Latest Media Coverage / Interviews / Published Work
>wired.com | Geek Dad piece on playing D&D with the family (with a sweet mention of FF&GG)
>A head-to-head argument for and against escapism in Maui Time (Jan 21): "Is Escapism Bad for Us" with me and Jacob Shafer (and cool cover art, too)
>New pieces on Avatar in USA Today (Jan 13): "Games, fantasy and, yes, 'Avatar' give us hope"; Tor.com (Jan 10): "Avatar is about transformation"; the Boston Globe (Jan 10): "Role-playing crosses from the television to the big screen"
>"Could Graphic Video Games Actually Suppress Real-Life Violence?" a commentary in Science and Religion Today (Jan 20)
>"There Is No Try: Having faith in the Force" published in The Smart Set
>Boston Globe review of "Crazy Like Us," a book showing how America's treatment of mental illness is not always the best way.
>Fantasy Freaks and Gaming Geeks named a Best Book of 2009 (read more)
>"...what does it mean to be a geek? Ethan Gilsdorf's new book... tackles that question with strength and dexterity. ... a fun ride" --- The Huffington Post
>Fantasy Freaks and Gaming Geeks is "not only a self reflection on the author’s attraction to the fantasy genre, but a cultural study of the ever increasing acceptance of the “geek” subculture" --- Geekoric.com
>Wizards of the Coast column Confessions of a Full-Time Wizard: "Breaking news! Man admits love of fantasy and lives to tell about it!"
>Fantasy Freaks and Gaming Geeks now on sale in the U.S., Canada, the UK, Australia and New Zealand!
>Review in the Boston Globe: "Gilsdorf seems to be after something more elemental, primitive, even medieval ... his stories --- mostly engaging, occasionally poignant and emotional --- frequently lead to edifying conclusions."
>"Considering that we are fantasy freaks, [Fantasy Freaks and Gaming Geeks] feels right up our alley"--- Wizards of the Coast, the makers of Dungeons & Dragons
>"Some of Gilsdorf’s profiles of fantasy lovers are quite potent. ... Encounters like this underscore, sometimes emotionally, the escapist element of fantasy --- an idea on which Gilsdorf focuses intently, chewing it over in various iterations throughout the book. ... emotionally affecting ..." --- The Washington Monthly
>Fantasy Freaks and Gaming Geeks is now in its second printing.
>Ethan now blogging for the huge Tolkien fan site TheOneRing.net
>Check out Ethan's new blog for PsychologyToday.com --- called Geek Pride: Exploring the intersection of pop culture, mass media and the geek/gamer mind
>Fantasy Freaks and Gaming Geeks is now available on Kindle! You can your download the mysterious file for your device at Amazon direct. More info here at Amazon.
>"Ethan Gilsdorf brings the same hunter's instinct to uncovering what makes gaming geeks tick, that he once brought to being totally sweet at D&D. Part memoir, part investigative cultural journalism, Fantasy Freaks and Gaming Geeks is earnestly not just for nerds." --- The Portland Mercury
>Wired.com/Geek Dad says, "Books about escapism and gaming too often swerve into cautionary tale territory. Negative and holier-than-though, they tend to lecture at length about the drawbacks to such pastimes and ignore the benefits of escapism. Thankfully, Gilsdorf’s book is different. ... 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."
>"Ethan Gilsdorf .... has taken his love of all things nerdy to the next level with Fantasy Freaks and Gaming Geeks" --- San Francisco Bay Guardian Arts & Culture blog Pixel Vision
>Michael Edward Miller interviewed Gilsdorf when he stopped by the studios of "Around and About," a production of National Public Radio station WUTC 88.1 FM in Chattanooga, TN. LISTEN TO THE INTERVIEW, PART 1 / PART 2
>"Fantasy Freaks and Gaming Geeks’’ [is] a memoir that looks at the evolving culture of fantasy gaming and gamers. ... While every teen genre film casts young gamers as exiles, Gilsdorf rediscovers the sense of community these games evoke, a set of connections that sustained him through difficult times and served as a bridge to a more complete life..." --- Boston Globe
>"We can't recommend today's Boston Book Festival enough. Ben Mezrich, Ethan Gilsdorf, and Dennis Lehane will be among 90 authors and presenters at the Copley Square event." --- About.com: Boston
>"Discovering your inner geek: Ethan Gilsdorf’s life looked pretty sweet: He was a freelance travel journalist based in Paris. But when he found himself obsessed with "Lord of the Rings" figurines, he wondered if he were regressing.... [a] tour de geek" --- Boston.com/Boston Globe
>"It's hip to be icosahedral: In a new book, Ethan Gilsdorf tracks his global quest to visit the holiest nerd-world sites ... Gilsdorf — who, perhaps wisely, hid his monster manual and graph paper in a closet when it came time for college, co-eds, and keg stands — simultaneously reconnects with his geeky past and takes stock of this brave new world in what amounts to an immersive role-playing travelogue to the planet’s nerdiest places." --- The Boston Phoenix
>"It's 'master geek theater' as fantasy games author speaks to excited crowd in Princeton: The book is Gilsdorf's attempt to piece together the deep appeal of fantasy games to their players, searching out "geeky crowds" around the world." --- The Times of Trenton
>Boston Book Fest appearance in Quincy Patriot-Ledger: "Ben Mezrich, author “The Accidental Billionaire,” talks about the origins of Facebook, and Ethan Gilsdorf, author of “Fantasy Freaks and Gaming Geeks,” discusses online gaming and live-action role-playing."
