- Hardcover: 304 pages
- Publisher: O'Reilly Media; 1 edition (June 2004)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 059600768X
- ISBN-13: 978-0596007683
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1 x 8.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 181 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,029,343 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Just a Geek 1st Edition
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"A cleverly constructed and vivid collection of memoirs with flashes of brilliant wit, this title betters even Dancing Barefoot." - Paul Hudson, Linux Format, Nov (top stuff award)
About the Author
Wil Wheaton may be one of the most unusual celebrities of our time. Born into stardom with the movie "Stand By Me", and then growing up on television as Wesley Crusher on "Star Trek: The Next Generation", Wil was in the spotlight nearly his entire childhood. Instead of burning out as a child star, he left fame behind and became a computer specialist in what Hollywood might consider the middle of nowhere: Topeka, Kansas. Now, Wil considers himself "just a geek", and both Dancing Barefoot and the forthcoming biography Just a Geek are about his journey in rediscovering himself and coming to terms with what it means to be famous, or, ironically, famous for being previously famous.
Top customer reviews
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Unfortunately, others in that group were more vocal than I ever was, and Wil Wheaton knew all about how much how many people loathed Wesley Crusher. And, even more unfortunately and nonsensically, him. That'll have an effect on anyone – and especially an intelligent, sensitive, earnest teenaged boy who sees his future as that-guy-who-used-to-be-on-that-show writ large in a kind of pathetic Star Trek font. It – and other factors – made him walk away from Hollywood for a few years, and from Trek for a decade.
What this book is all about, and why it kept me up till oh crap, is that the time?! and why my respect for Wil Wheaton is greater than I ever could have anticipated, is his (insert less clichéd word than "journey" here) from the bitterness and hurt and anger stemming from Being Wesley Crusher and trying (and painfully failing) to resuscitate his acting career … to a mature and rather joyful reconciliation with his past, and new and optimistic plan for the future.
The subtitle promises that the book is unflinchingly honest - and it feels like it is. Wil made an ass of himself on several occasions, and he owns to it - and owns it. He is scathing about those who have hurt him (sometimes, diplomatically, without naming names, but really how hard is it to look up the fact that Stuart Baird was the "dick" who directed Star Trek: Nemesis?), and unstinting with his affection for his family and his Trek "family" (though I can't help feeling the latter don't deserve it. At all). He's snarky, and funny, and not afraid to admit that even some of the trolls who anonymously email wilwheaton.net might not be wrong. And when they are wrong, his phaser is set to k- ... no, I can't.
The book was originally published in, I believe, 2004 (before his deeply creepy appearance on Criminal Minds), so it's especially nice to read it knowing that Wil Wheaton is not only a staple of "Big Bang Theory" but also the perpetual president of OASIS, and deservedly so. "Just a Geek"? Nah, honey. You're King of the Geeks (or at least the Vice President). And it's great.
Being close to the same age as Wil Wheaton, and growing up watching Star Trek: The Next Generation, reading ‘Just a Geek’ was a little like flipping through my own photo album. There were a lot or parallels: I too was a big nerd, loved all things computer-orientated and writing... but the similarities ended there.
The tone of ‘Just a Geek’ is witty and charming. It’s easy to relate to with Wil’s honesty and detailed histology of acting and the movie industry. Not to mention Conventions and the etiquette involved. You can peek under the polished, candy-coated façade that Hollywood puts on everything and see the politics, back-room negotiations, and marketing ploys the Powers That Be pull in order to churn out the next million dollars or so: and the participants (actors) are merely fodder for the machine. But that is the bleakest part – and it rightly so causes depression and anxiety for someone who is trying to make a living and provide for a family.
But on the other hand you see a community form. And said community starts to depict the terms to the industry – it felt like a nerd revolution. I really enjoyed reading all of the mechanics that make up the Trekkie-dom.
I was expecting a bit more about the Wheaton family, more anecdotes, and some more about his acting jobs. Plus, I wanted to hear more about his writing other than WWdN... but this was published over ten years ago, and likely that didn’t really exist then. But ‘Just a Geek’ is a fun juxtaposition to where Wil Wheaton has now become a much larger celebrity and acted in many other fandoms like ‘The Big Bang Theory’ and ‘Eureka.’ Plus all those picture memes with Will Wheaton heads on everything has me in stitches every time. He’s evolved from the adult that has finally embraced his Wesley-dom, a Wheaton movement.
While his narrative is amusing – I wouldn’t call it gut-busting. I guess you had to be there. What I’ve seen from him on screen, he is quite the hilarious character, and can guess the descriptions of his improv troupe don’t do them justice.
It was a lovely trip down memory lane, though I must admit, at times his writing felt a bit dry and repetitive – it is still very entertaining and offers great insight to not only the movie industry, but the human spirit. Honestly I’d love to read something of his that is not a memoir, the mechanics of his writing suggest there is a great talent there.
An easy autobiography to read, but if you weren’t a Star Trek fan I don’t think you would get much from this novel – because it primarily deals with Wheaton redefining his relationship to the character Wesley Crusher he played on the series, growing up, and developing a different approach to the industry while being a husband and father. But if anything ‘Just a Geek’ shows Wil Wheaton for the extraordinary human being he is. Intelligent, hilarious, compassionate and a loving family man.