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Just a Geek: Unflinchingly Honest Tales of the Search for Life, Love, and Fulfillment Beyond the Starship Enterprise

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Wil Wheaton's second book, as read by the author.

Wil Wheaton has never been one to take the conventional path to success. Despite early stardom through his childhood role in the motion picture "Stand By Me", and growing up on television as Wesley Crusher on "Star Trek: The Next Generation", Wil left Hollywood in pursuit of happiness, purpose, and a viable means of paying the bills. In the oddest of places, Topeka, Kansas, Wil discovered that despite his claims to fame, he was at heart Just a Geek.

In this, his newest book, Wil shares his deeply personal and difficult journey to find himself. You'll understand the rigors, and joys, of Wil's rediscovering of himself, as he comes to terms with what it means to be famous, or, ironically, famous for once having been famous. Writing with honesty and disarming humanity, Wil touches on the frustrations associated with his acting career, his inability to distance himself from Ensign Crusher in the public's eyes, the launch of his incredibly successful web site, wilwheaton.net, and the joy he's found in writing.

Through all of this, Wil shares the ups and downs he encountered along the journey, along with the support and love he discovered from his friends and family. The stories in Just a Geek include:

- Wil's plunge from teen star to struggling actor

- Discovering the joys of HTML, blogging, Linux, and web design

- The struggle between Wesley Crusher, Starfleet ensign, and Wil Wheaton, author and blogger

- Gut-wrenching reactions to the 9-11 disaster

- Moving tales of Wil's relationships with his wife, step-children, and extended family

- The transition from a B-list actor to an A-list author Wil Wheaton--celebrity, blogger, and geek--reads for the geek in all of us.

Engaging, witty, and pleasantly self-deprecating, Just a Geek will surprise you and make you laugh.

304 pages, Hardcover

First published June 22, 2004

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About the author

Wil Wheaton

89 books204k followers
Wil Wheaton loves to tell stories. He’s been doing it his whole life.

By age ten, he had already been acting for three years. In 1986, at age 12, he earned critical acclaim as Gordie Lachance in Rob Reiner’s Stand By Me; at 14, he began his four-year turn as Wesley Crusher on the hit TV series Star Trek: The Next Generation.

Since then, Wil has appeared in dozens of films and TV series, with recurring roles on TNT’s Leverage, SyFy’s Eureka, and the hit webseries The Guild. He is the creator, producer, and host of the wildly successful webseries Tabletop, credited with reigniting national interest in tabletop gaming. Most recently, he played a fictionalized version of himself on CBS’s The Big Bang Theory, one of the most highly rated and watched sitcoms of the last decade.

An accomplished voice actor, Wil has lent his talents to animated series including Family Guy, Teen Titans, Guardians of the Galaxy, and Batman: The Brave and the Bold. His video game credits include four installments each of the Grand Theft Auto and Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon series, as well as Fallout: New Vegas, DC Universe Online, and Broken Age.

His audiobook narration of Ernest Cline’s Ready Player One debuted at number one on the New York Times bestseller list, and was one of Goodreads’ 10 Best Narrator and Audiobook Pairings of All Time. He has also lent his voice to titles by John Scalzi, Randall Monroe, and Joe Hill.

When he isn’t acting, narrating, or podcasting, Wil Wheaton is writing.

A lot.

He is the author of Just A Geek, Dancing Barefoot, The Happiest Days of Our Lives, Hunter, and Dead Trees Give No Shelter, plus a forthcoming novel, All We Ever Wanted Was Everything. He has contributed columns to Salon.com, The A.V. Club, LA Weekly, Playboy, The Washington Post, and the Suicide Girls Newswire.

In recent years, Wil has earned recognition as an outspoken mental health advocate, chronicling his own journey in his blog and as a public speaker for the National Alliance on Mental Illness. His powerful, candid essay about his struggle with chronic depression and anxiety garnered national attention.

Wil lives in Los Angeles with his badass, irrepressible wife Anne, two rescued dogs, one cat, and two vintage arcade cabinets. If you’re not a robot, you can reach him at: wil at wilwheaton dot net.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 842 reviews
Profile Image for Patrick.
Author 36 books233k followers
July 7, 2011

I've always known Wil Wheaton as one of the greater internet Powers.

That's how I think of people like Wheaton, Doctorow, Scalzi, and Jerry over at Penny Arcade. They are people who occupy the internet community on an almost deific level. They're actively engaged in discussions about things like creative commons, and web freedom, and other bigthink information-age issues. When they speak on a subject, the air shakes, people tweet and link and perform other media-appropriate types of adulation.

These people are their own Metatrons. They're like the totem spirits of the internet.

That said, I don't tend to read their blogs with any sort of regularity. I poke around Jerry's blog every week or so. I read Scalzi a couple times a month, or if someone sends me a link. Same with Gaiman. It's odd. I find their blogs interesting and well-written, but I'm just not drawn to follow them in my regular compulsive way.

That means that when I picked up Wheaton's book, I wasn't wearing fan-colored glasses.

Don't get me wrong, I know who he is. I liked Wheaton in Stand By Me and Next Generation. I loved to hate him in The Guild. I even wrote an epic poem about him, once upon a time. A poem I dream of reading in public one day, as he, Scalzi, and Felica Day perform an elaborate dumbshow, acting it out while dressed in period costume appropriate for a 9th century mead-hall.

During this reading, I would like to be wearing a fur cloak of some sort. And perhaps a crown. In this little mental fantasy, I look rather like a cross between Brian Blessed and an angry bear. I also imagine myself as being profoundly drunk on mead.

My point is, when I started reading Just a Geek, I didn't know what to expect.

Quite to my amazement, I was sucked into the story. It's autobiographical, and covers a time in Wheaton's life when he was going through a bit of a rough patch, trying to come to grips with his life, his acting career, his fluctuating celebrity, and his feelings about Star Trek.

Simply said, I enjoyed this book to a startling degree.

It was funny, touching, snarky, and remarkably sweet. I didn't start the book as a Wheaton fan, but now that I've finished it, it's safe to say I've swung over to that side of the fence.

In my opinion, you really don't need to be a fan of Star Trek to enjoy it. (Though it probably wouldn't hurt.)

But this isn't a book about a guy that used to be on Star Trek. It's not a book about being a celebrity. Or being an actor.

Ultimately, it's a book about a guy dealing with being human. That makes it interesting to everyone.

It's worth your time. Check it out.
Profile Image for Tripp.
10 reviews3 followers
December 22, 2008
A friend of mine got me this book after one of my "why does anyone give a fuck about Wil Wheaton" rants. He is so pervasive in online and geek culture, I really just don't understand why.

Anyhow, the 1st half of the book was good --- it was basically like Paul Shirley's "Can I Keep My Jersey." You've heard the stories of people going to Hollywood to "make it" and end up waiting tables for a decade. You've heard about people being crazy famous. How about being kinda famous as a kid, then to be chasing that as an adult? The stories were interesting.

