A Geek No More by Andrew Openshaw

 

I can’t wait to get it, the final one in the trilogy! I’m so desperate to read it but promised myself I’d wait until my birthday. It would be my main present again, like in previous years.

Dad started me off when I was eleven. He said this is the book he’d been most looking forward to giving me, ever since I was born. Figured since I’d reached the age he was when he’d first read it, it was time for me to try the BIG one as he calls it, or sometimes his ‘bible’.

You can buy it as one volume too. I’ve seen it in Waterstones; its massive, over a thousand pages! But Dad said it’d be better if I teased myself by reading it in stages. It’s an epic tale, after all, silly to read it all in one go. That’s what he did when he was eleven and he said he’d always wished he’d made it last longer.

So yeah, I read part one when I was eleven, part two at twelve and now finally tomorrow I should — fingers doubly, triply crossed — get the final volume. AND, my birthday is on a Saturday so no school! If I get up early I can read pretty much all of it. I’ll be finished on Sunday for sure.

Dad’s got this theory — a premonition he calls it — that in the future the geeks will rule the earth. You can already see it happening now, he says, with computers and stuff. That’s why he’s always read sci-fi and fantasy. He says it’s the most important genre because its helps you see into the future; imagine a better world or worlds beyond our own. You meet a lot of heroes too — like Frodo and Samwise. Something which, Dad likes to tell me, society today is lacking.

He’s got an amazing collection. Two walls in the spare room, floor to ceiling. The shelves are three deep too. Literally hundreds of books! He doesn’t have a copy of his ‘bible’ though, the BIG one. Gave it to someone once and never got it back. Said he doesn’t like to talk about it. Mum winds him up, shouting “Is he on about his old girlfriend again.” He gets embarrassed when Mum does this, and I sometimes think there may be some truth in what she’s saying.

Anyway, he never bought another copy until my eleventh birthday when he gave me volume one as my present. I read it in under two weeks and never looked back. I’ve delved deeper and deeper into Dad’s shelves ever since, reading anything that looked appropriate for my age. Visited so many planets, seen so many futures, met so many heroes. Even learnt about Frodo’s Uncle Bilbo. Dad kept that one back until I’d read volume one, said I’d appreciate it more. I totally did!

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My thirteenth birthday was a week ago, now. Got volume three plus another book called The Left Hand of Darkness. It’s written by someone called Penelope Lagoon or something. It’s fallen down the back of my desk, though, so I can’t be sure of the name.

She’s a woman Dad really admires. He asked me this morning if I’d started reading it yet.  Said, it makes a powerful statement about the role of women in society. Something I should be interested in, now that I’m a teenager.

The thing is I haven’t finished volume three yet. In fact, I haven’t picked it up for a couple of days. I don’t know what it is that’s changed. Maybe it’s the pressures of life getting to me.

I imagine Dad moaning on about how reading expands your mind and all that. I think my mind is expanded enough thank you very much; with school and stuff and my bloody GCSEs fast approaching! He’ll say if you read you’ll get better at school anyway. I won’t even notice it happen, I’ll just get cleverer.

I’m sure Mrs McKeachie said something similar the other day. I only half-heard her, though. Me and Shirley Simpson were too busy rating the lads in Blur out of ten.

Plus, I don’t I want to read about dwarves and trolls and small furry men climbing bloody mountains anymore. It’s childish. And where’s the passionate romance? Where’s Damon Albarn? Maybe if he was at the top of that mountain, I’d consider finishing it.

Anyway, when Dad mentioned Penelope Lagoon’s powerful statement about the role of women, I told him, with a smirk on my face, that Shirley Manson and Courtney Love are all the powerful women I had time for presently. He just held his head in his hand and groaned.

Tonight, he came up to my room and walked straight in without knocking. I was busy trying to do my hair like Justine Frischmann. I got mad at him, said he shouldn’t barge in like that.  He said he’d brought another book for me to try, called Dune. Apparently, it’s got a giant worm in it, with big sharp teeth. Brilliant, I said. Sweet dreams eh? That’ll help my beauty sleep no end! He looked hurt again, and left, taking the book with him.

To keep him out in future I made a sign for my door. It says: ‘Kayleigh is reading, please don’t disturb.’ That way I can enjoy staring at my Alex James pictures in peace.

 

Andrew Openshaw

Banner Image:  Pixabay.com

6 thoughts on “A Geek No More by Andrew Openshaw

  1. Wow! Completely identify with this story, I feel like it is about me! I still love Blur, think I was about 14 when Parklife came out…and started reading science fiction as a young teen. I also lent out my precious first copy of Ender’s Game to a friend and never got it back! So many coincidences here. Wasn’t such a fan of Dune though.. You’ve brought back some memories of 90s teen angst.

    Like

  2. Nice one. Well written, and point well made. Let’s hope that the teenage phase shall pass and when it does interest in reading lives on again! Not all that hopeful sometimes.

    Like

  3. Hi Andrew,
    The voice that you got throughout this story was amazingly believable.
    This is a superb piece of perceptive writing!
    All the very best.
    Hugh

    Like

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