Tag: Nerd

The Unknowns by Gabriel Roth

Posted September 2, 2013 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Contemporary / 2 Comments

The Unknowns by Gabriel RothTitle: The Unknowns (Goodreads)
Author: Gabriel Roth
Published: Picador, 2013
Pages: 227
Genres: Contemporary
My Copy: Library Book

Buy: AmazonBook DepositoryKindle (or visit your local Indie bookstore)

Eric survived high school in the mid 80’s; the nerd that spent way too much time with computers and never really having any friends. Now he has millions from selling his dot com and lives in a beautiful apartment and living the life everyone dreams of. Except he never quite found love, that was until the glamorous Maya came into his life. It’s not easy trying to get the most alluring woman in the world to pay any attention to you at all.

When I was in high school I really wanted to be a writer, this is the type of story I tried to write. Not as well as Gabriel Roth, I don’t know how to be a writer. they always ended up too short and descriptive, I never knew how to write long form and tended to rush to the end. Don’t get me wrong, The Unknowns is not a typical nerdy love story; Roth showed me just what can be done with this type of novel.

If you think this is not the type of novel I would normally pick up and enjoy then let me tell you why I picked this book up. I consider Megan Abbott the queen of contempory noir and when she blurbs and tweets about a novel, I tend to pay attention. The Unknowns starts out as a nerd falling in love but then deals with the complexity of a relationship, in a slight noirish manner.

Maya may be the most beautiful woman Eric has ever seen but she comes with her own issues she has to deal with. Humans can be fragile creatures and sometimes it is hard to know just how deep the pain runs. When Eric learns about his lover and her emotional scars he is left wondering about the truth. Life is more complex than computer code.

I really enjoyed the way this book tackled relationships; from the start you have a geeky romance and then by the end you are reading about the complex human beings. Roth blends wit with a unique view of the world and human interactions and nails home a magnificent exploration into relationships. I like the way this book is a budding romance/coming of age novel but you look a little deeper and there is so much more to discover.

While Eric isn’t too similar to me, I remember life as an outsider (I still feel that way) and the feeling of trying to navigate the social waters. As you get older, it doesn’t get any easier and you are bound to make mistakes. I’m lucky to have found my own Maya and had to learn about relationships and trying to understand all the pain from their past can be a lot to deal with when you are socially awkward. I really identified with this novel and felt inspired to write again but then I realise I can’t write anything like this and never end up trying.

The Unknowns is a witty humorous contemporary novel full of so many human truths, when Megan Abbott tweeted me to tell me that this novel won’t disappoint she wasn’t lying. I’m not trying to name drop, Abbott is fantastic on Twitter and will happily answer any questions you might have and proves Twitter is the place to be. If you are socially awkward or are interested in the exploration of relationships then this book is for you.

Geekomancy by Michael R. Underwood

Posted October 4, 2012 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Fantasy / 0 Comments

Geekomancy by Michael R. UnderwoodTitle: Geekomancy (Goodreads)
Author: Michael R. Underwood
Series: Geekomancy #1
Published: Pocket Stars, 2012
Pages: 255
Genres: Fantasy
My Copy: eBook

Buy: Amazon (or visit your local Indie bookstore)

I’ve never really been able to get into Fantasy too well but occasionally I find an urban fantasy novel that I really enjoy. Geekomancy tells the story of Ree who discovers that she is a Geekomancer; a human that derives supernatural powers from pop culture. One day she is a struggling screen writer work as a barista at a comic shop, the next she is discovering the town’s magical flip-side as well as her own abilities. Ree needs to help Eastwood in solving the mysterious increase of teen suicides while discovering who she is.

While this is a typical urban fanstasy novel this offers so much more; I would say a must read for any geeks out; there are many references to The Princess Bride, Buffy, Firefly, Star Wars, Dungeons & Dragons, Doctor Who, Sherlock and the list goes on and on. Many people talk about this book as a book that Kevin Smith would write if he wrote urban fantasy; while I see the homage towards Kevin Smith, I also feel like this is homage to Joss Whedon as well.

In some parts I think Michael R. Underwood did step into the realm of the cliché but overall I think this book was a fast pace geek-out and any predictability was overshadowed by the millions of pop culture references. This is the kind of book I would recommend to anyone looking for another nerdfest after finishing Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. This book would have been so much fun researching and Michael R. Underwood said he has been researching this book his whole life but let’s face it; it would be a good excuse to watch the entire series of Buffy or Sherlock again or to play some more video games like Crimson Skies.

Geekomancy had a nice balance between pop culture and urban fantasy to satisfy a reader like myself who is a little wary of reading fantasy novels. This novel is the beginning of what seems like a great series and I’m looking forward to reading the sequel. While the plot is fairly standard, what Michael R. Underwood has done with the pop culture references and blending humour and fantasy elements into this book has resulted in a fast paced enjoyable nerdfest.