The geek heroes of 2011
December 30th, 2011
05:51 PM ET

The geek heroes of 2011

This year, there were many geeks who made good, and some who did extraordinary things, big and small, for nerd-kind.

So we present, in no particular order, our geek heroes for 2011. FULL POST

What we geeked out about in 2011
George R.R. Martin, author of "Dance with Dragons" and other books in the "Song of Ice and Fire" series.
December 28th, 2011
05:35 PM ET

What we geeked out about in 2011

2011 was a big year for geeking out (for one thing, this blog launched in 2011).

The staff of CNN Geek Out had quite a few geek out moments but we picked just a few of the biggest ones to share with you as we say goodbye to this year.

Doug Gross:

We’d waited six long years to hear those seven magical words.

“The dragons are coming. Prepare to dance.”

That’s what fantasy writer George R.R. Martin wrote on his website in March, signaling that “A Dance With Dragons,” the fifth book in his “A Song of Ice and Fire” series, had gotten a July publication date.

By this point, “SOIAF” had already leapt to the top of my list. I’d even committed the geek-sacrilege of suggesting it’s better than “Lord of the Rings.” The fact that Martin had taken so long to get this one just right only made the moment I learned that 2011 would mark a return to Westeros more of a rush.

There would be more fantasy-geeking on my part when the book was actually released and was just as masterful as any of us could have expected. And, of course, there was the rush of seeing “Game of Thrones” adapted for HBO. But those seven words … yeah. That was big.
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What inspired a visual effects master?
December 23rd, 2011
06:16 PM ET

What inspired a visual effects master?

Without a doubt, two of the most visually stunning movies of the year are "Rise of the Planet of the Apes" and the newly released "Adventures of Tintin."

The visual effects for both came from WETA Workshop (best known for "Lord of the Rings") and both were overseen by Joe Letteri, whose career goes back to "Jurassic Park," the special edition of "Star Wars: A New Hope," and the second and third "LOTR" movies.

Like many fans of the films he worked on, Letteri was inspired by effects he saw in movies growing up.

"There was the original 'King Kong' (Letteri worked on the 2005 version of that as well), the Ray Harryhausen films, 'Star Wars.' All of these things start you into a new world," he told CNN Geek Out. "It's a way to allow you to create."
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Neil Gaiman cranking out 'tween lit'? Only on 'The Simpsons'
November 18th, 2011
05:22 PM ET

Neil Gaiman cranking out 'tween lit'? Only on 'The Simpsons'

Fantasy writer and Geek Out favorite Neil Gaiman's work might be just about as far away from the tween fare of "Twilight" as anything that also bears the "fantasy" genre tag.

But don't expect Gaiman, who will play an animated version of himself Sunday on an episode of "The Simpsons" that sends up the Stephenie Meyer stories to take any shots at the sparkly vampire series.

In fact, he says they're staples around the Gaiman residence.

"I am a terrible person because I have still not yet read the 'Twilight' books, which means I am the only person in my house," he said. "All of my daughters did."

Sunday's episode of the long-running Fox animated series is called "The Book Job." In it, Homer decides to cash in on the "tween lit" craze and forms a group to crank out the next big hit.

Enter Gaiman. FULL POST

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For 'The Walking Dead' producer, it's 'all guts and glory'
A love triangle is one story that helps draw non-genre fans to "The Walking Dead" says executive producer Gale Anne Hurd.
November 14th, 2011
03:07 PM ET

For 'The Walking Dead' producer, it's 'all guts and glory'

If you think the blood and guts of the zombie apocalypse in "The Walking Dead" is uneasy turf for a nice lady like producer Gale Anne Hurd, think again.

Hurd began her film career as an executive assistant to Roger Corman, the widely acknowledged "King of the Cult Film" whose prolific portfolio ranges from '50s and '60s pulp like "Devil's Angels" and "Attack of the Blood Beast," to "Rock 'n' Roll High School" featuring punk pioneers The Ramones, to the original "Little Shop of Horrors" and "Death Race 2000."

And she's done plenty since then in a consummate Hollywood career.

The Los Angeles native worked her way up at Corman's New World Productions, eventually becoming president before launching her own production company in 1982. (Along the way, she's wed directors James Cameron and Brian DePalma before marrying screenwriter Johnathan Hensleigh in 1995. By way of film-buff cred, she also owns a yacht named "Double Feature.").

Hurd has produced a few little films you may have heard of: "The Terminator," "Aliens," "Hulk," "Tremors," "The Abyss" and "The Incredible Hulk" among them.

And her next project is "Hellfest," a delicate little feature about a costumed killer run amok at a Halloween-themed amusement park. So yeah ... bring on the zombies. FULL POST

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