Teen with Asperger’s syndrome publishes novel

2012-12-12 00:00

A 13-YEAR-OLD Richards Bay boy has just published his first science fiction novel.

Xander Grobbelaar, a pupil at Richards Bay Primary, who has Asperger’s syndrome, hoped his novel The Probability Factor will be the first in what he calls the “Dimension Contingency Series”.

Xander said he started writing the book when he was 11 — out of boredom.

“I kept thinking about ideas. I read a lot. People theorise that there are other dimensions, a multi-verse, and therefore an infinite amount of possibilities. I thought by writing this book I could exploit this. I wanted the book to sound ironic,” said Xander.

The Probability Factor’s lead character is a 13-year-old girl called Chloe, living in a post-apocalyptic, technologically advanced world with a fractured dysfunctional society. The polar caps have melted and a tyrannical overlord rules.

Her best friend, Luno, has created a secret agency with an underground headquarters built out of spare parts. It is here where the action begins.

“Through a series of complicated events, Chloe, who has strange friends, gets thrown into another dimension. A number of disasters follow …” said Xander, adding he didn’t want to give away too much about his “exciting read”.

The book tracks Chloe’s adventures through jungles, lakes and floating islands as she battles the villain, President Glecious Puma.

“I just write — my mum and publisher handle the rest,” said Xander.

With dreams of becoming a book editor and helping others “create ideas”, the young teen said he reads a lot of science fiction, forensic anthropology and crime books.

“It is interesting to find out how the mind of a murderer works. This is fascinating to me as one can build up a timeline that led them up to doing the crime,” he said.

Xander’s condition, Asperger’s, is a milder variant of Autistic disorder.

According to the website www.aspergers.com, this is characterised by “social isolation and eccentric behaviour in childhood”, with impairments in two-sided social interaction and non-verbal communication.

Xander said he is aware of the “social complications” he must overcome when dealing with people.

He prepared for the interview and said his method of overcoming the difficulty of talking to someone new was through copied behaviour.

“I need repetition in life but I can always count on my mum for a distraction. I get up early every day and follow a set routine,” said Xander.

He said if he could choose a place to live in the world he would consider Ireland — for unusual reasons.

“It is always cold, wet and gloomy, not like the hellish temperatures we get here in Richards Bay. Perfect reading and writing weather.”

The book will be available as an e-book on Kalahari.net.

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