Just a Geek

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.


This entry was posted in blogging, mom, my dumbness, recommendations, the art of blurbing, Wil WheatonBy Pat38 Responses


  1. Marcus Cox
    Posted July 6, 2011 at 6:48 AM | Permalink

    I really dig your blurb on the back of The Way of Kings. Short and to the point. Although one of the ones you mentioned in the blog talking about that book (https://blog.patrickrothfuss.com/2010/09/the-way-of-kings) was a lot better: “Brandon Sanderson’s books are so good that he’s starting to piss me off.” Fantastic

    • cjkoger
      Posted July 6, 2011 at 11:23 PM | Permalink

      So I totally went back and read this again after you mentioned, and scrolling through the page I laughed out loud as I read the fourth of his list of honestly written blurbs.

      “This book is cool, and Brandon Sanderson smells like fresh-baked cookies.”

      “Sanderson’s newest Brobdingnagian epic is sure to please. Look it up, bitches.”

      “Brandon Sanderson’s new book is printed on delightfully soft-yet durable paper. With more than a thousand pages, The Way of Kings is sure to bring you several weeks of good, solid use, though that may vary according to your diet and personal hygiene.”

      “When’s book two coming out? What’s taking so long?”

      “Brandon Sanderson is one of the great new writers on the scene today. And he’s not hard on the eyes either. Rawr.”

      “The Way of Kings is a tour-de-force. Luminously meretricious, yet with a round oaky underbite, this book offers notes of toffee and broam with just a hint of having someone’s nephew hit you in the groin with a tennis ball. Best served with fish.”

      Effing brilliant. And you know what, it’s finally out, and it’s awesome.

      • cjkoger
        Posted July 6, 2011 at 11:24 PM | Permalink

        Pat’s, not Sanderson’s. I mean…ugh. Never mind.

  2. gypsymaria
    Posted July 6, 2011 at 6:52 AM | Permalink

    Wheaton seems to be at the periphery of all the geeky things I enjoy, and I haven’t read his blog or his book either. A review like this, though? I’m intrigued. Now I might have to go and read it. I’m the kind of person who hates reading biographies or anything like them until someone shoves a book into my hands and says, “You’ll like this. Read it.” And I usually do. So I’m thinking maybe I’ll like this one, too. Especially if it is, as you say, a story about stories. I love meta behind-the-scenes stuff like that.

    Hey, any idea what upcoming Midwest conventions/events you may be attending? I’m going to be back in MN from my year-long stint in Korea, and I have some serious geeky catching up to do. I’d love to get my hardcover of WMF signed and listen to you talk for awhile.

    You were super cool to me at CONvergence in 2009, when I wasn’t even quite a fan yet and was just buying my first copy of your book on a friend’s recommendation. I think the reason you’re up on my list of favorite authors (right there in the top 3 bracket with Gaiman and Peter S. Beagle) is because you’re the kind of person I’d just like to hang out and have a conversation with, or maybe play some tabletop RPGs if you had that kind of time. So, mad props to you for staying cool and geeky, man. *fist bump*

    • gypsymaria
      Posted July 6, 2011 at 6:54 AM | Permalink

      Forgot to mention (HOW COULD I FORGET) that I am also a second generation Star Trek fan. My mother is a diehard Spock fangirl. TNG was what I was raised on, but I still love the original series, and had my brief flings with Voyager and DS9 in their time. So, bonus fist bumps from a fellow Trekkie.

  3. Themistocles
    Posted July 6, 2011 at 7:00 AM | Permalink

    I, probably like most on here, consider myself a bit of a geek. I even have a bit of a geek blog:


    Sorry for peddling my blog but…

    Anyway, I’ve never been a trekky. The closest I’ve come is watching the new film. And that’s just coz I’m a sucker for explosions in space more than anything.

    Saying that, you’ve now made me really interested in this book. If you say it would’ve helped you during hard times, maybe it will help me just that little bit.

    • Stealinx
      Posted July 6, 2011 at 7:09 AM | Permalink

      must say, skimming over your blog, quite amusing actually;)

      • Themistocles
        Posted July 6, 2011 at 7:26 AM | Permalink

        You know, as a failing writer, it’s so awesome when someone says something like that. It’s such a small thing, but you’ve made my day. Thanks, whoever you are.

  4. wolfimus
    Posted July 6, 2011 at 7:16 AM | Permalink

    Re:TNG, Netflix just released all 7 seasons streaming. Productivity is down. Morale is up.

