Nerds! The Time Has Come For You To Judge Me!


Have you at least tried to make it through Lord of the Rings? Did you at least make it to Bombadil? That should count, if you slog (zing!) through Bombadil, then give up because of him. But if you pass him, it gets better (zing!!).
Misspelling "Khan" is pretty bad, too. Not as bad as leaving the last "E" off of "Wookiee," but close.
Not sure about the whole nerd thing, but you should definitely read Neuromancer.
@2 The Wrath of Madeline Kahn!
WHAT?!? Tom Bombadil was one of my favorite parts. I'm still pissed that he wasn't in the movie.
Don't Panic!

You're still a nerd in many people's eyes Mary.

(Just be sure to always bring a towel with you wherever you go)
You MUST be joking! The entire first half of The Fellowship of the Ring sucks (except for Bilbo's party... and the stuff with the Barrow-Wights was ok too). The book doesn't become readable until they get to Bree.
They are all egregious. Hang your head in shame.
OK, yeah, LOTR and the Dune series are all long reads, but you haven't even read Hitchhiker's?!? That takes, what, 45 minutes to read? It's been 20 minutes since you posted this - you could be halfway through the book by now.
@2, FIXED! although I like @4's "Wrath of Madeline Kahn!"

@1 when I was in grade school I started The Hobbit but never finished.

@6, see, I KNOW that, because like the Holy Grail that book has been quoted so often it feels like I've read it.

Also, do I get nerd points for the fact that the reason I never played D&D is because I had no friends when I was young?
You'd probably enjoy Hitchhiker's Guide. It's got funny in it. That said, I voted for LOTR. It's tedious shit, but it's *obligatory* tedious shit.
Mary, I can't judge you, for I am too busy being excited for you getting to do these things for the first time some day!
you are female, so no one expects you to have done these things to be a nerd. all you have to do is wear glasses.
Mary, as a girl nerd, the D&D requirement is often waived, especially if you have tried to play WoW but quit after being called a bitch or cunt by a 14 year old boy.

Also waived: reading Dune (you saw the Lynch movie, right?), reading LoTR (you saw the movies, right?), and reading Neuromancer.

You should see WRATHAKHAN in order to meet the one true requirement for all Girl Nerds: Pure Love of Things Star Trek.

You should also shore up your nerdery by reading at least one book each by Octavia Butler, Margaret Atwood, Neil Gaiman and Neal Stephenson. You must also watch the entire run of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and the cross-over episodes of Angel.

That being said, I would hope that you would read THGTTG - it is loverly.
I picked Hitchhiker because it'll make you a far funner (and funnier) person. Not that you aren't fun and funny now but these appeal to the Prankster more than the others. Watch the movie only after you read the first several books in the series. I think for full nerd credit you have to become a fangirl of the BBC series, but personally I think it's crap.

Then read the Dirk Gently books.

Then read Neuromancer.

@12 makes a good point. And it reminds me I've never read Hitchhiker and plan to correct that this year. But Jesus. You are woefully under Star Trekked. You've got to do something about that.
If you know who TK-421 is without a web search then you qualify as a nerd.
If you want to be a nerd, you need to do your homework.
If you would like, I can teach you Dungeons and Dragons.
@13 although you'll rarely see me in them, I do wear glasses. My vision is so bad it goes blurry 6" in front of my nose.

@14 I am guildmaster of the two Slogger WoW guilds... so I sorta feel like that should fulfill my D&D req. :) I have also seen all of Buffy, all of Angel, and read all the authors you mentioned, and I saw the movies... Lynch's Dune makes me SO happy!
The first four are, I'm sorry, each enough to get your nerd card revoked. You have to read these books. Not only will you love them because they are great, you will be a better person afterward.

Lord of the Rings is great from the first page. All three books flew by when I read them.

You only need to read Dune. The rest by Frank Herbert lack the solid plot, and grounded metaphor of the first. Do not touch the ones by his son and some other guy; not even with latex gloves on.

Do not watch the Next Generation Movies. They are all execrable hate-fucks against cinema, Star Trek, and fans of Star Trek. They will make you a worse person for watching them. They're almost as bad as the Star Wars prequels.

You should also read Hyperion from Dan Simmons, and the Culture books by Iaian M Banks for extra nerd points.

I hope this helps you, Mary.
@17 I almost got a vanity license plate with tk-421 on it.
I'd say if you need some kind of external confirmation of your nerdiness, you aren't a nerd. Nerds don't care that they're nerdy. They aren't trying to be nerdier. They don't talk about how nerdy they are. That's sort of what makes them nerds.