Halfway through the book, though, things took a turn. It became a little grating to hear about how GREAT he was at acting, but something always got in the way of his success. It sounded intensely entitled when he wouldn't have an audition for months, there were "final notice" bills piling up, his wife was working a ton to support HIM and their kids ... and he won't get a day job? WTF? And then, once he sells some nerdy books, he talks about himself as AN AUTHOR and A WRITER so much that it just made me want to reach into the book and shake him. Nothing is more annoying than people getting on their writerly high horse. You're not writing Shakespearean sonnets, dude.

Anyhow, the first half was breezy and had some great stories, but it came off the rails in a crazy way after that. I still don't get why anyone cares about Wheaton nowadays, but I had fun with about 100 pages of his book.
Profile Image for Katy.
407 reviews4 followers
August 8, 2013
From the second Humble eBook Bundle.

Okay so. Before I started reading this book, which is a collection of Wil Wheaton's blog posts and some extra autobiographical commentary, my opinion of him was on the positive side of indifferent: I watch his show Table Top and he's alright in that and I liked him in Eureka, but since his characters in that show, Leverage, The Guild and The Big Bang Theory all seem to have the same personality I didn't believe him to be a particularly good actor. So I didn't understand why my boyfriend and large portions of the internet love him so much, since it's apparently not because of Star Trek.

After reading this book, my opinion of him is that he is an entitled, misogynist snob and that no matter how many times he tells me he's totally over the fact that quitting Star Trek to make films, no really he is, his constant bitterness every time he talks about anything to do with the show doesn't inspire me to believe him.

For the entitled snobbishness, please see this Goodreads review, which I agree with except that I also disliked the first half of the book, particularly the part where he made his aunt's funeral all about him.

Misogyny-wise, I particularly disliked the part where he compares not enjoying appearing at conventions to being a domestic abuse victim. Also, near the beginning of the book with an anecdote about the time a Hooters waitress asked him if he "used to be an actor", and he was offended but then told himself that her opinion didn't matter because she was only a Hooters waitress and also a bimbo with over-processed hair and "ample cleavage seductively long[ing] to bust out from beneath her thin cotton T-shirt" (ugh are you serious). In the epilogue, he returns to Hooters, and this time a waitress with a different name and hair colour but otherwise identically described does know who he is and also sits on his lap. How marvellous for him.

In conclusion, I now dislike Wil Wheaton much more than I did before reading this and I wish I had not read this book, because it annoyed me so much it gave me a headache. But at least it was short.
Profile Image for Jason Pettus.
Author 24 books1,324 followers
March 26, 2009
(Reprinted from the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography [cclapcenter.com:]. I am the original author of this essay, as well as the owner of CCLaP; it is not being reprinted here illegally.)

In case I've never mentioned it, since opening CCLaP I've had a growing amount of friends here in Chicago start to loan me older books on a regular basis, simply because they're interested in seeing what I have to say about them; that's how I ended up with Just A Geek, for example, the 2004 personal memoir and "blog-book" by former child actor and now respected writer Wil Wheaton, loaned to me by my friend Jude the other week, while I was over at her place watching the series finale of Battlestar Galactica. (And speaking of which, whoo man what a series finale...but that's a whole other frakking essay for a whole other frakking day.) And indeed, it's highly appropriate that a show like BSG should lead to me reading this book; because for those who don't know, Wheaton is perhaps best-known among the general public for his teenaged role in the seminal '80s science-fiction TV actioner Star Trek: The Next Generation, a show so immersed now in the popular culture that it still follows/haunts him to this day.

What many people forget, though, is that Wheaton was already a gifted and celebrated child actor even going into that show; his breakthrough performance in Rob Reiner's Stand By Me, for example, is considered by many to be even better than most adult actors, and the film to this day still holds up surprisingly great. And so like David Caruso and Julianna Margulies and a thousand other arrogant young actors before them, Wheaton famously quit Star Trek in his late teens before the series had run its course, in order to go off and become the big movie star he was convinced he was destined to be; and it was then that his acting career promptly fell flat on its face, with Wheaton suffering years upon years of constant second- and third-place auditions but never once actually clinching another major job. And so like many others in that position, that led him to the so-called "Hollywood ghetto" of fan conventions, eBay auctions and more; but unlike most others, Wheaton also turned to confessional writing at the same time, not only putting his life back together again post-child-prodigy but also publicly chronicling the process, starting with a personal journal at the old Geocities online community long before the invention of the term "blog."

And that's when the big surprise came out -- that Wheaton might possibly be just as good a writer as he is an actor, and that his blog is far more than the whiny navel-gazing exercise in egomania we expect from celebrities in that position. (And to make it clear, I've been a reader and fan of Wheaton's blog itself for years now, long before reading this bound collection.) Because the fact is that Wheaton as a confessional writer is sweet and disarming at points, opinionated and political at others, with an intuitive understanding of the three-act structure and how to apply such a thing subtly to almost all of his entries; his blog posts tend to be much more like standalone literary stories than the Twitter-like stream of inane babble so plaguing the internet these days, and reading a chunk of his archives in one sitting can be surprisingly similar to sitting and reading a short-story collection. And along the way, of course, he dishes up just a whole mound of the insider Hollywood dirt we expect and love from such celebrity blogs, stories of humiliating auditions and assh-le directors and megalomaniacal actors and all the rest. (For example, a running joke at the site is that William Shatner is always referred to as WILLIAM F-CKING SHATNER, because of a hilarious story concerning one of the first times Wheaton ever met him; and I have to confess, I still laugh out loud each and every time Wheaton refers to him that way.)

So it would make sense, then, that a publisher in the early 2000s would end up putting out a bound collection of Wheaton's best entries; after all, these were the same years that dozens of other so-called "blog-books" were being pumped out by a floundering, clueless mainstream publishing industry, desperate to grab ahold of any fleeting trend no matter how worthless and then proceed to beat that worthless trend right into the ground. Because that's the problem with blog-books, as we've all learned by now; blog-books f-cking suck, and have turned out just a few years after their popular height to have all the staying power of some crazy little old woman throwing her hands in the air and screeching, "WHERE'S THE BEEF! WHERE'S THE BEEF!" And that's why it was so smart of Wheaton to do what he did for his own blog-book; namely, to make the actual blog entries take up only half or so of the finished manuscript, with the other half being a much more traditional memoir that ties all these scattered postings together, and helps give them behind-the-scenes context away from the blog itself.

