Reece Abbott

 the inspiration behind Reece Abbott’s short story, ‘Little Geek’

One for all the Little Geeks…

As a kid, I loved all those World War Two stories about spies and code breakers, so I knew about Alan Turing and Bletchley Park. I’d seen the bio-drama with Derek Jacobi too. And, I’d also done some research into women’s careers in the UK IT sector so I was aware that workforce diversity was an issue. Gordon Brown’s posthumous apology to Alan Turing seemed like a real milestone.

When I saw the invitation to submit to Take Tea with Turing, I thought “what a great idea” – and then I dismissed it because I didn’t have time to write anything.

There’s no doubt that Turing’s story is still so resonant today – not only the ongoing impact of his ground-breaking work that’s celebrated at conferences and the Turing Festival today but also a sector (and society) still grappling with diversity and not least, society’s attitudes to pioneers, achievers and intellectual capital. Then there’s the mystery and recently renewed debate about how he really died – and that Snow White-esque poison apple.

And on a darker note, as I write, a doctor in Sydney has been struck off for chemically castrating a teenage boy, so the same practice of attempting to re-programme sexuality that Alan Turing faced in 1952 still continues around the world today.

But it was something far more prosaic and personal that woke me in the middle of the night and started me writing this story – the problems of a little boy I know – not much older than Alan Turing was in this photo – who was being bullied at school for being curious, for loving learning (especially science) and for being seen to work hard. How had qualities we could celebrate morphed into something pejorative?

That night, from that weird soup Little Geek emerged in a very non-linear way – a story for all the nerds, freaks, swots and geeks out there, however old you are.


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