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Geek Credentials

A few years ago, a page such as this with an explanation as to why I identify as a "geek" or "nerd" wouldn't have been necessary. However, the number and variety of people who describe themselves as a geek has recently exploded, so whether I should or not, I feel it is beholden to me to provide my readers with some specifics when it comes to what I obsess over. You will find those specifics below.

The double-edged sword of geekdom is that there is so much science fiction, fantasy, comic, gaming, collecting, you-name-it material out there to love. It's exciting, because as a fan girl in the aforementioned categories, there are virtually limitless stories and environments and characters out there for me to experience and immerse myself in. But it's also overwhelming, because I cannot now and never could claim to have a profound love for and expertise in everything that could be classified as geeky or nerdy. I wish I had Hermione's Time Turner, so that I could read every sci-fi or fantasy novel, watch every movie that takes place in deep space, play every video game, and keep up with every squeal-inducing event in every corner of the geek world. But it's just not possible. And naturally, every geek remembers the special work(s) that set her on her current path - those images and settings that always will inspire and encourage her.

And so, my readers, I will share a list of what you might call my "early influences."

Image credit: Ted Nasmith
The Hobbit & LotR First and foremost will always be The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, and all things Tolkien. I literally wish I lived in Middle-Earth, and that might sound cliche, but only in the sense that the Bible is cliche. I was in the fourth grade when The Hobbit and, consequently, Middle-Earth got ahold of me, and it would be impossible to completely map out the fingers of their influence in my life, so prevalent is that world in my bloodstream.


"The Unicorn In Captivity"

Unicorns Okay, here is where I really geek out... I distinctly remember going through a phase as a little girl where I was obsessed with unicorns. In my neighborhood we had an enormous, beautiful public library. My mom took us there regularly. I think I must have, over time, checked out every book on unicorns available. I liked unicorn picture books and unicorn chapter books and unicorns in mythology and unicorn encyclopedias. I knew everything there was to know about unicorns - what different cultures believed them to look like, all the ideas they symbolized, etc. And it will come as no surprise to you that the animated film adaptation of Peter S. Beagle's "The Last Unicorn" was a staple in my movie diet. I'll put it like this: apparently, the unicorn tapestries (hand-woven) were crafted as a wedding present for a couple in the 15th century - whoever that couple was, I am supremely jealous of them. (And their friends had good taste.)

Redwall Brian Jacques' Redwall series inspired the first actual novel I wrote. It is 150 pages long, and I wrote it when I was twelve. And no, you can't see it - it is very much a twelve-year-old's writing. But the heroism of Jacques' tiny protagonists and the detail with which he fleshed out their world has stuck with me all this time, and will no doubt continue to do so. In fact, the world of Redwall was written with enough detail that it actually bore the printing up of some recipes for the treats and savories that the creatures of Redwall Abbey enjoy. I received a sheet of these recipes (along with Brian Jacques' signature, some stickers, and some bookmarks) when I wrote him to tell him how much I loved his books.


Doom II My affinity for video games was indisputably sparked by I.D. Games' Doom II. I knew every compartment of all the 23 levels. Though the graphics were terribly pixelated, and there were no elaborate, cinema-like cutscenes, what grew on me was the thrill of cooperative play, player-versus-player, and proto-role-playing as a marine sent to eradicate a demon threat to earth.  Video games have evolved dramatically in the past three decades, but I'm still hooked by getting to pretend I'm a superhuman hero on whom the fate of the world depends.


Alien I saw "Alien" parodied long before I watched the actual film. My first experience with the Chest-Burster was when I saw "Spaceballs," and the little guy dances across the bar signing, "Hello, my baby! Hello, my honey! Hello, my ragtime gal!" So I don't know if I ever truly feared the Xenomorph. Instead, since I happened to view "Alien Resurrection" before I saw any of the other films, the merging of Ellen Ripley and the Xenomorph was, to my mind, the natural conclusion of the entire saga. Ripley is not only a perfect match for the monstrous feminine we encounter in the "Alien" films, she is the monstrous feminine.


Image courtesy of akshul.com
The Wheel of Time I've always loved reading, and I have enjoyed fantasy and science fiction series for almost as long as that, but one series that will always be my first recommendation to someone looking to delve deeper into the genre is Robert Jordan's The Wheel of Time. A series that is epic in every sense of the word, The Wheel of Time will remain one of the most finely crafted, intricate, immersive high fantasy tales of all time. At the tender age of 15, it certainly captivated me.


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