Miscellaneous, Nerdery

Your Greatest Nerd Fear: And the Winners Are…


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?Normally I begin every contest results article by saying how hard it was to judge. Well, not today. This Greatest Nerd Fear contest — sponsored by the kind folks at 604 Republic, of course — wasn’t particularly easy to judge, but if I had to describe it in one word, it wouldn’t be “difficult,” it would be “gratifying.” It’s actually kind of comforting that so many of you guys share the same kind of fears that I do. So if there are a lot of less ridiculous, more esoteric Honorable Mentions and Winners this week, that’s why.

Oh, one other fear of mine before we begin. A lot of people wrote that they were afraid they would have kids who wouldn’t be nerds, which is definitely a fear of mine. But I’ll do you guys one better. I’m actually afraid of my eventual progeny being too nerdy — specifically, that my kid will end up being an erotic fan fiction writer. Like, I’ll open the door to his room at some point, and he’ll be writing about Transformers banging each other. It’s so what I deserve. If there’s any justice in this world, the chances of this happening are about 1,000,000%.

Last but certain not least, much thanks to 604 Republic for not only sponsoring this week’s contest, but offering up five shirts for the winners! Please show them some love by checking out their store when you have a chance. And now, I fear the Honorable Mentions and Winners are after the jump.

They are! The Honorable Mentions and winners were after the jump! I don’t know why I was afraid of that.


I fear the day that the death of Terry Pratchett is announced. Alzheimer’s sucks.


Honestly? New greatest fear, thanks to TR. That Michael Bay will be remembered by future generations as the greatest action movie director of the modern era.


I’m actually super terrified of space. If we had to evacuate the planet for some unknown reason I’m going down with the ship. Because with my luck I’d be the person who accidentally gets shot out of the garbage disposal and insta-death. No thank you, I’ll stick with earth.

Daniel Dean:

Becoming the kind of hopelessly insular self-obsessed socially dysfunctional shallow nerd stereotype we all abhor without realizing it.


My greatest fear is to meet my greatest idol, Alan Moore.
I think he is brilliant and I would totally try and praise him, but he wouldn’t appreciate it. He would probably insult me, tell me that I was an idiot and make me cry.
I love you Alan Moore, but you don’t seem to be a nice person. :'(

Hostile V:

The idea that the horrible things famous artists draw really exist somewhere beyond our realm of knowledge. H.R. Giger, Junji Ito, Kazuo Umezu, the guy who drew the pictures for Scary Story To Tell In The Dark, all of their thoughts, their creations, live elsewhere. There is a dimension being ravaged by their thoughts and we’re marveling and gawking at the monsters killing their inhabitants. And we smile and read more and more.


What I fear most isn’t the thought that we’re all in the Matrix, or that aliens could bulldoze the planet for an intergalactic highway, or Michael Bay movies, or anything like that, though they are all real concerns. What I fear most is that humans will never truly go to the stars and see what’s out there, that all of the projects in scientific research that I want to work on will reach completion before I can get my degree, that humans will develop superpowers and I won’t be able to afford them…in short, I fear dying without ever getting the chance to be a part of the brave new world I’ve dreamed of constantly since I read my first science fiction book. It keeps me up at night sometimes, and there is nothing I can do to fix it.


Uwe Boll directing the Gran Morrison-era Doom Patrol movie.


While I have many fears based in nerd culture ranging from Kafka of Final Fantasy VI burning my town with fire to the Red Hulk’s radiation giving me cancer, the fear at the forefront of my mind is far more pragmatic. As a huge fan of Green Lantern comics, I am terrified that the upcoming movie is going to be awful. These last few months have been a roller coaster of emotions with highs and lows coming with each new trailer. No matter what, I know that I will feel a level of excitement in seeing the characters on the big screen, but I just wouldn’t be able to stand it if all of those feelings ended up being hollow tugs at my nostalgia’s heartstrings. If the movie does well, we may be in for a great sequel and more. If it doesn’t, this could be the penultimate nail in the coffin that is DC’s movie franchise (I’m going out on a limb and assuming that nobody is going to care about another Smallville-esque origin story with Zod as the villain). I suppose that we can only find courage in each other.


