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Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Ultimate Geek Fu

One of the things which draws us to science fiction and fantasy is the lure of new worlds, places to explore different than our normal old twenty-first century earth. And certainly science fiction and fantasy offer up some truly compelling settings. Just consider...

What fan of The Lord of the Rings wouldn't love to visit Middle Earth? Sure, there's plenty of danger and darkness. You might open your door and find a Ring Wraith waiting outside. Or a band of orcs or goblins. But you might also find tall, ethereally beautiful elves, short, stout dwarves, or even shorter, jolly hobbits.

What Trekker (note that I know not to use "Trekkie") wouldn't want to attend the Star Fleet Academy in San Francisco or serve on a Federation starship as it sails through space on its five year mission?

Maybe you'd prefer to live in Asimov's caves of steel, or on Trantor at the height of the Galactic Empire, or maybe be part of the Foundation as it struggles to keep the torch of civilization alight in the far reaches of the galaxy.

What red-blooded teenage boy wouldn't want to travel to Edgar Rice Burroughs' Barsoom and become a virtual superhero simply because of his earthly origins? Who can resist the lure of wielding a longsword with one hand while the other holds tight to the hand of a beautiful (naked!) woman of Barsoom?

Perhaps you'd rather step through a wardrobe and find yourself in Narnia or get carried to the land of Oz by a cyclone or travel through time and space in a blue police phone box.

There are worlds upon worlds upon worlds one can choose to live in for a short while, transported by the author's words or the director's images. But what if you didn't have to just live in such worlds briefly, seeing them through the eyes of the author or director? What if you could pick up, take your family and friends, and just go live in any world you wish? I know where I'd go.

Last fall, I picked up the DVD set for the first season of a science fiction TV series I had never watched. In typical fashion, once I realized I really enjoyed the show, word came that the series was being canceled. Fortunately, there are four seasons, so I've still got more than forty shows left to watch, but in the show I've found the place I'd truly like to live in. The show is Eureka, which is also the name of the town.

Eureka is a small town somewhere in the Pacific northwest. A government town where virtually everyone works at a top secret government research facility. Everyone in the town has at least an above average IQ, most have an IQ significantly higher than that. Sure, there's the periodic evacuation due to strange chemical spills or space junk drawn into the atmosphere by powerful magnets. Yeah, sometimes people die in mysterious, sometimes gruesome, ways. But Eureka has the small town bit down perfectly. Everyone eats at the same diner, takes their clothes to the same cleaner, sends their kids to the same school, and most everyone knows everyone else. It kind of reminds me of my childhood days growing up in the university town of Clemson, SC (unsurprisingly, home to Clemson University), except with higher IQs, quirkier citizens, and more interesting things going on around town. If Eureka actually existed and I could get a job there, I'd move in a heartbeat.

So, where would you go and why?

Let the arguments begin!
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