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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The Case for Hard-Core Lab Lit

The novels on the Lab Lit List share two defining characteristics: (1) a realistic scientist as either the main character or a character central to the storyline, who (2) is pursuing realistic scientific work. The one-word and one-sentence descriptions of the titles on the List make it clear that lab lit novels are independent of […]

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Why the Interruption?

I’ve missed a couple of weeks of posts, and I want to explain why. After several days of feeling increasing tired and losing my appetite (a bad sign; I love to eat!), my doctor ordered me to check into the emergency room. There I was diagnosed with a bad case of pneumonia and spent the […]

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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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Review of “Middlemarch” by George Eliot

I have a vivid early memory of George Eliot’s writings. At least five decades ago, my classmates and I were required to read her The Mill on the Floss. I remember that we were assigned a certain number of pages each day and discussed them in class the next. Like my friends, I shared their […]

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Review of “Arrowsmith” by Sinclair Lewis

I read Sinclair Lewis’s classic so long ago, I’m not sure how old I was at the time.  Reading it now, in the context of a career in science and the critical focus of fiction about science, I was both surprised and perplexed.  Surprised, because I had remembered so little and perplexed by what I […]

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