You're missing out on a lot of great books, though, I must say.
To a real nerd Lord of the Rings does no suck - it is awesome (read it 5 times over the years), to a real nerd Dune is worth the effort (but yeah the ones published by his son, et al are dreadful, but I read a few anyway), Neuromancer and Hitchhiker's just rock. What's that, most people think this stuff is stupid? THAT'S BECAUSE THEY'RE NOT NERDS!
Minus-two Quatloos for referring to TOS as "the original". But, otherwise, I would dispute @16's assertion that you are "woefully under Star Trekked". Still, you should watch TWoK, which is arguably the best of the pre-TNG films (although many would claim that spot for "ST IV: TVH", which you should definitely watch as well.) For future reference, the general rule: "avoid all odd-numbered ST films" is a good one to follow, although I still have a soft spot for Wise's "Director's Cut" version of "ST: TMP"
Meh. You're fine. But the LAST Star Trek movie? Fuck, even I haven't seen that one.
Lord of the Rings gets my vote; it's really the only thing on the list that essentially founded an entire genre. If only to know what every other fantasy novel ever is copying... no, wait, screw that. You have to read it because it's great. I just wish you could have the experience of reading it before everything else, like I did. (At age nine, nerdy, right?)

Tom Bombadil is very different from the rest of the book, sure, but still totally worthwhile. Fellowship is definitely my favorite of the three books.
I'm horrified by all except the last one (I agree, the D&D requirement is often waived for girlnerds), but the real question is: have you seen Firefly? Can you quote from it? Do you own at least one T-shirt with a Firefly quote on it?
I was crazy for LOTR in 4th-6th grade - read all of them 4 times though, and owned Silmarillon and all the other stuff.

And I grant myself a waiver from D&D because my only exposure to it was the boys in my Gifted Class (it used to be called that) would never, ever let a girl play although they ALWAYS wanted us to watch them play while telling us all about the details as if we would be fascinated - wtf? Even my 5th grade self knew *that* was bullshit!

But I can't remember if I've read Neuromancer or not, I think I did in college and simply asked "What's the big deal?". So I guess I'm not a nerd.
Hitchhiker all the way. It's where the nerd cliques crossover. Enough aliens for scifi geeks, enough space for Trekkies, a blundering enough host of protaganists for hobbit lovers, computers for the crberpunks, toungue in cheek philosophy for the Duneites, kitch enough for a larper, and what nerd doesn't like geeky humor?

I've hit all these (except trek) and frankly you can do without LOTR, D&D if u WoW, and previous poster is right about Herbert's son's books. the dune series slowly spiraled down until his son added a 2 ton anchor. Yuck.

Nueromancer is worth it. Not req'd. Dune (1) is fantastic.
31 Hitchhiker's. Sorry Mary, us nerds are going to have to break up with you. *shhh* no arguing.

Hitchhiker's is like bare essentials.
I voted for not reading the Hitchiker's Guide, just because it's such a simple book to read, there should be no excuse for you not to finish it by the end of the week.
@14 - Everything that you have described is fake nerd-girl pop culture BS. Buffy is not nerdy, it is annoying and bad.


Reading books and arguing about the details the movie left out/messed up with your friends, crunching stat (both armor and character) numbers for possible fight outcomes and during armor/spell/exp upgrades, wasting time doing something that has nothing to do with reality that means exactly everything to you and being genuinely interested and involved in these things is what makes a nerd a nerd.

Playing WoW is nowhere near the equivalent of playing a really well run and thought-out campaign of D&D. It is easier, that is for sure.

You cannot just watch a movie of a book and be like, Yeah, I know that story front to back. Reading a bitching sci-fi/fantasy novel is about experiencing that novel.

Mary, look at your life, look at your choices.
I would call you a nerd thanks to your obsessive love of dinosaurs. Fuck WoW.

Lord of the Rings and Hitchhiker are classic nerd requirements. Seriously.

