"Corticocortical" and "axo-axonic"? Really?
I tried out a meeting of the sci fi club last night. It was very like my experience with the sci fi club at Imperial College London*: jargon, nicknames and in-jokes are so thick you barely understand what's going on; the jokes that you do get are laugh-worthy; natives are friendly but make little to no effort to clue you in; some of the older grads and postdocs have been couples for a while; people talk coding and physics; the library** makes you wish you didn't have schoolwork to do; there's promise of viewing Dr. Who
/etc; and after the meeting, you go out for Chinese food. There's a special brand of
nonconformity I'm having trouble putting my finger on. It seems to be a universal culture, even when individual cells don't communicate with one another, and with regional variation of terminology and obsessions.*** Alas, for it is not quite my culture (though maybe with time I will adapt). For one thing, this club is vehemently anti-vampire porn. Heh. No, I am too, in the Laurell K. Hamilton sense, but at the same time I didn't feel comfortable enough in the face of mass passion to defend the subsubgenre that is
good. No SGA fans, either. In fact, their motto as declared on a sign outside their headquarters is, "We're not fans, we just read the stuff."* (Hopefully without the accidental boyfriend this time)
** MIT has "the world's largest open-shelf collection of science fiction"
*** E.g.: bananas, chickens, a gigantic wrench, something called Spehn, and a set of Gor (?) books that are chained on their shelf so they don't escape and make other books worse.
One tangent during the meeting is totally worth repeating. Someone made a joke about the presidential elections, and one girl and one guy piped up with spur-of-the-moment campaign mottoes as if various sci fi/fantasy characters were running for office. Ah—I reproduce it for you here from the transcribed meeting minutes
Motion to commend the current U.S. election as being a choice between science fiction and fantasy passes 17-0-10 plus Spehn.ETA:
"President Zod: Kneel for Change."
"President Cthulhu: Why Vote for the Lesser Evil?"
"Vote Spock: He's the Only Logical Choice."
I just remembered something else funny -- people referencing a summary of different scientific fields that went something like: "If it moves, it's biology. If it burps and stinks, it's chemistry. If it doesn't work, it's physics. If no one knows why, it's engineering. If it works in theory, it's mathematics."
Things got better at dinner, when people spoke in mostly understandable terms and I was able to ask who they are and what they do. I'll be trying this again whenever the other thousand things that only happen on Friday nights don't tempt me more, and we'll see how it goes.
Oh, and another bit of geekiness: one guy had a PDA thing at dinner for keeping a tally of what we wanted to order (they taught me the special finger signs for half or full orders per person as we went around the table for each dish; you have the option of going Communist [split a bunch of dishes in the middle] or Capitalist [get your own dish]), and later for splitting the bill.
Speaking of vampire porn: daasgrrl
won the snail race and came up with a glorious sequel to my comment!fic No Pain
. It is called "No Mercy," it has just about everything you'd want from a House/Wilson fic and
vampire erotica, and you should go read it here
Another awesome thing I keep forgetting to mention: jadesfire2808
did an analysis of my two SGA sestinas
. Like any good critic, she points out things that work and things that don't (some I'd been aware of, some I hadn't), things they illuminate about the characters, and ways the poems compare and contrast with each other. It is supremely cool, and it's given me some things to think about for my writing in the future.