Geektastic: Stories from the Nerd Herd

Geektastic: Stories from the Nerd HerdI seriously thought I wasn t going to be able to finish this book I had gotten to around page 60 and I felt like I wasn t going to be able to connect with these stories In a way I m glad I pushed through it but I wasn t as happy with it like I thought I would be.Clearly what interested me was the whole culture of being a geek and there were a good collection of young adult authors who contributed to this book, so I totally expected to be thrilled with it I figured out fairly quickly that my concept of being a geek is not the same as everyone else s Honestly I thought I was pretty geeky, boy was I wrong at least according to this book I totally felt out of my realm at first A lot of terms and things that were mentioned would justwhooshover my head It had sci fi, LOTR, role play real and not real , gamers, nerds, drama people, and so many other hobbies and people I couldn t really keep track of I did have a general knowledge of most of these things, but I did notice how much I actually didn t know Since this is a collection of short stories, it was kind hard for me to really connect with any of the characters A lot of the time I thought any of the good stories would be great full length novels Really understanding the characters is important to me, and it s hard to establish that kind of kinship toward the characters without a lot of pages to do it in Short stories remind me of when you re in school and assigned to read a story and answer a list of questions Not fun times A lot of the stories had teen drinking, which is realistic I m not naive or oblivious and I know teenagers drink, but there were only a handful of stories that did not have drinking, and it kind of felt like it was stuck in there to make geeks look cool Isn t that a bit I don t know trying too hard It just didn t sit right with me.I did enjoy a few of the stories, my favorites being the second to last one that dealt with astronomy and the one that Garth Nix wrote Some of the stories concentrated a lot on the geeky hobbylike obsessions and others had that as a sidenote and dealt with deeper issues I m glad I picked it up, but not as funny as I had hoped. I don t have much geek cred The only star trek I ve seen is the new one with Simon Pegg, and I only read Lord of the Rings because it was on sales I watched Firefly because my ex was a massive fan, and I still confuse Star Trek with Star Wars don t even talk to me about Battlestar Although I love comix, JLA and anything too DC is out of my league Most superheroes are misogynistic and my appreciation of fantasy is limited to the one Discworld I borrowed for a train trip I also failed history, and physics if it wasn t for the maths People think of me as a geek not because I can play chess or code in Python, but rather my indifference to other non geek interests I can t tell if video games are geeky any, is L4D or Modern Warfare geeky Or only MMORPGs like Age of Empire What makes someone a geek After all, it doesn t matter if you re into comics or dinosaurs or guns or Lovecraft, they are almost all equal in terms of geek cred Is it the cult following aspect If so, why isn t NBA or Ingmar Bergman geeky Or is it the escapist tone Then unrealistic mainstream chic flicks should also be part of the nerd culture I think what makes a geek hasto do with devotion and obsession rather than the subject I know geeks who are into ancient history, as well as geeks who are into argumented reality programming or Mexican culinary, fields that are completely unrelated A fan of something usually remembers trivial details and has a concern for continuity and character profile It isn t so much about the story, but rather identifying familiar quotes and references Geektastic is an example of this Most of the stories consist of littlethan just a bunch of nerd brands put together For a geek, it s exciting because you can laugh at so many names and places nobody else would get , yet feel frustrated at the same time because We are worththan a machine that can recite the complete history of the doctor Contrary to other reviews, I didn t find the geekeries in the book too hard core The first few stories may requirethan rudimentary knowledge of pop culture with titles that go STAR something starfleet, starcraft, stargate, star in case you don t know I m about science Other than that, I thoroughly enjoyed Scott Westerfeld s story which exempts itself from the name dropping humour since when is Westerfeld a geek I guess most of his fiction deals with vampire and random monster magic things, but wasn t his fist book worshiped by hipsters Hope Larson and Bryan Lee O Malley s drawings are adorable as well in a geeky way, of course Anyway, you ve done it I m officially renting the whole series of Star Wars tonight Edit Apparently AoE isn t a MMORPG, I guess this proves my geekiness. Like others, I didn t connect to all the stories I don t think I qualify as a geek in high school I wasthe Sweet Valley High type than the Star Trek type but that didn t stop me from enjoying the stories.Until I got to The Truth About Dino Girl I wanted to love this one I wanted to like the character, and I did I LOOOOOVED the line about dinosaurs and lizards and who survived.But then we found out Dino Girl s plan to get even And NO What she did is completely unacceptable and unjustifiable It wasn t a prank, it was sexual harassment It was disgusting I almost stopped reading the other stories after that, because I was so appalled that anyone reading that editing the anthology and choosing the stories would have felt that portraying those actions as a victory and something the antagonist deserved was acceptable in any way.All I remember from the anthology is that one story, and