Because if there's one thing to be learned from that horrible spate of other blog-books in the early 2000s, it'd be this -- that the mundane trivialities of a complete stranger can actually be kind of enjoyable when read in chunks of only a few paragraphs a day, every single day, but quickly becomes an unreadable mess when trying to consume dozens of pages in a single session, and without knowing anything about that author beforehand. And in this you can view personal blogs much like little soap operas, where the enjoyment is not necessarily from the quality of any particular episode but rather in getting swept up in the grander overall scheme, of getting to know these characters and their lives in the same complex way we know the people in our own personal lives. And I don't think there's anything wrong with enjoying a creative project in this way, and indeed there are several dozen personal blogs I too follow along with regularly; but there's a reason that Hollywood doesn't just grab four random episodes a year of Days Of Our Lives and release them as a big-budget feature film, just like we've now all learned what the problem is with doing the same thing concerning blog entries and full-length paper books.

Wheaton understands all this, and so did something even more remarkable than usual with Just A Geek; he not only reprinted many of these original entries, but also wrote a brand-new concurrent tale about what a bunch of half-lies so many of them were when he originally posted them, of just how many of his cheery, optimistic entries concerning "just-missed-it" auditions (to cite just one good example) were in fact masking the overwhelming frustration and depression he was actually experiencing at the time. (And in fact Wheaton even cleverly personifies this narcissistic self-doubt in the actual book, naming him "Prove To Everyone That Quitting Star Trek Wasn't A Mistake" and constantly getting into fights with the arrogant doppleganger.) And this is courageous of Wheaton to do, because it confirms the fragile egos and almost pathological self-loathing that so many of us suspect reside in the hearts of most celebrities; and this from an industry, Wheaton himself reminds us, where most celebrities spend tens of thousands of dollars a month on publicists precisely so such information won't get out to the public.

It's what saves this manuscript from the usual trappings of both blog-books and celebrity memoirs, and what makes it by the end a legitimate piece of decent literature, despite the admittedly sometimes subpar quality of the writing itself (be prepared for lots of emoticons and stories about boobs); because Wheaton understands what the true power of a personal memoir is, the chance to honestly and unflinchingly look back on a life experience and actually learn something from it, to not only change as a person but also describe the process to others, in the hopes that it will help them understand something about their own lives too. This is the real reason to read Just A Geek, apart from the titillating schauenfreude of, say, learning what a dick Rick Berman is (I knew it!); it's to understand much more universal truths than this, to learn for example that changing careers at the age of thirty can certainly be challenging but is also certainly possible, even if you happen to be a celebrated child actor who once starred on a beloved Emmy-winning television show.

It's details like these that show what a naturally solid writer Wheaton is; and although it has its faults (Cheese And Rice, Wil, enough with the f-cking pets), I have to admit that I found Just A Geek a rather remarkable specimen, perhaps the only celebrity-memoir blog-book in history to read neither like a celebrity memoir nor a blog-book. It makes me intensely curious now to see what Wheaton could do with other long-form writing formats, and I would highly encourage him for example to finally sit down soon and try his hand at a full novel or screenplay. If this book is any indication, there's a very good chance of something like that coming out surprisingly great; and that's the best reason I can think of to read this memoir in the first place.
Profile Image for P. Aaron Potter.
Author 3 books37 followers
April 27, 2012
Alright, I owe Wil Wheaton an apology.

The structure of Wheaton's life parallels Romantic poet William Blake's Songs of Innocence and of Experience: a childhood period of perfect happiness, when everything simply falls into one's lap...then the difficult, painful transitions of adolescence and young adulthood, into an awareness of loss, of disappointment, anger, and an understanding of what fear really means....then, if one is fortunate and perseverant, a final transformation into what Blake scholars call "higher innocence," true adulthood, when on e knows that yes, the world holds pain and misery aplenty, but joy is not only possible, but necessary in the face of that truth.

Just a Geek is Wheaton's account of the interim years, between youthful celebrity as the star of major feature films and ST:tNG, and mature celebrity, as internet trendsetter and geek advocate. This is his Song of Experience.

And now for the confession: Wheaton writes that the impetus which drove him out of the Star Trek fold, into the financial and professional wasteland of failed auditions by day, and desperately fighting with bitterness by night, was a belief that he had to be something more than just a Star Trek has-been. This pressure was, in large part, augmented by fans of the series and its original who wrote into the studios or hounded him at cons, demanding an end to the Wesley Crusher character which ran counter to their vision of Roddenberry's universe. No wonder he fled. The hatred Wheaton, a teenage boy at the time, personally fielded over the decisions of writers and producers of the series was scorching, disproportionate, and unjustified.

Yeah. That was me.

I was one of them. I was an original Trekkie, raised on the series by my dad, filled with that special flavor of arrogance which is the birthright of smart kids who are poisoned by the hormones of puberty, a geek myself (though back in the 80s we would never have had the guts to admit to such titles), and with a geek's obsessiveness, and devotion to a structured, categorized, worldview which does not tolerate deviation from what we are certain is The Right Way to Do Things.

Watching tNG in the basement of my college dorm, I howled along with the other nerds any time Crusher saved the day from his own over-the-top science project, railed at length about how 'soft' the good ol' Enterpise had become, and engaged in way too many drunken late-night debates about how to 'fix' the 1701d and its crew. Step one: airlock tours for those characters we thought were distorting 'our' sci-fi.

Years passed. Wheaton left the show, and the public eye. I barely noticed...I had my own problems. I worked as a computer programmer for a few years to build up cash for graduate school. I got my degree. Then another, and another. I wrote a dissertation, and a novel, got married, had kids. And tried to get a job in my field, and traction for my writing.
And tried.

And tried.

Now for those of you who don't know, if there are any professions which rival acting for the sheer volume of rejection you face, they are (1) academia and (2) writing. I'd chosen both. I sent out the manuscript of my first novel to 36 agents. Only three even bothered to read it, and only one of those replied with anything more than a form letter. One publisher I sent to directly praised the writing to the skies...then rejected the novel itself, since she claimed their calendar was simply too full to take on any new authors. In the first year of my job search, before I'd even finished my Ph.D., I sent out 41 applications. Nothing. The next year, degree in hand and confidence restored, I sent out 106 applications. I got four interviews out of that batch, which made me cocky as hell around the other post-docs limping along with one, or none. None of the interviews went anywhere. Fine, I would focus more. The next year, just 77 applications.
Then 63.
Then 48.
Then 14.

Five years into a post-doctoral lectureship, my wife would find me, hunched over the computer, surfing endlessly, looking for conferences which would help me build my scholarly credentials, half-time positions at obscure colleges in the boonies, forums filled with tips on how to write better cover letters, better novel pitches, better appeals to writing agents.

