Reviews for Geektastic : Stories from the Nerd Herd


Booklist Reviews 2009 September #1
With the recent spate of anthologies featuring the hottest YA authors, it was only a matter time before a celebration of all things geeky/nerdy found its way into a short story collection. Geektastic defines the geek not by his costume, but by his motivation for stepping into it. For instance, M. T. Anderson's heart-wrenching standout tale--of a kid visiting his favorite author's home, not to stalk him, but to ask why he's been writing love letters to his mother--is a lovely statement about sensuality and loneliness. Throughout, this all-inclusive love fest pays homage to the classics of D&D and Star Trek, but there's plenty of room for fans of new faves such as the re-imagined Battlestar Galactica and Joss Whedon-verse as well. Even geeks not affiliated with a TV show or movie can see themselves represented in David Levithan's "Quiz Bowl Antichrist" or Sara Zarr's drama-geek ode, "This is My Audition Monologue," to name just a couple. Geeks, old and new school, will appreciate this collection written by their own. Copyright 2009 Booklist Reviews.

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Horn Book Guide Reviews 2010 Spring
This short story collection celebrates all things nerd, capturing the obsession, alienation, anachronism, and intellectualism of what it means to embrace geekdom. M. T. Anderson's contemplative "The King of Pelinesse" and Scott Westerfeld's hard-boiled "Definitional Chaos" are standouts; one-page "How to..." comics separate each story. Exploration of universal themes in original settings brings infectious enthusiasm to what is obviously a cherished topic. Copyright 2010 Horn Book Magazine Reviews.

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Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2009 #5
Black (The Good Neighbors: Kin, rev. 1/09) and Castellucci (Janes in Love, rev. 11/08) edit this short story collection celebrating all things geek. From the opening story (co-written by the editors) of a star-crossed hookup (she's Star Trek; he's Star Wars) to Libba Bray's poignant account of a Rocky Horror regular coming to terms with family problems and changing friendships, the collection captures the obsession, alienation, anachronism, and intellectualism of what it means to embrace geekdom, in high school and beyond. M. T. Anderson's contemplative "The King of Pelinesse," about a boy who visits the sci-fi author with whom he believes his mother had an affair, is a standout, as is Scott Westerfeld's hard-boiled "Definitional Chaos," an action-filled mind game that pits the protagonist against an ex-girlfriend of dubious morals in a meditation on the intersections of good and evil, law and chaos. Character references and technical terms are bandied about with little or no explanation, giving an insider feel to the collection -- especially apparent in the one-page "How to..." comics separating each story -- that could limit its audience. But Geektastic explores universal themes in original settings, and its talented authors bring transparent, infectious enthusiasm to what is obviously a cherished topic. Copyright 2009 Horn Book Magazine Reviews.

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Kirkus Reviews 2009 June #2
This disastrous collection of stories sets out to show the depth and coolness of unpopular geeks and nerds, but instead it presents tired stereotypes in writing that fulfills an audience of authors and librarians rather than teens. There are a few standouts, like the stories by Kelly Link and Cassandra Clare, which have sympathetic characters who just happen to engage in geek activities. A few others, like those by Wendy Mass and David Levithan, show that the term "geek" extends beyond Star Trek to various academic disciplines. More than one story requires knowledge of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, a show that went off the air when most of this book's target audience was ten years old. Teens who are not already entrenched in geek culture, which in most of these stories means obsession with science-fiction and fantasy worlds, will have a hard time following, much less understanding most of these stories. Even with the authors' name recognition, this collection's appeal is limited at best. (Short stories. 14 & up) Copyright Kirkus 2009 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 2009 August #1