the nasty taste it left in my mouth There were other stories I enjoyed, but I have a hard time getting past Dino Girl. This is a combination of short stories and single page graphic humor Ten Words or Phrases You Should Know in Klingon, What to Remember When Going to a Convention, What Kind of Geek Are You that should go like gangbusters with middle grade and even early high school readers The author list is like a Guide to Who s Hip Holly Black, Cecil Castellucci, David Levitan, Barry Lyga, Cassandra Clare, Scott Westerfeld, and I won t wear out my fingers giving the whole list, but it is a stellar one It starts with a rocker well, I can t say bang, can I when a young Klingon wakes up in bed with a Jedi padwan at a science fiction convention, and confusion ensues it seems the forms aren t supposed to mix The stories go from fun to serious Garth Nix hit all of my chimes with his damaged costume player who finds his game values matter in the real world , including biting satire, coming out, and something very few people mention, geek ambition.It s a good thing this book wasn t a box of chocolates, because with the way I devoured it, my blood sugar would be over the moon today It hits the stores in August Take it for those last beach days Acclaimed Authors Holly Black Ironsideand Cecil CastellucciBoy Proof Have United In Geekdom To Edit Short Stories From Some Of The Best Selling And Most Promising Geeks In Young Adult Literature MT Anderson, Libba Bray, Cassandra Clare, John Green, Tracy Lynn, Cynthia And Greg Leitich Smith, David Levithan, Kelly Link, Barry Lyga, Wendy Mass, Garth Nix, Scott Westerfield, Lisa Yee, And Sara ZarrWith Illustrated Interstitials From Comic Book Artists Hope Larson And Bryan Lee O Malley, Geektastic Covers All Things Geeky, From Klingons And Jedi Knights To Fan Fiction, Theater Geeks, And Cosplayers Whether You Re A Former, Current, Or Future Geek, Or If You Just Want To Get In Touch With Your Inner Geek, Geektastic Will Help You Get Your Geek On This is an awkward book to review.I first read this back in 2009, as the two galleys sent to the library teen group were passed around enthusiastically from member to member I can t remember any of us disliking it we all saw something of ourselves in this book, and it didn t hurt that it was full of authors we all loved Mortal Instruments was at its heyday in that group, for a start Now, seven years later, I ve returned to that same galley to find that oh yes, I still see my high school self in it All the worst parts of high school me, that is Everything I m relieved to have grown out of and shaken off stares back at me here All the immaturity, the unquestioning acceptance of shallow judgements, the desperate conflict between wanting to be liked and not wanting to conform it s all here The thing is moving past that phase of your life takes effort, and quite often it takes being jolted out of your comfort zone There s none of that to be found in this book.Perhaps Geektastic s greatest weakness is the prevalence of stereotypes Geeks, as portrayed here, have few friends usually 1 3 close companions Groups tend to be mostly male, and with the notable exception of David Levithan s story unsurprisingly , everyone is straight Athletic characters are presented as the antithesis of, and often antagonists to, geekdom, and many of them are blond There s no overlap between interests in fashion and makeup and geekier things unsurprising, given the lack of female geeks here, but also have you met cosplayers For that matter, most makeup gurus meet the definition of geek given on the back of this book.There s something about the tone of Geektastic, too, that bothers me Maybe it s just the continuation of the us vs them pattern maybe it s the pattern that stories about being a geek must be stories about being treated like crap, romantically frustrated and universally derided by your peers Maybe it s the fact that in much of this book, the only hope offered for young geeks is you re better than them , which is a terribly close minded and restrictive way of looking at the world Maybe it s the fact that there are multiple stories about creepy guys in geek spaces where the creepiness was acknowledged, but everyone seemed to shrug their shoulders and apply a boys will be boys sort of attitude to it I don t know It just wasn t a pleasant reading experience at all.Here is what I would like to tell my 2009 self, who read and loved this stuff It s going to be okay You will find that your geeky interests will lead tofriendships than bullies You ll figure out how to use the things you re passionate about to start conversations, and while you may never be a social butterfly, you won t be alone That babbling enthusiasm you re embarrassed about You ll find people who love to listen, or to babble right back Your best friend in college will be someone you discuss webcomics with on your first night in the dorms It ll take a while to shake the idea that you re doing something wrong because you re not normal , but eventually you ll get used to it to the fact that there is no such thing as normal anyway, and your life is about you, not anyone around you or what they think.Story by story breakdown of this book under the spoiler cut view spoiler 1 Once You re a Jedi, You re a Jedi All the Way Not bad, but nothing particularly special either There s something cartoonish about this story, like it would be the quirky Con Episode of a tv show I m not sure if this degree of dedication to playing a part in cosplay is real it certainly doesn t mesh with my experience of cosplayers, but I m very much an observer of those circles rather than a participant.2 One Of Us This story is a cringe worthy pastiche of stereotypes building up to a corny, halfhearted ending Cheerleader blonde, non