Geektastic: Stories from the Nerd Herd edited by Holly Black and Cecil Castellucci
Summary from Goodreads:
Acclaimed authors Holly Black (Ironside) and Cecil Castellucci (Boy Proof) have united in geekdom to edit short stories from some of the best selling and most promising geeks in young adult literature: M.T. 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 Zarr.
With 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!
FROM THE BACK COVER:
geek \gek\ n; 1. a person often of an intellectual bent who is disliked1 2. a person who is so passionate about a given subject as to occasionally cause annoyance among others2
geektastic \gek-tas-tik\ adj: marked by fantastic geek qualities; a compliment of the highest regard11 Merriam Webster's College Dictionary, 11th edition
2 We made this one up ourselves.
3 This one too.
I don't think I have a lot of greek-cred to my name. But I think I may just have enough to pass off as one. See definition 1.I don't know about "intellectual bent". I don't even know what that means. And I don't think I am disliked either. Probably viewed as a novelty by normal people but not disliked, at least not to my face. See definition 2. I do fan girl a lot. Really a lot. And I most definitely know that I cause annoyance.
Am I Geektastic? It depends on what entirely can be considered as "fantastic geek qualities". If you mean the common man's stereotypical geek, which is someone who has glasses, once wore braces, can't bring oneself up to dress fashionably without assistance, can't dance (or sing) to save her life, almost always awkward in social situations, a bit OC about certain (a lot) of things, obsessed with books, adores Doctor Who, loves Star Wars and Superheroes. Then yes, I am geektastic!
Now that it's established (self-established) that I am both a geek and geektastic, and you also happen to do so as well, then let's now get our geek on and talk about this book!
While I do not entirely comprehend all of the geeky terms and situations. The gaming, band, cosplay, and theater world are foreign to me. But what I do understand is the passion and the joy that you get when you do these things. So, reading about geeks, people that I understand more than most and closely resemble, was such a treat.
Once You're a Jedi, You're a Jedi All the Way by Holly Black and Cecil Castellucci - What happens when a Klingon wakes up in bed with a Jedi? This is the story of forbidden love, the geeky way. It's a solid opening story because what could ever excite a geek more than Star Wars and Star Trek? But not exactly mind blowing, and the story could have had the potential to be one. But I did learn a lot of things regarding the difference between the Jedi and the Klingon that answered my long time question of why these two hate each other. Plus the story is a lot of fun, I'll give it that. It shows the craziness that happens at Cons and the passion of these fan boys and girls.
One of Us by Tracy Lynn - I've seen countless of movies about make-overs of geeky girls. But this story is the other way around. A popular girl gets a geeky make over instead. She goes in to be schooled in all things geeky like LOTR, and Star Trek etc. by a group of geeks, all for her boyfriend who loves them. Another so-so piece but I enjoyed it because of how passionate the each of the geeks are about their assigned subject, that and finding of new and unlikely friendships.
Definitional Chaos by Scott Westerfeld - Two ex-lovers, who has not had the best of relationships steming form their MMORPG (Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game), are put together on a train to transport a large sum of money. While MMORPG is foreign to me, I was still hooked into the story. The debates and the mind games between these ex-lovers were pretty interesting.
I Never by Cassandra Clare - A girl who does a form of RPG online upon her friend's prompting. She assumes the identity of Catherine and falls in love with another character whose online identity is Heathcliff. The players of this game held a get together where Catherine is finding out that the real Heathcliff, is a person completely different from online Heathcliff. The story was just okay. "Romancey", (which is not an actual word), Complete with a smooch in the rain. I also knew what was going on with the boys, so...no surprises. It could have been okay if it had some of Claire's witty and snarky dialogues, that I've come to love in her other YA books.
The King of Pelinesse by M.T. Anderson - This story is about a kid who sets off to knock on the doorstep of the author of this favorite fantasy series, not only because he wants to meet him, but because he has a connection to this author of some sort. Not metaphorically speaking. A connection in a way that they both know a certain person. So the kid goes there and discovers a bunch of things about his idol and this person that they have in common. And then nothing. I got nothing from this story. I don't know what I was hoping for or looking for in the end. After reading, I just asked, then what?
