My question is this: How can you not want to read this book? Even if your interest in (any) fandom is casual to the point of 'I kind of remember that...moreMy question is this: How can you not want to read this book? Even if your interest in (any) fandom is casual to the point of 'I kind of remember that blond chick with a pointy stick' this book will have you in stitches, tears or ready to be a more active member of some wonderful community. Whether you are a Trekkie (or is it Trekker now?), Star Wars fan, Whedonite, Otaku or a more obscure fandom (Blake's 7? Does anyone remember that show?) you'll enjoy this book.
It's not perfect, I sometimes wondered if some of the stories rely too heavily on some prior knowledge of the geeky topic at hand or took some of the examples to extremes (though to be fair I knew a guy who literally grew up Klingon. It was the first language he learned--yes before English--started 'developing' forehead ridges around the age of five and who's parents left him out in the wilderness at the age of 13 for a month in the summer for his 'Rite of Passage' ceremony--since beating him with sticks is considered illegal of course. By the time he was twenty-one, you'd be hard-pressed to know that he was human underneath all the make-up, Klingon cursing and bloodwine guzzling), but the book made me feel less odd.
I grew up in a school where sports were #1, academics #2 and theater #3. Geeky things like Star Trek or D&D or comic books came in distant distant last place. Golf was considered cooler then Star Trek or comic book reading. The rare few who were part of the 'Nerd Herd' with me did so in severe secrecy--our school's QB for my 9th and 10th grade years would trade X-Men cards with me under the pretense of me tutoring him in english. The leading 'brain' of the school played Q-Bert down at the shore (a good hour and half away from us) twice a week--far away from anyone who would know him. I was out in the open about my interests, mostly because I had long since given up caring about my image. I got teased, taunted, ridiculed and scorned at (and these were my friends), but I couldn't help that I couldn't fake interest in how badly our school's football team sucked (it was pretty bad).
Some of the stories were simply hilarious, some were moving and some took itself as seriously as a Jedi Master takes going to the dark side. As to be expected of a Compendium of Geekness, pop culture references abound. Subtle (Mr. Pointy for example), not so subtle (pretty much elvish or Klingon word uttered throughout) and the convention oriented (Jedis vs. Klingons vs. Stormtroopers vs. Peacekeepers vs. Cylons....with some Starfleet Cadets/Officers thrown in for good measure).
For anyone who has ever been to a major (or even small) convention you'll probably appreciate the humor behind Holly Black and Cecil Castellucci's story about cosplayers who take things to the extreme, gamers will definitely fall in line with Scott Westerfield's story and Tracy Lynn's story about a cheerleader trying to learn Geek is wonderful. It hits all the fandoms, all the stereotypes and then presents them differently without being insulting.
As I won a copy of the ARC edition, some of the art pages and at least one story was missing. Regardless I think that Geektastic is a great anthology with its own pitfalls, but for the casual Geeky young adult (or hell even an adult) its the perfect gift--either to show them that they aren't that alone in the world or hey you could always be that kid who wears his Jedi robes to school and tries to use the Force to get passing grades.(less)
I am a relatively new convert to SBTB followers. I only picked up on the site about a year ago and wasn't sure what to make of it. I wasn't a closet r...moreI am a relatively new convert to SBTB followers. I only picked up on the site about a year ago and wasn't sure what to make of it. I wasn't a closet romance reader--I've always been very open about reading romances, even when I was thirteen years old toting around a bag full of 80's Harlequin titles with subject matter most 13 year olds wouldn't think about in relation to 'romance' (like revenge sex, never heard of that until I read Harlequin). When my friends would deride me for my tastes in reading material (amongst everything else they chided me about) I'd just shrug and ask them what they knew about romance.
To say I enjoyed reading this book is an understatement. When I picked it up at the bookstore to flip through a few months ago I was texting my twilight friends the definition for 'vampire' before I got to the last word, storing away information about the various archetypes of heroine to compare against my favorites and thanking god that I knew enough about the female anatomy before I read my first romance that I never believed in the magical hymen that every romance heroine has.
There were some portions that I skimmed over quickly--parts of the chapters labeled 'Corset' (about heroines) and 'Codpiece' (about heroes), 'Bad Sex' (about rape in romance) and 'Love Grotto' (about sex scenes) had sections where I just skipped them to the next header for whatever reason. Like any other Fandom meta-essay analysis book (which if you're into the Buffy, Battlestar Galactica, or Star Trek fandoms you will have read at LEAST one meta-essay book, in my case I read them like a thirsty man needs water) some of it can just be very dry and 'well I knew that'.
