Fantasy Freaks and Gaming Geeks: An Epic Quest For Reality Among Role Players, Online Gamers, And Other Dwellers Of Imaginary Realms

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Press: Lyons Press (September 1, 2010)
ISBN:9781599219943
Author Name:Gilsdorf, Ethan
Pages:319
Language:English

Content

An amazing journey through the thriving worlds of fantasy and gaming  What could one man find if he embarked on a journey through fantasy world after fantasy world? In an enthralling blend of travelogue, pop culture analysis, and memoir, forty-year-old former D&D addict Ethan Gilsdorf crisscrosses America, the world, and other worlds—from Boston to New Zealand, and Planet Earth to the realm of Aggramar.

From the Inside Flap

Forget Frodo―Ethan Gilsdorf guides readers through fantasy lands far more enchanting than anything you’ll find in Tolkien’s books.―Pagan Kennedy, New York Times Notable author

From the Back Cover

“This is a delightful book―more fun than being a Dungeon Master to a group of high-level mages and thieves.”

About the Author

Ethan Gilsdorf is a Boston-based freelance journalist, poet, critic, editor, and teacher. 
He is a regular contributor to: The New York Times (Travel, Arts sections); The Boston Globe (Travel, Movies, Living/Arts, Ideas, Sunday Magazine, Books, Op-ed pages); The San Francisco Chronicle (book critic); The Improper Bostonian (travel, lifestyle, dining); National Geographic Traveler (Travel); The Common Review (books, culture; also as their East Coast correspondent); and The Christian Science Monitor (arts/Weekend, op-ed, culture, Backstory analysis).Other publishing credits include The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, USA Today, and Fodor’s travel guides (as former Paris hotel correspondent).
He has appeared on talk radio programs in Boston, and has earned a reputation as a fantasy and escapism expert.
Most recently, he has been instructing classes in freelance journalism (feature, travel, oped, review writing) for Media Bistro and Grub Street, and hosting regular networking events for these organizations.
A more detailed CV, published articles, and additional information is available at www.ethangilsdorf.com.

Tags

Science Fiction & Fantasy,Gaming,Humor & Entertainment,Puzzles & Games,Video & Computer Games,Computers & Technology,Games & Strategy Guides



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Comment

 
 

Comment List (Total:14)

