There are essentially three kinds of nerds: Sci-Fi Nerds (e.g. Star Trek, Star Wars, etc.); Superhero Nerds (e.g. superheroes and comic books), and Fantasy Nerds (e.g. Tolkien, Dungeons & Dragons, etc.).
Adam Sternbergh: My theory is: You can’t be all three. You can be one, you can be two, but never all three.
Lev Grossman: I might suggest a refinement along the lines of: One’s nerdiness is a fixed quantity, a non-expanding pie, which can only be allocated to one genre/medium at the expense of another.
Adam Sternbergh: I like that—the Quantity Theory of Nerd-dom . . . I wonder if this biodiversity of enthusiasms has contributed to the explosion of literary-genre crossbreeds—which is to say, novels that take seriously both the pleasures of genre and the pleasures of literary fiction?