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Know Your Geek

It’s no secret I have a lot of fun over on Twitter. It’s my preferred internet hangout, and probably represents 50% of the time I spend online. A lot of people wax sarcastic about social networks (me too sometimes), but there’s a lot to admire about the hivemind; it is a community of thought, where ideas and a sense of humor are the currency of the day.

Over the last couple years of tweeting, I’ve wound up following a woman who knits cute little C’thulhus; a bookseller crazed for Veronica Mars; many writers and publishers of geek-minded books; a lady who teaches a college course on Sandman; and a whole crowd of others who get off on fantasy, sf, cosplay, games, and nerdy fun. And gradually this whirring, busy, tirelessly supportive community has led me into a number of geeky passions: Firefly, and Doctor Who, and the Hunger Games novels, and MOON. It came to me at last that I have been taught (without knowing I was being taught) a frame of reference, a common language… a geek patois. And it occurred to me that a working knowledge of this language might be handy for anyone else who senses they are the stuff of geek, and wants to be united with the thought-swarm.

With that in mind, I’d like to build a series of lists: the essential geek reads, movies, shows, and games of the last decade. What do we talk about when we talk about geekdom? This is a two-stage project.

First, we need to build a long list of possibilities. To that end, please use the comments thread to post your own picks for essential geek books, films, shows, and games of the 00s. Or, alternatively, visit Twitter and use these hashtags: #geekreadsofthe00s #geekshowsofthe00s #geekfilmsofthe00s #geekgamesofthe00s.

Next Monday, I’ll take the raw data and turn it over to a panel of noted geek experts. They’ll winnow each rough list down to 10, and put them in order. That list will be here on the blog for everyone to ogle.

Now, to answer some preliminary questions:

SHOULDN’T THERE BE A HASHTAG FOR COMICS? No, I don’t think so. Comics go under “Geek Reads” same as novels. Comics are a part of literature, not separate from it.

HOW DO YOU DEFINE THE 00s? For the purposes of this discussion we’re going to define the 00s as 2000 – 2010. Which is actually, um, 11 years. It’s okay, just go with it.

WHO IS ON THIS SO-CALLED PANEL OF EXPERTS? Not saying. They know who they are and will be revealed in due time.

HOW DO YOU DEFINE “GEEKY”? Ah, we wouldn’t be geeks if we didn’t love academic questions like this one. If it’s the kind of thing people might celebrate at a place like San Deigo Comic Con, or if it’s the kind of thing io9 might report on, then I think we can say it’s geeky. But that’s a very wide net.

WHAT ABOUT DOCTOR HORRIBLE’S SING-A-LONG BLOG? Let’s call it a TV show. Yes, we all know it will be on the list.

Okay guys. Over to you.

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21 Responses to Know Your Geek

  1. Janine says:

    One twitterer suggested some Zooey Deschanel movies and I must respectfully point out that hipster and twee does not equate geek. Not that geek must be strictly sci-fi, but I think there’s a whole wave of hip poseurs out there that are more into the idea that “it’s hip to be square”and to me that’s really not geek it’s trend. That just personal opinion of course, but if I were a proper social critic I would consider there to be a significant divide between hipster “geek” and genuine geek.

  2. Janine says:

    ps- apologies for the typos, internets makes me thtoopid

  3. Ilhana says:

    Hi, I already voted in the film category – for me it’s the one and only Equilibrium. I can honestly say I’m in love with this movie. The alienation of the society feels like it culminated from the things of today, and yet it’s ‘remote’ enough to call it a sci-fi movie. My absolute favourite. This is an interesting search, I’ll try to contribute more (would love to add Dylan Dog as the comic read of the 00’s, but it started coming out in the 80’s).

  4. Stephanie says:

    Movie: Reefer Madness
    Book: American Gods
    Show: Dr. Who

    I can’t wait for these list!!!

  5. @saucebot says:

    Love this idea, though it makes me sad that comics and books will be competeing for the same ten spots. Would love to see the top ten geek books (and comics). Maybe you can publish a more comprehensive/noteworthy list with the data at a later date. GEEK ON

  6. Mark Harwood says:

    Awesome idea–looking forward to Monday. NOTE: First listed in category equals higher rank.

    Movie: The Dark Knight, Star Trek
    Book: Harry Potter 4-7 (Rowling), Persepolis (Satrapi)
    Show: Avatar: The Last Airbender, Firefly
    Game: Munchkin

    I feel it’s also worth mentioning…

    Music: MC Chris (album: Knowing is Half the Hassle), Anamanaguchi (album: Dawn Metropolis)
    Website: Decoder Ring Theatre,, (despite abandoning fans without a goodbye)
    Ice cream: Stephen Colbert’s Americone Dream

  7. Maxime says:

    Hi Joe !
    Here goes :

    Book: Moore’s whole ABC line (all series, though the geekest choice might be Top Ten), World War Z, 2Oth Century Boys (and so many more I can’t think of right now…)
    Movie: Pontypool (you’ll love it if you haven’t seen it. Most intelligent and scary zombie flick ever), Galaxy Quest, The Onion movie, Idiocracy, Pitch Black
    Shows: Cowboy Beebop, South Park, Robot Chicken, IT Crowd
    Games: Ticket to Ride, Caylus (boardgames), Anachronox, Plants vs Zombies

  8. Will M says:

    Can you hashtag Twitter and then mention something else here? Great, thanks! Geek read: Soon I Will Be Invincible by Austin Grossman

  9. Chris B says:

    Love the idea, a must!