But eventually, a funny thing happened. I realized the lectureship had turned out to be more satisfying than any of the jobs I was looking at, and if it didn't pay quite as much nor have the glamor of a tenure track position, well, who wanted the hassles to publish-or-perish that came with those jobs anyway? Certainly not me, with three awesome kids and a wife more fabulous than my teenage nerd dreams could have imagined. And if traditional publication had shut me out, well, there were these newfangled e-book markets to look at, and maybe I could find a publisher in that risky new field who'd like to take a chance on a book about gaming and geekiness, and wouldn't that at least mean it was out there, in the world, and I could move on? I found my own state of 'higher innocence.'

And then, another funny thing. Raising my own little geeklings, I stumbled across Wil Wheaton guest starring on a couple of my favorite nerdy shows. I heard he'd started a blog. I tracked down this book, in app form on my new android phone, a device with more computing power than the first four computers I owned, combined.

And there it was, right there in the e-pages glowing up at me: the rejection; the desperate longing for external approval; the hours waiting by the phone, or checking the mail, in constant agony, knowing someone, out there, controls not just your professional career, but in a very real way controls the way you value yourself. Everyone who puts themselves out in an audition, or an interview, or an application, knows it: you have a vision of yourself, as a writer, an actor, a student, a professional, and that person out there with your resume in hand will determine whether to reinforce that vision you have, or destroy it...sometimes again, and again, and again.

Even more tellingly, Wheaton captured the division of the psyche unique to the desperate wanna-be: the way your personality fractures under that pressure into shards, personalities with their own names that seem to have nothing better to do with their time than insult you, call you out on your unrealistic expectations, your lofty ambitions, your phoniness with friends and family as you tell them "everything's going great" when it really, really isn't.

This is an honest, painful book, and anyone's who has known that longing to be more than you are right now will recognize its authenticity at once. Reading these passages was like being slapped in the face with my own past. The only relief was knowing that, like me, the author has made peace with himself, and had found new skills to celebrate, of which this book is itself a clear example.

So Wil Wheaton's ok now. But that doesn't excuse the gratuitous abuse he got from the fans which drove him out into the cold in the first place. So:

Wil, I'm sorry.

Here's the truth, something I could maybe only see with the 20/20 hindsight of age: jealousy. I was just 2 years older than you. I was just a geek too. That explains the callousness, to some degree (and what teenage boys do you know who aren't callous?)...but not the vitriol. No, that came out because I wanted to be where you were.

There I was, schlepping along in college, doing just what was expected of me, a nerd back in the late eighties, when that was a much bleaker proposition than it is now. Escape, for the geeks back then, was either diving into yet another sci-fi or fantasy reading binge, hanging with the few other nerds I knew for RPG escapism, or turning off all the lights and blasting the Pink Floyd until the loneliness didn't hurt so much. I wanted to be on the Enterprise. I wanted to be Wesley Crusher. We all did. Every one of us, every one of the miserable bastards who gave you grief about how your frakking *character* was written, we would have given up vital organs for the chance of even a week or two soaring with Captain Picard out to the fringes of the galaxy...or even getting to pretend to do so on a soundstage. In the age when there were only a few, even of us nerds, who were on BBS, we had so few outlets for our longing, our frustration with how little the world of what actually was resembled our dreams of what could be...

So we lashed out. We were so jealous of you, and that made us cruel.
And I'm sorry.

This is not a tragic book. It's not a whiny book. It's not a vengeful book. Wheaton isn't demanding apologies from anybody, and he's not lording it over the executives who turned him down for parts. He has moved on, and in doing so not only restored those parts of him that were fractured by too early fame and the pressures that come with it, but forged a better self out of his experiences. Better, he provides here a model for all the lost who are still out there, waiting by the phone call that says they got the part, waiting for the acceptance letter from the college of their dreams, or waiting, in any way, for life to happen to them. Sometimes it does, but sometimes you can simply reach out, assess what you have, and realize you're living right now, and that sometimes the very frustrations and distractions you think are keeping you from yur imagined 'real' self are the parts of you you should be developing because, hey, you're spending your time doing that because it's actually important to you. That's an invaluable lesson, particularly for those of us who still are 'just' geeks.
Profile Image for Tracey.
1,080 reviews252 followers
July 30, 2016
Let me get this out of the way: I hated Wesley Crusher. Deep and burning passion of loathing? I had it. Here was this kid, younger than I was, taking screen time away from the magnificent Captain Picard. Saving the ship. Putting the ship in danger and then saving it. Piloting the ship. There was apparently a group who were rooting for seeing him go out an airlock, and I would have joined it – and, yes, it was in some part jealousy, because I was a young and rabid Trekkie and here was this kid, younger than I was… But it was also some poor writing, of the sort that inevitably created antipathy for this kid. It had little if anything to do with Wil Wheaton's really quite adept portrayal, but there was no wonder that I was far from alone in hating Wesley Crusher.

Unfortunately, others in that group were more vocal than I ever was, and Wil Wheaton knew all about how much how many people loathed Wesley Crusher. And, even more unfortunately and nonsensically, him. That'll have an effect on anyone – and especially an intelligent, sensitive, earnest teen-aged boy who sees his future as that-guy-who-used-to-be-on-that-show writ large in a kind of pathetic Star Trek font. It – and other factors – made him walk away from Hollywood for a few years, and from Trek for a decade.

What this book is all about, and why it kept me up till oh crap, is that the time?! and why my respect for Wil Wheaton is greater than I ever could have anticipated, is his (insert less clichéd word than "journey" here) from the bitterness and hurt and anger stemming from Being Wesley Crusher and trying (and painfully failing) to resuscitate his acting career … to a mature and rather joyful reconciliation with his past, and new and optimistic plan for the future.

The subtitle promises that the book is unflinchingly honest - and it feels like it is. Wil made an ass of himself on several occasions, and he owns to it - and owns it. He is scathing about those who have hurt him (sometimes, diplomatically, without naming names, but really how hard is it to look up the fact that Stuart Baird was the "dick" who directed Star Trek: Nemesis?), and unstinting with his affection for his family and his Trek "family" (though I can't help feeling the latter don't deserve it. At all). He's snarky, and funny, and not afraid to admit that even some of the trolls who anonymously email wilwheaton.net might not be wrong. And when they are wrong, his phaser is set to k- ... no, I can't.

The book was originally published in, I believe, 2004 (before his deeply creepy appearance on Criminal Minds), so it's especially nice to read it knowing that Wil Wheaton is not only a staple of "Big Bang Theory" but also the perpetual president of OASIS, and deservedly so. "Just a Geek"? Nah, honey. You're King of the Geeks (or at least the Vice President). And it's great.
Profile Image for Rhonda.
Author 99 books228 followers
October 15, 2013
I sort of bought this book on accident. It just happened to be included in a "Humble Bundle" I purchased and late one night when I couldn't sleep I thought, "Well, this ought to be quick light reading that won't keep me awake."

I was wrong.