The Wrath of Dawn by Cynthia Leitich Smith and Greg Leitich Smith - A geeky girl named Dawn, dislikes her blonde, athletic stepsister, but were brought together during a Buffy The Vampire Slayer Sing Along Show, when Dawn suddenly came into realization of how she identifies with her namesake, Buffy's sister. The lesser girl in the story, the shadow. In this unlikeliest of situation and unlikeliest of places, the "step" in step sisters might just have been erased. It was just another okay story.
Quiz Bowl Antichrist by David Levithan - Alec, is an English geek who gets drafted into the school's Quiz Bowl Team, to be the Literature Guy. He reluctantly joins for various personal reasons, and one of them is because his crush is on the team. He feels embarrassed to be on this team and extremely annoyed by their Quiz Bowl Team Captain, who takes training and winning the quiz bowl very seriously. And on one end we have Alec who thinks it's all a joke. It has witty and snarky dialogues that is a trademark Levithan. All in all, it's a story about sexuality and identity. Loved it.
The Quiet Knight by Garth Nix - This is a story of an introverted boy whose past time is dressing up in armor and fighting in a mock-fight, a role playing game of sorts, in a field. But then this fantasy after-school activity of his suddenly pops it's way into his school. It's a nice story but it felt too short for me. I was looking for a resolution of sorts or something. I did not like this as much as I thought I would.
Everyone But You by Lisa Yee - This is the band geek story in the bunch. A popular girl whose world is shaken up when she finds herself relocated in a new school....in Hawaii. The people looks different, the culture is foreign, and everything that makes her popular in her old school, now makes her the outcast. It's story about growing and adjusting. When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. The story is just so-so for me.
Secret Identity by Kelly Link - It's about this 15 year old who poses as a much older person in an online gaming site. She falls in love with another gamer and sets off to met him in person but when she gets to the designated place, things don't go the way she thought it would. I was kind of lost in this whole story. I did not get it. Sure it's there are fun and quirky parts in it but after I've finished the whole thing. I just went: "Huh?"
Freak the Geek by John Green - This is a story which takes place in a Prep School and they have this tradition of "freaking" (pranking) a chosen geek, or two geek girls, as it was in the story. It's a nice story. Plain and simple. Sending me the message of accepting and loving your geekiness, to just be who you are. Not really what I was hoping for though considering it's from one of the legends in YA Lit, the John Green.
The Truth About Dino Girl by Barry Lyga - A dinosaur obsessed girl takes revenge on a mean girl / bully. I have no problem with teaching people a lesson but in this story, the revenge was a little extreme. I was rooting for Dino Girl and egging her one, but as soon as I found out what her revenge plot was, my face turned sour. Lying and fabricating photos to ruin someone's reputation is just low. Someone who does that is not my type of heroine so the story quickly turned into not-my-type-of-story as well.
This is My Audition Monologue by Sara Zarr - Rants of a theater girl about being side lined (or back staged) instead of being placed as a lead star, directed towards the school theater director. An excellent rant piece if you ask me. It hits the spot. Very theatrical. there were some "you go girl!" and "hit them where it hurts!" moments. But, again, it just wasn't my type of story. Too bitter for me.
The Stars at the Finish Line by Wendy Mass - Two top of the class students, Peter and Tabitha, are competing academically since 4th grade. It all started when Tabitha called dibs on being an astronaut and Peter announced that he too wanted to be one. But to Peter, he wasn't competing to win, academically but was doing it because he has a crush on Tabitha, who does not even give him the time of day. But their paths crossed through their love of astronomy and the upcoming Messier Marathon. I don't know a thing about astronomy but surprisingly, my brain did not shut down on the astronomy jargon. In fact, my interest was peaked, it seems like the author made the subject easy to grasp. Plus, what could be more romantic and sweet than a story taking place under the stars, with two highly intelligent astronomy geeks, who are both finally seeing each other after all this time.
It's Just a Jump to the Left by Libba Bray - A story of two girls who are devouts of The Rocky Horror Picture Show, and weekly attends the screening at their local theater. It's a coming of age story about love and family, friendship and identity and about how a single event, a single act, could possibly change a life forever. This one is a little painful and a little serious than the rest of the short stories in this book, but one of the good ones for me.
As it is with anthologies, some stories are hits, some are misses. And, I'm not sure if non-geeks would appreciate this book as much as a geek would. But overall, I loved this book. It's fantastically geektastic. I can say that geeks are super cool and I will never be ashamed if called one. :D