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Luke Skywalker Can't Read: And Other Geeky Truths

3.51  ·  Rating details ·  818 Ratings  ·  172 Reviews
Essayist Ryan Britt got a sex education from dirty pictures of dinosaurs, made out with Jar-Jar Binks at midnight, and figured out how to kick depression with a Doctor Who Netflix-binge. Alternating between personal anecdote, hilarious insight, and smart analysis, Luke Skywalker Can’t Read contends that Barbarella is good for you, that monster movies are just romantic come ...more
Paperback, 208 pages
Published November 24th 2015 by Plume
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Richard Derus
Jan 18, 2016 rated it liked it
Rating: 3.5* of five

The Publisher Says: “Ryan Britt is . . . the Virgil you want to guide you through the inferno of geekery.” —Lev Grossman, author of the bestselling Magician's trilogy

Pop Culture and sci-fi guru Ryan Britt has never met a monster, alien, wizard, or superhero that didn’t need further analysis.

Essayist Ryan Britt got a sex education from dirty pictures of dinosaurs, made out with Jar-Jar Binks at midnight, and figured out how to kick depression with a Doctor Who Netflix-binge.
Feb 04, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: nonfiction, 800s
The back cover bills it as "full of answers to questions you haven't thought to ask." Britt's writing is very humorous and blog-esque but he totally lost me at: "I like Doctor Who, but I don't love Firefly. I like The Avengers and the rest of the Marvel Cinematic Universe explosion, but its dominance and the hype make me tired and occasionally cause uncontrollable eye rolls."

We can't be friends - which might be reflective of the factions and/or fractures of geek culture now. With grand mainstrea
Sep 22, 2015 rated it really liked it
This book was much better than I expected. I've read some other essay collections by grown-up geeks, reminiscing about their nerdacious youth - and they aren't always the most engaging. But this one was quite good. Britt's book is much more than a walk down memory lane; he offers some interesting commentary on how various aspects of geekdom have shaped our view on big topics. One of my fav chapters was on the Back to the Future franchise and how it has shaped our understanding of time travel.

Alex Rinehart
Jun 26, 2016 rated it it was ok
This book is less about the Geeky subjects it claims to be about, and more about the author and his life. This could be fine, except the author comes off as a pretentious snob with a love of the word "zeitgeist". He shares experiences about going to the midnight showing of Star Wars Episode 3 wearing a homemade shirt that said George Lucas is a Virgin. He talks about how he went to midnight showing of Fellowship with his friends dressed as stupid wizards with crescent moons and ridiculous hats a ...more
Nov 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing
A fun conversational book about the merit of "geek culture". Feels like hanging out with a nerd friend arguing over sci fi and fantasy flicks. Enjoyed this immensely and finished in a couple of hours.
Scott Firestone
Nov 20, 2015 rated it liked it
Essays are a tricky thing. There's a sort of ego associated with them. A person decides to think on a subject, and then write about those thoughts, and then assume those thoughts are interesting enough that other people will want to read them. I'm not sure why I think this is more egotistical than someone simply writing a book they think other people will want to read. But whatever.

Broadly, the subject of an essay is one you're either interested in, or you're not. But a great essayist can take
Mandy Peterson
Sep 29, 2015 rated it really liked it
Every geek will find their fandom in here. My personal favorites were the Doctor Who and Back to the Future sections. It's clear the author is involved with each of these topics...very deeply involved! He brought up points that I hadn't previously considered and I had a great time debating with my friends through his reasoning and points.
The book is written in a very accessible voice. It was almost like sitting down and having a discussion with a really knowledgeable friend. However, if you aren
Yoni Rechtman
Dec 01, 2015 rated it really liked it
the (sub)title is a little bit of a misnomer. this book has less of the quirky fan theories and over analysis of geekdom that I was expecting. Instead its a pretty neat meditation on what it means to be a geek and to be a fan, told through pop cultural analogy and personal anecdotes.
Penguin First to Read ARC.

This was a pretty funny, geeky book. I'm not as geeky as Ryan Britt is but I could relate, and my husband could relate, to a few of the geeky truths. It was an amusing, truthful read and Britt made some valid points.
Zuzka Namu Jakubkova
Sep 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
This anthology of essays on most notable pieces of classical and modern science fiction is such a relief to read. Ryan Britt is well versed with the fandom on both the factual level, as well as the emotional one - he know what are fans feeling when they face umpteenth remake of Batman or what are their sentiments with regards to revisionist creative process of George Lucas.

