Joss Whedon: Geek King Of The Universe – A Biography by Amy Pascale (book review).

The title ‘Joss Whedon: Geek King Of The Universe’ says it all and if you happen to be a fan then this book will immediately attract you but ,if you like biographies, there is a lot for you here, too.


I’m a fan but not of biographies, so I picked this up with gritted teeth, only to be pleasantly surprised as this is an easy read with lots of nuggets of information about Whedon’s life and career that, whilst not feeling over intrusive, let us a little way in to his obsessing, motivations and make an interesting lesson in how to get ahead in television and film. Persistence seems to be the key and loving what you do and sometimes getting to show that love on screen.

The last few years have changed the way material gets to its viewers and the Internet, broadband and pay-to-view have had a major effect. Some of the shows that became big, some that never took off and might have had a different fate with all those services available now.

Whedon has been at the forefront of change, sometimes merely by accident. Due to the writers’ strike in Hollywood, we got ‘Doctor Horrible’ and he was inspired by ‘The Guild’, produced on a shoestring by Felicia Day, now the Goddess of the webisode. All this happened whilst some of us were struggling with the change from dial-up to broadband. Recently, Whedon released his new film, ‘In Your Eyes’, directly to download, which is how the industry is continually changing. Hopefully, the producer and the viewer/consumer is more important that money men who sometimes stuck in a time warp of ratings and demographics.

I learned a lot from this biography. Whedon came to public school in England so I can’t help thinking he has more sympathy for English actors and resists casting them as villains…oh wait, Tom Hiddleston as Loki? Damn, that theory is out. Whedon lost his mother at a young age but she was a positive role model who continues to influence him. His empathy with the female of the species is evident from much of his work. As to his loss, if you want to watch a study of grief, the episode ‘The Body’ from ‘Buffy The Vampire Slayer’ is amazing and affecting study.

The biography is only being written because Whedon successfully out grew the power of the studios and is able to show that nothing was ever set in stone and, although he might be at the top of his game now, he was subject to the studio system than stifled his more off the wall output such as ‘Firefly’ and ‘Doll House’. I look forward to the next chapter…the Marvel years. I think Amy Pascale has done a good job producing a highly readable biography that made me reassess their usefulness.

Sue Davies

October 2014

(pub: Aurum Press Ltd. 440 page illustrated hardback. Price: £20.00 (UK). ISBN: 987-1-84513-719-9)

check out website: www.aurumpress.com

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