A Moment of Clarity
Posted on December 6, 2007 Posted by John Scalzi 42 Comments
I was just taking one of those Internet tests to see how much of a geek I am, when I suddenly thought, what the fuck am I doing? I’m a published science fiction writer. Do not pass “go,” do not collect $200, you know? Just go straight to the geek win.
That’s right, I win at geek. Tell me I’m wrong.
One might suggest that the very act of TAKING said test qualified you. Being a published SF writer and all that? I mean…come on, John. :)
Of course, I feel the Brunching Shuttlecock’s Geek Hierarchy coming on, for some reason.
Nah, my wife took one of those tests once. Needless to say, she failed at geek.
Yes, you’ve officially tested out of geek tests online from now on hereafter. You are an honorary eternal geek. So let it be written, so let it be done.
“Moment of clarity.” In a weird coincidence, this is the second time today that I’ve read that phrase in the past hour. That same expression was posted earlier today by Eric Burns, aka Websnark, about that very thing, a moment of clarity that happened 90 years ago today in Halifax. It’s a gripping story:
A link to said chart
Thought you were on deadline, WriterBoy…
If you want to know your true level of geek, just post this same entry on /. and see what happens. The fact that your wife isn’t an android, and you can at least fake having a personality on a blog, (no offense meant, I believe you have a personality in real life, but sticking to the facts here) puts you in the “geek-for-pay” category there.
You have a wife. You’ve had sex in real life. That’s a lot of lost geek-points right there.
Becoming self-reflective about taking an online test to measure your level of geekery is…well…words fail me, but it’s up on the narcissism scale. And then posting about it?
Step away from the computer, please.
You know enough to realize that iPods are superior MP3-players, but you use other products out of a general sense of cussed-ness? Sounds pretty geeky to me. :-)
Uh, no, we aren’t going to dispute that. You are what, some sort of Nietzscheian (probably didn’t spell it right) Super Geek. You are Ayn Rand’s John Galt of Geekdom. Or something like that.
I’ve got an advanced degree in tax law. How much geekage do I get?
Or am I confusing nerd with geek. Or a subset of pinhead. Or neomaxizoomdweebie? Shite. I need a refresher my geek/nerd taxonomy . . . is it that all nerds are geeks, but not all geeks are nerds? Or do I have that backwards?
I must admit though, Scalzi is teh geek!
Not even close. Lots of SF isn’t technical enough to qualify for win-at-geek. From what I can tell, yours isn’t especially geeky. Charlie Stross and Vernor Vinge maybe win at geek on author cred alone. Anne McCaffrey doesn’t.
Todd Stull @10: No worries — you spelled “Nietzscheian” correctly . . . saith the history geek.
John: Yes, you’re well into the “Honorary Member for Life” category of geek, b/c not only are you a published science fiction writer, but you’ve also written *science* books and, if we need icing on the cake, written regularly for a gaming magazine. I mean, gild the lily, why don’t you?
Maybe what you are doing is procrastinating by taking geekiness tests…
You’re complaining about narcissism on a personal Web site? To the back of the line to you!
Does the technical aspect of the SF itself matter? Or just that you write it at all? I could see two schools of thought there. Also, I don’t know. Android’s Dream is pretty full on in its geekitude.
*voice of young Dan Ackroyd speaking Spanish*
Qui es mui geeky? Vernor Vinge o Rudy Rucker?
*/voice of young Dan Ackroyd speaking Spanish*
Rucker: C.S. professor at SJSU, wrote “Transrealist Manifesto,” publishes his own sci-fi webzine, many sci-fi and other books.
Vinge: math/C.S. professor at SDSU, wrote “The Coming Technological Singularity,” many sci-fi novels including multiple Hugo winners.
Dark horse: Stross with the coding and pharmacology background and, well, Accelerando ‘n’ stuff.
Which “one of those Internet tests”? I’m just curious…
Maybe if you wrote “The Android’s Dream” as an executable PERL script…
How about if you included yourself in your stories.
