Editorial – September 2018: Geek on my sleeve.

September 1, 2018 | By | Reply More

 

 

Hello everyone

When I was young, I often wore something that would give away my interest in comics, whether it was a painted Phoenix design on the back of my white windcheater or the odd badge. These days I’m quite sedate in my choice of clothes whereas now it would less likely to be out of place with so many people wearing genre-orientated clothes To dress normally appears the way to be geek as we get older. We don’t need to broadcast who we are.

As things get more mainstream, it seems the natural geek tends to do the reverse of everyone else. Mind you, I’ve always though it’s the inner me that’s geek, not what I’m wearing. It was my interests that gave me away and, even back in the day, that got me regarded as eccentric even when I said nothing about them. Maybe it’s the way my eyes out-glowed the ‘Children Of The Damned’ or my intensity. The world has caught up…sort of. Well, not with glowing eyes. I mean, the people wearing a super-hero tee-shirt might know the character but do they know who drew it or even identify the comic it probably came from? It works wonderfully looking at super-hero wallpaper. Interestingly, the concentration is more on the 1960s-70s than anything much later. That must tell its own story. That’s the difference between them and we geeks. We’re less about style and more about knowledge. That doesn’t mean we all don’t all have different levels of knowledge. These days it’s impossible to be expert at everything and I imagine my general knowledge across the board would still make me formidable. There’s always likely to be something I know that you didn’t but it’s also possible for the reverse to be true as well but I bet we both learn from it. That can be a great equaliser although I doubt if knowledge debates comes up often.

Even so, either we’re getting more geeks out of the woodwork or we need a different grading system but, really, does it matter that much? It’s just important that we’re all geeks, unique to this world and we don’t have to wear our geekiness on our sleeves to know or prove what we are. It’s our knowledge, how we pay attention to the world and, maybe, our collections that often tell us apart from normal people who don’t view them as useful attributes. But does everyone have collections now and there is so much merchandise out there. So then it becomes a question of quality over quantity or maybe rarity over mass market. Even that can be confusing. It’s all right for people like me who bought things when they were first available and suddenly discover their price escalation makes jewels pale in comparison. Playing in that kind of market needs an infinite balance to play with and few buy with to make a profit. Hence my comments years ago that it’s impossible for any one person to have everything. You’d need a warehouse than a mansion. Our geekiness is in choosing what we like to have and afford.

There’s still a matter of what makes us geek and how we can tell ourselves apart from other people. To be described as being eccentric isn’t enough. Border-line eccentrics would also be defined as being, how shall we say it politely, mad in some way. Oddly, the more I learn, the more I realise that geeks aren’t just confined to our genre. It can be obsessive knowledgables on any subject to the point that we might actually share some traits with autistic people. Not so much with unsocial behaviour but in knowledge retention of the trivia. If you apply the standard Gaussian curve, then we are the extremes living among the averages.

Paradoxically, I do suspect some people would like to be pure geek or have some of our qualities. Mind you, mine does include being able to draw, paint and write and problem-solve. From my own experience, I’m know I’m unsocial which isn’t the same as anti-social, just happy with my own company. We’re used to such things but I tend to think people are born geek, they don’t tend to turn that way as part of a trend. Of course, I could be wrong. I suspect some level of geek actually wants to be part of a herd instinct. Geek covers a wide range so we could have extreme to minor geeks and we’d all be somewhere on the curve. You, the reader, are probably taking a deep sigh of relief at that point if you show social awareness.

I suspect the Boolean curve displays a wide range of talents but doesn’t really define any outstanding quality that we can say that is what defines us as geeks. Maybe it’s our ability to recall endless trivia or spotting continuity errors because we really pay attention to what we watch and read. We’re alert and often powered with knowledge that makes us often more right than wrong, although I suspect that irritates some people. It would be easier to recognise the anti-geeks simply because they can’t do what we can do than spot people more like ourselves whom we might see as rivals.