I think I actually learned a lot from reading this book, not just about Wil but about connecting with people, online and in three dimensions. About holding back and about honesty. I enjoyed this book far more than I expected to and I'm quite likely to pick up Wil's other book "Dancing Barefoot" at some point in the future as well because of this one.
Profile Image for That70sheidi.
170 reviews15 followers
August 27, 2011
Could be cut by about 67%. The parts that were good were REALLY good, and his reading of them is also great. I loved the asides. But...

After a while the angst is just really pathetic, especially when he whines about auditions. [Newsflash - being stuck in a room with 3-9 other people who are also bored silly hearing nearly identical readings the same goddamn script over and over again day after day to cast someone is not fun for them, why should THEY be responsible for making it "fun" or "relaxed" for the actors? Actors come in, spend 5 minutes or so, and leave. There's no need for lollipops and banter. If you want relaxed, send tapes.]

Back to the angst, it's an awful lot for one book and could have been summarized a bit more. The direct reading of emails from friends was skim-worthy, as they just said what the listener was thinking, which Wil had already gone over several (SEVERAL) times before. We get it, and we get it. Emotional bootstrap yourself in a montage, maybe, next time?

Would definitely read more by him, as long as it's not about Star Trek. And I never thought I'd be saying that. Damn.
Profile Image for Marisa.
33 reviews20 followers
March 15, 2009
I knew Wil Wheaton as Wesley Crusher from Star Trek: The Next Generation when I was growing up, but I had no idea he had grown up to be an actual writer. Just a Geek is a fantastic collection of essays and memoirs that chronicle Wil's evolution from unhappy actor struggling to get out of the shadow of The Franchise to happy writer, blogger, and all-around geek whose life is no less interesting for being fulfilling. For me, the most interesting part of this book was watching the blog entries (copied directly from his website) evolve from the typical new-blogger disorganization to the entertaining, self-contained stories that he still posts on a regular basis. This is creative non-fiction & memoir at its most fun and interesting. Loved it.
Profile Image for Kara Babcock.
1,952 reviews1,295 followers
November 26, 2013
I am not in the habit of reading actor memoirs. In fact, I think the only actor memoirs I’ve read are from Star Trek actors: Shatner’s, one of Nimoy’s (I think I Am Spock as opposed to the more bitter predecessor volume), and now Wil Wheaton’s Just a Geek. I added this to my to-read list years back, when Wil Wheaton first surfaced on my social networking radar on Twitter and here on Goodreads. While I don’t regularly read his blog, I dip in here and there when one of his posts comes to my attention.

Just a Geek is different from the other memoirs in that this book doesn’t actually focus much on Wheaton’s time in Star Trek: The Next Generation. Rather, it’s the story of his struggle with life after TNG, the stark and steady decline in his acting career, and his battles with the voice of Prove to Everyone that Quitting Star Trek Wasn’t a Big Mistake. The book consists of a series of posts from his blog interspersed with additional context and commentary, as well as confessions about how much of the blog material—at least in the early days—was exaggeration and fluff while Wheaton was in the thrall of Prove to Everyone.

The subtitle of this book is Unflinchingly honest tales of the search for life, love, and fulfillment beyond the Starship Enterprise, and this isn’t false advertising. Wheaton comes across as the type of actor who is incredibly grounded and self-aware—in other words, the majority of actors who are not massive A-list celebrities. The struggles he shares with us are the struggles of an everyday person, the major difference being that most everyday people meet these struggles while working a steady job.

The first section of the book chronicles Wheaton’s failure to get work after TNG, and the simultaneous birth of his blog. Thus emerges the two major, polarized themes of the book: Wheaton’s declining career as an actor and rising career as a writer. The journey he depicts here is his realization and acceptance of these two truths.

The subsequent sections show Wheaton’s struggle to find a balance between Wesley Crusher’s legacy and his own attempts to find a future for himself. He vacillates between wanting to do Star Trek conventions and events—for the money, for the fans, for the business it brings his comedy group—and wanting to avoid such events because of his desire to distance himself from Wesley. He shares the conflicting emotions he had around portraying Wesley one last time in Star Trek: Nemesis, only for his role to be cut entirely from the finished product.

It’s 2013, and I’m writing this the day after the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who. I’m still tingling with my enjoyment of the 50th-anniversary special, The Day of the Doctor, and I’m eagerly anticipating the Christmas special, when Matt Smith’s Doctor will regenerate. But I’m not eagerly anticipating Matt Smith’s departure. As with David Tennant, I’m not ready to see Matt Smith leave. But clearly he is ready to leave; he has a career on the rise and a desire to act in other movies, to take on other roles.

What I’m trying to say is that I think that we, as intense fans of shows like Star Trek and Doctor Who, often have trouble empathizing with the more mundane aspects of these actors’ lives. I’m not referring to the tendency of a minority of diehard fans to conflate the actor with the character (which is just … awkward, I think). It’s just difficult for us to understand the actor’s experience of portraying that character when all we see is the finished product, and not all the hours of rehearsal, makeup, travel, and standing around on set.

Just a Geek, then, provides a tiny glimpse into this flipside of the actor’s world. It’s a reminder that, except for the small upper echelon of actors, celebrity is a less constant thing. And for Wheaton, it’s a brave and honest reflection on the choices he has made since that first choice, the one that changed everything, quitting Star Trek. It’s a great privilege to be let in on the conversations he shares here, to peek behind the curtain for a moment and see things from the actor’s perspective. I hope this book provided the closure he seemed to be seeking.

Creative Commons BY-NC License
Profile Image for Eric.
895 reviews78 followers
July 23, 2013
I got this book as part of the latest Humble Bundle, and since I like the author, I thought I would give it a read.

Now, when I say I like the author, I don't mean from his child star years. I didn't watch Star Trek as a kid (I was all about Star Wars), and I'm pretty sure I've never seen Stand By Me, although I could have seen it when I was too young for it to have made an impression. I mean to say I like him as an "Internet Power" (as Patrick Rothfuss labeled him), and also as a writer, a book narrator, and the host of Tabletop. So while I was aware that Wheaton once played Wesley Crusher on Star Trek: The Next Generation, I didn't come into this book with a preconceived "I hate Wesley Crusher!" mentality that I now understand lives in the dark recesses of Star Trek fandom.

The pressure of having played Wesley Crusher is a near-constant theme throughout the book. At points, it became a bit repetitive on that point, but, overall, it was quite interesting to hear about from the perspective of a former child star. This is especially true as Wheaton made good -- albeit in an unconventional way -- as opposed to the tragic yet unsurprising stories of child stars who fell into bad lifestyle choices, such as Lindsey Lohan, or, more recently, Amanda Bynes.