My personal greatest nerd fear is that I will slip into a time loop and perpetually have to live the same day over and over.

That day being May 19th, 1999.

I can’t think of anything scarier than having to repeatedly have my hopes shattered over and over again by Jar Jar Binks on Phantom Menace’s opening night…


‘Ghostbusters 3’ starring Adam Sandler, Rob Schneider, and Kevin James

Viktor Brown:

I’m afraid that I’ll create something nerdy, like a book, comic, or film series or stand alone, and that someone will write a fanfic about it or one or more characters in it that is so bad that it ends up on FFF.


My nerdy fear isn’t even a fake one. My greatest fear is that Telecom companies in my region will start limiting my bandwidth or otherwise bring an end to my net neutrality. Lord help me if I have to start paying for music or limiting how many active porn windows I have. Or even worse, being forced to use bing to find my fetish of choice 0.0


My fear is that George R.R. Martin with either die before the last few books of his series are completed, or worse yet, get so sick of people haranguing him to hurry the hell up that he just refuses to write them at all. Or, what if he decides to troll all the people that have been after him by just writing them as poorly as possible, just to piss off all the people that have been pissing him off for years?


My biggest fear is that, at the end of my life, I’ll look back at all the time and money spent pursuing my geeky interests; the nights spent roleplaying/playing Magic/Heroclix/video games, sitting in line for Episode One after getting my Masters degree instead of job hunting, the thousands of comics and toys, the trips to see Weird Al or to MST3K conventions or to Disney, the countless hours rewatching the same episodes/movies over and over again, the even more countless hours discussing/arguing those same episodes/movies with friends, the Star Wars themed wedding, the naming of my first child after an elven princess, the autograph hunting, etc.; and decide I wasted my life.

Cuz’ then I’ll have become a miserable old joyless bastard with nothing left to live for, and that’s what scares me the most.

The Chu:

My greatest nerd fear is growing old. I’m already 30 (!), and while my nerdy and non-nerdy friends and family think it’s endearing that I haven’t “grown up”, I fear the time when I can’t keep up with the next generation(s). I don’t necessarily care if my future kids think what I’ve liked is lame, we did the same to our parents. But I plan on keeping up with the evolution of tech, games, and media as they grow over the course of my life.

Eventually, there will be a time when I won’t be able to physically handle simple tasks that will be commonplace (example: my mom trying to learn to use a mouse). Even more worrisome is when I won’t be able to *mentally* understand the simple tasks (“The files are *IN THE COMPUTER*”). Will I become the curmudgeony old guy that refuses to change how he’s lived in the good ol’ days? Or will I become the elderly man who *really, really* wants to keep up with the times, but just… can’t.

Tony Seven:

My greatest nerd fear is Warren Ellis becoming a born again Christian …


I’m irrationally scared of being instantly socially blacklisted in college for the things I like (because I’m a girl). :( I’ve had loads of friends tell me that I shouldn’t let college dorm mates know that I play video games/enjoy comics/watch anime/etc. They warn me that being both Asian & female (in addition to wearing glasses) means instant branding as some stereotypical quiet, submissive, creepy “otaku-like” girl.

While I know that there are lots of people who are far more accepting in reality, today is my high school graduation day and I’m fretting over long-distance best friends and how we’ll be able to keep in touch with all the changes going around; it truly terrifies me at this moment to think that I’ll be judged based on my gender and interests and fail to befriend the people in my dorm or to find people with similar activities.
I guess I’m just being a chicken about change right now.