  •     Fantasy Freaks and Gaming Geeks is a great informational memoir for half-geeks such as myself, who are involved in one or two of these "nerdy" habits but don't know that...
  •     I do not want to delve into too much info on the book and spoil it for others, but being a gamer since the age of 13 and now almost 40, I thought this book with make a sincere connection with me - and it did. Like Ethan, I too went though similar issues being a geek and since then, have boxed by geekdom in a shoebox (figuratively speaking as it is more like a chest)in my closet only to crack it open later in life to look for some kind of mid-life re-connection. And I applaud him for telling us his story - but I think there are a ton of us out there that also have very similar stories like his.The book confused me a little and like a previous reviewer mentioned, you read and are left with "....well, and now what - what did I learn?" He identified an issue with his mother early on and I think he should have embraced that a bit more in his findings and carried through MORE - maybe the fact that there are many people he met who also were geeks and they all lived through this fantasy life at one point, but each of us have moments of harsh reality that will either not allow us to continue on on this path (for him, his mother's failing health) or you embrace it and become a geek regardless in the open. There were moments of this, but lots of empty pockets.Hard to say, but the book was just flat from mid way (the online gaming part) through the end. Maybe for me there is no issue here for me - I am a geek in my heart and I also made that trek 3 years ago to my local gaming shop to see what has changed after 15+ years and I was ok with that. Did Ethan finally find the right balance here? Hard to say - maybe a second book will improve on a few of the issues I picked out.
  •     What? Ridiculous topic. Go outside kids.
  •     great book, on-time
  •     So this was pretty good but it always seems like the authors who write books about growing up gamers feel like it's a bad thing that they probably should hide or not be proud of.
  •     I picked up Gilsdorf's book because I thought it might give me a little insight into my teenage son, who is into many of the things the author explores in Fantasy Freeks and...
  •     The author's quest to explore the wide world of gaming & fantasy hobbies is well done & informitive, except he keeps interjecting his personal issues & insecurities again and...
  •     It is an ok book. It tended to go more towards larping, rather than old generation D&D. If your into larping, and live role playing, this would be a good book.
  •     Being a "closet gamer/fantasy geek" myself I completely related to Ethan's book. His story is my own and I'm sure a large number of other guys out there. Trying to balance the desire to immerse yourself in fantasy, (be it Tolkien, D&D, or online gaming) and living in "reality" with its expectations of what is considered "normal" is a recurring theme in the book and in my own life.I felt the angst that Ethan dealt with as he slipped back into gaming and fantasy after years of self-denial. Anyone who has felt that twinge of embarassment over being a gamer or fantasy fan will enjoy Ethan's journey and obeservations.I certainly did.
  •     This is exactly the kind of book I have been searching for.As an avid video gamer since 1987 (Ultima IV on a Commodore 64 computer), Worlds Away, Second Life, and,...
  •     Great book, came as described!
  •     I am satisfied and happy with my purchase
  •     I'm 40 years old, having been a gamer since I was 10. I'm also a husband, a home-owner, have held a professional job for over years, and I don't personally have any difficulty reconciling my love of fantasy and role-playing games with my normal, day-to-day life. It seems that the author has had difficulty in this, and this book seems to be essentially his rambling and occassionally awkward attempt to find out if it's possible to be both mature and have a love of geeky, escapist hobbies.If you're someone who put the dice away a long time ago and are wondering whether it's okay to feel like dusting them off again...or if you never were involved in such hobbies and are wondering if it's okay for your significant other to be...then this book may be written just for you.If you're still avidly into these pursuits, then you may come away from this book feeling a bit unsatisfied. I felt like I'd read a book that said "It's okay for you to be into this stuff", and I was saying, "Well...yeah. I knew that. Thanks." It's still worth reading the book, as he has a lot of enjoyable stories along the way...just don't hold your breath for any deep revelation at the end.
  •     In what could have been, with a little more work, a tremendous insight and very poignant look back at a life affected and in some ways effected by a strong, early exposure to fantasy fandom, Gilsdorf produces in a manner of speaking two books in this volume. In the first and admittedly more readable piece, he outlines in tones of sad nostalgia the affliction of his mother, his escape from that and his marginalization at school, and the repercussions he feels now in his forties at choosing the easier road of escapism over trying harder to be there for a mother who was at the same time both suffering and very difficult to love. He provides through carefully chosen and striking imagery a potent glimpse into awkward adolescence in the 1970's even for a reader who wasn't alive then or did not experience the same difficulties, and is at once both emotional and objective. In this former part, he shows the roots of his entrance into fantasy fandom and much of his sentiment about how it affected him. It is, in and of itself, a touching memoir. The second part, hinted at when he first speaks of going off to college and growing up past the phase of Dungeons & Dragons and J.R.R. Tolkien and begun at full speed after the near-cathartic moment involving the blue cooler, is rather like listening to a tape on a machine that's running out of batteries. The narrative begins strongly, connected through Tolkien to the world of fantasy fandom at large, but steadily slowing down and dwindling in energy and enthusiasm to the end, by which time we're left with the unfortunate impression of a grown man playing with toys in the woods and growing continuously more pissed off that he can't get a decent girlfriend who shares his interests. The latter half of the SCA segment and more or less the whole convention trip are pretty much disconnected from the rest of the work by an incessant, almost nagging theme of "I can't bed a woman." I found this to detract tremendously from the original intent of the book. In addition to that, the final chapter places the author in New Zealand (a thoroughly beautiful place), a journey "to Middle-Earth" which should be the culmination of a great personal and emotional journey. However, the entirety of the trip feels tacked-on, as if Gilsdorf didn't feel like he had enough to finish his book yet, but really didn't have anything left to explore. More than anything, the end of the work reads like the author gave up, shrugged, and said in a resigned tone, "That's good enough." My recommendation is to pick up the book, to be certain. Read the first part, where he touches on some things that are universal to humans who have survived childhood. Read the beginning of his quest, on the pub crawl with the Tolkien society, as some of the people he meets and their insights prove equally relevant and wide-reaching. Read his adventure into LARPing. If nothing else, it provides some eye-opening examination of a world I had joined the larger society in snubbing. And then stop.

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