them in the right direction.
MONEY, MONEY, MONEY...
(There'll be no extra shipping or delivery costs added to the pledge amount, for either books or gifts, regardless of location.)
Crucially, the (fixed) artist's fee funding will allow me to turn down other paid work during the months it'll take to get everything drawn and print ready.
If we get oversubscribed, then any excess funds will be donated to The Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science to help them commemorate the 90th Anniversary of The Scopes Trial. They'll be providing financial assistance to high schools to perform Jerome Lawrence and Robert Edwin Lee's groundbreaking play about the struggle between evolution and creationism- 'Inherit The Wind'.
Subjects the book will cover, which aren't yet included here, even as roughs-
Homeopathy / Alternative medicine
The anti vaccination movement (I'm suppressing anger here.)
Creationism (People seem to forget this is actually a conspiracy theory- and a disturbingly popular one!)
The moon hoax 'theory'
Ghosts and spiritualism
Crop circles / UFO's / aliens / ancient astronauts
In the months leading up to this launch I've watched the online revival of the semi-religious Flat Earth conspiracy theory with a mixture of appalled hilarity, anger and restlessness. How have we got to the stage where flat Earthism is making a return?!
If ever there was a need for a book like this, it's now.
And finally, if you'll forgive me for dropping the 'must look professional' front- “WOW, I SO, SO, SO JUST WANT TO DO THIS! FUND ME! LET ME AT THE BASTARDS!”
Risks and challenges
Happily, Eva, the talented artist who's painting the cover for thINK, has a sharp brain and a degree in business management, so she's been number crunching spreadsheets for weeks to make sure this thing will work financially. (See the budget pie chart above.)
Calculating a budget which ensures that all of our funders of £10 and over get an actual printed book (bids below £10 will still get a PDF) AND that I'll get paid a viable amount for my work (I have bills to pay and will need to turn down other jobs to complete this) has been a lively juggling act.
After years of doing this professionally, I'm well up to speed on the technical requirements of delivering a book to a printer, and know the potential pitfalls like the back of my hand. It's also important for a project like this not to be naïve about the complexity and cost of actually delivering the final product to a worldwide audience, and this has been very carefully built into our costings and schedule. (It'd be easy to end up with a big pile of beautiful finished books in boxes, and no money left over to actually ship them!)
The budget also allows for some funds to go to a worthwhile cause if we're heavily oversubscribed, and as mentioned above, we've chosen the excellent Richard Dawkins Foundation for this.
Once we're out there, the very least I can expect is an onslaught of cyber-abuse from people who find thINK threatening and/or ‘offensive’. While this can be tedious and time consuming (particularly if I choose to get involved in internet fire-fighting) I’m well practiced in the art of intellectual combat, and I'm kind of looking forward to the entertainment. (It actually started today! See the fruity 'review' I've included in the bio / about me section- it's a classic.)Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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