Star Trek: Renegades, a Tesla coloring book, and 8 more geeky crowdfunding projects that will make you open your wallet

Crowdfunding has moved beyond a niche thing to become pretty much the de facto way anyone not named J.J. Abrams kicks off a creative project (I exaggerate, of course -- I'm sure J.J.'s Kickstarter campaign will be starting any day now). There are literally dozens of projects out there soliciting fan money right now, some of them with budgets in the millions of dollars.

But it’s not just largesse that convinces donors to shell out their hard-earned income. There are rewards for people who back a project. One of the best rewards: bragging rights. After all, you were a fan of this [book/movie] even before it was made.

Here are 10 projects currently being crowdfunded that could be of interest to the readers of Blastr. Your mileage may vary, of course, but if you see something you like, why not crack open your wallet and be a part of making something cool come to life? 

Note: I confined this list to projects that have at least a two-week lag time, to give readers time to explore. 

Foam lightsabers that glow

With impressive sound and design, Force FX makes some of the best lightsabers you can buy, but if you thwack it hard enough, the blade becomes banded (as anyone who has ever done lightsaber combat can tell you). Plus, getting thwacked actually hurts. Calimacil has the solution to spontaneous acts of revenge/guardianship you didn’t know you needed: a glowing foam lightsaber.

Calimacil has created a lightsaber that you can use to beat your friends and family. Also, it has some fabulous sound design, so you get that full-on lightsaber experience without taking off the limb of a loved one. 

Interesting perk: For C$2500/US$1913, Calimacil will build a lightsaber hilt based on your design. 


A Place Among the Undead documentary

Juliet Landau, known to Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel fans as Drusilla, the mad vampire, has spent a lot of time in the company of vamp creators—including directors Joss Whedon and Tim Burton, authors Anne Rice and Charlaine Harris, and actors Robert Patrick, Willem Dafoe, and Gary Oldman. She wants to parlay these intriguing conversations about immortality, addiction, and obsession into a documentary. 

I will throw money at this documentary. Only...why does Landau speak in a British accent in this video description when she’s a Californian?

Interesting perk: For $150, in addition to lower-level bonuses, “Juliet leaves your outgoing voicemail message (As long as it’s in bloody good taste!).”


Star Trek: Renegades episodes 2 and 3

Star Trek: Renegades was a crowdfunded series released this August. Now, the people who brought you the slightly-less-than-Federation-legal team of misfits wants you to help further their mission to two more episodes.

According to the Star Trek: Renegades team, “These exciting next two episodes continue the Renegades storyline and introduce new heroes and well as new Renegades.” The next episodes will have appearances by Terry Farrell (Jadzia Dax), Robert Beltran (Chakotay) Cirroc Lofton (Jake Sisko), and Aron Eisenberg (Nog), all reprising their original Star Trek roles. Beam us up immediately.

Interesting perk: For $450, you will appear as a character in a Renegades novelization—and be killed off.


The Fountain War Book (from EVE Online)

EVE Online is an MMO that I can only describe as social Darwinism in space. On July 28, 2013, players proved that the strongest can and do survive when over 4,000 of them tried to blow each other out of the sky--an event so game-changing that it was reported on by the BBC. The Mittani Media wants fans to experience this battle on paper. 

The Mittani Media and EVE’s creators CCP Games has hired author Jeff Edwards to collect stories of players and retell them, as “sci fi non-fiction.” But since The Mittani (played by Alex Gianturco) was instrumental in the battle, it means that EVE Online is proving that history is written by the winner. 

Note: Although bringing the world of videogames into reality is a worthy feat, its $150,000 goal seems like overkill.

Interesting perk: For $100, Jeff Edwards, The Mittani, and The will follow you on Twitter for a year.


Aliens: Another Bug Hunt fan film

In Aliens, Private Hicks asked Sergeant Apone, “Is this a stand-up fight, sir, or another bug hunt?” The way he asked it, you could tell that Marines prefer fighting—which makes bug hunting an entertaining premise of this parody. You can help Ravensgate Studios gear up for their mission. 

With only $500, it doesn’t pretend to be any more than a not-for-profit fan film. But at least it will be better than Prometheus.

Interesting perk: For US$760/C$1000, Ravensgate Studios will send you their Alien costume. After production, of course.


Beyond Lovecraft graphic novel

Beyond Lovecraft is a post-apocalyptic tale of survivors struggling to set the world right. Sounds familiar? It might, until you realize the protagonists are surviving the rise of Cthulhu, the elder god straight outta Lovecraft. And to do this, they need to find help in the Library of Yith.

But that’s just the linking story. The graphic novel contains four standalone tales, which are being read by the survivors: One is a story of being gay in Innsmouth; another tells the tale of eco-warriors who uncover more than drilling secrets. In other words, it’s Cthulhu crossed with Scheherazade. 

Interesting perk: For $75 USD + Shipping, “artist Rob Moran will convert you into the Lovecraftian creature of your choice in a signed, exclusive personal portrait.”


Endure the Stars board game

The board game Endure the Stars is a sci-fi horror story that pits you and up to four other players against genetically engineered monsters of your own creation. Your “spaceship” is actually nine modular tiles that allow for a mix in gameplay, and character classes include psychic, engineer, medic, marine, and captain.

Unfortunately, the ship is failing, and event cards will laugh mightily at your carefully laid plans. And if your resolve falters a little too much, your character...goes mad. See? I told you it was a horror game. 

Interesting perk: The perks here aren’t interesting, darn it. But £54/US$82 will get you the game. 


Song of Horror videogame 

Pining for another Silent Hill or Resident Evil? Song of Horror is an old-school horror videogame that promises the same kind of chills. Song of Horror is a combat-free game, but it doesn’t mean that it won’t get your blood pumping. After all, there’s an evil Presence on the loose. 

You have 16 different characters from which to choose from at the beginning of each chapter, each with their own strengths and weaknesses, which gives the game a decent amount of replayability. And if your character dies, you have to restart the chapter with a different one, which ups the stakes, but not so high that you'll rage quit. 

Interesting perk: For E1,800/US$1986, Protocol Games will turn you—your image, your profession, your likes and dislikes—into a playable character.


Nikola Tesla coloring book

According to The Oatmeal, Nikola Tesla was the greatest geek who ever lived. Isn’t it about time this man had his own coloring book?

Coloring books for adults have been all the rage these days, used to relieve stress and help organize thoughts. This coloring book also provides information about the man, himself, as well as his greater (alternating current) and lesser-known (the remote freakin’ control) inventions. It’s not just a coloring book. It’s a coloring book filled with the awesome power of Tesla. 

Interesting perk: For $36, you’ll receive the coloring book and a set of twelve recycled colored pencils.


Ghostheads documentary

Star Trek, Star Wars, Back to the Future, My Little Pony, and even The Big Lebowski have a documentary dedicated to the property and the fans who love it. Isn’t it time Ghostbusters had a documentary about its thriving fandom? Producer Brendan Mertens thinks so.

Ghostheads promises to answer the question, “What makes Ghostbusters fandom different from other fandoms?” I hope the answer involves a willingness to discuss why Venkman would bring 300 cc’s of thorazine on a date.

Interesting perk: For $350, Ghostbusters will put in a two-hour appearance at your birthday party—if you’re in New Jersey or Western Kentucky.(I argue it would be worth holding a birthday in New Jersey for this).


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