According to this chart, I sit at the very top (or is it bottom?) of the Geek hierarchy. I am a published science fiction writer. Moreover, I am also the editor of other writers and a publisher.
I recently took NPR’s quiz on whether I have read the most important SF books (compiled by a poll of thousands of fans). I scored 62 out of 100, sufficient to put me in the top 4% of those taking the survey (some 32000 readers). I pretty much watch every science fiction movie that comes out and see most of the comic book ones and a few of the fantasy ones as well. My wife and I can perform large parts of the dialogue from both The Princess Bride and Galaxy Quest.
Yet in many respects I’m hardly a geek at all. I don’t collect things except, in a negligent sort of way, SF novels. I couldn’t identify any but the main characters from Star Wars and there are vast swaths of fantasy, I know and care nothing about. I briefly played D&D but that was 30 years ago or more. As for other games — virtually nothing. No Settlers of Cataan or any video games (other than a brief flirtation with Civilization). I hate Manga and Anime and haven’t read a comic book or graphic novel in 20 years. Cosplay? Only at Halloween or for money.
Many of the TV shows my friends adore — Community, The Walking Dead, The Game of Thrones — leave me absolutely cold. Last night I gave up on ZNation after 11 episodes. Too many sharks had been jumped. That’s better than I did with the Walking Dead (5 episodes) or GoT (3) but not as good as Community (I forced myself to watch an entire season). Worse, apparently, I like The Big Bang Show, though I haven’t watched any since season 6. And Josh Whedon? — like Buffy, meh on most other things.
So why does this matter? To me, it doesn’t. I couldn’t care less if I belong to your club. I’ve never cared. I quit the Cubs and the Boy Scouts twice. I’ve never belonged to a real sports teams — though I have played with unorganized gangs of klutzes. I’m not much of a joiner — or if I join I’m not much of a stayer.
But it does matter because some people think it is important to create exclusivity. Forever outsiders in the mainstream, they seem to need to close ranks and keep out those who don’t belong — you know, women, racial minorities, LBGT people and so on. They claim bizarrely that women (or whomever you like) are ruining SF. They feel justified in threatening those who disagree.
When I listen to them, I frankly have to say, I have no idea what they are talking about. It sounds like gibberish.
Geekdom is not a country club where you can exclude women and blacks and Jews. Oh, wait, you can’t do that anymore. Maybe it’s time that people who claim to love ‘the future’ and ‘the alternative’ come into the present day and accept that love — including love of geeky things — knows no bounds.
But that’s ten minutes.