You’ll note that I haven’t called ourselves ‘fanatical’ or ‘obsessive’ and that’s for a very good reason, sports fans make us look ‘normal’ in comparison. Quite how it’s seen as ‘normal’ behaviour to buy expensive player shirts that gets changed on a seasonal basis, expensive seats at games or rarely bat an eyebrow at the outrageous wages players get beats me. The distinction that our sometimes outlandish clothes choices looks different is oddly going away, mostly because we’re now seen as a ‘normal’. That is, in part, mostly because films get everywhere compared to fiction and comicbooks.

As such, I suspect because we are geeks we might have a blind eye to what makes us geek in the first place. Certainly in the old days, a lot of it was down to lack of social contact, often through illness. Today, because of the Internet and social media, people are less alone. Does this mean there is likely to be less geeks or are they simply going to be harder to recognise? After all, we most of us don’t have the herd instinct so, other than work, the Net makes it easier for people to stay at home and harder to spot.

So I’ll leave it you and ask the question: what makes you think you’re a geek and how easy is it for you to spot it in others?

 

Thank you, take care, good night and wear your geek on your sleeve.

 

Geoff Willmetts

editor: www.SFCrowsnest.info

 

A Zen thought: Never put off today what you can do today.

 

What Qualities Does A Geek Have: It’s a trivial question, isn’t it?

 

The Reveal: The US corporate technique these days. That acts like a relentless machine with people changing but the mechanism marches on. It’s the nearest thing to having something dead that looks like its alive.

 

The Help: Something I hate about some massive W10 updates, apart from happening while in sleep mode, is finding recent DOC files in read-only mode. One solution is to reboot and W10 sorts it out on reload. A lot less messier solution.

 

Observation: Do you suppose the hunter predators would approve of global warming?

 

Observation: Left to their own devices, cats have their own funeral plans.

 

Feeling Stressed: The physical world has us beat.

 

Missed Opportunity:

            If you aren’t seeing the types of book or authors here you would want to read, chances are that I don’t have any reviewers who do them. I’m stocking up on reviewers right now. The extended info is below but essentially, if you can write and breathe and make good observations, you stand a chance. If you make grammatical errors, then I have your back. Email me at: gfwillmetts at hotmail.com

NOTE: Although there are details below, please observe the bigger message elsewhere on site. I’m always recruiting reviewers and this is the time of year to recruit as the nights are shorter and so you might be sleeping less If you’re living in the UK, love books and feel a bit geeky then read the notes below. You have to love reading anyway. You might be what I’m looking for and I do train people up and it’s good for your writer’s CVs and books to feed your reading habit. As some of my team are discovering, they can also interview writers and write articles as well. You can do that without reviewing as well but reading and reviewing is a good discipline. We’re a good team to belong to.

Polls And Opinions: We did have them for a time but the new version was causing a mess in WordPress so until a new version that doesn’t cause conflicts comes around, we’ll have to do without them but please use the answer option at the end of any material to express comments because we do read them.

For the record: For the odd query I have about being linked to media contacts. I do not have either a personal twitter or facebook account. There’s enough of me here to not outstay my welcome. I’m also puzzled why some people see SFC as a blog site when we’re not. We were in this format long before blogs. It’s getting to the point that people can’t tell the difference between blog and butter.

Beware Of Virus Attacks: December 2012, even though I hadn’t left an active link to my email address, it got solidly attacked and then blocked from everyone, including myself. By necessity, having a form of open contact to me comes as part of the editor’s job. I’m still seeking reviewers and new material so follow the paths through the website and go where no spam-bot dares. I’ve yet to see them write anything. Humans and aliens can apply. Monsters need to prove they can read and write. We could do with some reviewers who like fantasy right now. Don’t be scared of the instructions, you’d be surprised how easy it is to learn. So, if you want to contact me, build these words into an email address: gfwillmetts at hotmail dot com I won’t bite, although that doesn’t preclude others. In fact, I’ll settle for any more willing reviewers who love to read. Did I say I was after reviewers?

NB: We do get digital books and if you live abroad and not in the UK, then this avenue could be open to you. I’m not putting it in as a link to avoid spam. Just copy and paste into your emails to contact me with my address noted in the paragraph above. I’m always recruiting and details are through a link on the top of the SFC main page articles and stories as well. Just because it’s sunny, doesn’t mean you’re going to read any less. We could do with some more fantasy readers right now!