  5. Oykib
    Posted July 6, 2011 at 7:17 AM | Permalink


    If you are fan of Marvel and I am sure you are, check out http://www.jimshooter.com It has to be one of the best reads and man those stories are great.

  6. Galatea
    Posted July 6, 2011 at 7:30 AM | Permalink

    I have lurked on this blog for over a year now, but my profound love for “Just a Geek” has prompted me to create an account. This book is fantastic, but not always easy to read. Like the best stories, it will leave you feeling uncomfortable at times. I used to be in the “Die Wesley” club, but have had my my eyes opened to what a superb entertainer Wil Wheaton is. His cameos on The Big Bang Theory and The Guild are classic, and his blog is always interesting.

    • Posted July 6, 2011 at 1:19 PM | Permalink

      I never had anything against Westley. It surprised me when I eventually discovered that some people did.

  7. pjmintz
    Posted July 6, 2011 at 7:53 AM | Permalink

    I love the humor in your blog. It makes me wish you’d write a novel using a voice closer to the one you use here – a novel where the word “monkeyfucker” wouldn’t be out of place.

    Somehow I doubt it would garner the same acclaim that the Kingkiller books have. But hell, I’d buy it.

    Or I guess I can just keep reading the blog.

    • Posted July 6, 2011 at 1:19 PM | Permalink

      I’ll probably do it eventually. Think urban fantasy.

      • katelyn
        Posted July 7, 2011 at 2:30 AM | Permalink

        Yayers. I’d say I can’t wait, but I swear I can. Really. Looking forward to your long and illustrious career, mostly for selfish reasons like having fantastic books to read for years to come. Again, yay. !!!

      • pjmintz
        Posted July 7, 2011 at 7:50 AM | Permalink

        That’s really exciting to hear. I’ll wait with gleeful anticipation.

  8. nb
    Posted July 6, 2011 at 7:57 AM | Permalink

    Thanks for the recommendation. Once I finish Lud-in-the-Mist—which is so unbelievably beautiful, strange and hilarious that I fell asleep trying to finish it last night—I may give it a try. Star Trek was a big part of my life too and I still watch reruns of Next Generation from time to time with my boys. One of the most exciting moments of my life (ok, maybe I’m exaggerating a little but it was super exciting) was meeting Leonard Nimoy a couple of years ago at The Jewish Museum in New York. He was absolutely gracious when he shook my hand and I was introduced as a “huge fan.” I was in heaven.

  9. hominid
    Posted July 6, 2011 at 9:11 AM | Permalink

    I’ll second pjmintz – once you’ve finished the Kingkiller Chronicles, and finished basking in the accompanying glory, I would happily buy a pithier book if you wanted to write one.

  10. stupidranger
    Posted July 6, 2011 at 9:12 AM | Permalink

    When I first read Just a Geek last year, I had not been following Wil Wheaton’s blog. But he was coming to GenCon, and I wanted to read some of his work before the convention. I loved this book, for much the same inarticulate reasons. There is something in the way he lets you into his life that makes this seem less like a book and more like talking to a friend. He was much the same in person, btw, gracious and funny and very personable.

  11. PR
    Posted July 6, 2011 at 10:27 AM | Permalink

    Well maybe you should read it again just to be un-flummoxed

  12. Posted July 6, 2011 at 10:57 AM | Permalink

    Don’t sell yourself short. You sir, are an excellent writer and I am fully confident in your ability to work ‘monkeyfucker’ into book 3.

    • Tager
      Posted July 6, 2011 at 12:38 PM | Permalink

      “The third silence was not an easy thing to notice. If you listened long enough you might begin to feel it in the chill of the window glass and the smooth plaster walls of the monkeyfucker.”

  13. Cynicallyric
    Posted July 6, 2011 at 12:22 PM | Permalink

    Book recommendation for Professor Rothfuss:

    “A Time Traveler’s Guide to Midieval England”

    I use it as a referance manual for fantasy written in the time period (which I don’t use much since I’m doing a Sci-fi atm). A great place to find ideas.


  14. pixmanip
    Posted July 6, 2011 at 1:12 PM | Permalink

    Pat, you sound like me explaing why I love Kingkiller so much.there are just so many different reasons

  15. SporkTastic
    Posted July 6, 2011 at 1:59 PM | Permalink

    I’ve always loved reading your rambly thoughts (since I discovered this…and went through -err- some – of the archives), and that you felt compelled to share this after no sleep is a pretty high recommendation in and of itself. And, your use of “if you want…or don’t, if you don’t” is something I really appreciate. I never like being told that I “should” or “should not” do anything – that’s really up to me to decide, isn’t it? (I say yes, yes it is, so I suppose that’s rhetorical.)

