When writer Ethan Gilsdorf was twelve years old, he spent his time at home avoiding the Momster, a fearsome creature that had replaced his mother after her brain aneurysm. His only escape from the hell of his homelife was Dungeons and Dragons.
Thirty years later, Gilsdorf calls upon his experience with escapism in his book Fantasy Freaks and Gaming Geeks: An Epic Quest for Reality Among Role Players, Online Gamers, and Other Dwellers of Imaginary Realms, released today.
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.
It tells the a story of Gilsdorf’s own journey back into the fantasy fold and his analysis of why we all seek out alternative realities. He spends time with SCAdians, LARPers and MMORPGers alike, and he does it with respect and poignancy. 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.
Tonight at 7pm, Gilsdorf will be at the Harvard Book Store in Cambridge, Massachusetts for the official book launch. There will be trivia, prizes for anyone who shows up in costume, a book reading and signing with Q&A and a special unplugged performance by wrockers and GeekDad favorites Harry and the Potters. A similar event will be hosted tomorrow at the RiverRun Bookstore in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, and Gilsdorf will be attending Dragon*Con this weekend.