For The Crunch

I love the crunch of a good spaceship. I fascinate myself with the sort of geeky merchandise that injects a sense of reality and solidity into works of imagination. I mean technical manuals on the USS Enterprise or a Klingdon D-7 Battlecruiser. I flick through one of these documents with a warm, fuzzy feeling inside. I consider the potential power output of a warp drive or the complications faced by an engineering crew in getting access to the tertiary cooling manifold of a nacelle. I like to know where you can go to get yourself a replicated snack, or the ideal spot to get assigned quarters to have good access to the escape pods.

I don’t necessarily consider myself to be a geek because of this. I like dipping books and these fit the bill. I can’t imagine anyone ever intends to sit down and read straight through a technical manual like this. Similar to a roleplaying rule book, I daresay the best method must be the skim, seeking out interesting facets of the content and roaming around until you have all you need. I find it odd that I like to dip in reading, because I dislike dipping in food. I find buffet setups unsatisfying and hate to construct my own food, a la Mexican. I suffer a disconcerting loss of appetite and interest when faced with a table filled with tiny plates and bowls of something. On the other hand, greeted with a thick volume chock full of bits of almost everything, I dig in. I possess an inch-thick copy of the Encyclopedia of the Marvel Universe precisely for this reason. I don’t even like Marvel comics or their superheroes, but love pulling this book off the shelf and ‘hero hopping’ for half-an-hour. I have similar experience when researching online at Wikipedia, or similar sites – chasing down crosslinks and citations until I’m giggling with joy.

Up to 10 years ago, I ran play-by-mail sci fi battle games. Oddly, I don’t enjoy strategy games much myself, but loved running them for other people. I created a small string of games that ran in a successive chain – starting with a generic game, then passing through interations based on Battlestar Galactica, Star Wars and, finally, Star Trek. I spent a great deal of time creating these games and coming up with fairly comprehensive charts to outline types of ship, set the mechanics of their component parts and define the way they interacted as in-game bonuses. During the game, players could research and develop new kit and devices for troops and ships, adding unique abilities or key enhancements.

I wonder as I enter my fourth paragraph where I might be going. I think, in the grand scheme, I’m outing myself for a semi-geek. I find comfort and entertainment in reading something crunchy that others might find surprisingly unappetising.

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