1. marrije on #

    Oh. Well. I don’t describe myself as a fan or a geek actually. I used to be a Bowie fan, ages ago (and I thank my lucky stars the internet wasn’t around then or i would have made a complete fool of myself and would have done even less schoolwork than I already did). But now, no. I get the occasional mad intarweb crush still, but not really a fan.

    Plus I’m much too mainstream to be a real geek. I have some nerdy tastes (i read a Charlie Stross book last week!!), but no, not a geek.

    I’m interested to hear why you ask the question, and how you would describe geek/fan, justine, but you’ll probably wait a bit before talking about that 🙂

  2. orangedragonfly on #

    depends on the topic. of most things i’m just a fan: the buffalo bills, my favorite books and authors, hockey, world cup soccer (strangely enough, introduced to me by justine and her blog 😛 ) these are things i like, things i pay attention to. some more than others of course, and some perhaps a bit psychotically.

    but there about a few things i have to admit to my inner geekiness (is that a word??). for example..my husband lovingly calls me a “battlestar nerd” because of my..erm..obsession..with battlestar galactica. (when it’s on there is no speaking allowed. i own all the dvds and also record every episode for multiple viewings before the next set of dvds is released. when i get the dvds the first thing i do is watch every episode twice: once the normal way, once with the commentary. i’ve been known to say “frak” in everyday conversation. i even have the comic books.) so…in that case, i think i’m probably a geek. and that’s okay, i guess. jeff loves me anyway. 😛

  3. shelly rae on #

    justine, Pretty much anyone with a Ph.D. is a geek dear. Particularly one who wrote a diss on science fiction and feminism. Or in my case women and violence in anglo-saxon & medieval lit. Embrace it. Can you recite the opening lines of the Canterbury Tales in ME? If you can, you are a geek. There are different kinds of geeks as geekdom occurs in all sorts of specialties but geeks nonetheless. Oh and yes, I’m also a fan. I’m off to find a copy of Magic’s Child. Yay! and Congrats Justine!

  4. Lori S. on #

    I am a geek but not a fan.

    I am too critical to be a “fan” of anything, even things I like. I do not follow series (TV, movie, or book). I am not particularly loyal to authors or other creators, most of the time.

    But I read spec fic, and history for fun, and Science News ditto, and I can yack about the fine points of any number of critical and scientific theories, and I like it.

  5. robin on #

    Definitely geek. I’m too lazy and/or easily distracted to be a fan.

  6. orangedragonfly on #

    shelly rae: um…i can recite the prologue to the canterbury tales in middle english. but, in my defense, it was required my senior year of high school. (it’s my own fault i can still do it 10+ years later, though!!)

  7. Adam Rakunas on #

    Geek, because of the way I have to vacuum up every detail of whatever subject I’m interested in (coding, charcuterie, post-war Japanese films). Geeking is about seeking knowledge, rolling it all around in one’s brain, and just generally loving the hell out of whatever one’s geeking about.

    Sports fans are geeks who don’t want to admit to themselves that they’re geeks. There is no difference between someone who can talk about a pitcher’s injuries, stats and season-by-season performance and someone who learns Klingon.

  8. El on #

    I’m both. And if this relates to Scalzi’s fan writing Hugo nomination, IMO he’s both. He may not have discovered fandom until he was a pro but he’s a seriously fannish pro.

  9. Ted Lemon on #

    Geek. I’m into neat stuff, and neat ideas, and I don’t care who came up with them. I’m a fan in the sense that I pay attention to people who’ve come up with neat stuff in the past, and look for more neat stuff from them in the future, but that’s not what I think you mean by fan. Nowadays “fan” to me means someone who gets a lot of their self-image from following some person or phenomenon in a very dedicated way. I’m too lazy to do that.

  10. Hannah on #

    I consider myself a fan, but not fannish.

    I have never beheaded a chicken, with my teeth or otherwise.

    I geek out, but I don’t think I’m specialist enough to really qualify as a geek (or techy enough, in that sense).

  11. Meghan on #

    I mostly go with “kind of nerdy.” I’m not thorough enough to be a geek. Or fan.

  12. Gwenda on #

    I like the word nerd better than geek. I don’t really consider myself either, but I am, of course, a nerd fighter.

  13. Rachel Brown on #

    i am a fan but do not consider myself a member of the particular clique of fandom that ulrika is defining as fandom.

    also, as i sit in my living room with 49 naruto ninja figures, some of which i specially ordered from hong kong and others of which i took a long bus ride in san francisco to get, i feel that it is futile to deny my overwhelmning geekiness.

  14. Veronica on #

    Geek. Definitely a geek. Because I love things that are definitely Not Cool by any means (and I don’t buy this whole “geek is cool” thing that’s been going on for the past few years), and I love them whole-heartedly, and it’s near impossible for me to love something without seeking absolute, comprehensive knowledge about every petty detail, and finding silly in-jokes about those details very funny indeed.

