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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 www.ethangilsdorf.com.
from Kirkus Reviews, "Big Book Fall Preview":"In the late '70s, playing fantasy role-playing games like Dungeons & Dragons put [Ethan Gilsdorf] on equal social footing as the AV club. Thirty years later, though, fantasy films rule the box office, J.R.R. Tolkien is considered essential reading and games like World of Warcraft are pop-culture phenomena... But there are still pockets of fantasy culture-Lord of the Rings conventions, Society for Creative Anachronism battles, LARP (Live Action Role Playing) camps-that the casual fantasy nerd wouldn't even dare to tread... 'I wanted to know why a 40-year-old man is still so interested in this stuff that he'd dress up in armor on the weekends,' [Gilsdorf] says. The author traveled from the woods of South Carolina to libraries in Wisconsin, from battlefields in Pennsylvania to the mountains of New Zealand-all in the quest to find some answers. His conclusion? They get to the heart of why any of us, geeks or not, become involved with any group. 'It's all about a sense of belonging,' says Gilsdorf. And maybe a bit about killing stuff." "This is a delightful book-more fun than being a Dungeon Master to a group of high-level mages and thieves." -A.J. Jacobs, New York Times best-selling author of The Know-It-All and The Year of Living Biblically "Witty, downright funny, poignant, honest and ... well, wistful. Anyone who has ever embraced 'escapism' will understand, and those who haven't taken that leap of imagination will want to after reading Fantasy Freaks and Gaming Geeks... Reading Ethan Gilsdorf's tale conjured my own D&D and fantasy experiences, vividly, right down to finding some of my old character sheets in a 3-ring binder a decade and more after I had stopped using them." -R.A. Salvatore, New York Times best-selling author of The Dark Elf Trilogy, and lead storyteller of 38 Studios game company "A fun, quirky and fresh perspective for those wanting to know more about the amazing world of gaming." -David Brin, futurist and Nebula, Hugo, and Locus Award-winning author of The Postman and Startide Rising "Ethan Gilsdorf's quest for himself leads through the fantasy world of millions of gamers in a breathless adventure/quest/memoir that is uniquely contemporary. This is at once a primer on the world of gaming, a self-help manual, and a wistful meditation on the passing of real time in a (nearly) virtual world."-Andrei Codrescu, NPR commentator and author of The Posthuman Dada Guide "An Orcs-and-all journey through geekdom, told with affection for every elf, wizard and dungeon master it meets along the way. Fantasy Freaks and Gaming Geeks is for anyone who's ever been lured by the enchantment and secrets of faraway fantasy worlds; meticulously researched and lovingly told, the book gives a personal face to the cloak-swishing, wand-wielding, lightsaber-rattling gamer in us all." -Melissa Anelli, author of Harry, A History: The True Story of a Boy Wizard, His Fans, and Life Inside the Harry Potter Phenomenon "Vivid, moving, evocative, intriguing, engaging." -Chris Castellani, author of A Kiss from Maddalena and The Saint of Lost Things "Gilsdorf ... returns to the fantasy games that he used to navigate a difficult childhood as a jumping-off point for a full-scale investigation of geekdom." -Huffington Post "A detailed, funny, and loving account of all things dorky." -The Wire "Like many who will pick up his book, [Ethan Gilsdorf has] got one foot squarely in the real world, the other in the fantasy one. This is a journey well worth taking." -Booklist