Okay, I’m sure people have probably mentioned this kind of thing before, but I’m very serious. I’m a Star Wars fan and I have three kids, ages 5, 3 and 1. The older two already love Star Wars, hell we even routinely have lightsaber fights, but practically everything they know is from the Clone Wars cartoon which they find more easily accessible at their age then the movies. I haven’t really shown them the prequels, given that they are too young to see Revenge of the Sith, but they already seem to think of that era as the “real” Star Wars. They have seen some of the original trilogy and know the characters, but just haven’t seem them enough to be that familiar with them. I’m worried they are going to get older, continue to think of the prequel era as the real Star Wars, eventually realize how stupid the prequels are, and no longer care for Star Wars without ever getting a chance to love the original trilogy…

ruth hunter:

What if I win a t-shirt and then I’m thought to be a nerd


I fear nothing…. but FEAR ITSELF! Also Tim Curry.

Jason Reagan:

My greatest fear is my daughter will grow up with an unnatural dislike of all things geek and I as her father will be unable to relate to her.


Collecting comic books for over 25 years has given me the major fear of open flame.


I’m afraid of taking an IQ test. I know I’m smart, and have an idea of at least how smart, but the idea of finding out and forever knowing where I cap off is horrifying.

Adam Crosby:

Every since NeverEnding Story came out on VHS, I have been petrified of the talking wolf near the end. The one who serves the Nothing. I’ve thought of watching the movie again, just to see if I’m over it, but I just don’t dare. And I’m 34 now.

Clockwork Smurf:

I have spent decades collecting Smurfs after discovering Peyo’s comics and the PVC figures when I was four. The cartoon show was great, but I loved them for the adventures I had with my figures in the sandbox, rebuilding King Smurf’s castle using sand and orange cones. So many of my childhood friendships began with playdates playing with my smurfs – these friends still send me smurfs to this day. To me, they’re more than Hanna Barbera’s show.

Now I have two sons, the older being able to identify smurfs even though he’s only just a few weeks over two. He would rather play with smurf figures than cars, Spider-Man, or trains.

And on July 29th, that movie will ruin the way his generation sees smurfs forever. Every preview and poster is a new lowered expectation, and I know that when he wears one of his (several) smurf shirts next fall, he’ll be greeted by fart jokes and Katy Perry quotes.
My nightmare happens in less than two months.

Reilly Weakley:

I’m afraid that someday George Lucas and Joss Whedon will find all the terrible things I’ve said about them on the internet, and team up with Rob Liefeld who already knows about the terrible things I’ve said about him on the internet (He stalked me on Twitter for a while. It was creepy), and they’ll come and hunt me down for revenge.


My greatest fear is,due to shitty later seasons,and a lessening of syndication repeats,that a generation may not be able to communicate entirely by quoting “The Simpsons”.


My nerdy fear? I find the perfect nerdy woman. She would be smart, funny, into cosplay, kinky and we would share enough nerdy interests without having so much in common that we wouldn’t be able to get away from eachother. That’s my fear because I would then spend the rest of my life feeling inadequate until I eventually sabotaged the relationship.


Honestly……i have not embraced my nerdness until i started frequenting this site and enjoying a lot of the articles and comments. SO, that being said my greatest nerd fear would probably be never getting to access Topless Robot ever again. I know the internet would live on and some other site would come up, but what other place would you ever get to enjoy the book reviews, game reviews, T.V. show/media announcements, and nerdiness in general combined with the Crazy FFF and horrible soul crushing things we read every week with utter enjoyment (yeah I said it). So even if i don’t win i would like to say “Thank You Topless Robot and Everyone Who Comments and frequents Her” lol

Sucking up won’t necessarily earn you a shirt, but it often wins you an HM. Which, by the way, continue after the jump.


