Monday, February 11, 2013

How to Speak Geek

This week I'm going to Life, the Universe and Everything, not only as an interested guest but as a PANELIST! So happy! I feel accomplished as a writer of YA fantasy, which is great because I feel like nowadays I can use all the validation I can get. Though, I will say, my nonfiction workshop today was very positive and I came out feeling eager to revise. Next week I'll post on my experience at LTUE. I hope I'll have something interesting to say.

As for this week, I've been thinking about geek culture. It's like pop culture, but the emotions run higher. I'm a geek, so I can speak as a native on the subject. Don't know what that subject is yet, but we can explore that together. However, I wouldn't say I'm a big geek. I don't dress up and go to conventions (well, it's not like I'm going to be in costume at LTUE. That's a tasteful writer's conference), I don't spend hours of my day playing video games or D&D, though I don't disrespect those that do, and I can drop a subject when it gets too heated. Yet I do watch the geeky TV shows, read the geeky books, and speak the geeky language.

I am fluent in geek, even if I may keep one foot firmly rooted in reality. I have to; if I lose that grounding, I may fly off into my own fictional world and never come back. But now, you too can learn the language of geekdom! I'm sure you will find this post amusing. If you are not a geek, now you will know how to join those conversations (or end them, as the case may be). If you are, enjoy understanding the references.

So, here's what you should know about different geek fandoms. In consideration of time and space, I'm going to talk about TV shows today. If this turns out to be a popular post, I'll talk about books next time:

Doctor Who (starting with the most complex)
  • The show is about a time-traveling alien called the Doctor, not Doctor Who, who travels through time and space in a blue Police box called the TARDIS. He is the last of his kind, the Time Lords. He travels with a human companion, often a young woman, and gets into lots of alien-related, possibly fatal trouble. When the Doctor is dying, he regenerates, meaning every cell in his body gets replaced. This is when the writers replace the actor and fans have to get used to a new Doctor.
  • Nine, Ten, and Eleven are not just numbers; they are incarnations of the Doctor after his regenerations. Wars are fought online over which is the best (Ten).
  • Captain Jack Harkness flirts with everything. Yes, everything. Animal, plant, mineral.
  •  Rory Williams dies a lot, and is a freaking boss.
  • Donna Noble doesn't remember.
  • Good luck understanding River Song. She understands everything, though. And it's frustrating.
  • "It's bigger on the inside."
  • The DW fandom has developed a lot of phobias. Here's a list of things you can do to your geeky friends to scare the daylights out of them:
    • Knock 4 times on their doors.
    • Tap a pattern of one-two-three-four-pause, one-two-three-four-pause rapidly on any surface.
    • While they're sleeping, draw tally marks on their arms and faces with a black marker.
    • Leave them alone next to a statue of a weeping angel. Especially if the lights are flickering.
  • Steven Moffat is the devil. (also works for fans of BBC's Sherlock . Actually, works better for fans of BBC's Sherlock.
  • Words to know: timey-wimey, TARDIS, Bad Wolf, sonic screwdriver, Shadow Proclamation,  raggedy man, "hello, sweetie".
  • A space western written by Joss Whedon (of The Avengers). In the future, there's a civil war among planets in a galaxy and the Browncoats lose. After the war, Malcolm Reynolds, a Browncoat, takes to robbing and smuggling as a way to live free. He has a crew of awesome people, as well as a couple of fugitives who are running from the Alliance.
  • This show ran for only one season, capped with the movie Serenity. Fans have not, nor will ever, forgive FOX for this.
  • The characters curse in Mandarin.
  • Jayne is a MAN, and a psychotic gun-toting man at that. He has a town that loves him and a stupid-looking (yet awesome) yellow and orange knit hat.
  • River Tam (not to be confused with DW's River Song) is crazy. Literally crazy. But psychic, and very skilled at fighting. She can kill you, with her brain or anything else that happens to be around. She's a teenager.
  • Her brother, Simon, is a doctor and very proper.
  • Lots of good lines in this show. Just look them up. I don't have enough time to write them all.
  • "I am a leaf on the wind. Watch how I soar."
  • "I am a leaf on the wind. Watch how I - "
  • Nothing goes according to plan.
  • Words to know: shiny, gorram, Browncoat, Serenity, Firefly, registered companion, Reaver
 Avatar: The Last Airbender
  • Japanese animation. Takes place in a world with four peoples: Earth, Water, Air, and Fire. Some people can control, or bend, these elements. The Avatar can bend them all, and has a connection with the spirit world. The Avatar also reincarnates. The Fire Nation attacked the other peoples, and the Avatar disappeared. 100 years later, a brother and sister find the new Avatar, a 12-year-old boy. To save the world, the Avatar, Aang, must master all 4 elements and defeat the Fire Lord. (watch the show's intro)
  • Not a kid's show. Well, it is, but it isn't. Fans find a lot of depth in this show.
  • The movie was a train wreck. Never disagree with this.
  • Katara gets with Aang. Not Zuko, though some people may think the story would have been better if Zutara had happened.
  • Sokka is not a bender. Sokka has a boomerang. He is the comic relief, but also an important character.
  • Uncle Iroh. There are no words to describe the awesome of this character.
  • Bumi is nuts, and a genuis, and nuts. Go with it.
  • "...And DIE!"
  •  A platypus bear is completely normal. A regular bear is not.
  • Azula is crazy and needs to go down.
  • Words to know: Avatar, Appa, Momo, Kiyoshi warriors, Avatar state, White Lotus, badger mole
Sorry for the long post. But now, you are well on your way to understanding the culture and language of TV show geeks. Geek readers, I know these lists don't do the shows justice. If you feel I've missed something vital, please list it in the comments. That way we can be sure to be thorough.


  1. Great post. I'd love to see a followup with books or more TV shows. Good luck with LTUE

    1. Thanks! Let me know if I'm doing it right.