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the girly geek blog

Have you ever opened up a book, read the first few pages, and silently had the revelation that you had just read about your own life?

This past weekend, I read a book that did exactly that. It was magical.

Usually, when I get absorbed in a book like that, it’s some sort of fantastical adventure where the protagonist has a personality or worldview similar to my own. This time, though, I went a little out of my comfort zone with a social sciences book called I Find Your Lack of Faith Disturbing: Star Wars and the Triumph of Geek Culture by A. D. Jameson.

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cover with headphones

I listen to a lot of podcasts and audiobooks, so I’m thrilled to announce that there is now an audiobook version of my latest book, I Find Your Lack of Faith Disturbing: Star Wars and the Triumph of Geek Culture! I myself read the introduction, and the rest of the book was read by actor Holter Graham. You can listen to samples here and here, and you can purchase the whole recording here, as well as here.

Enjoy!

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Chicago Review of Books

Named after Margaret Anderson’s literary magazine founded in Chicago in 1914, The Little Interview asks Chicago poets and writers about their reading, writing, and relationship with Chicago.

A. D. Jameson is a lifelong geek and a PhD candidate in the Program for Writers at the University of Illinois in Chicago. In I Find Your Lack of Faith Disturbing: Star Wars and the Triumph of Geek Culture, he charts the rise of science fiction, fantasy, and superhero franchises like Star Wars, Star Trek, Harry Potter, Marvel, and Lord of the Rings, from their humble beginnings to their current hold on the box office.

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How did you wind up in Chicago?

I was living in Bangkok (long story) and looking to return to the US. A lot of my friends from Illinois State University, where I did my Master’s degree, were by then living in Chicago, and they convinced me to come…

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This Sunday, come talk Star Wars and geek culture with me at the launch party for my new book, I Find Your Lack of Faith Disturbing: Star Wars and the Triumph of Geek Culture. That’s May 20th, from 4–6pm at the spectacular Bucket O’ Blood Books and Records (3182 N. Elston Ave. Chicago). Copies of the book will be available for purchase, and I’ll be happy to sign them. I’ll also read a little from the book, and answer any questions that anyone might have.

I hope to see you there!

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81U3KDIU+iL

Five years ago, I started writing a book on geek culture, trying to explain why geeky properties like Star Wars and Harry Potter and the X-Men blew up around the turn of the millennium, and haven’t gone away since. In writing the book, I came to believe that a lot of the stories that we tell ourselves about geeks and Star Wars are wrong, and that the rise of geek culture can teach us a great deal about how movies and TV have changed over the past forty years. My goal became to write a book that would explain these changes to both geeks and non-geeks, as well as to explain what it is that geeks are looking for, and why.

That book, I Find Your Lack of Faith Disturbing: Star Wars and the Triumph of Geek Culture, is finally out, available both electronically and in print. An audiobook version is also in the works, if you prefer that. (You can listen to an excerpt here.)

I’ve pasted more information about the book below, and in the coming days I’ll post links to reviews and interviews. In the meantime, thank you for your interest! If you check the book out, I’d love to hear what you think!

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When Johnny Mnemonic premiered on May 26th, 1995, I was pretty excited to see it. I didn’t know much about cyberpunk, or the fiction of William Gibson. But I was a huge Star Trek fan, and loved Alien, Aliens, Batman, Blade Runner—big, immersive fantasies stuffed with over-the-top production design and special effects. I also liked computers, and Speed had made me, like so many people, a Keanu Reeves fan. Plus I’d somehow heard that this Gibson fellow was writing Alien 3. If memory serves, my friend Philip and I went opening day, buying our tickets and settling in, expecting to see our new favorite film.

Instead, we hated the movie—loathed it. There’s a moment, late in the picture, when a Yakuza member picks up a rocket launcher and starts firing it at the base where our heroes are hiding, screaming expletives until Ice-T’s character fells her with a crossbow. I remember turning to Philip and saying, “She wants out. She’s trying to blow up the film.”