Brando Lars:

My biggest Nerd fear? Well the older I get the more I try to maintain a level of Physical Fitness. I went to the gym for 10 years and at the height of my training was bench pressing close to 300 pounds, at now I run. I can go out and run for 2.5 hour with little complaint.
I suppose my biggest nerd fear is to wake up one morning and find out I’ve turned into a Jock.
Just thinking about it makes my skin crawl.

wandering fox:

I realize that I will outlive a good percentage of my heroes. As a child of the 80s, this is just a fact of life. One of the hardest losses for me recently, however, was Wayne Allwine. Not just because he was the Mickey Mouse I grew up with and fought Nobodies alongside, but because I didn’t learn of his death for months. When someone famous dies, everyone talks about it, but when we lose someone considered more obscure, it’s easy to miss the story, especially with my schedule. If I accidentally learn about the loss of Michael Bell or Gregory Snegoff months after the fact, it will just kill me. I need the chance to say goodbye, if only in my heart. Not being able to do so is my greatest nerd fear.


My greatest fear is that my kids won’t like Harry Potter. I love a lot of other geeky things, but HP is definitely my favorite. Like, I cosplay as Hermione favorite. I plan on reading it to my kids as soon as they’re able to understand and handle the material. I have dreams of making them all HP costumes for Halloween, taking them to the HP park in Orlando, running around the house playing wizard duals, etc. It scares me to death that they won’t like it and want me to read something stupid like Twilight instead.


My biggest nerd fear is being outed as not nerdy enough. On the surface I’ve got righteous nerd cred — president of my high school Trekkie club, three years of Japanese in college just to be able to read manga before Viz bastardized it, and once mocked by a guy for having “books with dragons on the cover” on my nightstand (last time he made it into my bedroom). On the Brunching Shuttlecocks’ Geek Hierarchy I score in six different categories. But in recent years I’ve drifted away from the lifestyle; you’re more likely to find the New Yorker by my bed now. So in shame I cover the gaps in my knowledge with websites like this one — cliff notes to the nerd-world. I love being a nerd girl. Most of my friends are nerds. And so I live in fear of someday being called out for not knowing what a TARDIS is and having my whole sense of self come crumbling down.

Mike Donahue:

I fear achieving my lifelong dream of drawing comics, only to be reviled as the second coming of Rob Liefeld.

Team Hellions:

I fear the next generation of nerds. There will be no more discovery, nor any search for kindred spirits. Most of us remember that moment of enlightenment. Shopping with mom or dad and finding your first comic. Staying home sick from school and flipping through TV to find that movie or tv show that changed your life. Then making your new best friend because you two are the only person in your school or small town that enjoy this newly found amazing entity. When everything is so easy to obtain, it removes all joy from the quest. Bottom line, I fear Patton might be right.


Remember the Gorgs from Fraggle Rock? Yea, they sent my 5 year old self running from the room in tears.

My family didn’t have HBO (I had to watch it at a neighbor’s house), and I rarely saw a full episode in its first run on television. Most importantly, the first few times I saw the show was without seeing the introduction.
You remember it. Fraggles are dancing and singing. Gobo Fraggle peaks up in the Gorg’s Garden, gets caught, then the bumbling Gorg tosses him down the well where he falls safely into the pool in Fraggle Rock just in time to finish the musical number.
Without that introduction, my five year old self has no context for the show. I didn’t realize that Fraggles get caught everyday by Gorgs and they always get away.
So back to my first time watching Fraggle Rock…
I think I’m watching a music filled, underground pool party where candy is fashioned into a complex system of brides and towers.
Next thing you know a few of my colorful, fuzzy, laughing creatures are being viciously attacked by a giant, ogre like creature wielding what I can only assume is a uprooted tree fashioned into a club.
My neighbor’s mom had to talk me out of the laundry closet.


My greatest nerd fear is this: I’ve been working on a series of novels for about 5 years. I’ve got stacks of rejection letters from various publishers, most telling me that they don’t think an “action/horror” novel will sell in today’s market. Now, my biggest fear isn’t that I’ll never get my vision to the masses, it’s that I will, and people (especially my nerd brethren and uh, sisteren) will heap scorn upon it.

