Words for Nerds

My son and I at the Asheville, NC Comic Con, 2012

I saw today that 4-day badges for the 2017 San Diego Comic-Con are selling for upwards of $900—once again, my dream of bumping into Nathan Fillion and realizing our soulmate potential is dashed. I’ll have to settle for poorly-recorded video of panel discussions posted to YouTube–until then, I’m revisiting some story collections to help me get my geek on.

Geektastic: Stories from the Nerd Herd (2009) treats you to 15 stories about Trekkies, fan fictioneers, perpetually auditioning theater nerds, and obsessive gamers by well-known YA authors like Scott Westerfeld, John Green, and Barry Lyga, interspersed with comics by artists Hope Larson and Bryan Lee O’Malley. This anthology is worth reading just for editors Holly Black and Cecil Castellucci’s meditation on the star-crossed love between Jedi and Klingon cosplayers (worlds colliding!), and David Levithan’s exploration of trivia team politics, “Quiz Bowl Antichrist”. Author Libba Bray comments on the flap, “Read these stories or I will set my Dalek to exterminate.” If that seems like jibberish, this collection’s probably not for you.

Black also co-edits (along with Australian author Justine Larbalestier) a collection of fiction for enthusiasts with a narrower focus: the excellently titled Zombies vs. Unicorns (2010). Which rules, which drools (possibly both, here)? Authors like Cassandra Clare, Garth Nix, and Alaya Dawn Johnson (whose story of of a gay hipster zombie crushing on a very live boy is a standout) weigh in.

And it’s not just for fanboys anymore. Aimed specifically at the ladies, The Secret Loves of Geek Girls (2016) explores how women navigate the world of dating and sex, especially as it relates to their particular obsessions. Editor Hope Nicholson ran a highly successful Kickstarter campaign to publish this book through her own small Winnepeg company, Bedside Press, in 2015. It was so well-received at cons and festivals that Black Horse Comics (Sin City, Hellboy) republished it last year for worldwide distribution. It’s a collage of stories, essays, and comics by artists such as Mariko Tamaki, Trina Robbins, and, in an amazing “get”, novelist/poet Margaret Atwood (she draws, too!).

Until such time as they relocate Comic-Con to North Carolina, I’ll have to content myself with Buffy reruns and these collections. But I’ll be waiting, Nathan.


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