According to the definition given on the back cover of my ARC of GEEKTASTIC, a geek is 1. A person of an intellectual bent who is disapproved of [in my circles we call such a person a nerd] 2. A person who is so passionate about a given subject or subjects as to occasionally cause annoyance among others [usually something comic book, sci-fi or fantasy related in my experience].
There are a lot of gamers, Buffy fanatics and Trekkies represented in these stories, but it was nice to see the definition expanded to include lit enthusiasts and aspiring paleontologists. I don’t have much geek cred beyond my love of bowling and the new Battlestar Galactica series, my perfect GPA, and my one year on the high school Quiz Bowl team. I don’t play any games other than Tetris and Bejeweled, I’ve never seen a single episode of Buffy, and the only Star Trek I could stand to watch was the one with Scott Bakula and that was only because I love Scott Bakula and will watch him in anything.
My favorite story of all was David Levithan’s QUIZ BOWL ANTICHRIST. Like the main character, I was the alternate responsible for lit questions and one of my main motivations for being on the team was my crush on a fellow quiz bowler (an arrogant Swedish exchange student). I was good, but I couldn’t name 4 Pearl Buck novels. The narrative arc is sweetly satisfying while the voice is uproariously funny. After reading this and chatting with David, I definitely understand why Khy is stalking him, and I now have the urge to read everything he ever wrote.
I also really enjoyed Tracy Lynn’s ONE OF US, about a cheerleader who pays her high school’s resident geeks to teach her to speak geek so she can improve her conversations with her sci-fi dabbling boyfriend. It’s a fun look at different aspects of “geekdom” (I even learned a thing or two) where the popular girl is humanized for a change.
I NEVER by Cassandra Clare, about a non-gaming girl who goes to a gamer meet-up looking for a possible romance with a guy she’s been chatting with online, completely immersed me in an unfamiliar world. I like the idea of I NEVER too – it’s a game I like to play at baby showers (strangely enough). I always win points by saying I’ve never driven a stick-shift (successfully at least), read Harry Potter, or had a cavity. The best I NEVER I ever heard came from a 12 year old girl in a room full of adult females – she said “I’ve never had a period.”
M.T. Anderson’s THE KING OF PELINESSE and Wendy Mass’s THE STARS AT THE FINISH LINE were also standouts in the collection.
THE WRATH OF DAWN by Cynthia and Greg Leitich Smith (about a Buffy sing-along) and DEFINITIONAL CHAOS by Scott Westerfeld (about attending a convention) were a bit TOO geeky for my taste. Barry Lyga’s THE TRUTH ABOUT DINO GIRL was a clever revenge fantasy but was perhaps a bit TOO mean. And surprisingly, FREAK THE GEEK by John Green and IT’S JUST A JUMP TO THE LEFT by Libba Bray couldn’t hook me into actually reading them.
In addition to the stories, there are also one page comics on various geek topics. The few that are in the ARC version are interesting 30 second diversions but nothing really remarkable.
I was lucky enough to get to attend Little, Brown’s Geektastic bowling party during BEA and hang out with a few of these fab authors including David, Scott, Cassandra, Barry, Libba, Holly Black, and Sarah Zarr (who’s story didn’t make it into the ARC version either). In fact, I have pictorial proof that David was stalking me during the entire BEA weekend (seriously - he was EVERYWHERE I was - TAC, BEA, Books of Wonder, bowling, my hotel room - j/k on that last one, ha!).
Want to read GEEKTASTIC before its release on August 1st? Just come up with a fun and geeky headline or caption for the stalking picture (yes – a merit based contest!) and write it in the comments. You have until July 7th at 11:59 PM CST. I will ship my extra ARC copy internationally. May the force be with you.