>"Gilsdorf manages to blend the best of cultural criticism, travel writing and memoir -- with some insightful Tolkien scholarship thrown in -- to provide some fascinating answers to his fantasy-driven questions" --- Iowa City Press-Citizen
>"Gilsdorf's Inner Geek: His secret passion lurked in the past until one day, as a middle-aged journalist in Paris, he saw Peter Jackson's Fellowship of the Ring and the geek deep inside screamed its way out of him ..." --- Valley Advocate (MA)
>"The weekends he spent scouring dungeons for gold, fighting orcs, and rescuing princesses — all in the comfort of a friend’s basement — eventually gave way to new adventures. ... " --- The Daily Iowan
>Ethan's article "Bookstores fight back with instant paperbacks," about the Espresso Book Machine, published in the Boston Phoenix
>"Gilsdorf conducted on-the-job research for this book ... As author Gilsdorf asks game-players how they find balance between their fantastical creations and their actual realities, readers will uncover the many (and often entertaining) reasons that all of us—young, old, male, female, rich, poor—need a little fantasy in our lives." --- Milwaukee Shepherd Express
>"Beating Game Shame: In his new book, Fantasy Freaks and Gaming Geeks, author Ethan Gilsdorf goes on a global quest to try and come to terms with his own middle-age crisis." --- Valley Advocate (MA)
>"Local author Ethan Gilsdorf has come clean about his Dungeons & Dragons adolescence but goes much further and investigates many facets of current gaming culture. I imagine this tome will help laymen understand their LARPing loved ones as well as provide gamers a better sense of their subculture." --- Cheap Thrills Boston
>Brattleboro (VT) Reformer: "Geeks and freaks are invited: Author talks about book and freakdom" ... "Gilsdorf knows about geeks because he used to be one. Today, geeks like Bill Gates and Steve Jobs are multimillionaires and online gaming connects players across the globe. Has the world changed or have geeks become more acceptable?"
>It's a bestseller! Fantasy Freaks and Gaming Geeks is the #1 bestselling hardcover book at the Harvard Book Store for the week of 9/1/09
>"From Geek to Chic" feature story in the Glens Falls (NY) Post-Star, "When Ethan Gilsdorf was 12 years old, an orc saved his life ..."
>Book Notes New Hampshire/Center for the Book at the New Hampshire State Library: "Fantasy Freaks and Gaming Geeks is highly readable and incredibly timely. ... Come discover what the hoopla is all about with the man who can explain both sides."
>New York Magazine picks the panel "Obsessive Fun" featuring Ethan Gilsdorf and three other books and authors (Rabbi Simcha Weinstein, karaoke enthusiast Brian Raftery and comedian Eddie Sarfaty), as a "can't miss" event at the Brooklyn Book Fest. (Sunday Sept 13, 4pm, Main Stage at Borough Hall Plaza, 209 Joralemon St., Brooklyn Heights, Brooklyn)
>"Have you been known to speak Elvish on occasion? Ever referred to yourself as the “Dungeon Master” — and not in a kinky sense?" -- STUFF Boston
>The Boston Herald publishes Ethan's op-ed "Kindle turns new page": "Then my potential reader said, “Great. So will you sign my Kindle?”
>TheOneRing.net Tolkien fansite mentions FF & GG in its round-up of Dragon*Con Day 1 and bscreview.com reports "Ethan Gilsdorf, author of Fantasy Freaks and Gaming Geeks, signed copies of this new release..."
>"In 'Legend' poems, Tolkien the storyteller": Boston Globe publishes my review of J.R.R. Tolkien's “The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrún’’
>Boston.com: "Local author revisits geek roots: "he crisscrossed the country and traveled to Europe and New Zealand to explore the subculture of online gamers and fantasy role-players. The result is a blend of travelogue, memoir, and pop culture analysis..."
>Enter the Octopus: "I must have this book ... I have no idea how this book slipped past me, but now I must have it. I’ve talked ad nauseum about how important gaming has been in my life, so I won’t bore you with it here, but damn, how did I manage to miss this?"
>Fiction Writers Review: "What makes Fantasy Freaks And Gaming Geeks so arresting is not only the diverse, vibrant role-player communities which Gilsdorf introduces us to and provides insightful commentary on, but the hybrid nature of his text – both on a substantive and emotional level. " more
>Boston Phoenix, Editor's Event Pick: "Do you own so many dice, you require a special pouch to transport them? Do you end up dropping “basilisk” and “night elf” into ordinary conversation?..."
>Boston Globe's "Shelf Life" (Aug 30, 2009): "Gilsdorf’s fascination with fantasy worlds was reawakened when he came across his old D&D paraphernalia..."
>Ethan Gilsdorf's blog on Powells.com: "Geek is no longer a four-letter word"
>Boston Magazine names Fantasy Freaks and Gaming Geeks to its "Consumer Index: September": "Nerd Association"
>Kirkus Reviews, "Big Book Fall Preview" feature, August 1, 2009.
"Gilsdorf, spurred on by the discovery of his old D&D guides, decided to dive elf-ears first into the deepest geek pools ... 'It’s all about a sense of belonging,' says Gilsdorf. And maybe a bit about killing stuff." Larger view of story
>PopTen.net says "Gilsdorf takes a Kerouac meets Cliff’s notes approach to Geekdom, and while he met great people along the way it was really about the author’s journey.... His problems are that of the everyman, and although his experience is with geekdom the frustration is universal."
>The Wire (Portsmouth, NH) interview "Down among the freaks and geeks" with Larry Clow, who says "the book is a detailed, funny and loving account of all things dorky"
>Improper Bostonian, Aug 26-Sept 8: "Best get your Chewbacca costume dry-cleaned..."