Previously, the media said D&D made biology professor Amy Bishop murder her colleagues. New nerd rage accusations focus on how Bishop - charged with capital murder after killing three colleagues - was an aspiring science fiction writer.


The Salem News interviewed Rob Dinsmoor, who was in a writing group with Bishop for many years. According to the paper:

Bishop wrote three novels, she shared with Dinsmoor, and was looking to get them published. One novel was told through the point of view of a 12-year-old girl growing up in Belfast, Northern Ireland, during the civil strife. The second book was about a female scientist who was also a CIA operative.

Bishop's third novel went along with her work as a neurobiologist. The science-fiction book had to do with genetics and molecular biology. It was called "Amazon" or "Amazon River," Dinsmoor said.


According to the Boston Globe, the novel is actually called Amazon Fever:

The book's heroine, Olivia, is trying to make it as a scientist during a pandemic, struggling mightily against depression and fear of losing tenure.

And Gawker managed to dig up more information on the novel about the girl in Belfast, which the Boston Globe claimed was called Martians in Belfast. Gawker found a copyright application from Bishop for a novel called The Martian Experiment, explaining:

The only information available about the book online is a short summary saying "If bullets were gold ; A year in the life of Abigail White ; Abigail's journal."


This latest media frenzy reminds me of the coverage of crimes committed by another geeky professor, Ted Kaczynski, AKA the Unabomber. A former UC Berkeley math professor, Kaczynski was also obsessed with targeting academics for death - he used mail bombs. And he wrote a famous nonfiction essay - dubbed The Unabomber Manifesto - about why he targeted his victims. (Kaczynski actually got the New York Times to publish his entire manifesto by threatening to kill again if they didn't.) He also published a short story, "Ship of Fools."

Media covering the Kaczynski case emphasized the mathematician's introversion and awkward intelligence, as if these traits were somehow related to his homicidal behavior. Academics, criminologists, and activists studied his writings for clues about his behavior, but also to see if they could find a germ of genius in his madness. Even though murders are committed all the time by people who aren't mathematicians with a taste for luddite social science, Kaczynski was painted as someone driven to kill by geekiness.


I'll be curious to see whether people will study Bishop's writings in the same way they study Kaczynski's.