Last night I was reading an interview with China Miéville over at io9, and it made me wonder whether I'm a proper nerd or just a poser nerd: a dork, a dweeb; a wannerd. Wannaberd? Whatever.
China--the author who made me realize that scientists are legitimate fantasy protagonists, and with whom I am on a presumptious first-name basis--was talking about JJ Abrams and Joss Whedon, names I recognized but could not quite finger. I had to look them up to figure out that they were the minds behind various humongously name-worthy television and Hollywood productions of the speculative kind; productions I have experienced through the faculties of both vision and hearing, but never associated with personages I can wiki.
Then followed this kind of zoom-out effect where I realized I couldn't begin to grasp half, maybe even a quarter, of io9's content; and then, horrifically, I realized I have the same stuttering trouble whenever I log on to Boing Boing. To wit: I don't read comics. I rarely play videogames anymore, and I haven't roleplayed in years. Cosplay aggravates me, and I don't understand hacker culture or astrophysics. I nearly never watch movies, and, other than short fiction, I practically don't even read genre these days. The last speculative fiction novel I read was Miéville's The City & the City (which, interestingly enough, is an example of truly "speculative fiction"--as opposed to the vast expanse of urban fantasy drivel that tries to cover up its own lameness with the spec fic label). In the past month I've read a collection of absurdist literary short stories and Jonathan Franzen's The Corrections; now I'm reading A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole.
I'm not saying that literary fiction is bad, and I'm not opposed to my non-nerdy pastimes. But I'm terribly afraid that I'm not nerdy enough to be a speculative fiction writer. What will they say when they realize how superficial my writing is? How it is, quite literally, uninspired? I mean, I've never even read Lord of the Rings, let alone the Foundation trilogy or... well, truth be told, just about anything that belongs to the speculative fiction canon. Over at izanobu's blog, a former Clarionite referred, in comments, to speculative fiction writers being a "tribe." I worry that, should I ever be published, the tribe will speak, and I will be voted off the island.
My failed nerdiness is compounded by the fact that, every time I play Halo 3 with my girlfriend's little brother, he creams me. Despite the fact that I, as a child, once vowed that my videogame skills would never slip, here I am, getting massacred by a ten year-old.
In my defence, in my day, we didn't have flying machines with heat-seeking missiles; heck, you were lucky to get an RPG.
I had a dream last night about a cyborg, made out of "bisodium phosphate," eating pigeons. The cyborg was asking permission to hurry up and eat those pigeons. I hope that gives me a little spec fic street cred, because my book shelf, my DVD collection, and my (empty) miniatures display case won't get me very far.