This book though I think is good for anyone who has a friend (male or female) who constantly teases them for liking books about 'women who swoon at men's feet and have sex willy-nilly' (I hear this a lot). Now you can pull this book out, flip to the section they just accused you of enjoying and have them read just how wrong they are. This isn't a comprehensive guide to romance books, this is a guide for the genre itself told in a witty, intelligent and easily understandable way. There's illustrations (of Mavis, the romance reader stereotype), ridiculous 'Create the Perfect Title for Your Lordly Hero' (because every historical hero needs a title that conveys his dark, brooding self) and the 'Oh Honey What's Your Problem?' (involving some of the more ridiculous reasons heroines are still virgins) games and best of all--its funny. It takes its subject matter seriously, but makes fun of all the tropes, stereotypes and plots that make the genre hard for outsiders to swallow.(less)
prelim review: I love essay collections about pop culture. Be it about books, movies or tv shows I'm hooked. Alice in Wonderland, the books, terrify m...moreprelim review: I love essay collections about pop culture. Be it about books, movies or tv shows I'm hooked. Alice in Wonderland, the books, terrify me. Actually with few exceptions the movies also terrify me. But this essay collection was intriguing and well thought out, with a lot of 'ah-ha!' moments (such as Alice rejecting the female ideal of her time period). (less)
My sister and I read this book together, mostly because the two of us are pop culture obsessives who as soon as we heard the title (earlier this year...moreMy sister and I read this book together, mostly because the two of us are pop culture obsessives who as soon as we heard the title (earlier this year at Book Expo) we started to smile and guess at what the book could be about. Getting my hands on a copy meant we had hours of fun and even got to re-connect a bit with old friends and family when we were stumped on some of the older, slightly more obscure things running around.
I'm not going to wax poetical about the geekiness, there's plenty of others already doing that. Instead I want to focus on the fact that this can almost be used as a generation gap nullifier. Not because its the best written book ever or because its bound to be a blockbuster movie. It works well because it has something for everyone. Video games, science fiction, tv, music, books, even board games--it works so well because its so accessible.
There were several points where I would turn to my brother or sister (both younger, but we three are nothing if not steeped completely in 1980's/1990's pop culture) and be like 'Do you remember this?' and we'd have a jolly good memory time. My father was also interested to hear some of the references and seemed to be intrigued with how Cline envisioned the world collapsing.
I genuinely liked Wade and Cline's future is balanced enough that I didn't feel like I was being told Doomsday came and had a field day with humanity. Cline does tend towards the info-dumping in order to set up HOW the future came to be and WHY it came to be, as well as what the future is currently like, but its not terribly complicated stuff to understand (especially if you enjoy dystopian/dark future set books to begin with) so a reader should be able to breeze through it fairly quickly.
In the end I think this would definitely make a good book group or discussion topic. While the book doesn't take itself seriously (or some of the issues it presents) it does make for great conversation starters and for ways to re-connect with a time that sometimes feels almost as alien as 2044.(less)
I came into Demi-Monde: WINTER with pretty much one expectation: that it would be interesting and innovative in its approach. Recommended to me by a f...moreI came into Demi-Monde: WINTER with pretty much one expectation: that it would be interesting and innovative in its approach. Recommended to me by a friend who said "Its a daring mash-up of genres and tropes that kept me riveted" I mainly wanted to see if it was truly THAT original. Fully immersive virtual realities aren't anything new to me, the .hack universe is built on this principle and as other reviewers have noted there's no small cache of movies or tv shows that explore the idea either.
What Demi-Monde was to me was engaging because Rees spends a lot of effort to detail the simulated world (where soldiers train against some of the most brilliant, cruel and strategic minds from history) and repercussions it has on the real world. Your actions, or lack of actions, in the Demi-Monde could have real world consequences to your character and it was intriguing to watch as some people just...ignored that. War Games taken to a new level, soldiers had to think outside the box (and their training) to survive and not everyone is up to that task.
The book is however very very long. Rees had quite a bit of information to build into the plot in order to make the world seem real and plausible, but it became information overload. Much of the military stuff went over my head and that's not even touching on the politics, beliefs and philosophies of 'Demi-Mondians' (basically obsessive fans). The Demi-Mondians take LARP'ers, D&D geeks and MMORPG enthusiasts to a whole new level--and sometimes that level was downright creepifying.
While I enjoyed the concept and kept reading to see what new twist Rees tossed into the pot, in the end this book wouldn't be a 'keeper' for me. My attention strayed and I often turned to shorter books that held my attention much better. (less)