Collaborate on HPMOR blurbs; earn chance to win three-volume physical HPMOR.

 

I intend to print at least one high-quality physical HPMOR and release the files. There are printable texts which are being improved and a set of covers (based on e.b.'s) are underway. I have, however, been unable to find any blurbs I'd be remotely happy with.

 

I'd like to attempt to harness the hivemind to fix that. As a lure, if your ideas contribute significantly to the final version or you assist with other tasks aimed at making this book awesome, I'll put a proportionate number of tickets with your number on into the proverbial hat.

 

I do not guarantee there will be a winner and I reserve the right to arbitrarily modify this any point. For example, it's possible this leads to a disappointingly small amount of valuable feedback, that some unforeseen problem will sink or indefinitely delay the project, or that I'll expand this and let people earn a small number of tickets by sharing so more people become aware this is a thing quickly.

 

With that over, let's get to the fun part.

 

A blurb is needed for each of the three books. Desired characteristics:

 

* Not too heavy on ingroup signaling or over the top rhetoric.

* Non-spoilerish

* Not taking itself awkwardly seriously.

* Amusing / funny / witty.

* Attractive to the same kinds of people the tvtropes page is.

* Showcases HPMOR with fun, engaging, prose.

 

Try to put yourself in the mind of someone awesome deciding whether to read it while writing, but let your brain generate bad ideas before trimming back.

 

I expect that for each we'll want 

* A shortish and awesome paragraph

* A short sentence tagline

* A quote or two from notable people

* Probably some other text? Get creative.

 

Please post blurb fragments or full blurbs here, one suggestion per top level comment. You are encouraged to remix each other's ideas, just add a credit line if you use it in a new top level comment. If you know which book your idea is for, please indicate with (B1) (B2) or (B3).

 

Other things that need doing, if you want to help in another way:

 

* The author's foreword from the physical copies of the first 17 chapters needs to be located or written up

* At least one links page for the end needs to be written up, possibly a second based on http://www.yudkowsky.net/other/fiction/

* Several changes need to be made to the text files, including merging in the final exam, adding appendices, and making the style of both consistent with the rest of the files. Contact me for current files and details if you want to claim this.

 

I wish to stay on topic and focused on creating these missing parts rather than going on a sidetrack to debate copyright. If you are an expert who genuinely has vital information about it, please message me or create a separate post about copyright rather than commenting here.

8

9 comments, sorted by Click to highlight new comments since: Today at 11:06 PM
New Comment

Possible quotes:

"It's a terrific series, subtle and dramatic and stimulating. Smart guy, good writer. Poses hugely terrific questions that I, too, had thought of... and a number that I hadn't. I wish all Potter fans would go here, and try on a bigger, bolder and more challenging tale."

  • David Brin

'This is a book whose title still makes me laugh and yet it may just turn out to be one of the greatest books ever written. The writing is shockingly good, the plotting is some of the best in all of literature, and the stories are simply pure genius. I fear this book may never get the accolades it deserves, because it's too hard to look past the silly name and publishing model, but I hope you, dear reader, are wiser than that! I must-read."

- Aaron Swartz 

"Oh Thoth Trismegistus, oh Ma'at, oh Ganesha, oh sweet lady Eris... I have not laughed so hard in years! Read it and laugh. Read it and learn. Eliezer re-invents Harry Potter as a skeptic genius who sets himself the task of figuring out just how all this 'magic' stuff works. Strongly recommended. And if you manage to learn about sources of cognitive sias like the Planning Fallacy and the Bystander Effect (among others) while your sides are hurting with laughter, so much the better."

  • Eric S. Raymond

"Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality is the sort of thing that would technically be called a fanfic, but is more appropriately named a work of sheer genius. It takes the basic Harry Potter story and asks 'what if, instead of a boy locked in a closet, he was a child genius raised by a loving pair of adoptive parents who brought science, reason, and modern thinking to the wizarding world?' LOVE. IT. Read it, seriously. It will change your way of looking at the world."

  • Rachel Aaron

Quibbling: the ESR blurb looks as if it dates from fairly early in the story, when it looked as if it might be all about how Harry did Science to the magical world, understood everything, and conquered -- excuse me, optimized -- the universe. Someone who decides to read the book because that sounds cool is likely to be surprised and perhaps disappointed at much of the later plot.

The blurb from Rachel Aaron has a similar but (I think) much less serious problem of the same kind: that what-if question turns out to be not quite the right one, although the author has taken some trouble to make it look for a while as if it is.

The books have different focuses, and will have different blurbs. The first book will have a Science! focused blurb since that's what it contains, and the later ones will have blurbs more appropriate to their content.

Edit: Added

The blurbs should fit the volume. A non-exhaustive list of possible things to emphasize:

  • First: science, rationality, agentyness, seeing the world through fresh eyes and strategic thinking.
  • Second: seeing the darkness in the world, heroism, caring, psychology, and rationality.
  • Third: maturing, realizing the stakes, making difficult moral choices, realizing you're not perfect but still trying, and rationality.

Aha. Yes, I think the ESR blurb would work well for the first volume.

I can't think of one, but there should be a blurb from the book that seems appropriate to apply out of context to the book.

"You're mine now, Harry thought at the walls of Diagon Alley, and all the shops and items, and all the shopkeepers and customers; and all the lands and people of wizarding Britain, and all the wider wizarding world; and the entire greater universe of which Muggle scientists understood so much less than they believed. I, Harry James Potter-Evans-Verres, do now claim this territory in the name of Science." chapter 6

"The terrifying part was how fast the whole thing had spiraled out of control." chapter 33

"Sometimes you call your brain and it doesn't answer." chapter 79

  1. Are you going to print it yourself or pay a printing company? Printing it yourself can be some work (binding all the pages and the cover) but maybe a printing company wouldn't want to print it due to licensing issues.
  2. Will you be using the HPMOR PDF? It was (probably) made to be identical to the style of the original HP books, but it's your choice if you want to keep it that way.

I'll try a printing company, and look into other options if it does not work.

A modified version of one of the fan PDFs, yes.

Speaking of HPMOR, I wondered about something.

Quirrell often smirks/makes faces to himself while talking to Harry. He's emotionally interacting with himself while talking to others. Does EY do anything of the kind?