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A New Look for the Website Those of you who follow this blog occasionally will have already noticed that the website has a new look. In fact, while the content remains unchanged, only three graphic elements from the original website are still present: my portrait photo, the graphic of the book cover for Vanessa’s Curve […]

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Guest Post: Samantha James Reviews “The Falling Sky”

The second copy of Pippa Goldschmidt’s The Falling Sky that I gave away after my talk at Village Books on January 26 went to Samantha James. Her review appears in this post.   The Falling Sky is a brilliant first novel by Pippa Goldschmidt.  Jeanette tells her story of balancing the events in her life […]

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Review of “Solar” by Ian McEwan

The British writer, Ian McEwan, is an acknowledged master of the novel form. In Solar, as in his earlier Saturday, a scientist is the central character in a drama that involves his knowledge and professional expertise only tangentially. I say this with some trepidation because I’m sure some readers will want to argue with it […]

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Guest Post: Hank Kastner Reviews “The Falling Sky”

On January 26, I gave a talk at Village Books  titled, “Lab Lit: Putting Real Science Into Fiction.” Included in the list of more than 20 novels and biographies was The Falling Sky by Pippa Goldschmidt. I spent more time on Goldschmidt’s book than many others because I believe it represents “fiction about science” especially […]

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Review of “Menachem’s Seed” by Carl Djerassi

Menachem’s Seed is the third novel Carl Djerassi himself lists as “science-in-fiction.”  I think the characters, setting and plot illustrate nicely problems of characterizing novels written about characters who are scientists in realistic settings involved in dilemmas stemming from contemporary scientific research.  You will no doubt recognize this as the definition of lab lit given […]

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Review of “A Hole in Texas” by Herman Wouk

I wish I’d read A Hole in Texas in 2004 when it was published!  I would have learned a great deal about how to write good fiction about science eight years earlier.  I’m not sure why I skipped it at the time.  I certainly knew about it from several reviews.  Maybe I felt that high-energy […]

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Review of “The Only Witness” by Pamela Beason

I’ll begin by noting that this review is the first time I’ve ever reviewed a novel written by a friend. Pam Beason was a member of a critique group I formed a year ago, and I’ve read a part of Undercurrents (Berkeley Prime Crime, 2013), her third novel in the Summer Westin Mystery Series, when […]

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Review of “Two on a Tower” by Thomas Hardy

I have fond memories of reading Hardy’s great novels, The Return of the Native, Tess of the d’Urbervilles and Jude the Obscure, so I was anxious to read one of his minor novels, a romance titled Two on a Tower that appears on the Lab Lit List.  Published in 1882, this relatively short work of […]

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