Dune? Well, the first book is a requirement, but not the whole series. The books become more and more incoherent as you go along, until they are entirely unreadable by the 3rd or 4th one. The Dune wannabes written by others are not worth the paper they're printed on.
I also believe Hitchhiker's Guide is the real tragedy. I've read all but Dune, but can say I really only enjoyed Hitchhiker. The rest of the books are vital to understanding a lot of nerd culture but they are very deep in their genre, and if you aren't a part of that area of nerddom, they aren't going to mean as much to you.
That being said, the more nerd friends I make and them explaining their love of these books, the more I'm interested in reading them again to see what I missed the first time.
I voted for the Star Trek one, specifically because of this part: "I have seen almost every episode of the original, TNG and DS9"

It's simple: you watch Star Trek by choice, I don't trust you.
@10, are you saying you've never watched Holy Grail?
@37 I was wondering that, too, and then dismissed it as an impossibility. And not to be disrespectful, but how could anyone not finish the Hobbit? I managed to not listen to a whole unit on STDs in grade 8 by reading it behind my textbook.
Sure, but can you solder? Work a slide rule? Speak rudimentary Klingon? Spin a mechanical pencil around your thumb repeatedly? I fear that this list could be very long...very long indeed.
I have always felt that nerddom comes in many different flavors. You are not an old-guard nerd, those first books make that obvious. You are not a gaming nerd (no D&D??). This doesn't make you not a nerd, just not those types of nerd.

Arguing that you're going to revoke someone else's nerd card makes you an obnoxious nerd, btw.
If The Big Bang Theory told a joke about it, or could conceivably tell a joke about it, I think it's no longer geek canon. That being the case, you can happily dispense with everything but Neuromancer. The only mainstream reference to Gibson's worldview I've ever heard of is Johnny Mnemonic starring Whoa! Dude! but any self-respecting nerd just pretends it never happened. So...Neuromancer.

That said, if Patton Oswalt is right, you may be too late:…
@20 - what @14 said.

Nobody's ever on the alliance guild, though.
I had to pick Hitchhiker's due to its ease too, but since I'm a girl-nerd of the science/sci-fi (as opposed to gaming) variety, I think you should read LOTR and Dune as well.

There's a long list of things I could see/read to increase my nerd cred, but there are only so many hours in day (though my "winter project" of watching BSG for the first time got finished in about 3 weeks, so if there's a will there's a way).
@28 one of my most prized possessions is my signed photo of Mal... it says "Shiney." I very nearly named my cat Captain Reynolds, but then went with Captain Jack Harkness instead.

@37 Paulus, you know me better than that. I've seen Holy Grail and many others.

@39 Solder, yes. Slide rule, no. Emailed in Klingon with a friend for awhile. I sometimes draw with an architect's mechanical pencil (the kind with the thicker-gauge lead).
You get off on several technicalities here.

My first pick was going to be D&D. It is most certainly NOT waived for girl geeks. Not all of the male nerds I know have played more than one session of a tabletop RPG. Every single female nerd I know has done so. BUT (and this is a big but) the one game you played was V:tM. One session of old WoD counts as a whole campaign of 4th edition D&D. Although, if you like WoW you might give D&D 4e a chance. It's more boardgamey than previous editions, but it has the most interesting combat of any RPG I've played, and the streamlining lets it sit in a valuable niche in the genre.

The Dune SERIES is not required reading by any stretch of the imagination. The first IS, and would have been my second pick if your wording didn't include the increasingly disappointing sequels.

Although, it does beg the question why you didn't include the Neuromancer sequels, which is what I settled on. Come on there's more awesome in Count Zero and Mona Lisa Overdrive taken individually then in Dune books 2 though ad nauseum combined. It helps that the Herbert's spawn's cash-ins count negative, as the 2nd and 3rd are actually decent.

Also, you've met your Star Trek requirements by watching the series. TOS + TNG > all the movies anyway.
@42 trying to remedy that... check the FB page...
I'm totally a nerd, but I haven't done any of those. Okay, I saw maybe one or two Star Trek movies, but when I was too young to really remember them (Dad is a huge Star Trek fan).

There are many paths to nerdliness. :D
Saying playing WoW is close enough to playing a old fashioned paper and pencil RPG is like saying masturbating is close enough to having sex with another person.

What is your reason for dismissing playing D&D out of hand?

Also, read Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency. I find them far better than Hitchhiker's Guide, which I loved, and voted for.
Mary, I had considered myself a nerd since middle school despite not getting into the following things UNTIL MY EARLY TO MID TWENTIES.

Graphic novels.
Lord of the Rings (read The Hobbit in highschool but didn't like it at the time, reread it later and did.) fact I've only really recently started playing DnD in the last two years.
Electronic Music

The list goes on, the point being, there is always time.
I think the rest of the Dune series is a lot more worthwhile than most of these peeps (Chapterhouse gets sooooo good) but yeah the first is a must read, Herbert was a frakin polymath genius with that one. The "sequels" by his son and Kevin J. Anderson are the only books I've ever burned. They should be erased from history.

