Author looks at fantasy and role-playing underground

Author Ethan Gilsdorf has produced a new book entitled Fantasy Freaks and Gaming Geeks: An Epic Quest for Reality Among Role Players, Online Gamers, and Other Dwellers of Imaginary Realms, which looks at the role-playing and fantasy culture, including the SCA. (video)

The book prominently features the Society for Creative Anachronism and includes a chapter on the Pennsic War.

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.”