As any reader of this blog (let alone my novel Traveler) would know, I am a lifelong Sci-Fi and Fantasy fan. I joined the Sci-FI Book Club at age fourteen and had built a substantial library by the time I got to college.
Note to the Internet Generation: the Sci-Fi Book Club was what you did before Amazon when you needed books faster than they could get to your library. Every month, they offered you two featured choices, plus a catalog of other books you could order. Nirvana. Only downside was that they sent you the Featured books automatically if you didn’t reply in time. So, much of my library also grew by accident.)
People who came to visit my parade of very-slowly-increasing-in-decency-level- apartments at the time were always surprised to see a living room lined with cheap bookshelves and hundreds of books.
“Have you actually read all of these?” I was often asked.
They were surprised because in my public life, I didn’t talk much about books.
And don’t even bring up the twelve long boxes of comics in the closet. Nobody got that.
It was a different time. Today, ubergeeks like Jobs, Gates and Woz are rock stars, and The Big Bang Theory has brought cosplay, geeky T-shirts and Schroedinger’s Cat to the mainstream.
As a guy trying to start a career as a media personality, it was important to find commonalities with the audience I was talking to every day, not illustrate how I was different. So, for many years, I followed spots and pop culture during the day, and devoured The Holy Trinity (Star Trek, Star Wars and Lord of the Rings) at night.
As I hung out with my tribe at ICON last weekend, for the first time in many years, it occurred to me how far things have come. Granted, you probably shouldn’t show up to work as your Steampunk character, but if you are standing in the break room talking about seeing the new Thor movie, or remark that you’re looking forward to watching Agents of Shield or Almost Human, people won’t bat an eye.
So, I’m proud to come out of the closet and say it loud and proud, “Han shot first!”
Now I admit, I still have to work up to getting comfortable with appearing in costume myself, but I’m compiling a list of grey-haired Sci-Fi heroes now so I’m ready next year.