The rise of the nerds to mainstream dominance is one of popular culture`s most important developments over the last generation. Consider the gulf in sensibility between old Hollywood blockbusters such as Gone with the Wind and characteristic 21st-century tent poles such as Avatar, Lord of the Rings, and The Dark Knight.
A central figure in the evolution of obsessive geeks into a self-aware, self-confident community was science-fiction author Robert A. Heinlein (1907-1988). For many of the mid-20th century`s lonely youths, discovering Heinlein stories in pulp sci-fi magazines or at the public library was a you-are-not-alone moment.Yet a massive new Heinlein biography by William H. Patterson, Jr. illustrates a paradox: Heinlein himself wasn`t a nerd. Weighing in at 624 fact-crammed pages, Robert A. Heinlein: In Dialogue with His Century: Volume I, 1907-1948: Learning Curve (whew...) is redolent of the Aspergery culture that Heinlein helped call forth. ...Ironically, the urbane Heinlein preached the virtues of being an all-arounder.Read the whole thing there.