When I was in primary school, I guess I would have been about 6 or 7, one of my most prized possessions was a small, illustrated, abridged paperpack copy of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. I must have read it 50 times; I even brought it in for one of my teachers to read to us, and when we dressed up as literary characters for Book Week (do kids still do that?), I came as Captain Nemo.
It’s true – I’ve been geeky all my life. But I like to think I was at least a cultured geek, with a love for Important Geek Literature. And even years later, after re-reading the full unabridged novel a few years ago and realising it’s largely just a list of interesting fish, I still remember the fight with the giant squid. It was, predictably, also my favourite part of the Disney film, in which a bizarrely upper-class Nemo played by James Mason fights off the world’s rubberiest monster with the help of Kirk Douglas as Ned Land. (I still love that movie, and it was the best birthday ever a few years ago when my Mum bought it for me on DVD.)