He's writing is also full of love for the popular science fiction and for people who consume it. This book has enriched me
Elfego El Gato
Sep 08, 2016 rated it did not like it
By most people's estimates, I am a "geek." Therefore, the title of this book intrigued me and led me to read it. I got three or four chapters in and cast it aside. It is one of the most self-indulgent pieces of tripe I have read in a long, long time.

The author of this book uses the word "I" more than any other writer I have ever read. The book is full of his personal opinions and observations regarding science fiction and related genres. There is little to no objectivity and even less justificat
Brenda Ayala
Jul 12, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: comic-con-2015
So I read this forever ago, way back in July on the way to Vegas with a group of friends, and apparently never moved it into my "currently-reading" and then never reviewed it. Oops.

I probably won't be as exacting as I should be in that case, because that was a lot of books ago and I try to write my reviews as soon as possible so they're as fresh as can be. This will not be one of those times.

I have no idea who Ryan Britt is, but I can tell you he's a funny guy with a lot to say in a way that is
Sep 01, 2015 rated it really liked it
I got my hands on an advance copy/galley of the book thanks to a friend who visited ALA in San Francisco a few weeks ago.

This book is wonderful. A quick, breezy, conversational read (I finished it in 3 days!) and quite insightful on philosophy, obsession, mindset, interests, and proclivities of fandom, covering a range of topics like literacy in the Star Wars universe, the fame and importance to our culture of icons like Sherlock Holmes and Dracula, why Doctor Who really is the best (even if yo
Mar 16, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction

I find it interesting that in the 21st century, people are able to make a living by expressing opinions about fannish things. This was not a career option when I was of an age to decide what I wanted to be “when I grew up” (still waiting, btw). Sure, I could have been a literary critic, or a movie critic. But there were no listings like “Explainer of what was wrong with the episode Spock’s Brain ” in the help wanted section of the classified ads.

I’m mildly miffed that you can now do exactly that
I received an advanced copy of this ebook through in exchange for an honest review.

The premise was interesting to me - essays to further explore the geeky world of scifi. I realized this book is less essays and more anecdotes or observations or ideas. The author is clearly passionate about some of the arguments in this book, but some of the entries read more like rants to me that didn't have a specific purpose or argument so much as a spew of a lot of facts about a movie or chara
Amy Sturgis
Contrary to the promise made on the book's back flap, Luke Skywalker Can't Read is not full of answers to questions I haven't thought to ask. Whether this says more about me or Ryan Britt is another issue altogether.

Anyone who takes his or her fandom and/or geekdom seriously has been there, done that, and probably bought the t-shirt. There's nothing here that hasn't appeared in thoughtful blogs, podcasts, con panels, and other fan conversations for years.