geek, football player boyfriend asks the school nerds three guys, one girl though they re described as the most prominent members of their club, no other members appear to teach her about geek culture so she can better understand her boyfriend It s trying to be a story about mutual understanding, but it feels like a made for tv movie Of course the nerds are 75% male, and of course one of them is known to creep on girls but never actually called out for his behavior, and of course the boyfriend turns out not to actually care about her efforts and cheats on her, and of course there are hints that she ll get together with one of the geeks Of course.3 Definitional Chaos Definitely one of the weirder andunsettling stories, with people threatening to shoot each other It s an interesting exploration of morality systems, but the actual story doesn t feel like it really goes anywhere Also, by far the most frustrating on the sexuality front, because it s narrated in first person and the fact that the narrator is male isn t clear for a while at first, all you know is that the narrator has a female MMO character, and I got my hopes up for a f f couple.4 I Never OHH CASSIE CLARE First of all, this story is a checklist of things you should NOT do when meeting people you only know online Private location Check No one informed of your actual destination Check Lying about your age Check Alcohol involved Checkkkk No exit strategy Check This is made even worse by the fact that the boy our main character is specifically hoping to meet up with turns out to be kinda predatory He said meetups like this were always full of lonely, geeky girls who go online looking to hook up He said he was certain to score with someone The actual love interest is Creepy Dude s friend, but why he s friends with such a douchebag is unclear it sure doesn t speak well of him.5 The King of Pellinesse M.T Anderson is a weird dude, but this story had a certain something to it It s one of two period pieces in the book, both of which have an unsettling air to them but also a kind of clarity This story brings to mind the word sordid , which isn t necessarily a bad thing, but puts it pretty out of tone with the rest of the book It s thought provoking, yeah, but in a somber and vaguely middle aged sort of way.6 The Wrath of Dawn I m not a fan of Cynthia Leitich Smith, and had I forgotten that fact, this story would have reminded me It s short, shallowly characterized, and just agonizingly pointless.7 Quiz Bowl Antichrist To no one s surprise, David Levithan contributes the only queer story in the book It also turned out to be farself aware and mature than the rest of the collection We like to think that just because we re geeks, that means we can t be assholes But we can be Most of the time, though, it s not coming from meanness or coldness It s coming from anger Or sadness and Haven t you figured it out yet Wes asked Nobody s a quiz bowl geek We re all just people Levithan does a good job of capturing all of that teenage discomfort and status worries, without allowing that angst to control the plot It s not a comfortable read the main character is pretty much an asshole but it s also clearly not supposed to be comfortable.8 The Quiet Knight I like Garth Nix, but this story was just too short to really explore its themes The idea at its heart of LARP being an escape for someone who feels isolated in real life is rich, but needselaboration Additionally, it falls into the narrative trap of using acquisition of a love interest as a sign of character development, but the love interest in question is hardly developed at all, so it just feels like damsel as reward.9 Everyone But You Frasier level secondhand embarrassment The main character is at best naive, at worst immature and clueless, and either way I cringed a lot reading her perspective There s interesting subtext going on re poverty and mental illness, but the pacing doesn t allow for it to be the focus at all Instead, we get several detailed scenes of Felicity being humiliated by popular kids, and then skim blithely over the next year of her life until she s magically grown in confidence Look, I ll be the first to say that show, don t tell is not the be all end all of writing, but you do kinda need to show this kind of character growth for it to be believable or satisfying.10 Secret Identity Alarm bells after the first page, when we find out that our narrator is a fifteen year old who s convinced she s in love with a thirty four year old man By far the best part of this story it its surreal background, as it s set in a world where superheroes exist but at first seems to just be taking place at a con but unfortunately, the interesting aspects of the setting cede center stage to the pretty fucked up main plot Again, our minor narrator takes stupid risks meeting someone traveling alone, informing no one, no control over her own transportation home, staying in his hotel room Her behavior had me on edge the whole time The main question of the story seemed to be whether or not the object of her affections was a superhero, but you ll forgive me if I got a little distracted by the fact that she got drunk and passed out on his bed That s the beginning of a cautionary horror story right there.11 Freak the Geek There s not much to say about this story it s about being bullied, and about being better than the bullies, and it s cardboard thin Maybe John Green was trying to say something profound about genuine friendship, but what came out just has no substance whatsoever.12 The Truth About Dino Girl Fuck off, Barry Lyga Another bullying story, except Lyga seems to expect us to cheer when his heroine plasters suggestive topless photos of her 17 year old rival around town, with the girl s home address and phone number on them Missing