    But not a fan, by and large, because to me a fan means not having any critical difference or not being able to laugh at one’s own geekery. Un-self-consciousness, if you will. I suppose I’m a Yankees fan, but for most other things, I’m a big geek.

  15. cecil on #

    I am geek, not a fan.

    One would think that I am a fan, because of the whole sleeping on the street for tickets to star wars and all that, but that was just my geek-y enthusiasm.

    I actually don’t have the patience to be a fan. To me a fan is someone who really knows like, a helluva lot about said subject. Like to the tiny teeny details. I am more broad in my love.

    And therefore happily can geek out on a lot of things and have awesome conversations (which I am always impressed by) with real fans.

  16. Christopher Barzak on #

    I consider myself an otaku. Japanese equivalent that covers geek, nerd and fan. Usually used in respect to guys who like computers, videogames, manga, scifi, fantasy and like to dip into all sorts of various subject matter in a particularly intense or admiring way.

    I think we should start using otaku. 🙂

  17. scott w on #

    sports: just last night, was reading the “knicks-heat rivalry” wikipedia page. plus: have becky hammon “reading is fundamental” poster up in bedroom.

    tv: download bsg illegally in Oz, then buy it. plus: wrote essay for “seven seasons of buffy.”

    transportation: recently switched frequent flyer plan to qantas due to imminent arrival of a380s, and I have already downloaded the deck plans. plus: typing the words “deck plans” gave me a little thrill.

    verdict: geek!

  18. Benjamin Rosenbaum on #

    I identify strongly as a geek, and moderately as a fan.

    I’m loath to give a precise definition for these, since they seem to me to be subcultures, and inclusive ones — praise be that “Who is a Geek?” does not generally end up a fraught question subject to convoluted legal reasoning, in the manner of “Who is a Jew?” (or “Who is a Punk?”)

    But, with that caveat, geekiness seems to inhere in the quality of immoderate, joy-filled, obsessive enthusiasm for pursuits, ideas, and things that are some combination of esoteric, analytical, complex, unusual, witty, and/or amenable to optimization, coupled with a kind of irreverent, eclectic, practical, imaginative tinkerer’s (or bricoleur’s) attitude.

    Fannishness is somewhat similar, but more communal, less strictly cerebral, more tradition-centric?

    Fans have fandoms; geeks do not have geekdoms. Geeking out is an activity which resists organization, even on the level at which fandoms may be called organized. Fans seek out those of similar passions and associate with them ongoingly; geeks either need no one, or, if they are extrovert geeks like me, they talk to whoever will listen, or else they seek out the locally optimal person to talk to about whatever given thing they want to geek out about.

    I’m a geek because I love hacks (the elegant, improbable solution kind) and hate kludges, because I have boundless enthusiasm for talking about things that make most people’s eyes cross, because I have worked out my Geek Code (GCS/GL d?(d+) sa C++$ U++ P+++$ L+ E- W+++$ N+ o? K? w++$ !O M@ !V PS++ PE@ Y+ t– 5++ !X R++@ !tv b+++$ DI++ e++ h—- r+++ y++++*), because I worked out for myself the actual undisclosed question to which 42 is the answer by careful analysis of the HHGTG texts and can explain why Star Trek makes so much more sense as slipstream transported British naval war fiction than as SF, and how if you read Morpheus as a lying terrorist the first Matrix movie can be read as hard SF, because I have a favorite 2-line Perl program, because I distrust centralized solutions and demand data.

    And I am a fan, certainly — as the above points on Hitchhiker’s Guide, Star Trek, and the Matrix should make clear. But my fan credentials are not as strong as my geek credentials. Until I was turned thirty, while I embraced the *works* fans embrace — from Dune to Call of Cthulhu to Love and Rockets — I roaming the vague wildernesses of “people who like this stuff” as opposed to within the snug embrace of any fandom. I went to a con for the first time as a pro-already, at the age of 30; I’ve fought (once) with SCA-style arms, but haven’t been to a formal SCA event; and while I spent high school playing tabletop RPGs and reading comics voraciously, it never occurred to me to relate these activities to any larger social entity beyond the closed circle of my
    immediate friends.

    So of course in a broad sense I’m a fan, and now, latterly, I’m, you know, a Hugo voter and going to cons and all that; but the fact that my engagment with any kind of formal communal structure (online or off) in which to house my geek pursuits came so late in life — post-Clarion — and has always been intertwined with an unfannish pursuit of personal gain and artistic ambition, makes me admire SMOFs and true fans from a distance and reconcile myself to being a true geek, but at best a middling sort of fan.

    That make sense?

  19. scott w on #

    jeeze, ben.

    are you some kind of geek or something?

