Geek Encounters

Yesterday my wife and I found ourselves with a night off, thanks to my mother volunteering to babysit. We arrived downtown a bit early for our movie and decided to pop into the local book store to burn up some time. Patricia headed off into one section by I lingered behind in the sci-fi aisle. All this recent talk about science fiction, sort of got me thinking that I might like to try something new.

I haven't read a sci-fi book in a number of years, I'd moved on to other genres but I was looking over all the books I had read some years back, and wondered if there was anything else worth reading in this section. The thing about sci-fi is this, when you find a good one you invariably had to sort through a pile of garage first. Believe me, I've read enough bad sci-fi books to top off the local landfill. How many times can the world end and humanity be thrown into utter oblivion only to be saved by some lone rouge with a sixth sense and a bumbling sidekick?

The other issue is describing the unknown. Some authors can do it well where others just fail. I once read a Greg Bear novel called Eon where humanity had migrated to an asteroid that they had hollowed out a millennium ago and then, once inside, they opened a portal to parallel universes. With me so far? As they evolved they learned how to preserve their souls, alter their appearances and many other bizarrities. When by some twist of fate this asteroid winds up in our universe, orbiting Earth. This is a hard concept to covey in print. Many a tedious book quickly found itself in the trash before the end of the first few chapters.

So while I was standing in the aisle under the sheer crushing weight of new sci-fi titles stacked neatly on the shelf I saw something. A gentleman, rearranging books in correct chronological order. A fellow geek! I struck up a conversation, and after a bit we were talking about Star Trek. I guess I pegged him right. Most geeks I've met are awkward until you hit on a subject they are familiar with. Networking for me, sci-fi for my new acquaintance. The man knew his stuff.

We had a conversation about The City on the Edge of Forever and I knew we had similar tastes. To be honest, he talked and I nodded. I think I might have said, "Everyone loves time travel stories." To which he expanded on what he thought was a much more engaging story line. (I certainly lost some points there)

Either way I asked him about some sci-fi titles, authors we liked and he ended up recommending a book, which I bought. We will see, if I got lead astray or not. Either way, I had forgotten the draw that is the sci-fi section... and feel as though I have returned home.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I've really only read one book that would be considered sci-fi. Have you ever read Enders Game by Orson Scott Card? I really liked it. I think there's a several more books in the series, but I just read the first.

Btw, "bizarrities." Nice.