I’ve owned this book for a long while, but it was just two days ago that I finally picked it up and started reading it. You know how it is. Life gets in the way, the book gets buried, you wonder where it is, you get distracted by whatever. Candy. Sex. Aperture science.
I finished reading it less than five minutes ago, and even though it’s 4:30 AM, I came upstairs, woke up the computer, and now I sit here, trying to figure out what I can say about it.
But I don’t know what to say. I’m flummoxed. I’m positively wallowing in flum over here.
I suppose I should mention that I don’t read Wheaton’s blog. I’ve wandered by there now and again, following links friends have sent me. But I’ve never made a habit of it.
Don’t read too much into that. It’s not like I avoid his blog. It’s just that I don’t read blogs. Not at all, really. Not even engaging blogs written by clever people I’m interested in, like Gaiman, Scalzi, or Wheaton.
I know that might sound odd to people. As I’ve been writing this blog for… good lord… over four years now. But the truth is, I don’t think of this as a blog. I think of it as a continuation of the humor column I wrote for almost ten years back in college. I make jokes, talk about my life, and occasionally give some bad advice.
But I don’t think of this as a blog.
For me, it’s a relief valve. This is where I give vent to the parts of my personality that don’t have any place in the novels I’m working on.
This is the place where I can snark and bitch if I want. I can talk politics or get sappy about my baby. I can say “Monkeyfucker” and get it out of my system. Which is a good thing, because that would be really hard to work into book three.
What was my point here?
Oh, right. My point is that I’m not a Wheaton fanboy. I picked up the book because I was curious, then never got around to it because I wasn’t curious enough.
That said, in the interest of full disclosure, I am a bit of a Star Trek geek. I used to watch it in high school. I watched it with my mom who was a Star Trek geek since before I was born.
God. I haven’t though of that in years. I remember watching that first episode of The Next Generation with her. During the first commercial, we agreed that the new version of the ship looked all wrong. It offended our sensibilities.
But we grew to love the show. We watched it as a family. It was an event.
Later on I watched it with one of my best friends in high school, Steve. He was a true geek for the show, and it was one of the things that gave us some common ground.
Eventually I left for college and watched it with my new friends. It let me know I’d found the right sort of people to hang out with.
Much later, after the show was long over, I bought a bunch of collector’s edition VHS tapes at a garage sale. They became part of my nightly pre-writing ritual. I would eat dinner and watch an episode of Next Generation while drinking an insanely strong cup of coffee. Then I would go work on what I called, “The Book.”
It was 1999, and I was still writing the first draft of what would eventually become The Kingkiller Chronicle.
It’s strange to think of how big a part of my life Star Trek used to be. I bet I haven’t watched any in ten years.
So. In summary. I read this book as a Trek geek, but not as a Wheaton fanboy. I’ve known *of* him for some time now. Hell, I’d even written a story with him *in* it. But I really didn’t know much about him. I knew he was a powerful part of the geek culture, but he was one of the cool, famous, Hollywood geeks, and I was just a writer geek. Our paths have never crossed.
Okay. Enough context. On to the book.
Simply said, I found it absolutely fascinating. I wasn’t a Wheaton Fanboy before I read it, but now I kinda am…. Now I can understand why folks like him so much.
The writing is perfectly, painfully candid. It’s like a little backstage pass into Wheaton’s life back when things weren’t going so well for him. Back when he was dealing with some hard stuff in his life.
The story really got its hooks into me. It made me anxious. Gave me troubling dreams. I don’t think that’s ever happened to me before.
There are a lot of things I liked about the book, but I’m still having a hard time putting my finger on the crux of it. I can’t say what it was that made me come up to my computer tonight instead of sleeping. I can’t say what made me write a 1000 word blog tonight, rather than the gushy little goodreads review I’d been planning on.
I liked the fact that I got a behind-the-scenes peek at Star Trek and some of the actors that I grew up watching. That was cool.
I liked that Wheaton talked about what it’s like being an actor. I found that really interesting too.
He’s funny, and articulate, and self-deprecating, and honest….
But I still can’t point to what it is that really grabbed me by the nuts, here.
I really don’t know. Still flummoxed.
It could be I liked it because, ultimately, it was a story about stories. I have a weakness for those.
Part of me wishes I’d read this book back in 2008. Back when I’d missed my first deadline and was feeling like absolute shit. Back when I was sure I was ruining my entire career by delaying book 2. Back when I was still trying to get a grip on some of this celebrity stuff while at the same time being wretchedly messed up about my mom being gone. I think this book would have helped me sort though my shit a little more quickly.
Gech. I’m making a rambly mess of this. It seems like the more I like a book, the more trouble I have explaining why.
Okay. I’ll take one more run at this. I’m going to keep it simple this time:
It was a good book. You should give it a try. Unless you really don’t want to. Then you should do something else.
Merciful Buddha. That’s just awful.
Let that be a lesson to any of you that come looking for blurbs. Don’t. I suck at this.