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In the years that followed, I got more and more into cinema, branching out into foreign movies, experimental art films, classic Hollywood productions. I also remained a fan of the geekier genres, enjoying movies like 12 Monkeys, Star Trek: First Contact, and Starship Troopers. But I mostly forgot about Johnny Mnemonic. If it ever came up, which rarely happened, I found that those who’d seen it felt the same way that I did. The movie was garbage, a total joke. Even William Gibson agreed.

Recently, a friend and I were discussing cyberpunk movies, trying to figure out how massive walls of TV screens had become a cliche of the genre. Some google searches brought me back to Johnny Mnemonic, whose imagery intrigued me. Curious, I glanced at the movie’s Wikipedia page, where the cast list stood out: besides Keanu and Ice-T, the film stars Takeshi Kitano, Dolph Lundgren, Henry Rollins, Udo Kier. Twenty-three years ago, I didn’t know who they were, but I sure do now. What’s more, I learned that the director, Robert Longo, was a visual artist who, back in the ’70s and ’80s, used to pal around with Cindy Sherman, Rhys Chatham, and Glenn Branca. (One of his artworks was used on the cover of Branca’s album The Ascension.) And before he made Johnny Mnemonic, Longo directed the music videos for New Order’s “Bizarre Love Triangle” and R.E.M.’s “The One I Love.”

I like those videos, I thought. So I found myself wondering if my memory could be faulty. Maybe Johnny Mnemonic was good? I had to find out.

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81U3KDIU+iL

On May 8th, FSG will publish my book I Find Your Lack of Faith Disturbing: Star Wars and the Triumph of Geek Culture, which is available for pre-order here.

About the book:

In I Find Your Lack of Faith Disturbing, A. D. Jameson takes geeks and non-geeks alike on a surprising and insightful journey through the science fiction, fantasy, and superhero franchises that now dominate pop culture. Walking us through the rise of geekdom from its underground origins to the top of the box office and bestseller lists, Jameson takes in franchises like The Lord of the Rings, Guardians of the Galaxy, Harry Potter, Star Trek, and, in particular, Star Wars—as well as phenomena like fan fiction, cosplay, and YouTube parodies. Along the way, he blasts through the clichés surrounding geek culture: that its fans are mindless consumers who will embrace all things Spider-Man or Batman, regardless of quality; or that the popularity and financial success of Star Wars led to the death of ambitious filmmaking.

A lifelong geek, Jameson shines a new light on beloved classics, explaining the enormous love (and hate) they are capable of inspiring in fan and non-fan alike, while exploding misconceptions as to how and why they were made. I Find Your Lack of Faith Disturbing tells the story of how the geeks have inherited the earth.

“Funny, incisive, and timely … Jameson does for geeks what geek culture does for its superheroes: he takes them seriously, respects their power, and refuses to hide his deep affection.” — Lawrence Kasdan, co-screenwriter of The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi, The Force Awakens, and Solo: A Star Wars Story

“Self-aware and self-reflective, A. D. Jameson deftly examines the development of mainstream geek culture from an insider’s perspective. He traces the path of contemporary geek media from Lucas to, well, Lucas, celebrating the future-forward thinkers in gender-fluid cosplay gear who will inherit geekdom and arguing that even if cranky critics like me find some superhero movies are getting staid that the geeks are capable of reinventing cinema again.” — Film critic April Wolfe, host of the Switchblade Sisters podcast

“Compulsively readable, Jameson’s Geek Culture is a tasty combination of personal memoir, survey of the rise of geek culture, and defense of the value of geek literature and arts. Enjoyable for the general reader and exceedingly useful to teachers, academics, and anyone interested in the past, current, and future of geekdom.” — Mary Ann Mohanraj, author of The Stars Change, founder of Strange Horizons, and Director of the Speculative Literature Foundation

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