I fear that the same crowd who adores the Twilight sparkle-pires will rush to my books and buy every last copy. I fear that Stephanie Myers will think I’m a fantastic author and give me her highest praise “He writes as well as I do.” The same directors and studios will option the novels and make blockbuster movies out of them that the tween crowd will eat up. They’ll talk about how dreamy my protagonist is, “Zomg!!! He’s just like Edward!!!11” The money they offer will be too good for me to pass up.

Rob Bricken will publicly denounce my work and post long diatrabes about how no one should read it. There will be websites of my fellow nerds picking my plots apart and detailing how terrible and lame they are.
Then, future generations will look upon my work and put me as the worst writer of this generation.


My greatest nerd fear is one of my favorite authors having a “born again” religious experience and having their new found faith taint their future work. Not saying religious work can’t be good, but when it sneaks in where it just wasn’t meant to be its just wrong. A slow creep at first, a moral here or there, but slowly a once great work turns into religious propaganda. Imagine every chapter of One Piece exploring a bible verse. Daenerys conquering Westeros in the name of the Prophet. Any of them, really, pick the one who best represents your (least?) favorite religion. Sure, if an author dies, the “true” ending to their work might die with them, but a BAD ending can take the rest of the series with it. Think about it, do you EVER want to watch the first season of Heroes again?

Doug Spangenberg:

My greatest nerd fear is that I will never ascend past “honorable mention” to win a shirt.

Dandy Warhol:

My greatest nerd fear is that if zombies ever happen the only ones that will survive are other nerds and fantasy enthusiasts. Which will lead to the forced re-population of Earth and the only available partners are what one could describe as the bottom 10% – the nerdiest, fattest, god awful nerds responsible for such things as fan fiction Friday.


My biggest nerd fear is that as my girls get older (they are 7, 4 and 1) and into High School that they will turn on my nerd obessions. They will turn into those type of girls that made fun of me in high scool for loving comic books, Stars Wars and Lord of the rings. They and thier cheerleader friends will laugh at my comic book collection and all my action figures until I am shamed into hiding them again, just like I did as a teenager. My four year old asked my why I read books with pictures instead of grown-up books like mommy.

And now for the winners. Warning: These are kind of a bummer. 


Honestly? My greatest fear is that video game graphics will get too realistic, & gameplay will involve too many damn gimmicky peripherals.

Not because I like gaming simple, mind you. But rather because I worry about the constantly-growing gap between “hardcore” & “casual” gamers. Back in our day? We had no gap. We plugged in Contra & Ninja Gaiden, & wasted our childhoods appropriately. But nowadays, more realism means more graphic violence, & in a post-Columbine world those games all get a “T” rating or higher, & now all our favorite action franchises are for “hardcore” gamers & thus not marketed to kids.

Doesn’t help that the days of of the carefree platformer are being replaced with nothing but cheap simulators & minigame collections (that, & Nintendo recycling the same dozen franchises over & over). Long story short, I want kids to have unique, ORIGINAL gaming experiences, dammit. I don’t want just gimmicks & recycled crap that’s either cheesily cheerful or needlessly, realistically violent.

…I realize I’ve been rambling here (& possibly making no sense whatsoever), so long story short, I fear that future generations of video games will somehow evolve yet DEvolve at the same time. Kids using technology we’ve only dreamed about to play frickin’ Carnival Games VII. Or, to have a picture sum it up for me…http://fav.me/d320pw2 =P

I’ll raise SlyDante one — I’m worried in the future there will only be two types of videogames: the carnival games he mentions and entirely brown first-person-shooters about space marines. It seems like that’s where we’re going to me, too.

Gene H:

My biggest fear is all too real, and not all that funny. It is also VERY possible.
All I have ever wanted is to own a comic book store. I have the cost worked out, many ways to make my store unique and to survive despite ups and downs in the industry. The only thing stopping me is capital, which is not even close to happening.

My fear is to actually get to where I can do this, and the industry is simply not there anymore. Stores disapear everyday and Comic shops are in danger of going the way of the record store.