That said, Britt can be quite entertainin
Steve Wiggins
May 27, 2016 rated it really liked it
Enjoyable essays by a self-styled geek. Some of the pieces were very funny, and others were profound. The title essay, "Luke Skywalker Can't Read," was quite insightful. I'm not a science-fiction groupie of any sort, although I do enjoy the genre, but this book was still fun to read. Those who spend a lot of time with pop culture, and who have an appreciation for Star Wars, Star Trek, and Dr. Who, will find plenty in this little book to keep them entertained. Guys my age may find themselves feel ...more
Brandon Forsyth
Nov 16, 2015 rated it it was ok
Britt scores several amusing points, but often fails to make the key observation about why all of this stuff matters. The best pieces in here are the autobiographical ones, where Britt talks about how, say, his love of the Star Wars expanded universe books affected his work ethic, or how Dr. Who helped him overcome depression. But for every essay like those, you get one about how Star Trek is great because it references great literature (huh?) or how Back to the Future is about nostalgia (duh). ...more
Fiction State Of Mind
Jul 24, 2015 rated it really liked it
I will have a longer review closer to release date but I will say for now Iloved this book! In this collection of non-fiction essay's Britt shares how movies like Barbarella and Star Wars shaped his fandom along with tackling topics like illiteracy in the Star Wars universe, time paradoxes inThe Back To The Future franchise and more! I really enjoyed how Britt shares his theories with knowledge and humor. This book aims to stimulate your brain vs your nerd rage, an engrossing read!!
Smart & geeky essays about a variety of topics: the path to the dark side is paved with illiteracy, monsters & their fashion choices, nostalgia and racial revisionism in Back To The Future, Shakespeare and superhero movie reboots, rise of the robots as Frankenstein stories, plus a variety of other topics that nerdy fans of all things sci-fi (like me) will love. Lots of Star Wars & Star Trek, but also Battlestar Galactica, Dracula, LOTR, & more.
Debra Lowman
May 14, 2016 rated it really liked it
Well, this was fun! Sometimes Britt and I disagree on what it takes to be a true geek. How can you like Star Wars, which he included some reference to almost constantly, but not like Firefly? How can you include Netflix and Comic Con but ignore digital delivery of comics? But still, I chuckled, laughed and saw a reflection of way too much of myself.
Oct 11, 2015 rated it really liked it
This was a fun book. I'm an epic geek, so I really appreciated his novel take on certain fandoms. He sometimes got a little pretentious, but that seems to happen a lot when bloggers publish books. However, his sense of humor more than made up for a few moments of "I'm right and you're all wrong."
Tabby Shiflett
Entertaining, well-written, and great for any fanboy or girl. The author is downright funny (even if I do disagree with him about Firefly) and this book is far better than others I have read in this genre. Recommended for fans who love to discuss all things Sci-Fi!

Penguin First to Read Galley
Jan 22, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2016
Well thought-out essays on everything from portrayals of vampires in pop culture to literacy in the Star Wars franchise to sequelitis and franchises!
Kameron Nettleton
Jan 10, 2018 rated it did not like it
Ryan Britt is a Pretentious Jerk - and other obvious truths.

While it is clear that Ryan Britt fancies himself an intellectual, his essays and interpretations of things are, at best, faux intellectualism. It is actually more likely that they are full-on garbage. He claims to be some sort of expert who "gets" the geek world, but he comes off as more of a Tumblr poster who thinks they're the smartest person in the world. He seeks to create an explanation in "our" universe for stories and movies tha
Eli Claire
Jan 06, 2018 rated it liked it
This was a silly but somewhat thought-provoking collection of essays on geek culture. Though I didn’t ‘get’ a few of the topics (I’ve never seen Barbarella, haven’t read or seen Dracula, and I don’t remember Back to the Future at all), I still enjoyed the collection. It gave me a lot to think about, a list of movies to watch or re-watch, and different perspectives on what it means to be a geek.
Atomic Staci
I didn’t really know what to expect when I picked up this, but I was probably one of the most pleasant surprises book-wise that I’ve had all year. This series of essays covers every geeky topic imaginable and delves deep into the geeky conversations that you would have with another geek at 2 a.m. in the morning - you know, the ones that really matter.

Britt starts out with introducing himself and covering the basics about geekdom and what’s cool and why and discussing science fiction as a whole.
Nov 14, 2015 rated it it was ok
Author Ryan Britt makes it perfectly clear at the onset of his book, Luke Skywalker Can't Read and Other Geeky Truths, that the collection of essays put forth to readers is nothing more than his opinion about science fiction literature and films. I consider myself a person with an open mind, and I like to hear what others have to say on any given subject.
One factor that became abundantly clear right from the get-go was that Britt likes to hear himself talk (so to speak). Another was that he seem
Marsh Myers
Mar 12, 2017 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 27, 2015 rated it really liked it
Good read. Collection of light, but thoughtful essays on all manner of genre fare, from Stars Wars and Trek to Doctor Who and Sherlock Holmes. Notable for being positive but not fanboy judgmental or, ugh, ironic.

Choice cuts: "The reason why we adore (Back to the Future)" is because it combines "the two things Americans love: getting our way and fake nostalgia." (91)

"If we extend the idea of Episodes 1-6 as composing a single novel, it would be a novel that was constantly being revised by a time
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“The message to me was simple: you might change your whole life and lose love, but real good friends are REALLY fucking hard to come by, specifically if you live a life of intergalactic adventure.” 2 likes
“George Lucas once wore a shirt to the set of Indiana Jones IV that said “Han Shot First.” George Lucas is the person who changed it so Han didn’t shoot first.” 2 likes
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