Episode 76: Life, Literature, and Everything Geeky – Interview with Ryan Britt

by Gabriela Pereira
published in Podcast

Hey there Word Nerds!

So glad you could be here with me for this awesome episode of DIY MFA Radio.

Today, I’m talking to pop culture and sci-fi guru, Ryan Britt, talking about his new book Luke Skywalker Can’t Read, And Other Geeky TruthsListen in to hear us geek out about life, literature, and all things nerdy. 

In this episode Ryan and I discuss:

  • The differences between writing for and reading online vs. writing and reading a book
  • What it actually means to be a geek in this day and age
  • Why being a geek is a good thing, especially if you’re a writer

Plus, Ryan’s #1 tip for writers.

Don’t forget, if you want to dig deeper, join me for a “Stop Dreaming, Start Doing” workshop on January 12 at 8pm ET. Sign up at DIYMFA.com/openhouse.

Also, winter enrollment for DIY MFA 101 now open. Learn more at DIYMFA.com/DIYMFA101


About Ryan Britt

If the ghost of Marshall McLuhan were to merge with Chuck Klosterman, you’d have essayist Ryan Britt. Ryan has never met a monster, alien, wizard or superhero that didn’t require further discussion, and in his book he answers questions you’ve probably never thought to ask (but now that he’s brought them up, you’re probably wondering about them too). In his book, he tackles topics like: Does anyone in the Star Wars universe read books? Is Pete Best the Bilbo to Ringo Starr’s Frodo? And, what ever happened to Biff Tannen’s parents? If you’re a geek like me (and even if you’re not) you’re going to get a kick out of this entertaining manifesto for modern geekdom.

But seriously, Ryan has written for The New York Times, Electric Literature, The Awl, VICE and The Morning News and is a consulting editor for Story. He was the staff writer for the Hugo Award-winning web magazine Tor.com, where he remains a contributor.


LukeSkywalkerCantReadBritt recounts personal stories of coming of age amid the influence of 80s and 90s pop culture; how he learned to take his interests seriously from a big box store manager he nicknames Captain Space Pirate because of he was reminiscent of Harrison Ford; how his first “the birds and the bees” conversation came from asking his father about the pictures in an Omni magazine article entitled “Tyrannosaurus Sex: A Love Tail”; and how his next lesson in sex was from watching Jane Fonda in Barbarella, which quickly evolved into a life-changing epiphany.

Britt’s thoughtful and fun meditations on everything sci-fi and pop culture spins insights on what many of us have not known about our favorite stuff. He shows us how monster movies are just romantic comedies with commitment issues, claims nobody should get mad about super hero remakes, and argues that killer robots are probably harmless authenticity-seeking hipsters. Luke Skywalker Can’t Read tears down the wall between hardcore sci-fi readers and the mainstream, making it perfect both for cosplayers, or those who haven’t worn a costume since grade school.

To learn more about Ryan you can follow him on Facebook and Twitter, or visit his website.

Link to Episode 76

(Right-click to download.)

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Until next week, keep writing and keep being awesome.


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