Another month of not knowing what is going to be chucked our way that could influence what I write here. A general election in the UK or a nuclear war elsewhere. I’m still wondering when the alien invasion is going to happen? Everything else seems to be happening and reality owes us one at least. It’s going to be a close call which will create Armageddon. As the third option doesn’t seem likely and I’ve delayed writing in case anything serious happens, let’s pick a subject that came to my mind after a discussion with Pauline Morgan, one of my reviewing team, which leads into a different subject.
Something that is often apparent in most of the articles I write is that I’m very hard to argue with. In fact, back in my early fandom days, that was the single ever complaint I ever had about my articles in that I cover all the points my topics raise. Less so much about heavy thinking and more to looking at any problem properly. In that respect, I haven’t changed much over the years other than having a little more space for expanding my articles. No one ever argues with my articles and I can’t believe that I’m that perfect just thorough.
The only real secret to that comes from my knowledge of General Semantics and looking at things from all angles. Whatever I write about I make sure I haven’t missed anything. In doing that, I look for flaws that have to be accounted for. I don’t seek to put an opinion on anything without evidence. If that makes me formidable then it’s a system that could make any and all of us formidable.
Oddly, you would think this would be more common amongst fans of our genre but across the world with all kinds of different backgrounds, I doubt if there will ever be consistency in that. Even so, the geek attitude tends towards not being in step with the general population so all things are possible if all we seek is truth.
An odd thing, though, as unlike the pre-Net days, when geeks and other descriptive named people such as ourselves were spread out, we invariably saw ourselves as more one or three of a kind than in the Net age, grouping has grown. Oddly, it also seems to have been affected by the group ethic that affects all other groups. Namely, individuals tend to conform too much and lose their own voice which seems an odd thing to do for people like us. It might also prevent you developing as a geek because you can let other people do the thinking for you or can’t add anything to the discussion because someone said what you were going to say first. It’s up to you as to whether this is a good or bad thing but it does raise the question of are we in a world of different geek grades now?
That doesn’t mean that there isn’t some conformity. It’s a bit difficult to get on in society by ignoring all the laws and rules. By and large, geeks aren’t anarchists. For geeks, the standard definition is an enthusiasm for SF that extends beyond the likes of the latest SF/horror/fantasy film release but to seek out things in our genre to feed our interest and expand our knowledge. We are supposed to be innately curious with an element of problem-solving in many things. As our genre has always made a lot of discussion points in many subjects, it’s hardly surprising we’re most associated with SF.
Of course, with the Net community, you can get beholden to what’s currently available and don’t want to get caught out by not being able to discuss it which limits how much you can afford to digest at any one time. Oddly, that hasn’t made any difference here. It’s also getting confusing because SF, especially films, has edged towards being mainstream without knowing it. Look at how many non-geeks understand or have some general knowledge of our genre these days compared to when we were young. When you see, say, someone wearing a super-hero picture on their clothes, do you go beyond identifying the character but who drew it and maybe which comic it was sourced from and whether you still own it? Now that’s geek thinking.
Now, here’s a contradiction. We at SFCrowsnest don’t conform to being part of group and yet we have the second highest Net hits to the SciFi Channel so we must be doing something right for the inner geek. I think to some extent, it’s this variety of reviews not necessarily following what others do that is probably the attraction. Even so, this does make it harder to attract more reviewers because you need to have our slant on things plus the ability to write or the ability to learn to write well. It needs that ability to be a super-geek really. A super-geek is someone who maintains that individualistic tendency through thick and thin. They might play with the groups and possibly have a voice there but not beholden to the views expressed.
With that in mind and the possibility of me doing a piece about how geek you really are, I really do need to track down some genuine super-geeks right now.
Although we’re pretty much limited to physical book copies in the UK, with ebooks and such these days, it does open us up a little more for reviewers from abroad now. As with any job, starting with reviewing books is the gateway in. In an odd contradiction, it is the lesser geeks listening to us and might take up or not our choices of books or whathaveyou to read or watch but we don’t impose the choice, just show what else you might be missing. That’s true of any review site if you think about it.
Now, you can’t just email me and say you want to review. It works a lot better if you write a review of something you’ve read recently, especially if it’s done with SFC in mind. If it’s good and we haven’t done a review of it yet, then it also stands a better chance to be used. This won’t preclude you being used at all, but it does indicate that you’ve been paying attention to the website’s contents and know your way around our site and search engine. That’s a super-geek attitude by the way although you might not see yourself as a super-geek by doing so because its second nature.
Any review should be a précis of the plot and significant characters without giving away too many spoilers. The more important thing is how you express your opinion and analyse what you’ve read because it has to come from you and not anybody else or anything you’ve read. We’re never afraid to call a spade a shovel here. Other teams watch what we write, not the other way around. It isn’t the nature of the beast, we are the beast or rather the friendly template at the top of the tree or SFCrowsnest if you’d rather.
You can often tell from the enthusiasm of our reviewers when they find something good. It comes out in the writing. If something is poor quality or disappointing, then that comes out, too. We are here to seek out material and I need more people to seek especially as we are offered so much at the moment. I even match to your tastes so you’re not just chucked something and told to get on with it.
Being a super-geek doesn’t mean you can’t be normal. In this case ‘normal’ means above average but with a mostly unbiased perspective. You can often see the mistakes in film critics in they see so many films they forget the average viewer might, if lucky, see a couple new films a month if that. If just go in with no preconceived biases but in analytical mode to see if the product works or not.
Everyone, even reviewers, have to start somewhere. A lot of the time, I’d rather work with someone new to reviewing because there’s a lot less to unlearn. Mind you, looking at my team, they come from across the board and it doesn’t take that long to develop some expertise before I hone in on any specialities or tastes that you might have and try to accommodate them.
If you feel you have that super-geek quality or not being crowd-driven, then email me. You might need me as much as I need you. The email address is below. Did I say you must love reading?
Thank you, take care, good night and, remember, geeks aren’t inept we lead.
A Zen thought: Life is life and it’s better to be with than without.
Observation: You never see fat Daleks, so where is the Dalek Diet book?
Observation: Considering Batman uses a batarang, you have to wonder why if never returns to him once thrown. Shouldn’t it be called the batstick?
Observation: Although not strictly our genre, something to have a think about is why are kitchens seen as thoroughfares when you consider how much dirt is brought in on people’s feet.
Feeling Stressed: So is everyone else!