Frankly put. I am a FAKE GEEK GUY. I admit it. I like geek stuff, but I don’t love geek stuff. Not the way most geeks do. I’m an interloper on the geek scene. I’ve seen the movies, but I don’t know the canon. I am not a true fan.

All those things about not really loving the source material and “just watching the movies” or only reading the one book that everyone has read. That—all of that—applies to me.

But here are some things that have never happened to me. I have never been quizzed about who Data’s evil brother is to prove I like Star Trek. I have never had to justify my place in a midnight line to see Spider-man II by knowing who took up the mantle of Spider-man after Peter Parker’s death. (Peter Parker dies? Really? That’s so sad!) I have never had to explain who Nightwing is in order to participate in a conversation about Batman. (Nightwing is like….Robin on steroids, right?) I have never been asked how battle meditation works in order to voice my opinion that Enterprise shields would probably make a fight with Star Wars technology one sided. (Battle meditation is something that was in that Jedi role playing game, wasn’t it?) I have never had to beat everybody in the room (twice) at Mario Kart to prove I liked video games. I have never had my gender “honorarily” changed by having enough geek interests to be accepted (“you’re one of the guys now”). No one has ever insisted I tell them the difference between a tank and DPS in an MMORPG before allowing me to discuss raiding Molten Core. I have never been dismissed as a faker at a prequel screening because I didn’t know which admiral came out of light speed too close to the planet’s surface in The Empire Strikes Back. I have never been quizzed about Armor Class in order to get past someone who was blocking my path to the back of a game store where my friends were waiting at the tables. I have never been told I’m not a real fan. I have never been shamed for coming to a convention despite my lack of esoteric knowledge. And I have never, ever, EVER been invited to leave a fandom because I didn’t like [whatever it was] enough.

Every one of the things I have listed, I have personally witnessed happen. To women.

That’s not elitism. That’s sexism.

Via Barnes & Noble’s book blog, 9 Signs You Might Be Living In A YA Novel.

Within the past few weeks, two hot, adoring guys have come into your life.If one is a dark-haired bad boy and the other a mischievous yet trustworthy blond, just accept that you’re living in a YA novel now, and cross your fingers it’s a series.

You or someone you know is named Cam, Cameron, or Cammie. Also watch out for names that can be shortened to Kat.

Your world’s looking a little bit…whitewashed.And if you do know someone of color, they likely have skin that one might compare to a cafe au lait, mocha, or other beverage currently sold at Starbucks. (Note: If people are looking even whiter than usual, you may be living in a YA novel about vampires. Or zombies. I’m sorry.)

I’d add: has your evil dystopian society banned something random, like love? Or having a a personality? Do you bear an ancient family curse? Do you have an adorable little sister, of whom you feel very protective?

Watch out for that third book in your trilogy, is all I’m sayin’.

3

Wizard Quest - Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin

Born from the kitsch-filled lands known as Wisconsin Dells, Wizard Quest is a unique theme attraction that lets visitors pick up a wand and magic their way through a surreal fantasy land.

Unlike most theme parks, Wizard Quest isn’t based around an existing intellectual property, but features an originalish story that leads people through the entire attraction. Covering 13,000 square feet of fantasy locales, the whimsical complex provides guests the chance to quest through their puzzling rooms in an attempt to free four elemental wizards, giving attendees the chance to play the hero. The quest takes nerds of any age through the “Quadrasphere” which includes rooms such as a hall of mirrors, numerous hidden passageways and even traps! The adventure is played out through the use of a clever system of computer effects and infrared “wands” which can activate events in the Wizard Quest world.

Despite the widespread rise of genre-culture in the past 20 years, Wizard Quest is still a one-of-a-kind attraction for fans wishing to visit an immersive world of fantasy and magic. For anyone sick of dreaming that they are Harry Potter, if you’re willing to suspend disbelief and ignore a little kitsch, this quest makes you your own hero.

More awesome Wizard Questing on Atlas Obscura!

Image via the New York Times

Awww, bless their little hearts; the NYT has discovered how many working F/SF writers are influenced by Dungeons & Dragons!  They’ve got a great quote from our perennial literary crush Junot Diaz: 

Playing D&D and spinning tales of heroic quests, “we welfare kids could travel,” Mr. Díaz, 45, said in an email interview, “have adventures, succeed, be powerful, triumph, fail and be in ways that would have been impossible in the larger real world.”

“For nerds like us, D&D hit like an extra horizon,” he added. The game functioned as “a sort of storytelling apprenticeship.”

They actually dig pretty deeply into the relationship between D&D and traditional storytelling:

What makes a D&D story different from novels and other narratives is its improvisational and responsive nature. Plotlines are decided as a group. As a D&D player, “you have to convince other players that your version of the story is interesting and valid,” said Jennifer Grouling, an assistant professor of English at Ball State University who studied D&D players for her book, “The Creation of Narrative in Tabletop Role-Playing Games.”

If a Dungeon Master creates “a boring world with an uninteresting plot,” she said, players can go in a completely different direction; likewise, the referee can veto the action of player. “I think D&D can help build the skills to work collaboratively and to write collaboratively,” she added. (Mr. Díaz called this the “social collaborative component” of D&D.)

The rebooted D&D starter kit is out today — but really all you need is paper, pencils, dice, and imagination.  Go tell some stories!

— Petra (chaotic good half-elf sorceror, in case you’re wondering)

function watch_out() {
      if (santa_claus[destination] == town)
            return TRUE;
      return FALSE;
}

function cry() {
      if (santa_claus[destination] == town)
            return FALSE;
      return TRUE;
}

function pout() {
      if (santa_claus[destination] == town)
            return FALSE;
      return TRUE;
}

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