    Keep on keepin’ on. (Or something.)

    (Really, I just like using that phrase. It can mean anything.)

    • SporkTastic
      Posted July 6, 2011 at 2:02 PM | Permalink

      Oh, and while I watch TOS reruns when I was a kid (in the 80’s) and the cartoon…and loved those…TNG was really my “maturing” adoration for the series. I watched (nearly) every episode when it was first aired, and have now seen the series many times over.

      That it’s fully streaming on Netflix, oh, that brings a tear to my eye.

  16. mintfresh
    Posted July 6, 2011 at 4:23 PM | Permalink

    I’ve read the book, and I do have a little advice you may or may not choose to take up at some point, or perhaps another reader of your blog-column-relief valve will. The advice is this: get the audiobook version. Hearing Wil reading it himself, with a few added interjections, it really adds a lot. I don’t usually listen to audiobooks, but this one was on my friend’s mp3 player which I borrowed when I had a long trip to make, and mine had broke. I was curious, being vaguely aware of who Wil Wheaton was. After the trip I bought the book, but realised I’d been enjoying the audiobook more. So I bought that. I also read through most of his blog archive.

    So yeah, mini wall of text, short version? The audiobook is great, even if you don’t usually listen to audiobooks. Fun fact, I have a total of three audiobooks; Just a Geek is one, and two of them are your books Mr Rothfuss (very enjoyable, if very long. They’re an interesting alternative to simply re-reading the book).

  17. Green Man
    Posted July 6, 2011 at 4:57 PM | Permalink

    I just have to say that “Merciful Buddha. That’s just awful.” was in fact funny as hell.

    So maybe the ‘blurb’ is actually the fact that it moved you to write a huge blog post about it at 4:30 am instead?

  18. Vinny K
    Posted July 6, 2011 at 5:45 PM | Permalink

    You know, you should find a way to fit “monkeyfucker” into book three. Perhaps as an undignified insult by a similarly flummoxed Ambrose or a drunken Simmon. Not only would that be ridiculously funny, but it would also be like a shout-out to readers of your blog. That’s what I think, at least. May fortune smile upon you.


  19. Alessa
    Posted July 6, 2011 at 9:16 PM | Permalink

    Hehe, funny. I found your blog a little while after I found Wil Wheaton’s. I’m not a total geek. I’m not a fangirl. But both of you have a knack for writing stories, which is beautiful. I was wondering if you knew/liked Wil Wheaton(‘s writings). I’m glad you do. :)

  20. Phaedron
    Posted July 6, 2011 at 9:35 PM | Permalink

    “The BOY?!?!?!?!” (Worf’s disdain notwithstanding, I’ll likely check it out.)

  21. Posted July 7, 2011 at 4:10 AM | Permalink

    Its weird that every singel person I know knew a Steve in theyre collge years and they were allways nerds. Huh…

  22. Infinite_Day
    Posted July 7, 2011 at 4:25 AM | Permalink

    This isn’t applicable to the Wheaton topic but does involve geeky celebrities and is worth sharing for those who have not watched it. Warning: Contains mild swearing.


  23. Chaosdreamer
    Posted July 8, 2011 at 8:26 PM | Permalink

    “A poem I dream of reading in public one day, as he, Scalzi, and Felica Day perform an elaborate dumbshow, acting it out while dressed in period costume appropriate for a 9th century mead-hall.”

    This seems like something that needs to happen at Comic-Con!

  24. Cantus
    Posted July 12, 2011 at 7:32 AM | Permalink

    Hey guys,

    totally flummoxed by Pats recommendation (in its raw form) I bought the book for my new Kindle. Does any of you did too (or owned the eBook before ) and could explain to me how to completely read Gaiman’s introduction without Kindle “jumping ” behind the stupid table when you press “Next”? I tried and tried (and read the manual) and tried but didn’t get it.

    My frustration overcome, I continued reading anyway and love the book!

    Cheers aus Deutschland, Cantus

    • Cantus
      Posted July 12, 2011 at 10:26 AM | Permalink

      “Does any of you did too” means: “Did any of you do so, too”. I was hungry.

  25. chat
    Posted February 25, 2012 at 1:56 PM | Permalink

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  26. smithdave
    Posted June 29, 2012 at 2:09 AM | Permalink

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