It was also interesting getting a peek behind the curtain into the world of entertainment, seeing what auditions and film sets are like, as well as getting some anecdotes about what actors (and less positively, other industry types) are really like. I will admit it got tiring hearing how Wheaton was the "best actor" for every audition he went on and still repeatedly didn't get the parts. But he is so raw and candid about so many other aspects of his life -- depression, family, struggling to find work and pay the bills -- that it is easy to forgive his refusal to admit he may not have been the best actor for any given part.

I would say this is a must read for Star Trek fans, especially TNG fans, and for others immersed in geek culture, and would also be a valuable read for anyone interested in what the life of a struggling actor is like.
Profile Image for James.
183 reviews21 followers
December 1, 2011
I'm not a fan of biographies or memoirs. I find them to be self-glorified, embellished tales written by ego-centric individuals looking to capture (or recapture) their fifteen minutes of fame. Wil Wheaton is not that guy and Just A Geek is not that kind of memoir. It is well-written, brutally honest, intriguing and filled with enough pathos that you truly care about this guy, and what he's been though - whether you know him or not.

For those that don't know Wheaton, he was the youngest cast member on a little TV show called Star Trek: The Next Generation. But this book is MORE than just a 30-something actor remembering his teen years. It's about a man trying to be a good husband, a good father, and overall, a good person. It's about a man being unemployed and struggling with his self-identity. It's about a man coming to realize what is truly important in his life, and being ok with it. At no time does Wheaton hold back -- he puts it all out there in a truly refreshing and honest way that often is lacking in these celebrity memoirs. Proof that Wheaton is not just a good actor, but also a great writer. Here's hoping he'll write more.
Profile Image for Kim.
403 reviews180 followers
April 2, 2011
I'm not quite sure what I was expecting when I read this. I had heard of Wil Wheaton through Star Trek and then over the last couple years popping up all over the net but never really looked further. I've never been a reader of his blog.

I think the reason I picked it up was because I was curious as to why I was starting to see him or references to him in all my favourite webcomics, etc. And after reading this book I'm still not sure why.

This book really felt like it was missing something. I know it was adapted from the work he has done on his blog and it's very easy to see that as it reads in much the same way. It just felt like one big rant with no real purpose other than to vent or reminisce while reflecting on how he's changed.

I empathise with how he felt after he left TNG and batteled with his existence and lack of work but at the end of the day it wasn't a great piece of literature just a collection of rants.
Profile Image for Moira Fogarty.
404 reviews16 followers
February 20, 2012
'Just a Geek' promises "Unflinchingly honest tales of the search for life, love, and fulfillment beyond the Starship Enterprise".
I'm very happy to say, it delivers on that promise.

In 1991, I was 13 years old and Wil Wheaton was about to retire from Star Trek at the ripe old age of 18. My friend Alyssa and I went to a convention in Toronto to hear Wil speak.

I was floored by the difference between the character I'd seen on TV - clean shaven, immaculate spandex attire, smiling, polite and dripping with 1950s 'Leave It To Beaver' purity - and the brash young man standing on the stage, decked out in a Canadian tuxedo (head to toe denim), black leather jacket and backwards baseball cap, affecting a slacker drawl.

Who WAS this man? This wasn't Wesley! He was wearing LEATHER!!!

(Please note: I am not the lady with the silver ponytail photobombing Wil)

Wil Wheaton was the first celebrity I ever met in person. The experience caused me to wonder about the huge divide between the media I consumed in theaters and on TV and the people who worked to create them. He woke me up to the Industry side of magic, fame and alternate reality. It was a key moment for me, and kept me from wetting my pants later in life when I got to meet Richard Dean Anderson (MacGyver!) and Kevin Smith.

These days, you can follow celebrities on Twitter, watch interviews on YouTube, read about an actor's life history on Wikipedia, or connect with him on his mad popular blog, WWdN. Information was far more limited in my teens, so it was a unique revelation to have this insider peek into what was happening to Wil back in the 90s.

Wil Wheaton had debt issues? He had stepsons? He fought court battles with his wife's ex? WHAT? You mean, he wasn't regularly enjoying tea and crumpets with Patrick Stewart, in a band with Jonathan Frakes, attending Levar Burton's friends-only bookclub? Damn. Life is cruel.

At points, the tone of this autobiographical work became a bit too sentimental, too whiny, waxed political, waned wistful, grew sassy, felt self-important. But I forgive those wee faults because they are human and true, and they live up to the title: Wil Wheaton is really just a geek, looking for love and acceptance and some money to pay his bills.

The happy ending comes in real life, knowing that he's now doing well, showing up as Evil Wil Wheaton on TV in 'Big Bang Theory' episodes and on the web in 'The Guild' with Felicia Day.

Four solid stars: not big on fancy style, but clean, honest and intimate. Read the FAQs at the end, some of his best writing is in the ultra-short answers IMHO.
Profile Image for Andrea.
Author 25 books784 followers
December 20, 2013
I was never much one way or the other about the Wesley Crusher character on TNG, but picked this up as part of the Humble Bundle and read it because Wheaton has a reputation of being an engaging writer, and because I quite liked TNG generally (though much of it doesn't hold up to a rewatch).

The book (a combination of blog posts made in Wheaton's late 20s, and later further commentary) is an easy, interesting read, giving the reader a very relatable look into the feelings of a former child star actor struggling not to be a has-been. The device of contrasting some of the more upbeat posts with later commentary clarifying how he really felt works well. There's not that much focus on Trek itself, rather than Wheaton's feelings about leaving Trek, but some enjoyable tidbits.

There is, however, a background noise of what I guess could be called "gendered prose". From the (two) loving descriptions of the straining breasts of ('simple') Hooters waitresses, to the "crying like a little bitch" to the really plain nasty throwaway comment about Teri Hatcher's appearance, this book seriously reads as if the writer doesn't picture any women reading it. Nothing major league, but just off-putting enough that I think this will be the only book I'll be reading by this author.
128 reviews
August 5, 2011
I was telling my sister I was reading this interesting book by Wil Wheaton. She goes "who"? "Wesley Crusher!" "Doesn't ring a bell." "He's been on The Big Bang Theory" "Oh, Sheldon's nemesis?" (Of course my sister is someone who if you say William Shatner, she thinks Denny Crane.) So, I don't know if Wil would think it bad that he's known for a role where he's known for being known rather than the reason he is known in the first place; sort of a meta-character. Anyway, I enjoyed his reflections. He definitely comes across as a very decent person and I love the irreverent funny.
Profile Image for Ellis.
1,217 reviews137 followers
May 2, 2013
For Comic-Con? No, not really, but while I'm there I would really like to try to meet Wil Wheaton. I was a kid when ST:TNG was on tv & I because of my tender age, I never twigged to all the reasons that everyone thought Wesley Crusher was so annoying. It's hard to not feel that there really was some sort of conspiracy against his character; how can you have Denise Crosby & John De Lancie stand up while telling them how they were such an awesome, integral part of the show & let Wheaton keep sitting? Preposterous.
Profile Image for Sofia.
Author 4 books120 followers
January 19, 2011
Posted on my book blog.

