Lord of the Rings Allusions

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I cracked up when I read all of the Lord of the Rings allusions in this section of the novel. Randy refers to Andrew Loeb as "gollum", himself (and many of the secret admirers) as a "dwarf", his grandfather as an ethereal "elf"... it was hilarious! I know for a fact that an infatuation with Lord of the Rings is one of the signs of nerdiness. Many members of my family have been afflicted with such an infatuation-- my dad actually gave each of his friends Lord of the Rings nicknames when they were in their twenties (I think my dad was Frodo). This makes me wonder, does Neal Stephenson feel that he must add this section in to only assure us of his character's nerdiness, or is a major nerd himself? My vote is on the latter.
By the way-- I am totally a nerd too, even though I never really caught onto the Lord of the Rings phenomenon.

I don't feel like the Lord of the Rings stuff is tacked on. It's a pretty natural extension of the thought process of anyone who seriously plays traditional RPGs, especially Dungeons and Dragons. Though I've never had the "What fantasy race are you" debate with friends, we've definitely all determined our alignments.

This isn't to say that Stephenson isn't a nerd. He has to be a major nerd to write nerds so well.