Cover of Randoms by David Liss. Art by Derek Stenning.
Art by Derek Stenning. Click through to read a preview on Amazon!


Author: David Liss

Nutshell: Zeke Reynolds was standing between the Neko and the advancing army of robots, his Browncoat duster billowing. He only had seconds before the robots attacked, and he couldn’t think of a single pithy quote to shout. Raising his fist, he shouted the only thing that came to mind: “I’m Batman!”

Alright, so that’s not how it happened. But its way closer to the way Earth’s first contact went than anyone would expect. Turns out, being a geek when aliens arrive on earth is a huge bonus, and Zeke is as geeky as they come. Good thing, too, because the aliens take him up to their stellar academy to represent Earth. If he does well, Earth could join the unified sentient races and be granted an end to all disease. If he does badly… his mother could die.

Read-alikes: Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians by Brandon Sanderson.


I found this book in a recommendation in a homeschooling newsletter, of all places. Nerd culture and homeschool culture have an uneasy relationship, and I usually expect to find more “whole-grain” books in homeschooling resources.

However it happened, I am so glad I found it. I am also as geeky as they come, and this book was thick with the geeky jokes. Not quite so thick as to be distracting, but probably thick enough that a very not-geeky person would feel slightly excluded.

Besides the geeky stuff, there was also an excellent plot, a crazy well-developed world, and really (really really) fun characters.

I am not doing this book justice. I should have made two clever jokes and a Star Trek reference by now. It’s what Zeke would have done. Read this book. It’s geeky and dorky and amazing.

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