Fantasy Freaks and Gaming Geeks: An Epic Quest for Reality Among Role Players, Online Gamers, and Other Dwellers of Imaginary Realms

Fantasy Freaks and Gaming Geeks: An Epic Quest for Reality Among Role Players, Online Gamers, and Other Dwellers of Imaginary Realms

by Ethan Gilsdorf


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An amazing journey through the thriving worlds of fantasy and gaming What could one man find if he embarked on a journey through fantasy world after fantasy world? In an enthralling blend of travelogue, pop culture analysis, and memoir, forty-year-old former D&D addict Ethan Gilsdorf crisscrosses America, the world, and other worlds—from Boston to New Zealand, and Planet Earth to the realm of Aggramar. “For anyone who has ever spent time within imaginary realms, the book will speak volumes. For those who have not, it will educate and enlighten.” — “Gandalf’s got nothing on Ethan Gilsdorf, except for maybe the monster white beard. In his new book, Fantasy Freaks and Gaming Geeks, Gilsdorf . . . offers an epic quest for reality within a realm of magic.” —Boston Globe “Imagine this: Lord of the Rings meets Jack Kerouac’s On the Road.” —National Public Radio’s “Around and About” “What does it mean to be a geek? . . . Fantasy Freaks and Gaming Geeks tackles that question with strength and dexterity. . . . part personal odyssey, part medieval mid-life crisis, and part wide-ranging survey of all things freaky and geeky . . . playful . . . funny and poignant. . . . It’s a fun ride and it poses a question that goes to the very heart of fantasy, namely: What does the urge to become someone else tell us about ourselves?” —Huffington Post

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781599219943
Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
Publication date: 09/01/2010
Pages: 336
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Ethan Gilsdorf is a Boston-based freelance journalist, poet, critic, editor, and teacher. He is a regular contributor to: The New York Times (Travel, Arts sections); The Boston Globe (Travel, Movies, Living/Arts, Ideas, Sunday Magazine, Books, Op-ed pages); The San Francisco Chronicle (book critic); The Improper Bostonian (travel, lifestyle, dining); National Geographic Traveler (Travel); The Common Review (books, culture; also as their East Coast correspondent); and The Christian Science Monitor (arts/Weekend, op-ed, culture, Backstory analysis).Other publishing credits include The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, USA Today, and Fodor’s travel guides (as former Paris hotel correspondent). He has appeared on talk radio programs in Boston, and has earned a reputation as a fantasy and escapism expert. Most recently, he has been instructing classes in freelance journalism (feature, travel, oped, review writing) for Media Bistro and Grub Street, and hosting regular networking events for these organizations. A more detailed CV, published articles, and additional information is available at

Table of Contents

Prologue: The Momster ix

Chapter 1 I Was a Teenage Magic-User 1

Chapter 2 The Quest Begins 17

Chapter 3 On the Tolkien Trail 27

Chapter 4 Into the Dungeon Again 47

Chapter 5 The Fount Whence Fantasy Games Flowed 63

Chapter 6 The Monk Went Down to Georgia 85

Chapter 7 Geeks in Love 109

Chapter 8 To Work Here, You Have to Forget 125

Chapter 9 The Weapon We Have Is Love 137

Chapter 10 In the Beer Line with the King 155

Chapter 11 I'll Only Go to Level 10 179

Chapter 12 An Outlet for Souls Who Could Not Rest 201

Chapter 13 You Have to become the Con 217

Chapter 14 There, or Nowhere, and Back Again 241

Chapter 15 Get Off the Road 263

Chapter 16 Being a Hero Ain't What It Used to Be 269

Afterword: Saving Throws 285

Acknowledgments 296

Glossary of Terms and Abbreviations 300

Photo Credits 308

Permissions 310

Index 312

About the Author 320

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