the sequel story, wherein Katie is put on trial for sexual harassment and distributing pornographic images of a minor 13 Sarah Zarr s story is not included in my galley copy, and I don t care enough to track it down.14 The Stars At The Finish Line This one was a little cheesy, but by far the most enjoyable story of the set The romance is sweet, and I enjoyed the theme of people realizing that just because they ve been on a path since they were in elementary school doesn t mean they have to stay there The description of astronomy equipment and the Messier Marathon feels very genuinely enthusiastic, too 15 It s Just A Jump To The Left Another period piece, similarly unsettling but clear eyed For all its inclusion in an anthology called Geektastic, a lot of this story was less about geekdom than it was about first sexual experiences and loss of innocence However, Libba Bray captures the in between feeling of adolescence well, and I can respect that As someone who s met several internet friends in real life , I have yet to encounter someone who isn t who they say they are, but that doesn t mean I don t take precautions the first time Perhaps most importantly, whenever you re spending time with anyone for the first time, no matter how you met, it s important to have a way out a friend who ll call to get you out of a blind date gone bad, transportation so you re not dependent on a stranger, and for heaven s sake, someone who knows where you are It doesn t have to be stranger danger on that last one car accidents happen people get lost in unfamiliar places it s just common sense hide spoiler I would like to believe that we all are geeks at a certain degree We may not be like the stereotype geeks but we geek when something hit our geeky nerves Geektastic is a fantastic tool to wake up the sleeping geeks inside us Reading this book helped me get in touch with my inner geek, and helped me remember those times when I was addicted to watching and collecting trading cards of Street Fighter, Ultraman and other Japanese superheroes in my younger days Funny though, I cannot remember much of the details of those characters I eventually forgot about it, or maybe I tried to forget about it, because my male classmates started to think I am one of them Anyway, it s a totally different story.Geektastic features 15 short stories written by famous Contemporary YA novelists such as David Levithan, John Green, Holly Black and among others There s 15 comic interstitials written by Holly Black and Cecil Castellucci, illustrated by Bryan Lee O Malley and Hope Larson Appreciating this book would not require a reader to be a total geek At one point or another you ll find yourself relating to the stories The book features various stories, tackling the complex stories of different kinds of geeks e.g Computer Geeks Theater geeks, Science geeks, etc The first story,Once You re a Jedi, You re a Jedi All The Way, was written by Hollie Black and Cecil Castellucci, it s a different approach on the fusion of the Klingon and Jedi character Discover what will happen if a Jedi woke up with a Klingon in bedCould it be like Romeo and JulietOne of Us by Tracy Lynn tells us the story of a cheerleader who wanted to impress and understand her boyfriend s geekiness to Star Trek, Anime, Comics, Sci Fi movies, and other geek stuffs, so she hired a group of certified geeks to give her walkthroughs on the geek s world The cheerleader doesn t seem to fit in their world, but eventually a little dose of geekiness will prove to be good for her.There are stories written by other authors, but there are some that I liked best There s Cassandra Clare s I Never, telling us the story of online gamers and the complex game of online and offline personalities It tells us the danger of falling in the trap of online characters, not knowing what they really are when we see them for real Quiz Bowl Antichrist by David LevithanI love Levithan s The Lover s Dictionaryalso made a mark on me It s about a Quiz Bowl competition and its participants competing within their group You ll see a character trying to prove his worth to the group, with his knowledge limited only to literature It tells us about determination and believing in ourselves no matter what.John Green s Freak The Geek talks about the traditional Freak the Geek at Hoover Preparatory School, and how Lauren turned to be a victim of such tradition It tells a good story of friendship and standing up against anything that comes your way.The story of Barry Lyga s The Truth About Dino Girl is interesting but kind of dark This tells us about a girl who s very much interested in dinosaurs in anthropology, but eventually found herself falling in love with a classmate There s something scary with how the main character stood up for herself and fight for what she thinks she deserve, but it s interesting One of my favorite paragraphs in itThe earth shook with my footsteps It shook From now one, the earth would tremble in my wake And I knew I knew what the dinosaurs sound like They sounded like meHere s a cute love story The Stars at the Finish Line by Wendy Mass It s about two teenagers who tried to outdo each other, especially in astronomy They are both smart and intelligent, and they see each other as competitors Until, an astronomical marathon brought them close together and they discovered how each other can be attractive The story ended in a cute way Not too mushy It makes me remember my high school days Just the high school days, sans the love story that comes with it.Another story about friendship, Libba Bray s It s Just a Jump to the Left, introduces Leta and Agnes who are a fan of a cult The Rocky Horror Picture Show They re best of friends, and they made a pact on the things they should do before the end of the year They