Tuckerization — using a person’s real name in a science fiction story as an in-joke – is derived from Wilson Tucker, the author who made the practice famous among fans.
While he originally did it without charge – indeed, usually without the advance knowledge of the victim — in recent years quite a few sf/fantasy authors have been raising money for charities by auctioning off the privilege of being Tuckerized in a story.
And Andrew Porter says the cost of getting Tuckerized is going through the roof. “I paid about $100 to get my name into Robert Sawyer’s novel Mindscan in a fan fund auction in 2002 or so; someone paid $800, I think, for the right in a Neil Gaiman auction at the 2009 Montreal Worldcon; and now, $20,000 gets you into a George R.R. Martin book.” Two people have donated that amount to give their names to characters who will be killed horribly in Winds of Winter.
Time Magazine thought that so newsworthy it tracked down and interviewed one of the donors. David Goldblatt, who works for Facebook, says he has chosen to appear in the book as a Valryian, a race known for its purple eyes and platinum white hair.
The second winning bidder, a woman, has elected to remain anonymous. Or at least as anonymous as you can be once you’re a character in what undoubtedly will be a #1 bestseller.