MOST DEPRESSING FEAR IN THE CONTEST. Because Gene’s right, the industry is just… disappearing. Ugh. Sorry, man.


Y’know what my greatest nerd fear is? That when one of my nerd icons
dies, let’s say Stan Lee or John Williams for example, that something
else will happen in the news cycle that will completely overshadow any
sort of tribute for them in the media. The scenario would be like

“Tonight on CNN, more of our indepth 24 hour coverage of the kidnapping
of Kim Kardashian” while the news crawl on the bottom of the screen
just says, “John Williams, composer of Star Wars, dead at xx”

And then some asshole sees me absolutely despondent and says, “I know, I
hope Kim Kardashian;s O.K. too.” It would take all of my will to stop
myself from punching that bastard in the face.

Man, learning someone you admire actually died a while ago and you just never knew is always awful. Saying Topless Robot is on 24/7 nerd icon-death watch is only a small comfort. On the other hand, I feel like anyone who says “I know, I
hope Kim Kardashian’s okay too” in any context deserves to be punched in the face.


Honestly my biggest fear is coming true and its that I am going to lose interest in a lot of the nerd properties before they are over. It has already happened to most Manga and a lot of comics books and I really like my comic books, but more and more they are doing nothing for me and this whole new DC things is going to probably kill most DC books for me. I am less and less interested in toys as I was even a year ago, because I can’t think of a figure I want that I don’t have. The really scary one is video games for me, I am losing interest in the stories they tell and the gameplay themselves, I used to play each game I got multiple times in a row to see the different endings, but now I am lucky to replay a game at all, I just don’t have the interest in any of it any more, I still want to play and read but it is getting to the point where I think I am losing interest in all things nerdy.

And no longer reading comics, or playing video games and being able to talk at length about the stories and what I hope happens or what should have happened and why, that is my greatest nerd fear, more then George Lucas taking more away from Star Wars or some hack director destroying one of my child hood memories, I am afraid of losing interest to where I don’t care about any of it

Here’s actually one of my greatest fears, too. I’m less into videogames than I was as a kid or in college, I rarely read fantasy or sci-fi any more, and I’ve pretty much stopped watching anime, too. Happily, there’s always something I discover or finally get around to that reminds me I’m still a nerd, I’ve just gotten pickier.


My biggest nerd fear is that everything we cherish now will be seen as passe and cheesy.
Right now we are living in a kind of nerd Renaissance with an explosion of nerdy properties all over the place. Nerds may still be disdained, but our number is legion and we have no lack for movies, comic books, toys, and avenues for our interests.

But I have an image of aging nerdsters filing into community theatres where the video game music concerts, Trek and Doctor Who skits starring bit players long past retirement, and dancing Chewbaccas and overweight Vaders are broadcast on PBS. Where the generation in charge smiles patronizingly at us and laughs derisively as we would at Lawrence Welk.

Nerdiness won’t be forgotten — it will be tolerated with a smirk and a groan, celebrated only by the greying generation, who will then be so desperate for validation that any evocation of the good old days, no matter how inaccurate or lame, will suffice.

As god as my witness, I have never even thought of this until gagagalvatron brought it up, and now I’m terrified of it too. Seriously, the way nerd culture permeates pop culture at this point, it never occurred to me it would retreat. But what if it does? Seriously, after 2011 where we get all these comic movies, a Game of Thrones show, all these wonderful cartoons, etc… what if there’s nothing in 2021? How awful will it be to know that the high point is past us, never to return? That the world will never be as nerdy as it is now ever again? YIKES. Looks like it’s time for breakfast gin again.

Hopefully these t-shirts will help mitigate the winners’ horrifyingly realistic, plausible fears a little. Well, probably not, but it’s about all we can do. Again, thanks so much to 604 Republic for sponsoring this weekend’s contest and being so generous, and thanks to everyone who entered.