re teenagers, and like the usual personalities of each teenage character, they are experimental Easy to be lured, easy to prey and before they knew it they are victims At the end of the story, they find comfort in their friendship and they realized how much they still need each other.I like the way each geek was given a life, a personality of their own aside from their geeky side It s being realized how they can be so misunderstood and treated unwisely.Finishing the book, you ll get a grasp of the stigma people throws to the geeks They are considered weird, always bullied and was seldom appreciated If you experienced to be isolated because of your being geek, you ll find yourself loving the characters in each stories. This was an interesting collection of short stories plus some amusing one page panels my favorite being about lucky dice Some are are tinged with romance including some LGBT , others are funny Some heartbreaking, some very realistic From roleplaying, anime, comics, sci fi, astonomy, theatre and even yourcommonplace school nerd, this book has a wise variety of stories Not all are up my alley, and others I really liked A little something for everyone Here are my thoughts on the stories Once You re a Jedi, You re a Jedi all the Holly Black Cecil Castellucci4 starsWhat happens when a Jedi sleeps with a Klingon Trouble Quick story in learning to work past differences Or.Not As a fan of both I felt conflicted here.One of Usby Tracy Lynn5 starsMontgomery is no geek but her boyfriend has some tendenceis in that direction so she pays the school geeks some money to teach her I related to so many references All the things they teach her are things I love How she gets into RPG games cracked me up and when she is asked what she likes by Mica, I fully get where his question came from Reminded me a bit of The Summer I Became a Nerd Definitional Chaos by Scott Westerfield2.5 starsWasn t much a fan of this one Strange train ride involving, alignments and 84,000 What I want to know is what committee lets a member run around with that kind of cash Guns, betrayal and gaming all come into play in this strange, slightly confusing tale I Never by Cassandra Clare4 starsAn overall non geek girl joins a Game of peron pretending to be someone else online, another famous character from a movie, game, etc She isthe hopeless romantic and when she meets some of her fellow gamers in real life, things take some interesting turns Mild romance, sex and drinking in this one.The King of Pellineseby MT Anderson2.5 starsSo far the strangest of the tales A boy runs away from home to meet his favorite comic author But not for the usual reasons More mature things in this one that are a bit disturbing in their own right And the author is just plain bizarre.The Wrath of Dawnby Cynthia Greg Leitich Smith3.5 starsVery short story about sisterhood and Buffy Interesting viewpoint on this one but I felt I neededto really appreciate this one to it s fullest Quiz Bowl Antichristby David Levithan3.5 starsA guy wasn t sure about gender at first joins Quiz team because his crush is on it But he and the leader do not get along and his nerdy side does not align to the others Interesting viewpoints and story This definitelytoward the school Nerdy Geek side of the spectrum.The Quiet Knightby Garth Nix4 starsI liked this one quite a bit I wantedhere A must for Larpers Tony doesn t like to speak He has no friends outside his Larping group and even then, one one of them knows who he really is This one had me sad until where I finished with a happy grin.Everyone But Youby Lisa Yee4 starsWhen you change school, the transfer isn t always a fun one In this story felicity is isolated, and teased without mercy From a challenged brother, cruel hot guys and good grades, Felicity needs to stand strong Not something I would expect in this book, but I really enjoyed it.Secret Identityby Kelly Link2 starsThe longest story in the book and my least favorite A strangely written letter filled with flashbacks Honestly I was very confused through much of this book I even resorted to skim reading part of it because the confusion had me about ready to skip it entirely Freak the Geekby John Green3.5 starsThese girls didn t seem like they would top the lst at the Geekiest kids but it is hard to tell in this short story First time seeing Ork spelled in this manner in a story In this, bullies will be bullies and but friendships matter The Truth about Dino Girlby Barry Lyga4 starsA future paleontologist deals with her first crush Cute story about desire and revenge Although she really is single minded in her thought patterns For her to comprehend things, every thing must be translated to dinosaurs and paleontology Still, I enjoyed it Very well written This is My Audition Monologueby Sara Zarr4 starsInteresting and different A girl uses her own monologue to share how she is feeling and what she wants I have been in this girl s shoes to an extent She is easy to relate to Can t say too much here without spoilers.The Stars at the Finish Line by Wendy Mass4.5 Stars.My second favorite in this book A boys wants claims he wants to be an astronaut when he feels a classmate is outdoing him Years later the competition is still on But the rules are changing as they look toward the stars together Very cute and well written.It s Just a Jump to the Leftby Libba Bray3 starsBoys, coming of age and Rocky Horror Picture Show Need I sayWhy are 8th graders doing these things This story was good but part of me was horrified that girls so young would act this way Forget first kisses Lets turn it up a few notches Well written but I would have felt out of my element as a teen and as an adult, I worry for the young girls out there now if they act this way.So most of these I enjoyed This is amature Young Adult