cover image Geektastic: Stories from the Nerd Herd

Geektastic: Stories from the Nerd Herd

, . . Little, Brown, $16.99 (403pp) ISBN 978-0-316-00809-9

One needn't already know that “Qapla!” is Klingon for success or be a weekend LARPer to appreciate this mostly entertaining collection of 15 short stories from authors John Green, Scott Westerfeld, Lisa Yee and M.T. Anderson among others, as well as numerous illustrated interludes (final art not seen by PW ). The offerings cover a range of nerdy terrain: tensions within geek communities (the coeditors' story about a Star Wars fan who hooks up with a Star Trek fan at a convention; Cynthia and Greg Leitich Smith's piece involving a divisive Buffy character); the gulf between online personalities and real-life interactions (“I Never” by Cassandra Clare; Kelly Link's cautionary tale about a 15-year-old girl waiting at a hotel for the 34-year-old she met online); and academic rivalries (Wendy Mass's “The Stars at the Finish Line” follows two intellectuals vying for the top spot at school; David Levithan inserts a closeted gay character into a national trivia competition in a quietly touching, layered story). Beyond the Stargate and MMORPG references, the stories often hit at the insecurities, camaraderie and passions at the heart of geekdom. Ages 12–up. (Aug.)