Guest Blog & Giveaway: Mike Underwood on the genre heritage of GEEKOMACY

July 10, 2012 Giveaways, Guests 38

Today is a very geeky day at ATUF with Michael R. Underwood here to introduce us to his action packed urban fantasy book GEEKOMANCY  (available on July 10, 2012 from Pocket Star), its genre heritage, and its geeky influences.  In her review, Julia said, “if you’re in the mood for verbal gymnastics and enjoy seeing all of your favorite pop culture franchises in gorgeous, living color, GEEKOMANCY more than delivers.” Stay around at the end of this post for the giveaway!

Guest Blog

GEEKOMANCY’S Genre Heritage

by

Michael R. Underwood

Most of my Urban Fantasy acculturation doesn’t actually come from novels. I’ve read my fair share of books in the genre, from Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere to Charles DeLint’s Newford stories, almost all of the Jim Butcher Dresden Files novels, and Emma Bull’s The War for the Oaks.

I’ve read other bits here and there, but most of my UF knowledge comes from TV, film, and role-playing games. I watched Buffy the Vampire Slayer from the beginning, as well as shows like Charmed, Gargoyles, and more. I followed from Buffy to Angel, and was more happy to watch those, enjoying a world very close to my own, but where people were more bad-ass, had cooler adventures, and being a smart-talking geek with seemingly-useless knowledge was an asset.

  

As a teen, I also played a lot in White Wolf’s World of Darkness setting, from Vampire: the Masquerade (which I wasn’t greatly invested in, not being much of a vampire fan) to games I connected to much more, like Werewolf: the Apocalypse, Mage: the Ascension and Changeling: the Dreaming (I was even one of the small number of people who played a campaign of Wraith: The Oblivion, which was a marvelous game ahead of its time).

I played and then storytold for a six-year ongoing Changeling LARP in Bloomington, Indiana, which had over 70 regular players at its height. I learned a huge amount about storytelling, audience expectations, and performance from that game, and it looms large in my memory now almost a decade later, since we told hundreds of story arcs for dozens of
characters in several shifting groups and at regional, national, and international levels for the game world.

Those influences from TV and RPGs were just as present in my mind as Urban Fantasy standards like The Dresden Files or the Anita Blake series when I was designing the world of Geekomancy.

  

 But there are some influences that run deeper than others, some that go all the way to the core of what I was thinking about as I was writing. Dresden Files, The Middleman, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Clerks are the cytosine, thymine, guanine, and adenine of Geekomancy.

The Dresden Files is the urban fantasy series I have read the most deeply, and is itself a hybrid work, combining urban fantasy and noir. It’s also tremendously funny at times, with some geek humor and some non-denominational hilarity. I love the way Butcher crafted a whole secret world, layer by layer, and the way that human will and compassion drive the heroes.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer was the first show I watched as a teen that really hit home how you could be funny by being smart, and smart via being funny. It gave me a variety of powerful female characters to appreciate, a lovable everyman, and an ongoing empowerment theme that ran mostly to the Girl Power flavor but not without bringing some guys along riding shotgun. Buffy wasn’t the biggest geek, but she spoke the language while kicking butt and looking after her friends.

Clerks is one of the most honest and funny stories of My People. Smith isn’t of my generation, but many of my best friends are of his, and I grew up nearly as steeped in Gen X culture as the material that now gets tagged to my own generation (Millenial Generation Wh(Y) – they’re still fighting over the terminology). For me, Clerks captures much of the feel of the countless hours I spent at my friendly local game store, as a regular and then as an employee, with the intentional over-analysis, the wage-slave desire to talk back at rage-inducing customers, and the eternal line of the substitute worker when everything has gone wrong: “I’m not even supposed to be here today!”

The Middleman is probably the least well-known of these influential texts, as it only had one short season on ABC Family. But it was a breath of hyper-smart, meta-textually rich and hilarious fresh air, with arch dialogue, un-selfconsciously ridiculous premises (Ancient Kung Fu Master vs. Vengeful Luchadores!), and an inspiring female geek of color protagonist, who I cite as Ree Reyes’ urban fantasy godmother. The Middleman was like Men In Black by way of The Tick, and
too brilliantly odd to ever fit at ABC Family and I hope to capture some of the show’s same marvelous energy in Geekomancy.

