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July 8, 2004

Wil Wheaton's "Just a Geek": The Search for Life, Love, and Fulfillment Beyond the Star Trek Enterprise

Sebastopol, CA--Actors are no strangers to criticism, nor are writers. But when the harshest critic you face is an unrelenting personal ghost called "Prove to Everyone that Quitting Star Trek Wasn't a Mistake" (or "Prove to Everyone" for short), it's time to call out the exorcists. Wil Wheaton found the key to exorcising his ghost through his weblog, wilwheaton.net. Here, he revealed his personal and often difficult journey to find himself. Always close, but never quite getting that one acting job that would revitalize his career, he struggled to come to terms with what it means to be famous, or, ironically, famous for having been famous.

Somewhere along the line--encouraged by fans, family, and a former grade-school teacher--Wil began to consider that perhaps the writer in him deserved equal billing with the actor. But could he make the transition from blogger to book author? "I was doing okay recounting the boring things that happened in my life," he noted, "but could I actually tell a story that had a beginning, middle, and end?" It turns out that he could. Just a Geek (O'Reilly, US $24.95) is the story he tells, writing with his characteristic honesty and disarming humanity that resonates with geeks and non-geeks alike.

"This is a book, as you'll discover, about honesty, about the erasure of an image," writes Neil Gaiman in his foreword to the book. "In an era of people blogging as pseudo-celebrities, this is the story of a celebrity blogging as a person. In Just a Geek, Wil uses his online journal as a place to begin to tell his story--diaries as performance art. This is his account of himself and of growing up (at least partly) in public." A regular visitor to Wil's site, Gaiman assures readers, "Just a Geek is a lot more than a fix-up or a 'best-of' wilwheaton.net. The journal entries punctuate it, but the story he tells is bigger than that."

In Just a Geek, Wil touches on the frustrations associated with his acting career, his inability to distance himself from Ensign Crusher in the public's eyes, the launch of his incredibly successful web site and the joy he's found in writing. Through all of this, he shares the ups and downs he encountered along the journey, along with the support and love he discovered from his friends and family.

The stories in Just a Geek include:

  • Wil's plunge from teen star to struggling actor
  • Discovering the joys of HTML, blogging, Linux, and web design
  • The struggle between Wesley Crusher, Starfleet ensign, and Wil Wheaton, author and blogger
  • Gut-wrenching reactions to the 9-11 disaster
  • Moving tales of Wil's relationships with his wife, step-children, and extended family
  • Wil Wheaton--celebrity, blogger, and geek--writes for the geek in all of us, no matter where you are on the geek spectrum. Engaging, witty, and pleasantly self-deprecating, Just a Geek will surprise you, touch you, and make you laugh.

    Additional Resources:

    Just a Geek
    Wil Wheaton
    ISBN 0-596-00768-x, 267 pages, $24.95 US, $36.95 CA
    order@oreilly.com
    1-800-998-9938; 1-707-827-7000

    About O'Reilly

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