A little background on how I came to read this book: like many other people, I watched Star Trek when I was little. Because, in that time, tv shows would appear in my country 10 to 20 years after their debut, I managed to watch both the original series and the others in the same decade. However, I was pretty much indifferent to Wesley Crusher (Wil Wheaton's character on The Next Generation). And I didn't watch Stand By Me until much later in my life.

Cut to the year 2007. I had been playing World of Warcraft since its beginning, so when the webseries The Guild came out, I was hooked. And when Wil Wheaton showed up playing Fawkes (the nemesis), I remembered his role on Star Trek and decided to check out his blog and see what he had been up to.

Reading his blog, you can see he has a very honest, no-nonsense way of writing about his life, Hollywood and being an actor. He is involved in a bunch of very cool, mostly geeky things which he writes about extensively.

Now, about the book. It's a memoir that chronicles his uneasy relationship to Star Trek (easily the project he's most famous for), his decisions as a teenager that influenced the course of his life, and how it really feels like to be an actor in Hollywood (it sucks). But it's really much more than that. I admit, I related to his story a lot because I have also made a Big Decision in my life and ever since I've felt haunted by the ghost of Proving to Everyone it Was the Right Decision (with the obvious difference that I wasn't a wildly successful and famous teenager). How badly would it suck to feel that the most professionally successful days of your life were when you were a teenager, too immature and stubborn to appreciate it? How do you deal with that once you finally become a (pretty cool) adult and find that no one wants to give you a job?

In the Hollywood world, you rarely hear about failure stories. Everyone is very careful to project an image of success, even if they're wallowing in a deep depression. In that sense, reading this is invaluable. It takes courage to break through the mold of what everyone around you is doing.

The only gripe I have about this book is that, in my opinion, he wrote it too soon. It was published in 2004, and when the book ends, it feels like the story is just starting. Since that year, he has achieved a lot of success, with roles on The Big Bang Theory and Eureka (and a bunch of other stuff I won't list here). It would have felt more complete had he waited a bit beyond his late twenties to write this. Guess this leaves room for a sequel, right?

Recommended for Trekkies / Wil Wheaton fans.
2,451 reviews
November 11, 2021
Wil Wheaton looks over his life with revisited blog posts and added writing

This book surprised me a lot. I thought I'd tuck into it just a bit to see what it was like and I ended up reading it in one day.

I admit I was one of those Wesley Crusher haters. And I carried that over to Wil Wheaton somewhat because I didn't know anything about him for years other than his Star Trek role. But I liked the episodes of Tabletop I saw (trying to see if a game was worth buying) and I loved him on The Big Bang Theory, so I thought I'd give this a try. If nothing else, it would be some interesting Star Trek reminiscences, right? It's so much more than that. It's about a guy who was judged by everyone for that Wesley Crusher role, quite unfairly, and his struggle to grow past that and to put it behind him while still trying to support his family as an actor. I'm looking forward to reading the updated "Still Just a Geek" next year because I want to see his thoughts on his life in the last ten years. He's done good, both as an actor and a writer. Kudos, Wil Wheaton!
Profile Image for Denise Nader.
123 reviews27 followers
March 26, 2018
Wesley Crusher era uno de mis personajes favoritos de Star Trek TNG. Mi primera pelea con mi primer enamorado, a los 17 años, fue porque, mientras hablábamos por teléfono durante un eclipse de luna, me dijo que odiaba a Wesley. ¿Pero cómo puede alguien odiar a Wesley?, le dije. Porque es un insoportable que se cree lo máximo, me dijo. Y empezó la discusión. La consigna fue no hablar más de Star Trek hasta que vimos juntos Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. Coincidimos en que era una de las mejores. En fin, del odio hacia Wesley pasé a descubrir el odio a Wil Wheaton, derivado o causado por el odio a su personaje.

Cuando revisité toda la serie TNG de principio a fin (la primera de 6 veces que lo hice), pude entender por qué a muchas personas (hombres, sobre todo) no les caía bien Wesley Crusher. Para mí era evidente que la culpa era de los escritores y que odiar al actor era una pérdida de tiempo.

Luego empecé a enterarme de cosas como que Gene Roddenberry prácticamente exigió la presencia de Wesley con ese nombre, pues era su segundo nombre. Y los escritores depositaban todos sus malestares con la industria al momento de escribir para Wesley. Ergo, el adolescente insufrible. Siendo honestos, el arco de su personaje en TNG fue absurdo e injusto.

Todos estos temas, muchos más y sus consecuencias, son los que trata Wil Wheaton en este libro en donde expone sus sentimientos, su fragilidad, su rabia, su dolor, sus alegrías, su amor incondicional por su familia.

Expone también la hipocresía e indolencia del capitalismo despiadado de la industria del entretenimiento; pero también recuerda con admiración y cariño a sus compañeros de TNG, un cast que es conocido por todos por ser el mejor de toda la franquicia y uno de los mejores cast televisivos en general.

El duro camino de los niños que se inician a una edad temprana en la industria de Hollywood es mostrado sin tapujos, en toda su extensión. Es duro y todos somos parte de esa cadena. Quizá lo que más me gustó de estas memorias es que aunque Wil Wheaton sepa que sus confesiones pueden cerrarle más puertas, las hace. Unos lo llamarán arrogancia o estupidez: para mí, son la consecuencia de haber dejado de aferrarse a su deseo de triunfar y de demostrar que no se equivocó al dejar TNG; y de atreverse a empezar un camino donde se siente más honesto y feliz, y ese empuje y valentía son admirables.