P.S. Listen to Hitchhiker's in audiobook form as read by Douglas himself if you can, it's even better imnsho.
Vampire The Masquerade in college is scary and depressing. D&D is much more fun. Come play with my merry band of gays and kill some shit. It'll be a blast. You'll see.
*more worthwhile than most of these peeps DO*
Being a girl nerd, I have read and seen all of those. They are all great, but Hitchhiker's Guide is easily my favorite and can be loved by anyone really. Douglas Adam's is smart and clever, I love him! Way to be a Whedon fan, I'm obsessed! What about reading manga and watching anime? That's pretty nerdy...I know I love it.
I'm judging you for thinking that The Lord of the Rings is a series, not one long book split up into three medium books by publishers.
Mary, I envy you for the experience you will have someday of reading the Hitchhiker's Trilogy for the first time. For being a virgin who will be introduced to all those things your friends have referenced over the years. It's wonderful to say "A-HA!"
The only qualification for nerddom is to have at some point purchased a product marketed towards them.
22/Mary: Nerd.
Dune (just the first)
As someone who gave up on the Hobbit in grade school or middle school (seriously, how many pages concerning these things called hobbits?), I encourage you to give the Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit a second shot. Yes they start slow, but it pays off.
I voted for Hitchhiker's, since it's the only one of the options that I have any love for. Never heard of Neuromancer - does that disqualify me as a nerd?
You're only a nerd if you have seen all of the Star Trek shows and movies AND you thought that all the assholes at Paramount fucked up everything with the newest movie. If that's the case and you are offended that they changed the entire ST universe, then you are a nerd. No other qualification counts, and all the others are poseur nerds.

Get it right people.
I chose Hitchhiker's Guide because you can easily quote from it and half the people in the room will get it and laugh out loud. The others will be like "WTF?" and immediately need to know why it's so funny. Then: they become converts, and the nerds will have won.
@63: I saw the original Star Trek shows first-run, for whatever it's worth, and I liked the new Star Trek movie. OK, it's not true to the original series at all, but who the hell says it has to be? It had that "we're not taking any of this too seriously" spirit that I loved so much in the original show. They sure didn't seem to feel the need to conform to anybody's preconceived notions of what "the ST universe" was.
63: you are such a nerd that I am going to virtually beat you up. Just gimme your virtual milk money now and let's be done with it.
My earliest childhood memory is watching The Savage Curtain while my sister was banging her future husband in his apartment upstairs above a barber shop. My geek credentials are beyond reproach. That's why you need to trust me: Neuromancer gives you a step up on all the pretenders who are advocating inferior geek feed. Neuromancer is to Hitchhikers as Story of the Eye is to Justine.
@63: I've been a horrible nerd for 43 years, and a Trekkie (okay, I was only an infant during the show's original run, but I watched it endlessly growing up), and I feel the same way as 5280 about the new movie. It was infinitely more enjoyable Star Trek than any of the awful spinoff shows starting with Next Generation (the Animated Series, featuring the original cast, was pretty good).

Mary, since you're posting in the comments section and this is Slog after all, go ahead and feel free to tell everyone what you think of all of the nerd items that you have never read, watched or played.

@49 and others recommending Det. Gently: I weep softly to myself at the recollection of having loaned my "Long Dark Teatime of the Soul" audiobook (on cassette! read by the author!), never to see them again..."don't pick-it-up-pick-it-up-pick-it up; quick, pass-it-on-pass-it-on-pass-it-on".

Also, I want to see St. Pancras station as Valhalla before I die.
Speaking of Dirk Gently, the BBC TV adaptation aired just before Christmas:

I'm glad I made an effort to go see Douglas Adams in person at one of his readings at the UW while he was still with us(I think he was promoting Last Chance to See, his sad book about endangered animals) -- what a delightful man.
And say what you want about the hitchhikers movie but that opening, so long and thanks for all the fish sequence is the kablams.
@48 I just know I don't have the time to devote to it and do it right.
@72 slacker! SLACKER! Next up: what's the difference between a Tau'ri, a Lantean, an Asuran, and an Altaran on Stargate?
Poll is closed?! NOT FAIR!
You're not a nerd at all.
Hitchhiker's is the highest standard of nerdy? Shit, it's so funny. WTF? Jokes that require you to rub TWO neurons together are nerdy?

If you know the name of Bones' girlfriend from original Star Trek, you are a nerd. You need no other credential.