novel with several of the themes I feel Holly Black and Cecel Castellucci did a good job selecting these stories Good variety This was a mixed bag, with some horribly terrible stories and some that are absolute MUST READS.The GOOD These stories all deserve 5 stars and two thumbs WAY up Secret Identity If you only read one story it should be this one Kelly Link is brilliant Her narration has style and the story is incredibly interesting, different, and strange She doesn t beat the geek theme to death showing once again that she is the master of subtlety Genius The King of Pelinesse This story is seemingly simple, but contains incredibly complex characters Quiz Bowl Antichrist Perhaps the best LGBT fiction I have ever read It was funny and sincere with a main character that was human rather than a one dimensional conduit for sexual politics It s Just a Jump to the Left Powerful I think it speaks volumes that I read this story and wished it were a novel I wantedThe characters were interesting and, unlike most of the other stories in this book, it was set in the past It was refreshing to have a geek story that took place pre computer age.The Bad The Quiet Knight Just skip this one The characters are one dimension and the story is pretty much non existent Seriously it is an absolute waste of time You ve been warned.The Ugly One of Us No Just no This story was filled to the brim with clich s It tries to cram as many pop culture references in as possible which is no substitution for a well written story with fully developed characters Nice try Well not reallydid you even try This is like the BIG BANG THEORY without the canned laughter The Wrath of Dawn if there s one thing I hate it s nerds trying to prove their nerdiness Please stop casting the blonde beautiful girl as evil, stupid, and less evolved than the mousey girl who is really into sci fi Freak the Geek John Green you have to stop Please You are terrible and so is this laughably ridiculous story that is really about how everyone who isn t you is subhuman GET OVER YOURSELF BONUS ROUND The WTF Award goes toThe Truth About Dino GirlThis started out great and then burst into flames during the last few pages The main character did something so incredibly despicable which in and of itself does not a bad story make However, the way this act of revenge is handled it is clear that the reader is supposed to see Dino girl s actions as appropriate which absolutely boggled my mind To me this saidabout the author than the characters, you can bet I won t be reading Barry Lyga anytime soon. Rating 3.5 5As its name suggests, this anthology consists of 15 stories about geeks There are a lot of different kinds, with a main focus on sci fi fans I thought that the stories would get repetitive and the geeks would be cliched, and while there was some of that, it was largely not a problem There were a bunch of stories that I really liked, and only one that I hated Here we go Once You re a Jedi, You re a Jedi All the Way by Holly Black and Cecil Castellucci 5 5I didn t like Tithe, which Black wrote, so I assumed I wouldn t like this one But I m having trouble coming up with any complaints Actually, it was awesome the writing was good, there were tons of funny moments, and the characters were well rounded I thought that there would be too many Star Trek references I wouldn t get I ve seen all of the Star Wars movies, so that wouldn t be a problem , but Black made them subtle enough that I didn t feel like there was anything missing, and Castellucci put in enough great Star Wars jokes that it carried the story Basically the two authors took what could ve been a train wreck and made it into one of my favorite stories in the anthology It s available for free legally online, so you can check it out if you want I strongly encourage it.One of Us by Tracy Lynn 2 5In contrast from the last one, Lynn took a premise that could ve been hilarious and turned it into a train wreck It had some potential, and it was funny for the first few pages, but once the repetitive plot kicked in, it fell flat Most of the story consisted of the narrator whose name I forget going to different geeks houses learning about geeky arts Not to mention that these geeks were cliched You have to understand there s nothing I hatethan cliched geeks For some reason, I find them horribly depressing The geeks in this story were the worst in the book To be fair, they were fleshed out a littlethan most stereotypes were, but they were fleshed out identically, which defeated the purpose The writing was pretty good, but other than that, I really hated this one.Definitional Chaos by Scott Westerfeld 2 5Everything I ve heard about Westerfield s writing Uglies in particular suggests that I would hate it, and this basically confirmed that for me First off, the writing wasn t great WEsterfield often left out important details, particularly when describing setting It took me about 5 pages to figure out that the main scene took place on a train, and I still have no idea where the first scene was supposed to be And speaking of pages, almost 10 of them in a 15 or so page story were dedicated to a boring conversation about lawful good, lawful evil, ect Don t get me wrong, I liked that it developed Lexia she was the only thing I liked about this story , but it was just plain boring Once the plot started again, it was rather weird It really stood out among the others in this book it s not the kind of thing I d expect here And, last but not least, it had the stupidest plot twist ever written If I had thought it was mediocre before, the ending sent it spinning into the waters of terrible I have horrible metaphors, I know Overall, the only thing I could find to like about this was Lexia other than that, it was pure shit.I Never by Cassandra Clare 