    Movie(s): Lord of the Rings Trilogy
    Book(s): A Song of Ice and Fire (Game of Thrones Saga), World War Z
    Show: Game of Thrones, Battlestar Galactica
    Game: Fallout 3

  10. M&M+S says:

    Donnie Darko
    Requeim for a dream
    O’ brother where art thou?
    No country for old men
    The Descent
    FIGHT CLUB-1999..but oh, so close
    28 days later
    Pitch Black
    Children of Men
    Let the right one in

  11. M&M+S says:

    movies revised:

    office space-1999, so close…should count.

  12. Vicki says:

    Unfortunately, I’m not a geek. I’m the opposite in fact, I’m technologically impaired. Which explains why, recently, I’ve been giving serious thought to going and living with the Amish. But that story would take too long to tell.
    Anyway, I saw the very first part of Resident Evil tonight, and now I wonder what the hell so many people see in it as good, quality terror. The very first scene turned me off, b/c it was completely predictable.
    My Bloody Valentine, which aired before it, wasn’t much better.

    I think by now it’s no secret that I like realistic medical scenes in my reading, which don’t have to be to-a-T exact, but at least more realistic than the ones with glaring errors.

    Since I lost my job, for now, I really do wish they’d use me as an medical information source when they make movies. If they’re already using such a source, they’re not understanding what the person’s saying, b/c their errors are pretty damn sizable.
    I liked The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, though. But I didn’t know that was a geek’s show. Well, anyway, I like the plot and play on words and the entire language he came up with.

  13. Vicki says:

    Oh. And I’d like to have the whole series of Locke & Key. Reading it is helping me figure out how to read OTHER graphic novels.
    They read differently than regular novels.
    Awesome artwork in there, as usual, but worth saying so.

  14. Kim says:

    So….where’s the lists?

  15. Jason says:

    Just one old suggestion and one newish.

    Mystery Science Theater series.

    Horrible Histories, if you have BBC access.

  16. Moose says:

    Y the Last Man
    American Gods
    Coyote Kings of the Space Age Bachelor Pad
    A Song of Ice and Fire

    Battlestar Galactica
    Buffy/Angel (ended in the 00s!)

    Mass Effect(s)
    Final Fantasy VII
    Metal Gear Solid 3
    Arkham Horror
    Battlestar Galactica the Board Game

  17. Rogue says:

    Not to be a brown-noser here but I think ‘Horns’ should be included in this list. The first time I read it, I quite literally could not put it down. It had a very paganistic feel to it and as I was reading Ig’s sermon to the snakes, it was difficult not to giggle at his wise perception of the Devil and the Woman in coup against god. Maybe not truly geeky in the classic sense but atheist and pagans alike can find their own geeky satisfaction throughout the entire book.

    Another book that is praiseworthy for any geek is “The Princess Bride,” abridged by William Goldman. Goldman himself is a giant geek who only abridged the book in the first place for his son, who from my understanding wasn’t the brightest crayon in the box as a child. He often cuts into the actual story to stop and explain a few things for his readers, but his translation from the original text is simplistic and a joy to read. Giggles throughout the entire book. (Although after some research, his adaptation is taken down to the most basic form so as to not bore and confuse the everyday reader. I would love to get my hands on a copy of an unabridged English version of this tail.)

    As for graphic novels, I have two. One: ‘Y: the last man.” By Brian K. Vaughn. His ideas of a new world without men are honest and at times hard to swallow but he gets his point across. While some women might disagree (these women would more than likely be the Amazon characters in the series) Vaughn has an intuitive understanding of human behavior. Throw in random pop references and the fact that the last man standing can’t get laid and you have one hell of a story.
    And two: “The Walking Dead.” By Robert Kirkman. He gives us an ugly tail of humans trying to survive in a Zombie Nation. It follows a central character and the desensitization of the group as they find out what they will and won’t do to survive. As for the geeky aspect, it really is more of a survival manual. Wildly entertaining and I personal can’t wait for the newest issue to come out.

    That’s my piece :)

  18. Rogue says:

    And thanks to my “smart phone” I accidentally spelled ‘tale’ as ‘tail.’ My apologies :)

  19. Extraordinarily entertaining appreciate it, I think your followers would certainly want a lot more items like that carry on the great effort.

  20. I used the code and it works perfect. The only issue I ran into is when I have published the file, the SWF would not play. A gray section is shown. Any help?

  21. Plasterman says:

    Geekyness is a dark and secret pleasure to me.
    I love horror flicks old and new. I like weird toys and weird things. Would this be specifically geeky??? I don’t know but I like to think so.
    i love Japanese toys. They come in all shapes and sizes and are banned to the man cave by the ruler of the house.
    My collection of old and new flicks are allowed to stay in the living room but the comics also are in the mancave.
    My favorite horror flick is Army of Darkness and of course all the other things evild dead.
    Long live the Geek Squad

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