If you’ve on a budget, a book for a review is a good bargain and I can teach the nervous how to do it by seeing what you do when you present a sample. It’s a good deal. We get books in a variety of formats these days so all things are possible to those with the knack for putting words into sentences and saying what they think.

For potential book reviewers in the UK, it’s a good way to keep up your reading habit and show you can write. There are detail links scattered over the website and on the forum. If you don’t think you’re up to scratch, you’ll discover why I’m the dutch uncle. Repeating this several times is for those who only scan and who don’t want to wind back up the page.

Another real Zen thought but this time for potential writers: If you can express an opinion independently of others and aren’t likely to bend to the masses then you might show potential as a writer.

Zen for those who are scared by all the instructions below: Many of the instructions are things you should be doing automatically if you’re developing your writing skills. If you do them already then focus on the ones that you don’t get right. They are there to help you as much as me to get the best writing from you. If you think you’re 80% there then I’ll help you get the final 20%. Trust me, I’m an editor and I can get things right.

BOOK REVIEWS    – Don’t feel intimated by all the info below or linked to. If you’re any good as a writer, much of it should be second nature already. This is just the long hand version.

Do you love books? Do you like curling up and reading a book in preference to socialising, even on the Net? You might not even want to curl up, that’s only an option. Do you have a preference for fantasy, SF or horror? We really could do with some fantasy readers!!! Do you find it the greatest pastime you have next to being on your computer?

Are you very vocal about what you like and don’t like in what you read?

Would you like to share your thoughts with others about books?

Would you like an endless supply of books to do this with?

Do you live in the UK?

Can you spare an hour every day to read?

Do you think you can write about what you’ve read?

Are you finding the recession is hitting your book buying habit?

If you’ve been nodding your head up to this point then link in below and see if you have what it takes to be a reviewer at SFCrowsnest. If you have that special knack to read and write or want to develop said skill then the only way you’re going to find out is to take the plunge yourself rather than wait for others to do it first. Reading a lot of books is a requisite for any writer. Being able to say what makes them good or bad hones your own skills. Even if you’re just happy with reading with a little writing on the side then this might be for you. It’s got to be better than waiting for the sun to come out in this weird summer and now cold winter. It’s also amazing how much you can read in an hour a day.

If you’ve survived this far in the editorial, let me reiterate something from the website newsletter and the above editorial. As you can see from the main page, we have one of the biggest SF/fantasy/horror monthly reviews columns on the Net. Our success has increased the number of books that comes in and our policy is to read everything and give it a roadtest before giving a review so you have some idea of what you’re letting yourself in for. You want the bottom line about what you’re going to choose to read. That means we need people actually willing to read the book and tell others they’re opinion in reviews. For that, we’re always on the outlook for more reviewers.

Do you think you have what it takes to review a book? It’s a skill that can be easily mastered and we need a few more. If you love fantasy, we have more than enough to keep you busy for instance.

Apart from the ability to put words into sentences, you also need to know how to précis, do a little research on associated subjects and can express opinions constructively about the good and bad points about the books you read. We even let you choose from our pile of received books rather than foster something on you that you wouldn’t normally read. You’ll even get a little editorial help in how to write good copy and that can always lead to other things. I’m not as scary as I sound editorially and it’s better to do the test review and see how you fare than not attempt to see how well you did. I did say you have to love books and willing to read beyond your favourite authors, didn’t I?

If you like reading books in the genre and can average two or maybe three a month, can really think and show you can write a decent review and, most importantly, live in the British Isles (sorry, expense, time and distance travelled mostly prohibits elsewhere), then use the link below and see our requirements. We can’t pay you but writing a review has to be cheaper than buying a book and a good incentive to see if you have what it takes to develop your writing skills.

Do you think you’re up to writing a review? If you think you can, then you’re really going to think you’ve landed your hands in the biscuit tin. It won’t hurt to try and see if you have the right stuff by sending me a sample review to show me you can write. If you want an added incentive, it can also be good for your CV.

Look up the Review Guidelines by linking here: <a href=”http://www.sfcrowsnest.com/contribute_reviews.php”></a> with a press of a mouse button.

