Jason Becker

Finding Places

About 6 or 7 years ago, Elsa and I visited San Francisco. I think we were there for a conference, but all I remember is wandering the city and that it was the last time I saw our mutual friend Winnie, whom I miss.

Elsa was trying to solve my usual hangry when she pointed out a café across the street and suggested I pop in. She accidentally led me to wander into the attached bookstore, Borderlands Books.

I have long loved sci-fi/fantasy, and it has always made me feel cast out of the mainstream. I never felt different as a nine year old for loving Star Wars, but reading A Wrinkle in Time, The Golden Compass, and The Dark is Rising all before the release of the first Harry Potter book meant I was a true nerd. It didn’t matter that I played sports or that I wasn’t introverted or that I had no social anxiety to speak of. I read a lot, and it was mostly SFF, and that meant I was doomed to the sidelines.

Even in my mid-20s, Borderlands felt affirming.

My friends are not SFF nerds. I don’t have a book club, I don’t go to conventions, I don’t have a fandom, I don’t play TCGs, and I don’t feel connected to the stereotypical nerd community. I still needed Borderlands, or maybe, of course I needed Borderlands.