By now you should know one thing about me if nothing else: I am a big, huge, entirely unapologetic full-on nerd. I am a 46-year-old man with a wife, two children, a mortgage, a dog, a career in what I guess I can call a “transition phase,” but I have money in the bank, two cars in the driveway, and in every conceivable way I live the real actual grown-up life of a responsible adult.
I was born in Rochester New York, grew up in suburban Chicago, and in 1997 moved to the Seattle area. I have had jobs as a book editor, a photojournalist (for about three weeks), a record store manager, a janitor . . . I’ve undergone life-changing events from deaths in the family to the birth of my own children. And through all of that there might be only one thing that has remained stable and unchanging, unchallenged even by those periods of rapid social and psychological transition we all eventually go through: I love SF and fantasy and all of the various off-shoots and side-treks in orbit around them.
I’m a voracious reader of SF, fantasy, and horror books. I’ve written a few, even. I spent fifteen years of my life actually working for the company that made Dungeons & Dragons. I literally live the geek. I buy monthly comic books, and consume graphic novels and collections like there’s no tomorrow, sometimes raiding the local library for stacks of them. I collect Ace Science Fiction Doubles, and have what I lovingly refer to as a “Star Trek shrine.” Both co-exist in a single book case at the top of the stairs. Here’s a picture of it:
Let me take this opportunity to point out the completed plastic model kit of Deep Space Nine on top, and next to that is—yes, you’re seeing it right. Not only did I buy and eat the Star Trek movie tie-in cereal, but I saved the box. I have the Star Trek Barbie & Ken and Pez dispenser collections, mint-in-box. That plushy Khan was a Christmas gift from my son.
The blue-and-red or blue-and-white paperbacks in protective plastic bags are the Ace Doubles, one of my great loves.
Off to the side you’ll see a mighty collection of D&D and other role-playing game books, and down on the bottom left, autographed copies of Deathstalker War by Simon R. Green and The Dark Wing by Walter H. Hunt.
Geek cred established.
Now imagine my confusion when I came across this in comedian and actor Patton Oswalt’s brilliantly heartfelt and hilarious memoir Zombie Spaceship Wasteland: “Dungeons and Dragons was the game I played. All through middle school and for the first couple years of high school—until the possibility of sex hove into view. Before that, sex seemed like something for tall people who could run fast.”
At least in high school it may be true that taller faster people probably get more sex—taller faster boys, anyway, probably chasing down shorter, slower girls. But wait . . . doesn’t every dog have his day…?
Read the rest in…
Editor and author Philip Athans offers hands on advice for authors of fantasy, science fiction, horror, and fiction in general in this collection of 58 revised and expanded essays from the first five years of his long-running weekly blog, Fantasy Author’s Handbook.
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