GEEK LUST by Alex Langley

"They say that geek's becoming chic" sang Felecia Day in the song "I'm the One That's Cool," and a quick overview of pop culture confirms that.  Comic book movies are some of the biggest box-office blockbusters, video games and anime are insanely popular, and the Internet has made geek culture more accessible than ever.  In his book Geek Lust, Alex Langley acts as a tour guide through both the past and present of geekdom -- which turns out to be both the strength and weakness of the book.

Geek Lust has chapters devoted to the geeky side of science, television, movies, video games,  the internet. and books.  Chapters have information on how these areas are and/or have become beloved by geeks, along with: Geek Spotlights on actors and characters; top lists ("Ten of the Most Sought After/Hottest Cryptids," "Top Ten TV Geeks," "Twelve Lies Video Games Taught Me"); and the titles of additional works to check out in the genres.

Charting the past and present of the geek landscape is an ambitious task, and Langley clearly has both the intellect, experience, and sense of humor to make the trip fun.  (There are quite a few made-up items here, though the real ones seem more ridiculous.)  The problem is that covering so much in such a relatively small space (239 pages) means at times it comes across like a quick summary instead of a detailed look at these works.  Few entries have more than two pages dedicated to them (including Star Trek and Star Wars), and Langley usually picks a  person or two to focus on.  Horror gets a discussion of Stephen King and Edgar Allan Poe, but nothing on H.P. Lovecraft, or Bram Stoker's Dracula, or Mary Shelley's Frankenstein.  Science fiction have discussions of Terry Pratchet's Discworld, but nothing on Asimov, Bradbury, Clarke, or Ellison.  And simply telling readers "If you're looking for more cinematic superhero shenanigans, check out..." and then rattling off a list of movies doesn't offer much of a guide for what the movies are like: It makes Hancock and The Incredibles seem on the same level, which is far from true.

In his introduction, Langley states, "I've devoted this book to as many different areas of geekdom as I could cram into it."  Geek Lust certainly succeeds at that; and while it's more of an overview of the hobbies than a detailed look at them, Geek Lust is a solid introduction to the areas that we geeks so love.

Overall grade: B
Reviewed by James Lynch

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