Friday, August 13, 2010

Scott W.Perkins, Adventure Nerd?

At the recent PNWA conference, I was pinned down by an enthusiastic cohort questioning me about the nature of genre and writing in general.  He was an affable sort and I really wanted to answer his questions and react to what he was saying about his work, but the caffiene needle was hovering around E and he had strategically placed himself between me and the coffee cart.

I'd been listening to others at the conference coin new subgenres for themselves and most of them were incredibly clever.  ("Historical Balderdash" was my hands-down favorite.)  So in a moment when I was desperate for a cup of Joe, I found myself babbling semi-coherently about how what I really write is 'Nerd Adventure'.

Nerd adventure?  Really, Scott?

While in general I have no wish to be held to the sort of things I say on the cusp of caffeine withdrawal, I find that this isn't far from the truth.  Most of my characters have an above-average intellect and below-average social skills. There isn't a Navy SEAL or Green Beret in the bunch, none of them would feel comfortable dancing in front of people and most of them are only gregarious in situations where everyone around this is just as goofy as they are.  Even the one character I have with military experience is a misfit failed revolutionary (ex IRA, actually).

The drama and conflict comes largely from seeing these people yanked out of their comfortable, academic existance and tossed into the fire.  Scene: A bunch of people who don't know one end of a handgun from the other find themselves in a firefight.  Action!

And why not?

Nerds are big business.  In fact, it's beginning to look to me as if the mad scientist will be the meme that supplants vampires.  Old school, retro scifi mad scientists.  It just doesn't get any nerdier than that.

So in a world where a logline is necessary to get an agent or publisher to look at your manuscript, is it such a bad thing that I can walk up to them and say I'm selling "The Big Bang Theory meets DaVinci Code"?  Nope!  And that's the story of how a subgenre was born.


  1. Nerd adventure. Hee! But I totally get it.

    I missed PNWA this year, but we met there last summer. I saw the faculty list and it was a great lineup. Hope you had a blast and that your writing is going well!

  2. Dawn! I was wondering if I'd just missed running into you this year. Glad to know you're still around. Next year at the Bellevue Marriott!

    I need to remember to check out your blog, I've been remiss in my blogreading of late. Cheers!


Pages to Type is a blog about books, writing and literary culture (with the occasional digression into coffee and the care and feeding of giant robots).