In sf and fantasy, heroes aren’t hard to find. In many instances, however, the great aren’t just born – they’re also trained. Here’s a breakdown of some of the most famous institutions in geekdom, with their pros and cons.
- Duration: Four to eight years
- Entrance Requirements: Application, entrance exam, summer prep course, occasionally letters of recommendation
- Why I’d Join: Peacekeeping missions in space/exploration means there’s no shortage of adventure or challenges, and the school would be full of intellectual peers
- Major Drawback: Things don’t always go smoothly, in land or air. Battles and accidents can be equally deadly.
- Duration: Potentially, from infancy to adulthood
- Entrance Requirements: Um, midichlorian count? The Force must be strong with this one.
- Why I’d Join: Skills of a martial arts master, wisdom of a monk, all juiced with superpowers.
- Major Drawback: With good comes evil. Be prepared to be fighting it forever, because power tends to corrupt, and the Sith are like cockroaches.
- Duration: A few years, unless you add in War College
- Entrance Requirements: Iffy; probably similar to most military institutions
- Why I’d Join: The only place to be for those who love flying and space. Also, any training in the face of Cylon war doesn’t hurt.
- Major Drawback: General risks associated with space travel; plus, the quiet, looming threat of the Cylons.
Xavier Institute for Higher Learning
- Duration: whenever talents are identified (around adolescence) to adulthood
- Entrance Requirements: Some form of mutant powers
- Why I’d Join: A relatively safe haven for mutants, and a place to develop powers to their fullest extent. Many graduates go on to become X-Men.
- Major Drawback: The school, in various forms, has been targeted more than once over the years. Better have that emergency escape plan memorized.
Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry
- Duration: Seven years
- Entrance Requirements: Must be a witch or wizard
- Why I’d Join: The best possible place for emotionally-charged youngsters with innate magical powers. A good way to hone natural abilities and learn additional skills. Students go on to become awesome wizards. Plus, it’s a magical castle. Come on.
- Major Drawback: Again with the corrupting and absolute evil. Hogwarts is as safe as it can be, but sometimes that’s not safe enough.