Tuesday, March 16, 2010

I Fear I Came Out Of Hyperspace Too Close To The Geek System

The middle of February saw five books stacked on my nightstand in the order I had planned to read them. Yesterday I picked up the last one and started it. This is faster than I’ve read in quite some time and, while I’m proud of that, my increased reading frequency is not the purpose of today’s post. You can see my post from February 26th for more on this. I will point out, however, that I have read this often while still keeping up to date on the six comic book subscriptions I currently receive. Yay, me! I think I surpassed the number of hours needed for the free Six Flags ticket.

My concern lies in what I’ve now chosen to read. It’s a dangerous choice. It’s a decision that I did not make lightly. The book I’m currently reading was put back on the shelf several times at Borders before I caved and finally purchased it. I’m reading the graphic novel adaptation of Star Wars: The Thrawn Trilogy by Timothy Zahn.

I’ve made no secret of my love for Star Wars. I’ve seen all the movies more times than you could shake a Tusken Raider staff at. My sons have seen all six films multiple times. We even sat on the couch over a weekend one Winter break and watched Episodes I-VI in chronological order, including The Clone Wars cartoon feature between Episodes II and III. That said, reading a novel about the Star Wars universe outside of the movies was never something I saw myself capable of. I can’t decide if the fact that it’s a graphic novel adapted from three original novels makes it worse or better.

Either way, I feel like I’ve descended into a dark, rank dungeon of Geekdom where I swore I’d never tread. Each turned page is like a step further and further into this dangerous lair; one in which I can practically smell the rancid breath and sweat of the Orcs as they forge their battle weapons. I fear the discovery of a Beholder around every corner with such grave inevitability that I simply wonder whether it will choose to use the eye that instantly disintegrates me or the one which shall turn my flesh into stone. The farther in I go, the less likely it is I will ever emerge the same.

You see?! It’s happening already. I never used to talk like this.

I have nothing against people elaborating on the Star Wars story. I enjoyed the story, questionable plot decisions and all, but have you seen how many of these books there are? Dozens, at least. Comic books would be one thing, they go faster, but we are talking full length novels here. This is not a time commitment I can make at this point in my life.

I don’t have anything against geeks, either. I just never thought I was one. Do I like geeks and thoroughly enjoy conversations with them? Yes. Am I impressed by their ability to recreate, verbatim, a map of Middle Earth of which Tolkien himself would be proud? Sure. Can I appreciate their handy work when fabricating costumes for various comic and sci-fi conventions? Absolutely. Does their lack of self-consciousness in wearing said costumes out in public leave me a little jealous? You bet your ass it does.

All the same, while I care deeply about many geeks, I’ve never quite considered myself one. Call me a nerd and I will agree. I had good grades, took honors classes and barely dated in high school. Label me a dork and you’ll hear no protest on my part. I know far too many lines from movies, will laugh alone at my own obscure references on a regular basis, spout clich├ęs circa the Roaring 20's and consistently come up with rhymes by which to remember such things as how to spell dessert, not desert and principle, not principal. I mean no offense to my beloved geeks, but I feel, if nothing else, I have simply lacked the conviction to be considered one of your kind. I have not, up to this point, earned the title. Yet, this choice of reading material may just push me beyond that threshold.

Well, you know what I’ve decided? It doesn’t matter. I’m going to read this one book. I’ll finish it, enjoy it, I’m sure, and be done. It’ll just be this one time and I won’t pick up another Star Wars book. I’m just going to try it once and be off the stuff for good.

May Lucas forgive me.

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