Jimmy Maheris creating chronicles of worldly wonders
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Help me tell some of the greatest stories of human history! Pledge whatever seems reasonable and whatever you can afford. You'll get access to e-books of each completed series -- the exact same ones that are for sale on Amazon.com.
About Jimmy Maher
“We are raised to honor all the wrong explorers and discoverers -- thieves planting flags, murderers carrying crosses. Let us at last praise the colonizers of dreams.”
-- Peter S. BeagleI want to write about the wonders of the world, from the inscrutable Pyramids of Giza to the genius of William Shakespeare to the grand adventure that was the Apollo program. I want to tell these stories at the length they deserve, as multi-chapter online "books." This has been a dream of mine for a long time now, but it's about more than just personal ambition. We're living in troubled and unusually cynical times, and can use a reminder of the great things we've collectively accomplished.
Of course, not all worldly wonders have been unmitigated positives. Many of the stories I want to write -- like, say, that of the Manhattan Project -- are full of knotty ethical dilemmas. Even Darwin's theory of evolution has prompted profound evil, alongside uncomfortable ramifications that continue to torment many a psyche to this day. These things too are worth examining closely -- not through an ideological or political lens, but with an honest determination to address the good and the bad, thereby to see what we can learn from them.
I've been writing for most of my life; it's the only thing I'm exceptionally good at doing. Since 2011, I've been putting down my words in the service of The Digital Antiquarian, an ongoing history of computer entertainment and digital culture. (If you're interested in that sort of thing, by all means check it out; there's another Patreon page to support that work.) Yet now, as I reach middle age and start thinking about the legacy I might leave behind me, I want to start telling these bigger stories as well.
You've probably already visited The Analog Antiquarian, my site for said bigger stories, before you ever found your way here. But whether you have or you haven't, I won't bore you with an extended recitation of my self-perceived talents as a writer. As they say, the proof is in the pudding; go see for yourself and find out if what I'm doing captures your interest. Here, I'll say only that I think I'm pretty good at taking a pile of disparate facts and turning them into an exciting but historically rigorous yarn. I hope you'll agree.
But why, you might ask, should you read the words of a dabbler like me when it comes to a topic like the Pyramids of Giza? Why not go to the people who have spent their lives studying a single subject? I would never presume to disparage academic historians. What I would say, however, is that most historians aren't storytellers; their talents and interests run in another direction. I'm unashamed to describe myself as a popularizer, bringing the wonders of history to an audience of general readers in an accessible, compelling way. For those of you who do wish to delve deeper, I will always provide a list of sources and recommended reading shortly after concluding my coverage of each worldly wonder.
While I have no dreams of getting rich from a project like this one, I'm afraid I do need to make it pay to some reasonable degree if I'm to continue to do it in the long term. I'm hoping that enough of you will find enough value in my work to make that possible.
If you elect to become a supporter, Patreon will automatically debit your credit card or bank account for your pledged amount each time I publish a new chapter in whatever chronicle I'm currently unfolding. As of this writing, my plan is to publish every other week -- but if I don't publish a chapter at the normal time, whether due to vacation or family emergency or moving house, you don't pay for it. That way, I get to keep a clean conscience and you get to keep your money.
And what will you get in return when I do publish, beyond my undying gratitude? Well, first and foremost, you get to ensure that I'm able to continue this project for a long time to come. You'll get an automatic email notification every time a new chapter goes up. You'll get a free e-book of each completed series -- the same books that are for sale on Amazon.com. And finally, you'll get the satisfaction of keeping good long-form writing alive in what's sometimes described as a post-literate age. If there's something else you'd like to see happen, feel free to drop me a line, and I'll see if I can make it a reality.
I'm very conscious of what an honor it is to have you even consider paying for what you could continue to get for free. So, whatever your final verdict, thank you for reading this far. Without readers, a writer is nothing.
(The Pyramids of Giza cover art is by KennyOMG, and is utilized under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.)