The Year of the Geek: 365 Adventures from the Sci-Fi Universe

The Year of the Geek by James ClarkeThe Year of the Geek by James ClarkeThe Year of the Geek by James Clarke

The Year of the Geek is a fact-a-day (sometimes more) calendar book filled with all types of sci-fi related information, frequently enhanced by or presented via a host of illustrations, charts, pictograms, and other sorts of infographics. What sort of facts? Birthdays (authors, directors, actors, fictional characters), death dates, release dates (films, books, TV shows), landmark moments, such as when The Doctor first met himself, and more. Many of the facts lead off into brief moments of exploration, either textually or graphically: which Spider-Man characters are heroes, villains or allies; which body parts were bionic on the Bionic Woman; how many King Kong movies there were, when they were released, and how they fared at the box office (the top grossing one sits atop the Empire State Building naturally), how the “kills” on Buffy the Vampire Slayer break down by character (no surprise Buffy leads the way with over half, but whether Giles, Zander, or Willow take runner-up I’ll leave a mystery), and the like.

It’s a trivia-lover’s bonanza, and clearly a lot of fun. The choices are obviously arbitrary (why this factoid for this date and not another?), and sometimes James Clarke stretches the definition of Sci-Fi. My biggest complaint is while many of the graphics are fun as concepts, as visual conveyors of information they too often left something to be desired; I had to struggle a surprising amount of time to “read” them, so that they obscured more than they illuminated. That said, as visuals stripped of the information-conveying part, they were striking on an aesthetic level. You can click on the three I’ve included below to see them in in a larger size.

The Year of the Geek is a browsing book by its nature, the sort of thing you pick up and paw through for a while, go “huh” a few times, then pick it up again some other time to do the same. Maybe even rereading a section since you’d forgotten that little piece of trivia about A.I or Kurt Vonnegut. It’s not deep, it’s not compelling, sometimes you wonder what the point of a particular entry is, but mostly it’s good-natured fun that calls up all sorts of fond associations.

Published in October 2017. The Year of the Geek is a fascinating look into geek culture. Each day will tell a different story from the sci-fi universe, from famous franchises and figures such as Star WarsThe Matrix, Peter Jackson and Luc Besson, to lesser known stories, including the French cult classic City of Lost Children, the Japanese anime Akira and bestselling German novelist, Marcus Heitz. With text written by self-confessed geek James Clarke and accompanied by over 100 infographics that have been specially commissioned for this book, The Year of the Geek celebrates all things geek in a new and intriguing way.

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BILL CAPOSSERE, who's been with us since June 2007, lives in Rochester NY, where he is an English adjunct by day and a writer by night. His essays and stories have appeared in Colorado Review, Rosebud, Alaska Quarterly, and other literary journals, along with a few anthologies, and been recognized in the "Notable Essays" section of Best American Essays. His children's work has appeared in several magazines, while his plays have been given stage readings at GEVA Theatre and Bristol Valley Playhouse. When he's not writing, reading, reviewing, or teaching, he can usually be found with his wife and son on the frisbee golf course or the ultimate frisbee field.

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