J’s Take on Wil Wheaton’s Memories of the Future, Part 1

I’m so out of things, I never would’ve known Wil Wheaton had another book out if K hadn’t told me. In this book, he collects summaries he wrote for TV Squad of first season Star Trek: TNG eps. It’s summary, it’s snark, it’s reminiscences, it’s geek.

At first I thought this would be a quick read, but when I started reading, I changed my mind about that. It has to be read slowly, to appreciate all the jokes. And to take the humor in small doses.

But then I changed my mind again. The episodes after the first couple didn’t seem as funny. I don’t think it’s really because they were less funny, but more that he’d lost my sense of newness and surprise by that point. Which is a key component of humor. But of course I plowed ahead anyway. It ended up being a very quick read for me.

So my recommendation would be for people to read this one episode at a time. Read one before bed. Keep the book in the bathroom. Read it on your lunch break. Don’t read it on the bus or the subway, as you’ll just want to keep going.

What I love about Wheaton’s jokes is that they’re geeky. You could turn this book into a geek quiz if you wanted to. Earn points every time you catch one of his references. More points for a Voltron reference. Fewer points for a Monty Python one. Though unlike when watching a Joss Whedon show and snickering when you get a geeky joke because it makes you feel smarter and in the know, you actually feel a little less geeky when reading Wheaton when you don’t get a joke. You know it’s there, but you don’t get it. Though I don’t feel so bad if I realize it’s a music joke or a poker joke.

I feel I must mention there are typos that need fixing. Mainly in the area of excess punctuation or extra spaces, but occasionally an extra word or a weird word. It’s the sort of error you expect to see in self-published or small press works. As opposed to missing words, which you expect to see in ‘professionally’ published books. Jeesh, now I’m getting geeky about typos. Anyhow…

I thought this book was great. I could relive the episodes without having to watch them again. And I had forgotten quite a bit. He’d be starting to describe an episode and I’d be.. ‘When did this happen? I don’t remember this.’ Though eventually there will be enough there to finally jog my memory.

It’s interesting to see Wheaton’s take on things from an actor’s point of view. He keeps saying how awesome Patrick Stewart is, and while I know he’s a great actor in theory, I certainly never realized it when I was watching TNG during its first run. Picard was not a favorite character. He was above Pulaski and Troi, granted, but he was far below Tasha, Data, and Wesley. And when people go all ga-ga over episodes that feature him strongly, I’m left thinking ‘eh’. There are FOUR lights! Whatever.

But speaking of Wesley, that’s my major problem with this book. Wheaton keeps making jokes at Wesley’s expense and characterizing all fans as rejoicing when he gets shot by an arrow (which I totally don’t remember) and loving it when Picard tells him to shut up. And yes, there’s a contingent out there that was doing that, but it wasn’t all of us. Heck, I wasn’t even aware of it until I went to hear Wheaton at a con and/or in college when I got onto the Internet.

Don’t paint all fans with the same brush! Some of us were just a year younger than Wesley and loved him. Sure, saving the ship multiple times is silly. But, you know, it’s not unrealistic that a genius kid might do that once in awhile. Starfleet’s all about teamwork and if you don’t recognize that that geeky, dorky kid has some skills you might use, you’re failing at teamwork.

And yes, Wesley said some really lame things. But there were kids like him out there also saying really lame things. And we didn’t have the excuse of writers putting those words in our mouths.

Don’t you see? Wesley showed that you could be geeky and dorky and lame, but still have something to contribute. Could still do really cool stuff like sit on the bridge of the Enterprise.

I just wish Wheaton would realize Wesley did and still does have fans. And I think he knows this. But by not acknowledging it and by going on and on about ‘the fans’ cheering when Wesley gets a smackdown, he’s perpetuating the idea that Wesley fans don’t exist, and never existed.

And I’m tempted to wax all psychological about the group of fans that did hate Wesley with a passion, but that won’t make for a concise, cohesive review.

Especially as I nearly forgot to mention Tracy Torme!

Tracy Torme, who I thought was a woman. Who I was convinced was a woman. Who I preferred because she was a woman. Who I swear I had looked up somewhere to find her relation to Mel Torme (after watching Night Court). Wasn’t she Mel Torme’s daughter or something?

Well, apparently not, because apparently Tracy Torme is a man! What the heck?! When did that happen?

Way to blow my mind, Wheaton.

And D. C. Fontana is a chick. Slightly less surprising, that, though my first guess would not have been that.


So, to sum:
Very funny. Best read in short doses rather than all at once. Few too many ‘boo Wesley’ comments. I do look forward to reading more of these, and I hope he has plans to go through at least all the episodes he was in. Though I would love it if he wrote summaries of every single TNG ep. I’d like to hear his take on things.

4 stars out of 5. You dissed Wesley too many times.