Saturday, January 8, 2011

Fantasy Freaks and Gaming Geeks

About a month ago I finished reading Fantasy Freaks and Gaming Geeks by Ethan Gilsdorf.  Unlike The Elfish Gene, I borrowed this one from the library, so I'm not giving away a copy, which is a shame, because unlike the Elfish Gene, I really liked Ethan's book.  

The first thing you need to know is that Ethan is a gaming geek and a fantasy freak. He had set aside geeky things for a long time, but has been called back, and he has to decide whether to answer the call or not. This is a self-conscious journey as he tries to come to grips with his inner geek. From the battlefields of Pennsic to the spectacular vistas of Azaroth, to a small town in Wisconsin and on to Middle-Earth and New Zealand, Ethan's journey spans this world and several others. He encounters numerous well adjusted individuals who unabashedly "fly their freak flag" and comes to discover that fantasy isn't just about escapism, isn't immature (though it can be childish - in the best sense of the word) but rather can be a health component in one's life.

I really enjoyed this volume much more than the Elfish Gene. While the author does experience and share a certain amount of fear and shame in his geekyness, he takes the time to explore and understand it. In the Elfish Gene the author uses his book to show what a twit he was, and uses Dungeons & Dragons as a scapegoat. It turns out that he's a twit without D&D too!


  1. Looks interesting. It's certainly fairer and more correct to look at the benefits the hobby brings, but as you write, that takes exploration and understanding, and it may be that too few of us spend the time. We ourselves definitely shouldn't be embarrassed about gaming, but treat it as the everyday activity it is. That's the first step to a wider acceptance.

  2. David, Thanks for the shout out...I thought you might enjoy that little ship design, I still wonder if I followed the rules when I created it.

  3. I enjoyed the first halve of the book but what came afterwards was more or less boring, IMO.