More science in literature done right

By Grant Jacobs 05/05/2010

Aficionados of literature with fairer accounts of science will welcome the update to the Lablit List.

(Used with permission; photo credit Jennifer Rohn.)
(Lablit on sale at Foyles. Used with permission; photo credit Jennifer Rohn)

25 new works have been added. Not all are recent works, one dates from 1882 (Two on a Tower) and at least one has yet to be published. More than books are listed, films and plays are included too.

Looking over the recent additions I had to laugh at the description of the plot Paul Brand’s thriller:

A young female scientist gets into trouble after sleeping with the competition at an international symposium

Mmm, yes. (I’m sure the possibilities are played up somewhat in the book…)

McEwan’s Solar has been added, of course.

Historical fiction isn’t my usual thing, but Davies’ The Conjuror’s Bird sounds intriguing and reviews well at

Under cross-over lablit, Kim Stanley Robinson’s Galileo’s Dream makes the updated list.

In addition to the literature list, the lablit website hosts reviews and other articles.

Recent additions include a humorous letter to Hollywood by Dean Burnett. Among other things, Burnett points out that one film (The Day After Tomorrow) has the Gulf Stream going the wrong way. Hello??

The review of the Great Lives presentation of Lise Meitner’s life co-authored by Professor Strange and his 11 year-old daughter is excellent. Now all I need is a decent biography… (Recommendations welcome.)

Bycroft reviews a collaboration between scientists and writers that took place in New Zealand and the book that resulted (Are Angels OK).

The Lablit website currently headlines Jon Turney’s exploration of if science fiction might represent science accurately enough to also be considered ’Lablit’.

These and other articles there are well worth reading.

I’d encourage browsing. That’s what us book-readers do best, isn’t it?


If there is a book, film or play you feel ought to be on the list, let the editor know.

Other book-related articles on Code for life:

Writing a popular science book; links and writers’ warnings

Explore ancient science books on-line

Scratching open your brain in your sleep and other stories (Best American Science Writing

Science book suggestions for Christmas

137 years of Popular Science back issues, free

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