More on Genres and Subgenres

Several things happened in the last week that started me thinking again about my earlier description of lab lit as a genre or subgenre. The first was an email discussion about scientists as fiction writers. The next was Jerri’s comment on my recent review of Simon Mawer’s novel, Mendel’s Dwarf. Another was something I read […]

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Review of “Mendel’s Dwarf” by Simon Mawer

In an earlier post, I promised to review some of the novels on the Lab Lit List that I’ve enjoyed and think are worth reading but don’t address what I see as a gaping hole in the portrayal of both science and scientists in fiction.  I finished reading Simon Mawer’s Mendel’s Dwarf (Harmony Books, 1998) […]

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Review of “Seaside Pleasures” by Ann Lingard

After reading three “page turners” in rapid succession, Ann Lingard’s thoughtful, introspective Seaside Pleasures was a pleasant change of pace.  Set in England, the story is told in the first person by several characters, three in the present and one in the mid-Nineteenth Century.  The story is held together by the science of malacology, the […]

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Looking Backward and Forward

Update, July 14, 2013: My review of Pippa Goldschmidt’s recently published novel, The Falling Sky, just went live this morning: see (See also a guest review by Hank Kastner.) It’s one of three great novels about science that I’ve read in the last month. Goldschmidt’s is particularly interesting because it’s another illustration of how […]

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Review of “Experimental Heart” by Jennifer Rohn

Is it because I live in the States that I didn’t hear about Experimental Heart when it came out? It was Jennifer Rohn’s first novel, and I read it before her second, The Honest Look, which I reviewed earlier. Once I began reading, I was absolutely ravished.  This was exactly what I’d been looking for […]

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What makes it hard to suspend disbelief?

In my review of Petroplague, I wrote about the fact that readers of fiction agree to suspend disbelief when they pick up a novel.  I complained specifically and in some detail that Petroplague went over the edge of my tolerance for improbable feats of physical endurance and reckless derring-do, although not as far as most […]

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Review of “Petroplague” by Amy Rogers

I had Amy Rogers’s Petroplague on my “to read” list for some time, but it kept being pushed down by other novels that popped up on my idiosyncratic radar. Readers will already know I that I generally avoid mysteries. Now, another aversion: I have a thing about thrillers. One reason Petroplague kept sinking was that […]

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The Scientist as Amateur Sleuth

I know it appeals to the popular imagination, but I just don’t buy the premise of a popular form of murder mystery, what I call the “amateur sleuth concept.”  The idea’s very simple.  The main character is anything but a detective – librarian, architect, chemistry professor or graduate student.  Then murder strikes in a place […]

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