  20. holly on #

    I think of myself as a giant geek. Not really a fan. Fan seems less capable of self-aware mockery.

  21. holly on #

    I guess I do call myself a fan of things, though. but i don’t think of myself definitionally as a fan.

  22. Jaida on #

    I am a fan who is capable, like a geek, of self-aware mockery. But I don’t think I am smart enough to fit the classical geek mold, as it were.

  23. lili on #

    i have always defined fandom as being wholeheartedly devoted to something, with no room for criticism (something which i saw to a scary degree at a terry pratchett convention).

    i can’t do that. even the things i love the very most in the whole world (like jim henson and diana wynne jones and the west wing) have had crappy moments, and i don’t deny them.

    i don’t feel techy enough to be a geek, but i definitely see myself as a nerd. i’ve always thought as the two of them as being computer-geek and book-nerd. (although i know some people see it as the other way around).

    i’m a wannabe-geek-book-nerd.

  24. Rebecca James on #

    not a fan, not a geek….. a STALKER

  25. capt.cockatiel on #

    In the sense of books, a ‘geek’ would be someone who talks to you about a book you have both read. But you don’t know what they are talking about. They know so much about the book that you feel dumbstruck. They remember what page something happened on. They remember that funny thing you refer to as ‘the funny thing’ but they refer to it as ‘when jane said…’ And they think everyone is just like them. And they don’t understand that you don’t remember. They think you are joking.
    A fan is someone who can talk about a book without sounding quite so obsessed but they know enough to recall events.
    Though a geek is actually someone who eats chicken heads at a circus, right?

  26. Sir Tessa on #

    I’m a NEEEEEEEERD. Not a fan. In my head, ‘fan’ tends to come hand in hand with ‘rabid’.

  27. Ally on #

    Hmmm I think I am fan but other people think I’m a geek:

    Like my sister calls me a geek all the time because I choose to sit and read the Uglies trilogy books in the quiet over and over(which usually takes me like a day which makes it more geeky) rather than maybe getting on the computer and talking on facebook
    but i on the other hand think I am a fan of the books and the author. and the only reason i read them over and over is so i can entertain myself whole im waiting for scott to write extas so i can have more!!

    i think the difference between a fan and a geek is a geek and some who does it all the time with everything and a fan is someone who does it only with certain things like if i was to read everything all the time and that was all i did than i would be a geek///but if i just read maybe one trilogy and did other things beside read all the time than i would be a fan


  28. Stephanie on #

    A Fan or a Geek?

    That is a very…very hard question. I guess it just depends. I am a fan in most cases, with books that is. I have many books and different shows that I recommended and can talk about. Yet, at the same time I know when to draw the time when I start to cross the border of having no life.

    Though, I am a geek on a few series of books and some television shows where I cross the line and make plenty of references through out the day that affect how I live life and the decisions I make.

    -sigh- Admitting it is the first step in getting help for some and for others it is a sense of pride.


  29. simmone on #

    Maybe it’s a left brain right brain thing? Geeks are rational and fans are emotional. I don’t know. I’m not geek-smart but I’m no deludoid either! I have little obsessions but I never dwell too much in one area. I think I might be a dilettante.

  30. TypesetJez on #

    I’m both, well, sort of. I’m more than a fan, I’m a fangirl which means I’m a more rabid form of fan. And by geek I mean I’m extremely geeky with computers and comics and the such. My “title” around school is “The Geek Queen” (which I totally embrace)

    But no matter how geeky I am, I’m not a dork or a nerd. Nerds are more fact, whereas geeks are more into fiction. Dork’s are just socially inept.

  31. Ez on #


    Off-topic: Do you happen to know the difference between a geek and a nerd? I’m confused.

    Have a lovely day! 🙂

  32. David Moles on #

    I’m with Meghan. I wouldn’t describe myself as a fan without the word “of” in the description somewhere. I was a geek for a while in the mid-90s, but it got to be too much work. I can still fake it every once in a while for professional purposes, though.

  33. Christopher on #

    I’m not a fan in the “it takes 600 people to make a culture” sense but I can certainly be fannish in the way I follow some things, like cycling. I’m a big fan of the people posting in this comment thread, too. So I guess I’m down with the “fan of” formulation.

    I’m geeking out over this thread, so I guess that makes me a geek. At least I’m not a spaz, like Justine.

  34. Lauren on #

    Definitely not a fan because I’m willing to abandon whatever I love the second it bores me, which it always eventually does. Geek on the very small number of topics that persisently hold my attention–i.e., AI and gender. No one can out-blatherate me on either.

  35. woofy on #

    I think fandom is a very dangerous thing, it implies an un questioning devotion to an idea or subject, which is basically the root of all evil. Now geekdom on the other hand, thats something I can get behind and usually do. Guilty.

  36. bmad on #

    these sorts of classifications are very geeky. for the record, i am an ENTHUSIAST.

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