4 5Cassandra Clare was one of three authors that convinced me to read this story, the other two coming later I am in love with everything she writes That being said, this was slightly disappointing, if only because she s normally so awesome But it was still really good The writing was great as usual , and so were the characters The main one WHY CAN I REMEMBER NO ONE S NAME was particularly vivid and real I also really loved the premise, although I can t really talk about why without spoiling it The only thing I didn t like was the pacing it could ve gone a lot faster It s too bad, because other than that, this was pretty much perfect.The King of Pelinesse by M.T Anderson 4 5This one was a lot deeper than anything we ve seen so far, and it s only going to get deeper from here I have mixed feelings about the writing the descriptions were kind of awkward, but the dialogue was GREAT If it was edited a little , it could ve been amazing I also loved the plot It was geeky enough to fit into this anthology, but not so geeky it couldn t tackle other issues, which it does amazingly If not for the awkward descriptions, this would ve been one of my favorites.The Wrath of Dawn by Cynthia and Greg Leitcich Smith 4 5This was yet another one that I really liked This has to be the best section of the anthology most of the ones I loved were here The writing was pretty good, but the plot was mixed I loved the depth it presented, and it had a great ability to tackle bigger issues, much like the last one But if you haven t seen Buffy the Vampire Slayer I m actually watching it right now I just finished the first season this plot will be totally incomprehensible to you And for me, who s seen enough to know the general plot and characters, but hasn t seen everything, it ruined a couple plot twists for me It s really too bad, because if the Smiths had eased off the Buffy references a bit, the characters alone would ve been able to make this a five star rating I liked how everyone started off as caricatures, but even over the course of a very short plot, they showed themselves to bethan that just like real people do.The Quiz Bowl Antichrist by David Levithan 5 5This is my second favorite story in the anthology my favorite is coming in a bit Not surprisingly, it s written by one of my favorite authors I liked Nick Norah s Infinite Playlist, and I loved Love is the Higher Law The writing was great, and while not amazing, it was a lot better than what I got in my last Levithan book, Naomi Ely s No Kiss List And it was HILARIOUS, in a way the rest of the anthology wasn t I also liked the characters We didn t get to know everyone quite the way I would ve liked, but the ones we did get to know were awesome And it had a really good plot, a great take on what quiz bowls really are and what it means to be a geek And, as you might ve suspected, it was deep Like I said before, this is the best story in the anthology If only the rest of the book was like this.The Quiet Night by Garth Nix 3 5This story had been the deciding factor for whether or not I would read A Confusion of Princes Well, I hate to say it, but this story means that I won t be reading it It had its good elements, but overall it could ve been a lot better The main problem was the plot, because until the last two pages, it was BORING I kept on reading events and wondering why I was reading these events I was shown why in the last two pages, but I don t think it made the first 10 worth it In contrast, I really loved that the main character had a messed up voice Actually, I loved the main character in general He was very realistic and real you d be surprised by how often the two are different And the writing was pretty good, for the most part, with the exception of the scene where the main character his name was Tony, I think There are way to many characters for me to remember all of them fake fights It was completely unexplained and very confusing It s really too bad a lot of Nix s work sounds good, but this has shown me that I don t think I ll like it.Everyone But You by Lisa Yee 5 5Ladies and gentleman, here it is, the best story in the anthology The writing was really good, which is typical for this anthology it was really well edited It also had a great plot Normally, I wouldn t like this it would be too much like a memoir for my liking but the writing is so goddamned good that Yee pulled it off Not that the writing was the only good thing about this Yee succeeded in making her characters meaningful I Felicity s relationship with her very mentally ill brother and her parents I REMEMBERED THE NARRATOR S NAME YAY This made the story very emotional and effective I almost cried at the end I couldn t find anything wrong with the story at all In contrastSecret Identity by Kelly Link 1 5this was my least favorite story here Actually, it was one of two stories that I skipped See, here s the thing about short stories ideally, they re short They may be painful, but at least the pain lasts for only 25 pages at most That wasn t the case here No, this story lasted for FORTY FIVE PAGES About 18 pages in, I decided I wasn t going to waste another half hour of my life reading something so terrible If it was shorter, I might ve struggled through just to give it the benefit of the doubt, but this was so long it just wasn t worth it Because it really was bad The writing was awful I m having trouble remembering exactly what the premise is because Link was so vague and confusing about it I also hated the narrator I liked that Link tried to flesh her out, but she ended up being obnoxious She couldn t seem to stay on topic forthan a couple of paragraphs before going off on some completely irrelevant tangent This gave her a very annoying quality that I just couldn t ignore This also slowed down the pace