SHORT STORIES

We always have an interest in running short stories which can be anything from one to thirty or so pages long. We’re always willing to give short story writers a chance to be seen if they can withstand my scrutiny even if we can’t pay for their efforts, your material will be seen by a lot of people if it’s shown on the SFCrownest website. If you can get a short story written well then it’ll make it easier to move up to novel-length.

Look up the Short Stories Link by linking here <a href=”http://www.sfcrowsnest.com/contribute_bigfiction.php”></a> with your mouse.

FLASH OR ONE-PAGE FICTION

We’ve also a teaching ground of one page stories, so check out the rules elsewhere on the website. It’s a lot tougher than it looks and far too easy to just write and write and hope something good comes out of it. What writing a one page story does is test your ability to control your word count and still tell a story in a concise way. This doesn’t mean we don’t accept stories of different lengths – a short story can be anything up to 30-40 pages long after all – but opens up the means for really short stories from ideas that don’t need as much space.

Flash fiction stories by linking here: <a href=”http://www.sfcrowsnest.com/contribute_flashfic.php”></a> with your mouse.

NOVEL-LENGTH SAMPLES

For those keeping track, I’m actually now caught up but don’t tell everyone as I’m undecided as to whether to keep looking at novel-length story samples, move over specifically to short stories – which we do anyway for the website – or get a couple of my own book projects completed. The latter, I still intend to do anyway and now actually working on but don’t let that put you off too much. If you want me to look over a sample, you can contact me through the links on this website.

Before you submit, study the next section below as it’s there to help you do some of the right things and reduce the number of times I’m repeating myself over silly grammatical errors and spelling mistakes that you shouldn’t be making if you’re serious about becoming a writer. It makes editing a lot easier if any editor has less work pointing out poor English which you should have been sorted out in the first place and more focused on other areas of your work that deal with plot and the other serious elements of storywriting. As a writer, it is your command of the English language and its grammar that will show how serious you are about writing.

There might not be much of a wait unless I get a deluge, however those sending in ebook samples, please read the Guidelines by linking here <a href=”http://www.sfcrowsnest.com/contribute_bigfiction.php”></a> with your mouse here or through the bottom line menu on the opening page of the SFC website.

EVERYTHING YOU WANTED TO KNOW ABOUT WRITING BUT AFRAID TO ASK

General advice for those who want to become writers of any sort: There’s an old editorial adage: If you can’t aim for perfection why should an editor nurse-maid you to that state? Nominally, my job is to catch minor glitches not total mishaps. If you’re a writer, then you should understand the words, sentences and grammar of the job you’re supposed to be writing or are you considering it as mundane and boring as any other job to get right? Fall in love with making every sentence the best you’re ever written, read up and understand the rules of grammar. Put the time in researching any subject you’re using in the story. Be prepared to put a story away for a few weeks and go back to it for a self-edit until it’s as good as you can make it. Even I do that. You look good. I make you look better but you have to start off with good.

A lot of the time, errors will just stare you in the face when you didn’t see them the first time round. Once you know where your weaknesses are, they can be sorted out and allow you to move a little higher up the ladder towards making your material look its best and more importantly, getting your material seen by readers.

The link here will show you the Common Problems Link page and what I see mostly <a href=”http://www.sfcrowsnest.com/contribute_commonprobs.php”></a>

with your mouse. It’s the smart writer who doesn’t get caught out with these.

Good luck.

Geoff

 

 

Category: Culture, World getting weirder

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About the Author ()

Geoff Willmetts has been editor at SFCrowsnest for some 15 plus years now, showing a versatility and knowledge in not only Science Fiction, but also the sciences and arts, all of which has been displayed here through editorials, reviews, articles and stories. With the latter, he has been running a short story series under the title of ‘Psi-Kicks’ If you want to contribute to SFCrowsnest, read the guidelines and show him what you can do. If it isn’t usable, he spends as much time telling you what the problems is as he would with material he accepts. This is largely how he got called an Uncle, as in Dutch Uncle. He’s not actually Dutch but hails from the west country in the UK.

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