Wil Wheaton: The Happiest Days of Our Lives

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Wheaton, Wil. The Happiest Days of Our Lives (Arcadia, CA: Monolith, 2007)

After enjoying the hell out of Wil Wheaton's first two books (Dancing Barefoot and Just a Geek, reviewed together here) I was itching to get my hands on a copy of his third book, The Happiest Days of Our Lives. That itch has now been scratched, and it feels GOOD!

The book's highlights are "Exactly What I Wanted" (about a Sunday ice-cream trip with his kids) and "Let Go: A Requiem for Felix the Bear" (about saying goodbye to a beloved family pet). They are perfect little episodes that evoke just the right emotional notes; I laughed out loud at the first and teared up at the second. You can read them online (here for the first story, here and here for the second) or in print (pp. 33-35 and pp. 107-118) while you sit in the bookstore's coffeeshop waiting for the checkout line to shrink down to a tolerable length. If you like those stories, then buy the book already; if you don't, then...you suck. Give up and go home.

Seriously, though: Wheaton is a great writer, and I'm now eagerly waiting the announcement of a publication date for his next book (or at least a convention appearance near me, so I can tell him in person how much I enjoy his work). When Wheaton writes that "I have been able to touch people's lives as a writer in ways that I never could have when I wore a spacesuit, just reading the words that other people thought I should say" (p. 104, "The Big Goodbye"), he's not exaggerating. It's great to have a Niven-reading, taiko-loving unrepentant geek writing such great slice-of-life stuff. Even when Wheaton writes about gaming and poker (two habits I never acquired) he does it so well that even a newbie can grok what he's saying.

Do yourself a favor and check out Wheaton's blog; then go read his books. For some levity, here are two Quotes of the Day that made my inner geek laugh:

My core cast [of Star Wars figures] was Han Solo (in Hoth and regular outfits), Luke Skywalker (X-wing fighter or Bespin version), Greedo (shoots second, goddammit, version), Obi-Wan Kenobi (I lost the plastic robe and broke the tip off the light saber version), Princess Leia (pre-slave girl "man I wish I could hit that" version), C-3PO (tarnished version), and R2-D2 (head stopped clicking a long time ago version). (pp. 43-5, "The Light Special")

...we had D&D fever, and the only prescription was more polyhedral dice. (p. 81, "A Portrait of the Artist As a Young Geek")

[typo fixed]

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This page contains a single entry by cognitivedissident published on July 14, 2008 6:33 PM.

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