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The Elfish Gene

The Elfish Gene by Mark Barrowcliffe
The Elfish Gene by Mark Barrowcliffe

It’s not clear whether Mark Barrowcliffe was a nerd during his adolescence because he played Dungeorns and Dragons all the time, or whether he played Dungeons and Dragons all the time because he was a nerd.

Probably it doesn’t matter. Barrowcliffe has written a funny and entertaining memoir built around his obsession with the fantasy game, the similarly obsessed boys with whom he misspent his youth, and his eventual escape from the clutches of D & D and its adherents when he awoke on day to see his companions for what they were, “farting, silly boys who had no idea of the world, outside their own limited company.”

Barrowcliffe shows himself no mercy when recalling his lost years. He compares himself to people addicted to drugs and writes: “When I was at the gaming table I felt like I was plugged into the power grid…an obsession is a way for damaged people to damage themselves more.”

It’s fine that he managed to escape from the fantasy world he helped create, and finer that he’s remembered enough about his triumphs and much more frequent embarrassments to write The Elfish Gene.

This program aired on January 12, 2009. The audio for this program is not available.

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