We are a collection of nerds, geeks, bloggers, podcasters and everything in between who are passionate about….well…..pretty much anything! We come together every so often to chat about a single topic (of which you can read the previous articles HERE) but we are a lively community, always talking, sharing ideas and generally having a laugh! If you want to be the next Geekstalker let us know! The only thing we ask in return is that you have fun!
For 2019 we are going to be doing something a little different. The Geekstalkers Community has been steadily growing over the last couple of years so we thought it was about time that you got to know our members a little better. Each month we will have at least one Geekstalker talk about…..anything they want to! We have a wide variety of interests which is one of the reasons we work so well!
This month’s featured Geekstalker is our friend Seb aka @TheRealMrSeb
I have been selected to write an article for the ‘Geekstalker’ blog. Actually I was asked a few months ago, however such has my been my life of late, I have had very little time to sit and think of a topic, let alone actually put pen to paper (I often make my first draft writing my ideas in a note pad). An idea slowly blossomed as I thought about the things in my life that have influenced me, planted the seeds of my love for the various genres that are often regarded as Geekish. I decided to write about the books that lead me down this particular path, igniting my joy of Fantasy and Science fiction. It took some time and research as I rediscovered some real gems, touring the annals of my memory, trying to remember the books that I read and when I read them. I was a veritable bookworm as a
child right into my early twenties, and there is no way that I can write about every novel and short story that I have read, so decided on the five that I believe have been most influential on my road to Geekdom.
“The very mountain itself looks menacing. The steep face in front of you looks to have been savaged by the claws of some gargantuan beast…”(1)
The first book that I can remember introducing me to the world of fantasy fiction is the choose your own adventure style of story book, by Steve Jackson and Ian Livingston, the first in their ‘Fighting Fantasy’, range: The Warlock of Firetop Mountain.
I was about seven, maybe eight years old when there was a reading campaign that saw my primary school, Dobwalls Primary school in Cornwall, gain a large amount of new books for its library. I remember the day that they arrived, there was an exciting buzz in the class room as a trolley of colourful books were wheeled in on a mobile book shelf, the smell of freshly prepared literature, brimming full with tales to tantalise the taste buds of the mind. An enticing appetiser into the world of reading. I was drawn to the cover depicting an old man dressed in wizard robes, with flowing white hair and beard, pouring over a large crystal ball which appeared to have a Dragon being summoned from within. I could not resist the allure of this book. I had no idea how choose your own adventure stories worked; luckily the rules are printed within the first pages. Armed with pen, dice and a piece of paper to record my character stats on, and avoid damaging a library book, I traversed the catacombs under the legendary mountain seeking the Warlock’s famed treasure. I won’t pretend that I triumphantly battled my way to the top on my first attempt, I have actually forgotten how many times my character died, and I had to start again. I did manage to beat the Warlock within the library loan time; however I was left hungry for more adventure my journey to Geekdom had begun.
“In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat; it was a hobbit-hole, and that means comfort.” (2)
My next step along the winding path to Geekdom came in the form of a class project. Our teacher introduced us to a book that was to start a life time love for the work of JRR Tolkien, ‘The Hobbit’. I was both delighted and enthralled by the tale of the journey made by Bilbo Baggins, Thorin Oakenshield and his company of dwarves. From the opening conversation between Bilbo and Gandalf, to the destruction of Esgaroth, Tolkien’s descriptive verse draws the reader into the adventure. One of my favourite chapters details the capture of the small group by three hungry trolls. A scene that I believe was accurately depicted in the 2015 film adaptation by Peter Jackson. The Hobbit firmly remains my favourite of the ‘Professor’s’ works.
“Little children know not to accept sweets from a stranger, but do they know why…”
Whereas my journey on the road to Geekdom started with fantasy, when I moved to Middle School I decided to vary my tastes a bit, during a school book sale I happened across a copy of ‘Sweets from a Stranger’ by Nicholas Fisk. This is a collection of short Sci-Fi stories. The title story is about an inquisitive girl called Tina who could not resist finding out just what happens if you do ignore this piece of parental advice. On this occasion, having accepted the sweets, Tina finds herself held hostage on an alien planet. The stories within this book are quite short, but no less captivating for it. Fisk’s book is a collection of stories based on the situations a child might find themselves in, rather than on the protagonists themselves. This was a great introduction to the world of science fiction, and I loved it.
“Both the mainstream Illuminati and its more extremist faction are devoted to saving humanity, but where the Illuminati’s intent is to sacrifice to the Emperor his immortal sons, the Sensei, the Ordo Hydra’s plan is to link all of mankind through the Hydra warp entity, offering salvation through total enslavement…”(4)
In my early teens I started war gaming. Fantasy and Sci-Fi were firm favourites by this time, so of course I was drawn to Warhammer 40K and Fantasy battle by Games Workshop. An entire subculture was built around these gaming systems, spawning computer games, T-shirts and novels based upon the worlds in which these games were based. I would literally consume the books that they released, stories by writers such as William King, Jack Yeovil and of course Ian Watson. It is Watson’s ‘Inquisitor Wars’ trilogy that I remember most fondly. The story is based around the aftermath of the harsh suppression a planetary rebellion. Inquisitor Jaq Draco discovers a bizarre entity that may prove to be the salvation of mankind or be the means of its destruction. Three books (Inquisitor, Harlequin and Chaos child) chart the progress of Draco and his crew as they search for the mysterious Black Library and information it may hold that can help overcome the conspiracy unfolding around them. Needless to say I was hooked.
“You’ll understand the language of the birds and like it, my lad!”(5)
I came a little late to the style of storytelling by authors such as Terry Pratchett and Robert Rankin. Talented writers that would use intelligent humour to bring fantasy situations to the real world, or place real life situations within their fantasy worlds. My first taste of this style of writing came in the form of ‘Expecting Someone Taller’, by Tom Holt. This particular tale is based upon the hapless Malcolm Fisher, who accidentally runs over a badger only to discover that the animal was actually the giant ‘Ingolf’, in disguise. Ingolf’s wounds are fatal and consequently Malcom becomes the new owner of the Ring of the Nibelung and the Tarnhelm, thereby becoming the ruler of the world. However a number of other people crave the ring and the power it bestows, including Wotan, the king of the gods, Malcom finds himself pursued by numerous characters from Wagner’s opera ‘Der Ring des Niblungen’. I was enthralled by this story and could not put it down, finishing it in a few days. Luckily I had bought ‘Faust Among Equals’, and ‘Here comes the Sun’, at the same time, so had plenty of Tom Holt’s brilliant humour to look forward to.
So there you have it, my literary road to Geekdom. I really enjoyed preparing this article and thinking about the fiction that I feel has been a huge influence in my life. This has inspired me to look into other similar subjects such as TV programs or Film Scores that have influenced the development into the Geek that I am today. Until then however, if you have made it this far, thank you for reading.
(1) The Warlock of Firetop Mountain, Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone (1982),
(2) The Hobbit, JRR Tolkien (1937),
(3) Sweets from a Stranger, Nicholas Fisk (1982)
(4) Inquisitor, Ian Watson (1990)
(5) Expecting Someone Taller, Tom Holt (1987)
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