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“Smart Is the New Sexy” – guest post by Sharon Lynn Fisher
I love love love me a geeky hero. Always have. My sweet spot as a writer is sci-fi romance, so of course I’m a Star Wars geek. Han was cheeky and flirty and roguish, but I only had eyes for Luke. He was mostly too interested in landspeeders and light sabers to look at a girl. But when one did catch his eye, what happened? He was ready to bound across the galaxy to save her! (Never mind that annoying little detail of her turning out to be his sister.)
My own sweetie? He’s soooo cute when he talks about programming languages. He has a math degree. Some weird thing called “PURE math.” I still don’t get what that is. To me “pure” math is the kind that helps me make a cake that doesn’t set up like cement. Or figure out my royalty statements. In my life that’s about as pure as it gets. But if you look it up on Wikipedia, it appears to be just the opposite — something more abstract and conceptual, as opposed to practical. Math for the sake of math. Pure geek, god love him.
Then there’s this other man in my life: Sherlock, whose love interest I quoted in my title. I mean the new BBC Sherlock — young, with dark wavy hair and unsettlingly piercing blue eyes. Extreme geek. Socially inept, offensive, and superior in every way. Except he is putty in the hands of his dominatrix soul mate, Irene. As he should be. She walks into a room naked and completely devastates him.
And that’s really the crux of it, isn’t it? The geeky hero is impervious, until he meets THE ONE. She’s like kryptonite. (Clark Kent: Geek.)
Take the hero of my debut novel (Ghost Planet). Dr. Grayson Murphy. Sigh. I can’t write a hero without falling in love with him, and I fell hard for brainy, overachiever, compulsive-gentleman Murphy.
Murphy was inspired by TWO geeks, one fictional and one real: the physicist hero of the movie Sunshine, played by Irish actor Cillian Murphy, and British physicist Brian Cox, who served as a consultant on the film, works at CERN, used to be in a rock band, and stars in TONS of accessible-science programming.
Murphy, at 30-something, has climbed to the top of his field, serving as lead psychologist on a newly discovered world where the colonists are all tethered to “ghosts” — aliens who take the form of dead loved ones. He created the Ghost Protocol, which every colonist follows for the sake of their mental health. Murphy is highly respected. His future is bright. Until he meets PhD candidate Elizabeth. She’s newly arrived from Earth, and newly dead. She’s also his new ghost. And she’s not about to submit to the Ghost Protocol.
So what do you think? Are smarter heroes trending? IS smart the new sexy? What’s your favorite hero type?
A world in peril. A bond deeper than love.
Psychologist Elizabeth Cole prepared for the worst when she accepted a job on a newly discovered world – a world where every colonist is tethered to an alien who manifests in the form of a dead loved one. But she never expected she’d struggle with the requirement to shun these “ghosts.” She never expected to be so attracted to the charming Irishman assigned as her supervisor. And she certainly never expected to discover she died in a transport crash en route to the planet.
Reincarnated as a ghost, Elizabeth is symbiotically linked to her supervisor, Murphy – creator of the Ghost Protocol, which forbids him to acknowledge or interact with her. Confused and alone – oppressed by her ghost status and tormented by forbidden love – Elizabeth works to unlock the secrets of her own existence.
But her quest for answers lands her in a tug-of-war between powerful interests, and she soon finds herself a pawn in the struggle for control of the planet…a struggle that could separate her forever from the man she loves.