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Wil Wheaton's Just a Geek

July 3, 2017

What happens if all your dreams come true when you're still teenager? Usually, you become Justin Bieber. Wil Wheaton avoided the path taken by most child actors, but his journey was still as bumpy as it was beautiful.

At age fifteen, Wil Wheaton landed his dream job as Ensign Wesley Crusher on Star Trek The Next Generation. Wheaton was a hardcore geek and his adolescent self quivered with glee at the thought of manning a new and improved Enterprise. Perhaps he should have been quivering with fear? Old school fans hated his character. They are a finicky bunch. Conflict with the producers caused Wheaton to leave the show in the middle of the series. Wheaton's career bottomed out. He rebooted his life a blogger and he became the inadvertent king of the nerds.

Just a Geek chronicles Wheaton's rise and fall. It's often hilarious, like the first time he meets William Shatner. Sometimes it's sad, like stories about having to sell autographed memorabilia to pay bills. He experiences the irony of having to be standoffish or mean to Trek fans for the sake of his own psychological health. Life comes at you fast. Especially on the internet, where Wheaton found a new career as a writer. He started a personal blog for fun. Many people related to his candor, finding a positive ally in a world filled with negativity and doubt. A lot of that content makes up the core of Just a Geek. Consider it the nerd version of the part-memoir / part-self help genre. You can get the print book from the library or stream the audiobook for free on Bandcamp. Both would rack you some Summer Challenge points.

The book could use an update. Since publication, Wheaton has become synonymous with boardgaming through his TableTop show. If you are looking to play games with your family over the holiday, TableTop is a great guide. You can see first hand which games are a good fit for your tribe. Wheaton and friends will teach you the rules. Nearly all the games featured cost less than going to a movie, and can be played way more times. Heck, who even needs to buy a game? Print, build, and play a free game like Star Trek: The Dice Game. That would be a zillion Summer Challenge points.



Bryan is a librarian at Nashville Public Library. Bryan enjoys board games, bikes, and free software. His only star is Trek.