Thursday, 24 May 2012

And the geeks shall inherit the earth: GEEKHOOD by Andy Robb


Since GEEKHOOD launched I was sent a SIGNED COPY of the book by those lovely Stripey people at Stripes Publishing! Now I got myself a signed book at the launch, and to have two would be immensely greedy, so I am going to give it away!

To enter the competition leave a comment on this blog, including a way of contacting you if you win. The closing date is June 23rd. You could even leave a geeky confession if you want to, but I don't insist. The main thing is that this book is utterly lovely and you should try and win it. That I DO insist on.

GEEKHOOD by Andy Robb 

Stripes Publishing

Amazon link

Archie is a Geek. (Well, he is a Level 5 Mage to be exact.) Playing RPG with his equally geeky friends gives him the escape he needs from his quite crap life, which currently includes his parents’ divorce, school bullies and not being able to talk to girls. But then a Girl talks to him. Archie’s world is thrown into chaos – girls don’t want to paint orcs and hang out at the Hovel do they? How will he be able to speak to her like a normal human being?

Archie's embarking on a Daring Quest - will the Geek get the Girl?  

First I will say, just casually, 


And now I will write some words about it, and about geekiness in general. 

I was a geekchild. And then a geekteen. And now a geekoldperson. But I feel like I have spent a lot of time denying this pretending to be a cool person with a ‘life’. 

So it is all a dirty lie and I am not a cool person with a life. Reading GEEKHOOD has inspired me to admit this and embrace my geek. A speech by Matt – Archie’s best friend and the epitome of geek – opened my mind. He points out that pretty much everyone is a geek, because being a geek is just being passionate about something down to its tiniest details. So whether your ‘thing’ is football, role-playing games or books with bonnets in (or all these things – a bonneted orc playing football) then you are a massive geek.

I feel like when you are young, you are a carefree geek. If you like something, you love it. You collect it and talk about it and play games that take you into its world. Here are some things I remember collecting: football stickers, pogs, weird plastic blobs with faces on, the Beano, boglins and dogs wearing nappies that you put in the fridge and the nappy would go blue or pink depending on whether the dogbaby was a boy or a girl (I feel like I could have dreamt that one). 

Most of these I think reflect a love of collecting, rather than a particular interest in dogs wearing nappies, but a few collections were wide-ranging obsessions. For me the main one was ‘being a male action hero’ (or just ‘being male’ – I did once ask my parents to call me John). I spent most of my childhood dressed as a Thunderbird/ Captain Scarlet / Superman and, judging by the photos, I wasn’t particularly worried that the other children at the various birthday parties were wearing normal clothes.

I also once wore a bear costume to my gym class for what appears to be no reason – I am not sure what that means.

In GEEKHOOD, Archie has spent a great deal of his life so far being interested in role-play games. He has a collection of figures, all lovingly painted and he and his friends bring the figures to each other’s houses to play The Game. The book gave me an insight into a world I knew nothing about before. It’s a world of storytelling and creativity and it offers an escape to a place where you can use your cunning and imagination to be the hero. This is quite an important escape for Archie, who is not having a great time of it now his stepdad, Tony the Tosser, has moved in. When Archie is painting his miniatures he is creating something beautiful that is completely detached from ordinary life and tossers. But as he grows up he worries that his collection is childish.

Archie meets Sarah. Sarah is a GIRL, which is quite an unusual thing to find in the hovel. And Sarah seems interested in getting to know him, which is both exciting and utterly terrifying. Archie’s mum and stepdad seem relieved at this ‘normal’ behaviour and Archie starts to think he needs to be ‘normal’ too. He starts to be interested in auras and spirituality, because Sarah is, and he starts finding his friends’ geekiness embarrassing.
That is why it becomes increasingly important to seem, to other people, like we have a ‘life’. Spending time in a fantasy world of things you love, whether that is games, books or films, is not having a life. I noticed this when I looked at an early version of my CV on which under the ‘hobbies’ section I’d written ‘Socialising with friends’. AS A HOBBY. Just so the person thinking of employing me doesn’t worry that I spend Saturday nights watching Dr Who and eating twiglets. (I DO). And did I need to add ‘with friends’?? Just in case they thought by socialising I meant sitting on my own in public places staring at people. 

But I must have been thinking that actually having hobbies – things that I was really really interested in – would make me sound like a geek. So instead I thought it would be better it I sounded like a complete nob. It reminds me of my recent revelation that most of life’s truths can be derived from the totally AWESOME comedy Spaced. Tim in Spaced loves comics and Star Wars. So he works in a comic shop with Bill Bailey, shouts at children who want to buy JarJar Binks (which gets him sacked, but only for a little bit) while he works on getting his dream job – making comics. Daisy, on the other hand says she wants to be a journalist, go travelling and find herself, talk about philosophy etc etc, but most of the time she is trying to sound cool. She is me, writing ‘socialising with friends’ on a CV when what she actually likes doing is playing video games with Tim.

So I think I need to be a little less Daisy and a little more Tim (without going so far as to dig out the Thunderbird costume and change my name to John). 

We see all the conflict between being yourself and worrying what other people think of you play out in Archie’s Inner Monologue (IM), which is the voice he talks to in his head. This was my favourite thing in the book because I think it reflects the inside of most, if not all, people’s minds. His IM is the voice telling him that he is going to embarrass himself and that he has no chance. It is a pretty familiar to anyone who has ever worried or doubted themself or thought 'I am a loser'.

Archie's ensuing attempts at romance don't go as smoothly as he hopes and the book is spot on with its awkward, embarrassing and painfully real portrayal of love. Unless you are someone whose teenage lovelife is/was filled with intense angry vampires, then you will GET THIS BOOK because it confirms the age-old truth that being in love = making a tit out of yourself.      

While Archie's story what what made me fall in love with GEEKHOOD, Matt’s view on the world was what made me punch the air and want to embrace my own personal geekhood. Being a geek is finding beauty in things – often in the most minute details. It is being excited to find other people who know as much about that thing as you do and who see the beauty in it too and so you can bang on about it for hours until other people who aren’t interested in it either get interested or decide to kill you.

So, all in all. READ GEEKHOOD. Also, get yourself over to, where you can geek yourself! Here is me:


  1. Words of wisdom here. Thanks, Liz!
    The best thing about being a writer is that people actually want you to be a bit weird.
    I have to admit it doesn't necessarily stop them shunning you, though...

  2. hahaha LOVE this post and loved Geekhood too, also thanks for reminding me about pogs, i loved them as a kid! :)

  3. Sounds like a book that's right up my street, would love to win a copy.

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  5. Hello! I've been wanting this book for a while now, it's not available in the USA yet (or it wasn't last I checked). Would make an excellent birthday present (for me!) :D You can contact me via Twitter @moonflowerchild

  6. Awesome - have heard good things about this book!

    As to my confession? Well I do not have one - I have been a geek for many years I have loved comic books since my early teens and play Warhammer, read & watch sci-fi & fantasy books and films and do not care who knows!

    You can contact me on Twitter @mattlibrarian