Geekomanacy

Geekomancy is, among other things, a love letter to geek culture. I move around a lot, I was shy from an early age until early adulthood,and diving into other worlds gave me the language to learn about courage, compassion, dedication, and fun. Gaming let me teach myself how to be social, and the atmosphere of stories, games, fun, and
friendship forged me into the storyteller and man I am today.

I don’t presume that Geekomancy will be a life-changing story for anyone, but I hope to bring the love I have for the stories that came before, for the community, the passion for impossible, marvelous worlds and the community of people who believe in them and show readers of the novel a fun ride with plenty of in-jokes to smile at and a story that has both humor and heart.
 Michael R. UnderwoodMichael R. Underwood grew up devouring stories in all forms: movies,comics, TV, video games, and novels. He holds a B.A. in Creative, Mythology and East Asian Studies from Indiana University and an M.A., in Folklore Studies from the University of Oregon, which have been, great preparation for writing speculative fiction. Michael went, straight from his M.A. to the Clarion West Writers Workshop and then, landed in Bloomington, Indiana, where he currently lives. When not, writing or selling books across the Midwest as an independent book, representative, he dances Argentine Tango and studies renaissance, martial arts.

Website|Blog|Twitter

Giveaway

Giveaway provided by Pocket Star
One signed digital copy of GEEKOMANCY by Michael R. Underwood

Geekomancy

   

Available on July 10,2012 from Pocket Star

Description:

Ree Reyes’ life was easier when she just had to worry about scraping together tips from her gig as a barista-and-comicshop slave wage in the port city of Pearson to pursue her ambitions as a screenwriter.

When a scruffy-looking guy storms into the shop looking for a comic like his life depends on it, Ree writes it off as just another day in the land of the geeks. Until a gigantic ‘BOOM!’ echoes from the alley a minute later, and Ree follows the rabbit hole into Pearson’s magical flip-side. Here, astral cowboy hackers fight trolls, rubber-suited werewolves and Elegant Gothic Lolita fate witches by channeling genre tropes and wielding nostalgia-powered props.

Ree joins Eastwood (aka scruffy guy), investigating a mysterious string of teen suicides as she tries to avoid imploding after her own drag-your-heart-through-jagged-glass breakup. But as she digs deeper, Ree discovers Eastwood may not be the knight-in-cardboard-armor she thought. Will Ree be able to stop the suicides, save Eastwood from himself, and somehow keep her job?

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38 Responses to “Guest Blog & Giveaway: Mike Underwood on the genre heritage of GEEKOMACY”

  1. Jennifer Bielman

    Supernatural is my all time favorite paranromal show. Back in the day it was Buffy, and really back in the day it was Sliders.

  2. Anne

    I really liked the short lived Dresden Files as well as Buffy and Angel. Probably liked Angel more than Buffy.

  3. Mary @ Book Swarm

    I’m super-excited about this novel! I love the idea of bringing the geek in the UF to the forefront and making her the MC. Usually, the geek’s the funny, nerdy friend who happens to know a lot of good shiz. Pre-ordered this bad boy so it should be waiting for me on my Kindle–yay! Congrats on your new release!

  4. erinf1

    Congrats on the new release!!! It looks awesome!!!

    You already named all my favs… :)

  5. Rebe

    More recently I’ve liked Chuck, but I’ve been a long-time fan of Doctor Who!

  6. Enigma75

    I loved Angel, Buffy, & Charmed back in the day. My current favorites include Being Human, Grimm, Supernatural, & Teen Wolf.

    I can’t wait to read this book! Thank you for the chance to win it!

  7. Riva Laughlin

    I think it’s cool that you’re giving away a signed DIGITAL copy. Kind of fitting. Thanks for the opportunity.

  8. Riva Laughlin

    Forgot to answer the question. I’ve always liked Quantum Leap (I’m showing my age and stretching things a little) but I also really like True Blood.

