A Proud and Geeky Uncle

hp1My nieces, the Princess (age 7) and Everready (age 5), have discovered Harry Potter. The Princess, in particular, is devouring the books at an incredible rate.

When I went round to babysit the other week they asked me what the word on my t-shirt meant. After I briefly explained the word ‘geek’, I was delighted to hear them both say that sounded like a good thing to be.

I’m so proud.

Is national genre culture declining?

Interzone magazine: the epitome of British genre culture

I read a column in issue 253 of Interzone that suggested we might be seeing a decline in distinctive national genre cultures. That with the international culture that comes in the age of the internet and global mass cultural industries, a certain amount of homogenisation is taking place. British science fiction and fantasy becomes more like American science fiction and fantasy becomes more like Japanese science fiction and fantasy becomes…

You get the idea.

I’m sure there’s an element of truth to this. Doctor Who has gone from something loved by Brits and the more diligent international nerds to a global phenomenon. New shows like The 100 or Gotham get around the world within weeks, and inspire works exploring similar ideas and themes. An e-book uploaded to Amazon becomes instantly and equally accessible around the globe, and the people we turn to in picking which book to read are bloggers and reviewers, often on completely different continents.

But I don’t think that means the total death of national differences. Conventions and other geographically located events mean that the hard core of geek culture in each region tends to talk with itself more than with the rest of the world, and then take those in-person conversations and relationships online. That builds communities of taste and interest that are geographically oriented, though no longer geographically bound. Brits are still more likely to be fans of Douglas Adams and Red Dwarf than anyone else is. I dare say there are books beloved by many Americans that the rest of us never see. But the geographical distinctions may start to become more about regions than nations, based on the area capable of supporting a local convention circuit.

Is geek culture becoming more international? Sure. Does that mean it’s becoming more homogenous? No, because that interconnected global mass allows the emergence of new popular genres and subgenres, things like steampunk and dieselpunk, as well as supporting independent creators. The scene is just as diverse, if not more so, but that diversity is more widely available.

We talk about declines as bad things. But for each thing that declines something new rises to take its place, and isn’t that a glorious thing?

Geek music 2

No sooner had I posted last Saturday’s geek music selection than I remembered some great songs I’d forgotten. To remedy that situation, and to include some tracks other people have recommended, here’s a second batch of geek music.

I’m sure there’s plenty more great stuff that I’m missing, so if you’ve got any suggestions please pop them in the comments below.

In the Garage by Weezer – the ultimate homage to having your own geek space:

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eWymbWBpqsg&w=420&h=315]

 

Twelve Sided Dice by Dream Warriors – from the people who brought you the classic ‘Wash Your Face In My Sink’, a tribute to the joys of tabletop roleplay:

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w0C_qrKaSso&w=420&h=315]

 

Game Store Girl by Beefy – as recommended by Dizz, a nerdy romance song:

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mi_ftK7bWxM&w=420&h=315]

 

Geekquilibrium by Dr Awkward – another recommendation from Dizz, jammed full of geek culture references and with some clever rhymes:

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=20-txQdOo4Q&w=560&h=315]

 

Lannista’s Paradise by The Sons of Mim – shown to me by fellow author Charlotte Bond, Coolio meets Game of Thrones with amusing results:

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sXJMB2nhjZM&w=420&h=315]

 

Cup Of Brown Joy by Professor Elemental – slightly off topic, but I couldn’t resist including this impeccable tribute to the joys of tea:

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eELH0ivexKA&w=420&h=315]