Open Pen, Mar 2022
Every week Robin plays the Game in a club on the top floor of a converted warehouse. And every week he loses. But when news breaks that the club is closing, Robin and his friends set out on a quest to immortalise the club name in the national rankings.
Will Robin overcome his lifelong losing streak and how much is he prepared to risk to lead his Halfling army to victory?
Set against the backdrop of a sub-culture under threat, this story-in-miniature is an ode to friendships and the secret languages that bind them.
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Praise for I, Nerd
'Poignant and funny. A beautifully-observed tale of human foibles and male fragility in a world where it's hard to be a hero.'
- Ros Barber, author of The Marlowe Papers
'I, Nerd is as fascinating a tour through a niche pastime as any sports novel or work of historical fiction, but with the universal appeal of a story about isolation, friendship and the long tail of adolescence. Some of its characters focus on their wargame's technical aspect (they call it 'crunch'), others on its lore (they call it 'fluff'). In this novelette Max Sydney Smith shows he's the master of both: the crunch of plot mechanics and the fluff of vivid characters and their sad, sweet backstories. I, Nerd plays like a dream.'
- Mazin Saleem, author of The Prick