Shut up Wesley! (Hay que cerrar con eso y Wheaton sabe por qué).
Profile Image for Sarah.
984 reviews
December 30, 2008
*dreamy sigh*
i admit it, i have a girl crush on wil wheaton.
i read dancing barefoot a few months ago and really enjoyed it. i enjoyed this book too.
i think wil’s a pretty good writer, and i enjoy most of the stories that he tells. he writes on his own blog of course, but also on tvsquad, suicide girls, and a myriad of other online sites. i think it’s pretty cool that he’s been able to (successfully) move from actor to writer. he’s not an actor/writer or a writer/actor. i think he’s both. it sucks that he hasn’t had a bigger acting career, because i think he’s a pretty good actor, but i’m so glad he’s been able to write for the public.
i think what i like most about him (and clearly, i don’t know him in reality, so i’m basing this soley on how he presents himself in his writing) is that he’s pretty real. he’s someone i would hang out with if i ever had the chance. he’s not all about being a celebrity and having the pretentious hospitality riders and the models hanging off his arms.
he made a choice many years ago (to leave tng) that haunted him and made him question himself and his life and everything else. he wrote about it unabashedly. he wrote about going to audition after audition and how much it sucked to never get the call telling him he was in. he talked about what it was like to be a kid actor working with adults, and to have WILLIAM FUCKING SHATNER be a dick to him. he’s pretty open about his feelings. and i really appreciate that.
most celebrities are pretty untouchable, unreachable, and have this public persona that they don’t deviate from. they don’t talk about the movies they didn’t get a part in or how hard it is to get work sometimes, especially when you’ve been typecast and especially when your biggest movie was half your life ago. wil talks about that stuff.
i dunno. i just liked this book (this one was a lot of excerpts from willwheaton.net before it went bonkers, and a lot of filling in the gaps of those entries, expounding on them, for the book), and his other one. i love reading his blog, and i LOVE the reviews of tng he does for tvsquad.
i would love to meet him. not in a fangirl way at a convention, but, for like coffee or something.
310 reviews
December 19, 2011
This book has a few different types of stories in it. There are the "Holy Crap, I can't believe that I get to hang out with " sections where Wheaton divulges his inner geeky thoughts while recounting his quickly passing time with different celebrities. I found these sections to be entertaining and enjoyable. There are the "I am such a good actor, but I can't get hired" stories that focused on what it is like trying to make a living in Hollywood, which I have no interest in whatsoever. There are the "I have a family" stories that showed a depth of feeling and humanity not normally found in geeky books. And then there are the "You don't know me, so your opinion is invalid" rants which for the most part (with one really great exception) left me shaking my head and thinking that Wheaton should take his own advice about tearing people down.
I read the book because of the title, i.e. I don't read his website, I don't geek out over Next Generation (minus Stewart), and I haven't noticed him in films or tv. I just like geeky people. This book reminded me of the beginning of freshman year at the engineering school I attended. You could find people there that would have very interesting things to say on their areas of expertise, but they would then extrapolate that feeling of self-confidence to every word out of their mouth. It could be annoying when they would brag or boast or posture for the crowd, but I couldn't discount them because they did offer real insight into some areas. If you can handle all the posturing (which maybe is part of being a geek), there are real nuggets of insight that were heartwarming.
Profile Image for Camilla Hansen.
275 reviews19 followers
April 1, 2014
Since this is not the usual book I read, I won't do the usual review.

It's a book filled with personal stories, website entries and general thoughts of Mr. Wheaton himself. What more is there to say?

It's thought-provoking reading his book, getting his take on his role in the acting-world and how he struggled with not only that, but also himself on so many levels.
Life is typically a battle against yourself in many ways, but it takes a lot more than willpower to win. I felt inspired and in awe after reading this, renewed respect for Wil gained after only a few chapters.
On the other hand, you can always say that since it's his account, some things may seem worse/altered/w.e. compared to the actual events, but in truth it barely matters.
You get a piece of Wil's mind here, not to mention of his person. If you know him from his website or other things, you'd be able to feel that he is no phony and he truly adores what he does. You get straight up truths from him perspective, his thoughts and processes. What more can you require of the man for him to make a memoir book?

It was an enjoyable read for someone who may not have watched Wil Wheaton as an actor much besides his newer relation with Geek and Sundry but still enjoy his energy and presence whenever he attends/participates in anything.
Profile Image for A.E. Shaw.
Author 2 books20 followers
August 3, 2013

The honesty is probably the most commendable and difficult thing about this book. It rather makes you realise how sugarcoated and wrapped up most accounts of things are, and I kept having a sort of "Are you sure you should be saying this?" feeling throughout, which is both the best and worst of it!

I'm not a Star Trek fan (but have kind of often meant to be...I saw a lot of the early stuff, but never much TNG), but I do well remember Wil Wheaton's presence on the early internets. Just from a tech perspective, it's nice to revisit that period of early blogging, website owning and maintenance - I probably got as much joyous nostalgia from that as Trek fans got from the other details.

A fair bit of the content is obviously around the internet elsewhere, but there's no harm in that, and I rather liked its episodic struture. I really did find it difficult with the feelings, though - I don't know what I'd expected, but I finished up feeling like I really ought to take Wheaton out for a pint to cheer him up, whilst thinking that that's more than likely the last thing he'd want.

Curious experience; I'd like to read more from him, and will probably spend a good few quiet afternoons trawling the backpages of his blog sometime.
Profile Image for Kylara Jensen.
840 reviews35 followers
November 2, 2015
If I had to give a synopsis, I would say this book is about Wil Wheaton's journey from actor to writer/family man/web phenomenon. But mostly from actor to writer.

I found it very moving and inspiring. I read Dancing Barefoot first (which literally moved me to tears on 3 separate occasions.) and this does overlap a tiny bit, but in a way that gives you a much broader picture of things. This book is obviously longer and covers more time. Also it's more linear, while Dancing Barefoot is just a collection of like 4 essays.

Wil is a great writer and I know he can be the butt of a lot of jokes in the geek world, I really love him. I have ever since he was on The Guild which was the first thing I saw him in. (I know- late to the party here.) I think Tabletop is a super fun show.

I think it would be the coolest if I ever got to hang out and play board games with Wil Wheaton one day.

And back to the book. I kind of got distracted there. I really liked it.
Profile Image for Catherine.
300 reviews12 followers
May 9, 2016
This book was given to me by a friend who shares my love of Star Trek. I read up to page 154 and, not really knowing much about Wil Wheaton's online life and writing, was surprised to find a thoroughly depressing life post-Star Trek. Going through some difficulties myself, I didn't feel able to read any further.
Today, after a week of emotional lows and highs, and thinking of my friend, I thought perhaps I might try to finish it and I did so in a single sitting. It turns out that page 154 was a turning point and what followed was exactly what I needed to hear.
This is ultimately a good book for people who struggle with their creative and work lives, who give and give only to feel like the universe just doesn't care.
Profile Image for Jen.
120 reviews44 followers
July 18, 2009
This book is like candy for Star Trek fans and fellow geeks like me: I ate it up almost entirely in one sitting. There are sweet Trek anecdotes and memories - no backbiting or grudge-nursing here, which is refreshing - and bittersweet tales of the trials and triumphs Wil faced when starting his blog and writing in the public eye. As a blogger myself, I empathized keenly with his struggles with trolls and the fickle tide of public opinion.

All in all, anyone even remotely interested in reading Just a Geek should: it has enough depth to make you respect and appreciate Wil without getting maudlin, and he writes in a casual style that's both easy to read and relate to.
Profile Image for Marilee.
1,308 reviews
November 28, 2015
I heard about this book and it brought back memories. Bryan used to check Slashdot a lot, and he had told me about Wil Wheaton being a regular there. I've seen him on Big Bang Theory, and I feel like this autobiography fits the persona he presents on the show. America's geek. I hope he continues to find success. Recommended to true geeks and Slashdot peeps.
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