Horror with the heart of a nerd
From left: Mac, Anna, Paul, Neil and Sarah battle uncertainty and fate in "The Fades."
February 3rd, 2012
10:48 AM ET

Horror with the heart of a nerd

Seventeen-year-old high school outcast Paul thinks the only author who could accurately capture the misery of his life would be a mix of Terry Pratchett’s wit, Alan Moore’s soul and Susan Cooper’s plotting.

His friend Mac thinks Tolkien’s slightly twisted sexuality and Lewis’ heroism need to be added to the mix.

Paul is one of the leading characters on BBC America’s “The Fades,” a six-episode series penned by Jack Thorne to fill the spot left vacant by “Doctor Who” on “Supernatural Saturdays.” He and Mac might be the nerdiest characters on the whole British export network.

One more thing: Paul sees dead people, and they're coming after him for all of the wrong reasons.

The show follows Paul and a cast of diverse and intriguing characters as they navigate a world where ghosts, known as Fades, are breaking through to reclaim life by feasting on flesh and becoming corporeal. Paul is one of the few who can see the Fades. Now, he just has to keep them from eating people and destroying his world.

Although largely known as a writer of social realism, like the TV series, “Skins,” Thorne is a fantasy nerd who grew up reading Susan Cooper and Neil Gaiman. Their imaginative landscapes are what he loves, and they're what he wanted to replicate in "The Fades," he said.

Paul’s socially awkward, emotionally burdened but brilliant eyes are the windows to this frightening, magical world. The Fades, at first, are as much of a mystery to him as they are to viewers. But it is his relationship with fellow nerd and best friend, Mac, that creates a true connection for viewers.

“I was a bit of a lonely high school nerd,” Thorne said. “I didn’t have a best friend, and I always wanted one. I consider the central theme of the show this ‘love story’ between the two boys - a totally chaste love of course, but they really need each other. They’re the only two that have ever been in each other’s lives.” FULL POST

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George Takei's pursuit of 'infinite diversity'
January 11th, 2012
09:17 AM ET

George Takei's pursuit of 'infinite diversity'

Editor's note: George Takei, best known for his role as Mr. Sulu in "Star Trek," was gracious enough to speak with Geek Out for nearly an hour and a half. Last week, we talked about why "Star Trek" fans are thankful for Takei. This time, Takei gets personal about his acting and activism.

Behind George Takei’s great laugh, warm smile and enticing sense of humor is a childhood filled with memories of imprisonment.

Most fans know him for his work on “Star Trek,” “The Howard Stern Show,” and “Heroes,” or will be reintroduced to him on “Celebrity Apprentice.” They say “Oh, my,” made popular by Howard Stern, rhapsodize about Takei's deep voice, or wear Starfleet uniforms in his honor. But they don’t know the story behind the story.

Before Takei was breaking down racial barriers on TV through “Star Trek” and making “It’s OK to be Takei” a popular slogan for gay rights, he was living through one of America’s greater injustices: the Japanese-American incarceration during World War II.

From ages 4 to 6, Takei and his family lived in two camps, one in Rohwer, Arkansas, and the other in Tule Lake, California, amid choking clouds of dust and behind barbed-wire fences.

When he watches productions of “Fiddler on the Roof,” the scene where Tevye and his family are forced from their home recalls one of his own memories: bayonets flashing as two soldiers ordered the Takei family to an internment camp.

Throughout the experience, Takei’s father would say, “They took my business, our home and our freedom. The one thing I’m not going to give them is my dignity.”

FULL POST

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Sony goes steampunk with gaming laptop
An artist designed the removable steampunk case for the gaming laptop. The computer keyboard also was steampunk'd.
January 10th, 2012
10:50 AM ET

Sony goes steampunk with gaming laptop

What happens when you combine a laptop nicknamed The Beast with a subculture that is sweeping across the nation like a maelstrom? Sony has been steampunk’d, and the company asked for it.

Marrying modern technology with an elegant Victorian aesthetic is what steampunk is all about. So when social commerce specialist Reena Leone, a relative newcomer to Sony, decided to spruce up her geeky workstation with another subculture twist, steampunk seemed liked the perfect solution.

But she didn’t want to just “glue some gears on it and call it steampunk,” as the viral video goes. Leone needed a fully functioning VAIO F laptop she could use for work, with steampunk incorporated in the casing, utilities and desktop. The finished product, featured in a video from Sony on its Web show, "SGNL," has been making the Web rounds.

More than a few people want to swipe that steampunk laptop right out from under Leone, but she’s only willing to let it travel to cons and shows for now - no house calls allowed.

CNN Geek Out chatted (and yes, geeked out) with Leone for a few moments about her new steampunk laptop, and talked about if Sony is really considering more subculture mash-ups in the future. FULL POST

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Why I'm thankful for George Takei
January 4th, 2012
08:04 AM ET

Why I'm thankful for George Takei

Editor’s note: George Takei, best known for his role as Mr. Sulu in "Star Trek," was gracious enough to speak with Geek Out for nearly an hour and a half. We discovered that he had more than one story to tell. Check back with us next week to see more of Takei's heroism at work.

When you talk to people about George Takei, they often begin with a sigh and follow up with, “I just love George.”

It’s the kind of love that anyone involved in a fanbase or subculture can relate to – supportive, intuitive and unconditional.

When Takei expressed his wish that I'd “live long and prosper” and tossed in a nice “Oh, my!” for good measure during our conversation, I could feel my heart tingle a bit. Takei is so amicable that you immediately feel as though you’re receiving the confidences of an old friend.

But I wanted to know: Why exactly do we love Takei so much? Brokering “Star Peace” after William Shatner and Carrie Fisher began a "Star Trek" vs. "Star Wars" social media feud is just one feather in his cap.

Is he a geek hero? Fan Dorinda Paige says, "Amen to that!” FULL POST

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The geek heroes of 2011
December 30th, 2011
05:51 PM ET

The geek heroes of 2011

This year, there were many geeks who made good, and some who did extraordinary things, big and small, for nerd-kind.

So we present, in no particular order, our geek heroes for 2011. FULL POST

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