One needn't already know that "Qapla!" is Klingon for success or be a weekend LARPer to appreciate this mostly entertaining collection of 15 short stories from authors John Green, Scott Westerfeld, Lisa Yee and M.T. Anderson among others, as well as numerous illustrated interludes (final art not seen by PW). The offerings cover a range of nerdy terrain: tensions within geek communities (the coeditors' story about a Star Wars fan who hooks up with a Star Trek fan at a convention; Cynthia and Greg Leitich Smith's piece involving a divisive Buffy character); the gulf between online personalities and real-life interactions ("I Never" by Cassandra Clare; Kelly Link's cautionary tale about a 15-year-old girl waiting at a hotel for the 34-year-old she met online); and academic rivalries (Wendy Mass's "The Stars at the Finish Line" follows two intellectuals vying for the top spot at school; David Levithan inserts a closeted gay character into a national trivia competition in a quietly touching, layered story). Beyond the Stargate and MMORPG references, the stories often hit at the insecurities, camaraderie and passions at the heart of geekdom. Ages 12-up. (Aug.)

[Page 45]. Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.

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School Library Journal Reviews 2009 August

Gr 9 Up--From Trekkers to science geeks, Buffy fanatics to Dungeon Masters, nerds of all persuasions are sure to find themselves in the pages of this anthology. It contains fun reads such as Black and Castellucci's "Once You're a Jedi, You're a Jedi All the Way" in which a Klingon wakes with a Jedi in her hotel room while at a sci-fi convention, and Tracy Lynn's "One of Us," in which a cheerleader enlists the school nerds to teach her the basics of geekdom so she can impress her Trekker boyfriend. The collection also includes more profound fare such as Kelly Link's moving and masterful "Secret Identity" about a 15-year-old girl who has pretended to be her 32-year-old sister on an online RPG. She must face the consequences of her lies when she arranges to meet the man with whom she has developed a relationship. Also included are stories by YA lit greats such as John Green, Libba Bray, Scott Westerfeld, and M. T. Anderson. Each story is followed by a comic-book-style illustration offering information or advice such as "What Your Instrument Says About You" and "How to Look Cool and Not Drool in Front of Your Favorite Author." Simultaneously addressing the isolation and loneliness that geeks can feel as well as the sense of camaraderie and community that can be found when one embraces a world or ideology in which he or she can completely invest, Geektastic is a completely dorky and utterly worthwhile read.--Heather M. Campbell, formerly at Philip S. Miller Library, Castle Rock, CO

[Page 98]. Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

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VOYA Reviews 2009 August
Black and Castellucci, exploiting the not-so-secret geek tendencies of teen authors, have convinced an impressive constellation of them to write about "geeks and geeks observed." Although not all geekdoms are covered, topics include cosplay (dressing as characters), cons (conventions), SF television and movies, RPGs (role-playing games), fantasy books, baton-twirling, astronomy, Rocky Horror, quiz bowl, and dinosaurs. Geek-themed comics by Hope Larson and Bryan Lee O'Malley separate the stories The most appealing stories come from the geeks' points of view and respect their obsessions. In particular, the editors' delightful Once You're a Jedi . . . posits what would happen if a cosplay Jedi woke up in bed with a cosplay Klingon at a con. Scott Westerfeld's slyly noir Definitional Chaos explores good/evil alignment: exactly what does "chaotic good" mean? Garth Nix's touching Quiet Knight shows how a live RPG affects a teen with damaged vocal chords. As a cheerleader in Tracey Lynn's One of Us figures out, "You [geeks] just really love [this stuff] . . . It's your . . . your home." Not all stories celebrate geek culture, however. In Kelly Link's overlong and depressing Secret Identity, for example, a girl who lied about her age online discovers the downside of hiding behind a character. Also in Barry Lyga's intense The Truth About Dino Girl, a dinosaur-obsessed girl humiliated by a cheerleader enacts her revenge with breathtaking cruelty Although readers need not necessarily be geeks to appreciate this well-written collection, it will help. Buy for all the geeks in your library--including the librarian.--Rebecca Moore Illus. 4Q 4P J S Copyright 2009 Voya Reviews.

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