to a crawl Here s a run down of everything that happened in the 18 pages I read the narrator got a room key from a hotel worker, she went to the room and took a nap in it, she got ready for dinner, and she went back downstairs That should ve taken 5 pages at most, but it took EIGHTEEN I had no intention of wasting my time to read something so boring and frustrating.Freak the Geek by John Green 4 5Green was the third reason I read this anthology I loved The Fault in Our Stars and his piece in Let it Snow Thankfully, this story doesn t disappoint The only problem I had was the plot or the lack of it thereof Not much really happened over the course of the story it was just character material But the characters were so good that I almost didn t care The relationship between the two members really worked for me, and the good writing helped it I also liked this stories take on bullying I was surprised by how few stories dealt with it, and how even fewer dealt with it in a realistically cruel way But this one did, and the story is bettered from it.The Truth About Dino Girl by Barry Lyga 3 5This was a pretty good story, until the ending, which ruined everything Sure, the plot was very slow, but the writing was pretty good, and the character interaction was great My main problem came at the end This was another story that dealt with bullying After the main characters are bullied, they sought revenge, and it happened successfully My problem was that they went WAY TOO FAR They quite literally ruined the bully s life, yet this was shown to be the logical and fair thing to do, when it was so clearly horrible If it had ended just a little differently, it would ve been amazing, but the way it was bleah.This is My Audition Monologue by Sara Zarr 5 5This was my third favorite in the story The entire plot consisted of the main character giving an audition monologue that she wrote herself, describing her life You d think this wouldn t work for me after all, it didn t really have a plot , but the narrator s voice was so believable that it pulled through Actually, the narrator might ve been the most vivid and real character in the entire book There was also a lot of subtext something anthologies in general don t do very well with, in my experience but it was pulled off brilliantly here I haven t been a fan of Zarr s work in the past I had mixed feelings about How to Save a Life , but this just might convince me to give her another try.The Stars at the Finish Line by Wendy Mass 4 5This was a somewhat bland but nevertheless very successful astronomy story The plot was fairly standard, but the writing was good, and the characters had a realistic relationship I also loved the subtle commentary on why the characters were geeks and what it means to be a geek The only thing about the story that I didn t like was the stereotyped boy He was rather perverted, and his love interest was shown to be smarter than him As a boy myself, it just felt a little off And it s too bad, because other than that, the story was great.It s Just a Jump to the Left by Libba Bray 2 5This was another story I didn t finish out of boredom and realization that it was way too long It wasn t as long as Secret Identity, and it wasn t as bad, but it was still pretty awful The only thing I liked was the writing It had potential in that it tried to deal with serious issues, but they were dealt with in a clumsy way that didn t give them the depth that they deserved The plot which didn t even have much potential due to the fact that it can t be understood by anyone who s never seen Rocky Horror was slow and aimless And the characters They weren t even the slightest bit real They felt trapped between a whole bunch of different ages They were said to be in high school, but I never felt it Here s what they do They see Rocky Horror which is rated R unaccompanied on a regular basis, and they ve been doing so for quite some time Yet, when they visit each other s houses, they still like to play pretend Apparently, one of them has just now replaced the horse decorations on her walls withadult looking posters When this same person wants to go out with a boy on the night that the two normally see Rocky Horror, her friend complains This person s response Grow up Did I mention Rocky Horror is rated R It just felt that Bray was trying to capture a level of maturity in teenagers that simply didn t exist This was so frustrating that it became a key factor in my giving up on the story.EDIT Looking back, I m rather thankful I didn t finish this one I read another one of Bray s stories from 21 Proms , and it made me mad Just skip this one you won t regret it.But overall, this is not a bad anthology It s a lot better than 666 The Number of the Beast, which is the last anthology I read It was very well edited there were almost no cases of awkward writing or premises that blatantly didn t work And I really loved the concept it lent itself to a lot of great stories Standouts include The Quiz Bowl Antichrist, Everyone but You, and This is My Audition Monologue The worst included Definitional Chaos, Secret Identity, and It s Just a Jump to the Left.

Holly Black is the author of bestselling contemporary fantasy books for kids and teens Some of her titles include The Spiderwick Chronicles with Tony DiTerlizzi , The Modern Faerie Tale series, the Curse Workers series, Doll Bones, The Coldest Girl in Coldtown, the Magisterium series with Cassandra Clare , The Darkest Part of the Forest, and her new series which begins with The Cruel Prince in

[Download] ➶ Geektastic: Stories from the Nerd Herd By Holly Black –
  • Hardcover
  • 403 pages
  • Geektastic: Stories from the Nerd Herd
  • Holly Black
  • English
  • 03 November 2019
  • 9780316008099

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