Speak Out With Your Geek Out has a loose definition of what a ‘geek’ is, as a way of trying to break down barriers. For me though a quintessential part of the geek experience is being discriminated against. There are plenty of other things that are nerdy and the division is ridiculous but it does exist. There’s little that’s nerdier than sports fandom after all, all the statistics, all the history, all the fiddly details, probabilities, state of the pitch or the ground… but sports nerdery is commonly accepted and nobody bats an eyelid. Remember the scores and line up from a football game in 1966 and nobody gives a damn, recite the plot of a Batman comic from the same period and people will look at you askance.
That’s why I’m supporting SOWYGO, to point this out but also to talk about more traditional nerdery and my nerdery experiences. Maybe it’s better to call this stuff ‘fandom’, fandom is truly universal and can apply to anything and everything. Let’s just keep that in mind, we’re all fen, of something.
I’m a pretty general-purpose geek. I like science fiction, fantasy, comics, computer games and odd facts. My brain will instantly forget things like anniversaries, birthdays, doctor’s appointments or anything else ‘important’ but I can remember the finest details of science fiction series from my childhood or old issues of 2000AD.
How’d I end up this way?
I don’t think I stood much of a chance of not being a geek. My dad was a teacher (maths) and then one of the first computing teachers before moving into IT more generally. He had an encyclopaedic collection of 70s paperback science fiction and my mum had her own collection of Narnia books and spy novels. I was read to a lot and I devoured books whole, that was my gateway into the wider world of nerdery because I wanted all of the things I read about to become true. I wanted to live in these worlds and if I couldn’t live in these worlds I wanted to pretend and to imagine my own.
And that was it, I was lost, though I’ve never been happier to be lost. Books took me into role-playing games and that, right there, is my particular raison d’geek. My compulsive and obsessive side is fixated upon that, the making of worlds, the rolling of dice, tinkering with rules to simulate worlds in the imagination and that’s why this website and all my work exists.
From a prevalence of books in my childhood to a creator of worlds and games.
Ain’t so bad being made a geek.