What is the Ka-Tet of Geek?
In Stephen King's magnum opus The Dark Tower, the heroes embark on a journey to save Mid-World (and in deed, all worlds) from the insane Crimson King, who seeks to topple the Dark Tower which sits at the nexus point of all creation.
The tight-knit group is called a Ka-Tet, meaning in the high speech of the land, "a group of people drawn together by Ka for a purpose." Ka is fate, or destiny, or god, or whatever you make it out to be. Roland, the lead protagonist of the novels describes Ka-Tet as being "one from many", while one of his friends and followers, Susannah derives it as even simpler, it is the notion of family.
So what is the Ka-Tet of Geek? It is, in my own estimation, that strange conflux of fans who become friends, and friends who become family. Like Google+, you can belong to one or many circles or groups, and frequently the people within that circle will cross into the orbits of others. Star Trek fans for example, are not exclusively Trekkies. (Or Trekkers, depending on their preference.)
People who worship at the alter of STAR WARS can also be as deeply embedded in the religion of Joss Whedon's Firefly, which hovers close to Buffy The Vampire Slayer, which probably joins up withTrue Blood, and by proximity of network, Game Of Thrones, which should be read by all accounts, and if you like George R.R. Martin, then you simply must read J.R.R. Tolken's Lord Of The Rings trilogy if you haven't already. Thus, in six degrees of separation, we moved from the height of popcorn pop culture film through cult television, to premium network adaptation to classic novels.
But it's not just that. Yes, Potterheads can be comic book fans (and frequently are), but the Geek family extends beyond a mere fandom or celebration of content. Most fans are well read, deeply passionate about various causes--everything from fighting Cancer to animal cruelty--and are students of science as well. I hate to shatter your illusion, but those geeks on The Big Bang Theory? Yeah, they really do exist, and they ARE that much smarter than you.
Geek circles exist in part because society at large has always shunned them. Nerds, geeks, dweebs. Whatever negative derogatory term was brandied about to classify someone who didn't conform to the "norm". No, jocks aren't evil (In fact, I'll go one better and submit that it is perfectly fine to be a die hard geek, and also like sports.) It's not quite as bad as they make it out to be in the movies, Jocks and Geeks don't have to always come to contests of brawn vs. brain. But the geeks laughed last, didn't they? The computer I'm using to write this blog? Invented by a nerd. The touch screen tablet you're using to read this? Nerd. The film you watched last night? A geek directed it.
Blessed are the Geek, for they shall inherit the Earth. Yep. Already happened.
But of course, it's not just that either. Fans are are a...well, fanatical, devoted bunch. Weather it's the writings of Douglas Adams, the film styles of Quentin Tarantino or Kevin Smith, or even the composing work of Danny Elfman or John Williams, geeks exhibit an almost proprietary attachment to their fanaticism. But unlike a miserly Scrooge like hoarder who wishes to keep the treasure for himself, a true geek is always willing to share, to bring someone else into the magic of that universe.
To find another piece of the Ka-Tet. Another friend, another family member.
And so, my Ka-Tet, we assemble Avengers style. We share the same interests, watch the same shows, read the same books. So come along with me for the journey as I attempt to navigate my own personal solar system of Geek circles. Some will intersect with yours, and some will be like the rouge comet that randomly shows up every few dozen years only to disappear back into the void. But the ride should be interesting... <>