Choose your character, PLUS a choose your own cover option!
Another update! We've blown past $65k and this is the best. You guys. YOU GUYS.
First off, at $60k we unlocked something special: a dust jacket for the hardcover! But not just any dust jacket: PLEASE. This is a CHOOSE YOUR OWN DUST JACKET, with a different cover printed on each side, so you can take the jacket off and reverse it depending on how badass you want to be. And you may want to be PRETTY BADASS when you see this amazing Ophelia option, with art by Ray Fawkes:
So awesome. Everyone getting the hardcover book will now ALSO get the reversible dust jacket too! If you want to up your pledge to hardcover level, just go to the project page and hit "Manage Pledge".
Plus since we hit $65k everyone gets ANOTHER new Dinosaur Comics ebook, as long as they're at any one of our tier levels. So we're now in "three books for the price of one" territory, which is insane, but I want to keep finding ways to thank you all for your support!
Finally! THE STORY: the final vote was 33 for "Choose your character" and 27 for "Read more acknowledgements", which is really close. 16 of you went against my will and voted for learning more about me, so thanks for that I guess.
Since I love you all, and since the "read more acknowledgements" leads directly into "choose your character", I've decided we'll do both! LET'S DO THIS. When we last left our heroes, we were still reading acknowledgements, and hungered for more:
Read more acknowledgements!
Gosh, well, I suppose if we're really doing this, then I'd also want to thank everyone involved in the series of events that led to me being here today, able to write and tell jokes for a living, which means I'm thanking... pretty much everyone I've ever interacted with? And I'm also thanking everyone THEY'VE ever interacted with, for helping to make them so awesome. And if I'm doing that, I should probably thank the people who influenced the people who interacted with the people who influenced me as well, right?
Thank you, a large percentage of the planet that I'm pretty sure reaches 100%!
But these people didn't just pop into existence fully-formed. My thanks take a step sideways and begin racing back in time, up past everyone's parents and grandparents and great-great-great-great grandparents, thanking them all as we go, further and further, grandparents getting hairier and hairier, until my thanks coalesce all the way back 200,000 years ago in East Africa with Mitochondrial Eve, the one woman from which every single human alive today descends.
Thank you, Mitochondrial Eve.
My thanks speed up, thanking faster and faster back in time, humanity devolving before our eyes. My thanks extend to the first human, pass through Australopithecus, and then on through great apes.
Thank you, great apes. Without you, none of us would be here.
But my thanks are still speeding up, tearing through the primates, then the treeshrews, then the placental mammals. We're 125,000,000 years in the past, thanking everyone we meet. We go back further, thanking the early vertebrates, watching them get smaller, simpler, until there's no animal life on land and you blink and it's 2,100,000,000 years ago and we’re thanking the very first cell with a nucleus, alone in the ocean.
Thank you, very first cell with a nucleus. You're a neat li'l guy. You started some really cool stuff.
We watch the cells around us get simpler, more primitive, and then they're gone. My thanks are rushing backwards almost impossibly quickly through this empty planet when suddenly we're watching the Earth itself break apart, diffusing into a tremendous cloud of dust and gas. Mixed in here are the beginnings of all the other planets in our solar system, plus all the material that would one day become our sun. We're 4,568,000,000 billion years ago and we are thanking a lifeless hunk of diffuse matter with all our heart. As we're doing that, it combines itself with a colossal molecular cloud, a stellar nursery from which a whole bunch of suns would eventually form, including our own.
Thank you, giant molecular cloud 65 million light-years wide. You were probably very pretty.
The universe around us is contracting, getting smaller and denser and hotter until we're in a universe only a few meters across and shrinking at an incredibly fast rate. 13 billion years in the past, we are thanking the entire universe, which right now is mostly superheated plasma with a colossally high energy density. We would hug all that is and ever would be, if we could. But we can't. So we say thanks instead!
Thank you, the universe as it existed a mere 10^-37 seconds after the Big Bang. If you really are sensitive to initial conditions then I hope nobody ever goes back in time to mess with you.
And then, at last and finally, my thanks race just a little past the origins of the Big Bang, give secret unknowable props all around, and careen back to the present where you're here reading this book.
Hey, thanks babe!!
I think we covered everyone. Now let's choose your character, okay?
Choose your character!
You have just been born! Congratulations, good work on that thing! Now SURPRISE, babies are boring, so we're going to jump ahead in time to a point where you're an adult and you've already lived out a bunch of your life, but I promise most of what we're skipping over was really dull. You ate a lot and slept a lot and made some friends, tears were shed, makeouts were totally had, etc. It's a bunch of high school stuff: the awesome stuff starts now!
So! Let’s begin, my friend!
Um... remind me again who you are?
- OPHELIA? She's an awesome lady in her late 20s, with a calm, competent, and resourceful demeanor. She’s got a +1 science stat, but she’s also got a -1 weakness against water, so heads up!
- HAMLET? He's an emo teen in his early 30s. Also, he's the prince of Denmark. Hamlet has a +1 resistance to magic, but there's no magic in this adventure, so this never gets mentioned again as of right... NOW.
- HAMLET SR? He's the King of Denmark, 45 years old. He's super good at fighting and leading men into battle and naps. He is an unstoppable machine of death, and should you choose to be him, you MAY experience kingly glory.
Vote for your choice of who to play as in the comments! THIS IS THE SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT CHOICE YOU WILL EVER MAKE
IN THIS BOOK I MEAN
ACTUALLY THAT'S NOT EVEN TRUE
CHOICE TOS: Play as Hamlet!
CHOICE TNG: Play as Ophelia!
CHOICE DS9: Play as King Hamlet, Sr.!