  9. Riva Laughlin

    One more thing. Michael’s Twitter handle is wrong in the Rafflecopter above. It should be @MikeRUnderwood.

  10. Will Knight (@Will_Knight3)

    This book got me just with the title. Geekomancy! How could I possible resist the geek siren call!

    Charmed was never a big thing for me, aside from the really cute girls. But Buffy and Angel were fantastic! I loved those shows.

    Anne reminded me of the Dresden Files tv show. In spite of all the changes and modifications from the original story line, I really enjoyed it. The guy they chose to play Harry was a great fit. Those whole Bob the Skull not being really a skull,but an actor was a bit Meh for me. Sadly it ended. The series would make such a kick ass miniseries!

  11. justpeachy36

    Right now my favorite paranormal TV show is Being Human on SciFi. I like the idea that three different types of paranormals can be friends and function together. It’s a great show.

  12. Amanda Z

    I absolutely love Supernatural (easily my favorite TV show) and I miss The Dresden Files, despite that fact that it was really nothing like the books. Being Human is also an excellent series and Warehouse 13 is really fun, too!

  13. Yodamom

    I love Dr. Who ! Supernatural is my favorite american show.

  14. Jacki C.

    Ghost Whisperer was a favorite simply because it was fun to see a character on TV do what I have done since I was very young – talk to the departed.

  15. Vinity

    Right now Supernatural would be my favorite american, Doctor Who would the my overall of currently running. Other favs would be Buffy The Vampire Player and Dresdan Files rocked the short time it was on.

    Going WAY back I loved a little show called Strange Luck. Great concept of a guy who was the sole survivor of a plane crash at the age of 2. After that he always had the odd luck. If he walked into a bank, it got robbed, meteors were always hitting his car. He quit playing the lottery cause he always won. That sort of thing. He ended up becoming a photographer cause he was always on the scene when things happened. Great show! I miss it still.

  16. Maureen F

    I actually really enjoyed watching the Middle Man with my family for the the summer that it was on. I also watched Dresden because I love that book series. Yep, most of the show I actually follow all the time get cancelled.

  17. Sullivan McPig

    I love The World of Darkness rpgs. I’ve played Vampire TM for years (both normal Rpg and LARP) It does indeed teach you much about the art of storytelling.

    My favorite paranormal tv show at the moment is Grimm, although I also really love True Blood and The Walking Dead.

  18. Karen Wapinski

    I’ve loved a lot of shows, I love Charmed because it reminds me of me and my sisters; but I love the humour of Buffy. So those two tie for me.

  19. Natasha

    True Blood, Being Human and Buffy The Vampire Slayer. Thanks for the chance to win!

  20. Pamela Fortney

    I heard about this book from my friend Aimee. This looks neat!

  21. Kai W.

    Supernatural and Grimm are my favorite paranormal TV shows.

  22. Victoria Zumbrum

    I love Buffy and Angel. That was my favorite show.

  23. Kelly Mills

    My fave is Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Have it all on dvd so I can watch it anytime! :)

  24. Barb P

    Well, let’s start way back with Dark Shadows, Dr. Who and how about Buffy, Angel and more current, Warehouse 13, Haven, Sanctuary, Teen Wolf. Oh the shows keep coming! Thanks for the awesome giveaway and I can’t wait to read Geekomacy!

  25. Jessica

    Tough call, since there are so many I love, but I’d have to go with Buffy The Vampire Slayer TV show for all time, and Supernatural for one currently playing.

  26. HollyB

    Thanks for the awesome guest post!! I believe I first heard about this book from the review here on All Things UF, and I was hooked at that moment. Can’t wait to read it! I would have to say my favorite paranormal show was Quantum Leap (yes, I’m OLD); I also enjoyed watching Charmed every now and then. I was just past the target age for Buffy when it was big, so I never got into it, though I’d actually love to watch it now at this point in my life! (when I’m waaayyyyy past the target age) I think another reason I didn’t get into it was because I saw the movie with Kristi Swanson and, well…enough said. Anyway, thanks for the post, and I can’t wait to read this one! Congratulations to you!