Wil Wheatons books

25 10 2008

AKA Wesley Crusher (Star Trek: The Next Generation)
and Gordie Lachance (Stand By Me – 1986)

Just A Geek (ISBN 059600768X 2004 O’Reilly)
Dancing Barefoot (ISBN 0596006748 2003 O’Reilly)

It’s very rare for me to read biographies. How these came to my attention is a mystery. I like Wil’s writing style and will buy his books again.

I read somewhere that he was not happy about the Just a Geek book being publicisied as a Star Trek book, but if it hadn’t, it may not have come to my notice. I didn’t know he’d been in Stand By Me. And theres a surprising list of other things he’s been in – just look up his wikipeadia entry.

The Just a Geek text (below) borrows heavily from the dust jacket of the book.

Not the usual celebrity biography, both books flesh out the stories that started his blog. Wil takes you with him to auditions, to Star Trek conventions, and into the deepest reaches of his soul.

In the spotlight for nearly his entire childhood, Wil starred in the movie Stand By Me at the tender age of 12 and grew up on television as Wesley Crusher on Star Trek: The Next Generation. But after Star Trek, the roles he expected didn’t materialize, leaving Wil to grapple with the big questions: could he avoid the pitfalls that typically befall a child star, create a real life, and define success on his own terms?

Just a Geek is the story of how Wil faces down his constant companion, the ghost he calls “Prove To Everyone That Quitting Star Trek Wasn’t A Mistake.” The key to banishing that ghosty turned out to be the weblog, or online journal, that he launched in 2001 at wilwheaton.net. On his blog, Wil shares – with stunning and fearless honesty – his real life: the struggles of being a working-class actor, the joys of being married and raising two stepchildren, and the experience of growing up on the Starship Enterprise. The kid actor is now a writer too, with an audience of nearly a million readers a month.

Dancing Barefoot contains 5 stories that didn’t fit in Just a Geek. One story, “a story of love, hate, laughter and the acceptance of all things Trek” puts more context to the related stories in Just a Geek – so buy the book, or seek the discussions out on Wil’s blog wilwheaton.typepad.com.

On the blog, you’ll find details of his Third book “The Happiest Days of Our Lives” (I Would like to read that), and his latest writings about his appearance on Criminal Minds as a badie.

More words:
I found it interesting reading about wils adventures at casting sessions and rekon it his blog should be recomended viewing for those seeking an acting career. He puts in some good advice/insights from time to time.

Further Reading
Wil on Wikipedia en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wil_Wheaton

Stand By Me (1986 movie)
The main characters are Gordie Lachance (Wil Wheaton), and his three friends Chris Chambers (River Phoenix), Teddy Duchamp (Corey Feldman), and Vern Tessio (Jerry O’Connell), all 12 years old. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stand_by_Me_(film)

Last Words (Wil):
“One of my defining characteristics is that I can’t keep my mouth shut. I can’t stand idly by, and if somebody has to say it, it may as well be me. I am extremely passionate about virtually everything, and that passion drives me to discuss, argue, and learn about issues that have an effect on my life. I’m sure that it would just be easier to stay quiet and live happily in McWorld, but I will not go gently into that good night” – Being an excerpt from Selected Interviews in Wil Wheaton’s latest book “Just A Geek” (subtitled: Unflinchingly honest tales of the search for life, love, and fulfillment beyond the Starship Enterprise)

If you can’t find the books, have a peek at his blog…

John Scalzi: Old Man’s War

11 10 2008
John Scalzi's books

John Scalzi books

Just finished reading John Scalzi’s Old Man’s War Trilogy (plus 2)

1 Old Man’s War
2 The Ghost Brigades
3 The Last Colony
4 Zoe’s Tale
– The Sagan Diary

Book one is a must read as it sets the scene for all that follows.

“John Perry did two things on his seventy-fifth brithday. First he visited his wife’s grave. Then he joined the army”

That is, he joined the Colonial Defence Forces (off planet service). Part of the equipment is a new body. If he survives 2 years in the forces, he can retire to a colony world.

In reality, it will be 10 years of fighting all manner of aliens.

Book two: The Ghost brigades are the Special Forces of the Colonial Defence Forces, elite troops created from the DNA of the dead (those that signed up for service, but didn’t make it to 75). That includes Jane Sagan, the clone of John’s wife, but without her memories.

The timeline is after the events of bk1 and John doesn’t take part in the story.

Book three: John and Jane retire to a colony world with their adopted daughter (Zoe who was rescued in bk2). After a few years of the good life, John and Jane are asked to lead a new colony.

Nothing goes to plan as they become stranded (without tech) on the wrong world. They’re in hiding from  an alien alliance that wants to stamp out un-approved colonization. If found, the colony could be wiped out.

John must find the truth from the lies and half-truths spun by the CDF (that’ right, their own side!) and save the colony. Treason againt the CDF may be required.

Book four: This is the same tale as bk3 but told from Zoe’s view point. Scenes that featured John and Jane in bk3 are missing their dialog, but Zoe was watching (not listening). She got up to some adventures that John and Jane had no knowledge of, and went off planet to visit the alien alliance. In the end she brought back some tech that helped John to save the colony.

I’ve really glossed over the story, heaps, but you do need to read all four books in this trilogy.

The Military fiction (action) in bk1 is a great read. A new, interesting and insightful addition to the genre. Entertaining. Highly recommended.

The Sagan Diary: On the fence with this one. Wait for John Scalzi’s collected short stories!! Be warned, it’s data mined from Jane’s memories when her Ghost Brigade body was retired (B4 bk3). Some of it was a chore to read, other stuff (sorta) interesting. A shortish novella – hardback.