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Tuesday 31 January 2017

✉ End of the Road - L.S. Hawker

Today author takes over our blog to tell us about the inspiration behind her latest novel, End of the Road (, Witness Impulse, 264 pages), a Thriller.

"Great minds can change the world
or leave it in ruins . . . "
End of the Road is out for release today!

|| Synopsis || Trailer || Teaser: KCR Preview || Guest Post by LS Hawker || About the Author || Giveaway & Tour Stops ||

Why Nerd Culture Will Save the World by LS Hawker

…because nerds like us are allowed to be unironically enthusiastic about stuff… Nerds are allowed to love stuff, like jump-up-and-down-in-the-chair-can’t-control-yourself love it. Hank, when people call people nerds, mostly what they’re saying is ‘you like stuff.’ Which is just not a good insult at all. Like, ‘you are too enthusiastic about the miracle of human consciousness’.” –John Green
Walk into any comic or fandom convention and you'll see a rainbow of races, colors, ethnicities, and sexual orientations. Here, there are no dividing lines. The only criteria are enthusiasm, passion, and a desire to share these with like-minded people. It's the new world order, folks, and you'd better get on board. It's nerd culture, and it's leveling the playing field like nothing that came before.

Rewind a couple of decades to when I was a youngster, and the scene described above only happened underground. Nerd was the foulest of four-letter words. The label was reserved for the clumsy, hapless, smudge-glassed guys and girls who belonged to the chess club and got shoved into lockers.

I wasn't a nerd in high school. (I wasn't anything. I was the invisible girl, but that's a story for another time.) But I confess I bought into the denigration of these pathetic losers. Pathetic losers like Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg and…you know the drill.

In my day, we were conditioned to disparage any passion other than sports, partying, money, and status. It was class warfare, but there was no war because the cool kids were standing on the nerds. The nerds didn't dress right, they played in the marching band, sang in the choir, acted in plays, played Dungeons and Dragons and read comic books. We didn't question why these interests were dorky. It was a precept as immutable as Newton's third law of thermodynamics. (Look it up.)

Fast forward to the mid-2000s, when my oldest daughter Chloe entered junior high school and a gifted and talented program. Chloe was born knowing what she wanted to do with her life and how to get there. In seventh grade, she put together a spreadsheet of candidate colleges, separated by possible majors (astrophysics or international relations), cost, campus culture, climate, etc. She faithfully updated that spreadsheet every year as more information became available. In other words, she was a nerd. But I wasn't horrified or embarrassed—I was proud. I finally got it.

Chloe began building a core of friends who can only be described as supernerds. They acted in plays together, played board games, watched cult classics like Firefly and Lord of the Rings and dissected them with the same intensity as the Warren Commission analyzing the Zapruder film, and had exchanges on Facebook like this one:
C: I can't believe my chem workbook sometimes: "six ligands arranged octahedrally around the central atom." See any problems?

H: Doesn't an octahedral atom have six bonds? What am I missing?

C: Does it? Even though oct means eight? I've just seen so many ridiculous typos studying for the chem test that I thought everything was wrong, I guess…

H: Of course, I mean octahedral molecule…

K: I'm thinking octa is the prefix for 8…anyone? Anyone?

H: I understand, but octahedral means it has eight faces, not eight bonds, which a molecule with six atoms has.

M: oct does mean eight.

A: However, that's faces. Octahedral means that the molecule has eight faces.

M: which would make the book makes sense.

C: Meaning what, exactly?

M: like two four-sided pyramids with a shared square base.
And so on. If we'd had Facebook back when I was their age, a more likely exchange would be this:
C: Kegger!

H: Where?
In other words, the culture has dramatically transmogrified. In my day, the currency was "popularity," partying, hierarchy. Now it's authenticity, compassion, achievement, intelligence, friendship. Nerd culture has permeated the culture at large, blurring lines large and small. Now people even pose as nerds to try to fit in. Science fiction writers last century imagined flying cars, but they never could have dreamed of this paradigm shift. The people at the top of the pyramid back in the day would be appalled at this new inclusiveness.

Watching Chloe's friends and their progress through life has been inspiring and eye-opening. Most of them attended top-tier colleges and are now in top-tier grad schools, and their enthusiasm and interest in all things nerdy hasn't abated (case in point: they still, in their early to mid-twenties, dress up in full Harry Potter regalia for any related premiere or release).

These were the inspirations for the characters in END OF THE ROAD. The original premise for the novel came from imagining what these kids could achieve if they pooled their brainpower, and this novel is the end result.

So I say long live nerd culture. It's brought together disparate groups like nothing I've seen in my lifetime, this side of 9/11. I've witnessed firsthand the shared enthusiasm of all different races, creeds, colors, and ethnicities for comics and video games, fantasy and scifi, geocaching and cosplay, Star Trek and Star Wars, robot battles and anime, RPGs and re-enactments. They've come out of the shadows and no longer try to hide their passions, which previous generations deemed stupid and pathetic. By finally claiming their rightful place as masters of the universe, these folks now rule the world. And they've earned it.

End of the Road
Available NOW!

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1 comment:

CMash said...

Loved this post especially since I read this book and thoroughly enjoyed it.