Written by Alex Langley
Art by Nick Langley
Are you a young nerdling or a dissociable geek looking to level up your life? Author Alex Langley is here to help. Langley’s The Geek Handbook is a guide to socializing with fellow geeks and the common world, a road map for developing into a well-rounded adult while maintaining your geeky integrity.
This book goes into making friends, going to school, moving out, cooking, exercising, expressing your fandoms in a work environment, and a number of other general life help points, all in ways that are both tailored to work for geeks, as well as to be entertainingly read by geeks.
What is a “geek” then? Langley defines one as “anyone who has a passion for the things they love,” transcending beyond the usual fandom of popular culture and even includes geeks of food, cars and sports as examples. This puts everyone on a level playing field and shows the usual geek that he’s not so unusual. With that said, Langley knows which kinds of geek will be reading this book. As such, expect the usual references to movies, television, comics, games, and tropes we all love.
If you hate reference humor – the kind where someone mentions something from some show or movie and it’s supposed to be funny on that alone – don’t let that deter you from this book. Langley does a great job mixing his nerdy references with wit and humor where most appropriate, earning the numerous chuckles I gave it in my reading.
Enough geeky fandoms are used throughout the book to please almost any reader, from comic book to video games, anime to tech, and more. They are also well-mixed, keeping most sections from becoming monopolized from a singular fandom. The zombie references seem to get a lot of play though, with multiple discussions about making sure your home in adequately prepared for the impending zombie invasion. But I’m a bit tired of zombies these days.
Being a geek for editing and consistent formatting myself, I noticed a few editorial mishaps that probably could have been fixed with another quick run through before going to press. A repeated paragraph here, an un-bolded title in a series with bolded titles there. These mistakes are few, but they do momentarily interrupt the reading experience.
I was caught off guard though by the inclusion of a “Geek Girls” chapter, which seems like it would be segregating a subset of geek culture in a book that is otherwise progressively trying to bring everyone together. In reading though, it addresses several points which sadly still need to be pointed out to the denser male individuals in geekdom, highlighting the need to treat geeky girls as an equal part of the group.
Overall, the book was an enjoyable read. It has its ups and downs as the humor and advice didn’t always connect with me, but it will with other readers. The first thing I did when I brought this book home for review was read aloud the “Seven Types of Geek Roommates” to my own roommates, where we laughed and pointed out which aspects fit ourselves and argued which didn’t. That’s the fun of the book: reading what relates to you with the humor Langley brings to the table, and then arguing with the parts you disagree with. Just like any good geek.
Not to mention, Langley admitting he likes Ben Reilly always gets brownie points in my book. Yay, Scarlet Spider!