Yourself having sex with captain Kirk.
Whilst dressed as a catgirl.
That would be geekier I think.
Or maybe if Old Man’s War was based on your LBB Traveller campaign that you’d been running with the same group of friends off-and-on for 25 years….
Cf. the list of 56 geeks. How many do you qualify for? I count maybe three or four, though of course my knowledge is extremely limited.
Being a SF writer? Well… it’s not like you’d call Patrick Stewart a Star Trek geek, would you?
(Which is to say, doesn’t rule you out, but doesn’t rule you in, either.)
Dude, you are even geekier than you know. You are a gift to geeks.
I’m writing a book about explaining quantum physics to my dog.
You’re just keeping my chair warm until it’s published.
“You’re complaining about narcissism on a personal Web site? To the back of the line to you!”
[from the back of the line, shouting above the crowd]: “I forgot to mention the personal web site part of it!”
Sometimes one must renew one’s creds, one must.
An Eric, “Traveller” that was the name of the game I was trying to remember last week, thanks.
Glad to be of service, Steve. Truly a classic RPG.
Tully: Beware of geeks bearing gifts.
John, this little tiff between you and Dr. Orzel must be decided in proper geekish fashion, with lightsabers.
If I send you one, will you pose with it?
The household already has one, thanks.
*shakes head* I’ve written Buffy/Firefly crossovers, and had a science fiction story published in a furry magazine. I think I win at geek more than you, John…
I’m pretty sure Rudy Rucker has you beat by a nautical mile, and he’s still trying catch up with Vinge.
How does length of time reading SF contribute to Geekiness? Do you get extra points per decade? I’ve got 4.
You know, I’m not trying to compete with other science fiction writers. We all win at geek.
I agree you’re a geek… but you sure are one hell of a FUNNY geek.
Never laughed so hard as I did when reading “The Android’s Dream”.
Not sure if being hilarious subtracts geek points or not.
“We all win at geek.”
Ya game theory geek.
(BTW, has anyone noticed that the Geek Hierarchy, linked to upthread, actually has PubSciFiWri’s as the least geeky among the nerdosphere, with “geek” being strictly pejorative?)
pfft… published science fiction writer. If anything, you should lose points for making a living at it.
So what’s our working definition of geek here? Cisko’s link seems to imply that anyone who puts money and time into something not accepted by the mainstream (fashion, sports, sitcoms, which celebrity’s in rehab this week, etc.) is a geek*. By that definition, John’s classification is problematic. Books are usually geeky, sf/f certainly so, but since he’s using the money he gets for writing them to feed his family**, I wonder if his geekiness quotient takes a hit. Working for a living is depressingly normal.
*Since we’re all interested in scholarliness here, my geek credentials: I write Transformers and Final Fantasy 7 fanfic (not at the same time) (yet). Some of which involves the characters gettin’ busy. And yes, I’m still a virgin, which I’m pretty sure puts me in Irredeemable Geek territory.
**Presumably. For all I know, he spent his last paycheck on a hot tub filled with warm Jell-O.
You qualify to write geek tests.
Seems like the right time to bring up that geeks in the circus are people with no special abilities other than doing really gross stuff like eating light bulbs, wallowing in pits of filth, etc.
Of course the geekiness of the content matters. SF is functionally mainstream. Even written SF is functionally mainstream. See also: Octavia Butler, Ursula LeGuin, Margaret Atwood, Michael Chabon, and oh, yeah, Doris Lessing.
I can’t comment on the geekiness of the content of Android’s Dream as I have to get myself unbogged in OMW first. But I can say that a number of your commenters don’t seem to be clearly distinguishing between geeks, nerds, and dorks. Just because you’re not a dork doesn’t mean you aren’t a geek, for instance.
I write SF. . .
. . . and I’ve been GoH at a furry convention.
Got both ends of the geek chart covered here.
(forgot to say “published” oops.)