Click here to return to the main site.

Book Review

Book Cover

Vintage Geek
The Quiz Book


Author: Marshall Julius
Publisher: September Publishing
336 pages
RRP: UK £12.99, US $16.95
ISBN: 978 1 912836 02 4
Publication Date: 10 October 2019

No matter what we’re into, geeks of the world share a few common traits: intense and unconditional enthusiasm and the relentless urge to know, and then prove we know, every last thing about the objects of our affection. The ultimate quiz book for old-school nerds, Vintage Geek celebrates a splendid selection of 20th-century fandoms, from Fifties’ sci-fi cinema, Sixties’ Star Trek and Seventies’ Stephen King to Eighties’ actioners, Nineties’ Batman ’toons and more. Vintage Geek is here to chew bubblegum and assess the limits of your trivia knowledge – and it’s all out of bubblegum…!

I wasn’t sure whether I would be interested in this book… until I tried out some of the questions shown in the “Look inside” preview on Amazon. The subject was James Bond: The Roger Moore Years, and I aced it! Turns out I’m even more of a Bond geek than I thought I was!

James Bond: The Roger Moore Years is but one of 20 diverse chapters in this hefty volume, whose topics include The Simpsons: The First Ten Years, Marvel Comics, the original Star Wars trilogy, Doctor Who: The Tom Baker Years, The Twilight Zone, Walt’s Wonderful World of Disney, Ray Harryhausen’s Creature Features, 2000 AD and the films of Steven Spielberg. What does the sign say on the gate of Kananga’s crocodile farm? What was the first thing Mary Jane Watson ever said to Peter Parker? Why does Robby the Robot rarely partake of Altair IV’s high oxygen content? The answers can be found in a separate section at the back of the book, with the questions handily recapped for your convenience.

Some topics will appeal more than others, depending on your area of expertise – that is to say, the focus of your geekhood. For example, I know relatively little about John Carpenter’s Apocalypse Trilogy or Atari 2600 games. You could argue that, with such diverse subject areas being covered, it would have been better to publish a series of shorter, more specialised quiz books (focusing, perhaps, on comics and animation, television science fiction, fantastic films, horror, and so on) rather than this big, general one. However, even if you’re not into, say, George Romero zombie movies or Hanna-Barbera cartoons, you can still have fun testing friends who are.

Some of the questions are so specific and lacking in context that, if you don’t know your subject well enough, you won’t even be able to take the wildest stab in the dark at what the answer might be. However, if a question like “Bond! What do you think you’re doing?” does ring a bell, then you will have a big, silly grin on your face as you answer it. Even if you consider yourself an expert on a given topic, you are bound to learn something that you didn’t know before – such as how the bayou boat chase was originally described in the screenplay for Live and Let Die, or which member of the Star Trek cast claims never to have seen an episode of the show.

A few of the questions are so woolly that you will wonder precisely what Marshall Julius has in mind. For example, which is the odd one out between the Doctor Who stories The Ark in Space, The Sontaran Experiment and The Ribos Operation? Is it The Sontaran Experiment, because it’s the only two-parter on the list, or because the others were written by Robert Holmes? Could it be The Ribos Operation, because it’s from a different season to the other two? None of those reasons is the one given in the book. And the author is just plain wrong about who shot first out of Han Solo and Greedo!

In among the challenges set by Julius are fifty celebrity-penned questions from the likes of Mark Hamill, John Carpenter, George Takei, Sam Neill, Mark Millar, Tom Savini, Pat Mills, Yeardley Smith and Sam J. Jones, which are every bit as fiendish and/or fascinating. These questions aren’t necessarily about the films, shows or comics that the individual is famous for having worked on – many of them are writing as fans.

The big question is, if you have a passion for 20th-century pop culture, will this quiz book appeal to you? The answer is very probably yes.


Richard McGinlay

Buy this item online

Kindle edition
Kindle edition