Saturday, February 10, 2007

Lab Lit

LabLit is dedicated to promoting the accurate portrayal of scientists in novels, movies and TV shows. (Read about their successful experiment promoting "lab-lit" at Waterstone's in London (pdf).) "Lab-lit" is not, as they point out, science fiction, but fiction set in the "world of science". However, in their Lab Lit List, they do have a category for "Crossover Novels" (science fiction with particularly realistic scientists). That list includes several science fiction novels based on the biological sciences:
  • Blood Music by Greg Bear
    Thriller: Genetically engineered cells take over (admittedly in an over-the-top way, but the lab scenes are extremely realistic, hence the book's inclusion here)
  • Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton
    Thriller: Ancient dinosaur DNA wreaks more havoc (also surprisingly plausibly; one could argue that dinosaurs could be cloned as Crichton describes, and the scientists are believable too)
  • The Secret by Eva Hoffman
    Drama: A futuristic account of a cloned young woman which contains a substantial amount of credible detail by a non-scientist who has done her homework
  • Survival by Julie E. Czerneda
    Drama: A biologist studying salmon gets captured by alien archeologists for her unique perspectives on migration, featuring startling accurate field biology culture (first part of a series, 'Species Imperative')
There are also at least one science fiction* movie that fits the bill:
  • Creator (Dir. Ivan Passer)
    Romantic Comedy: A grieving scientist (Peter O'Toole) tries to clone his late wife; the most realistic molecular biology labs on film, in our opinion
They also have weekly original short fiction. For a a story with a realistic portrayal of life in the lab, see this week's story, Ovogenesis by Jeremy Garwood.

All in all a great site, whether you are a reader or a writer interested in the accurate portrayal of science and scientists.

*IMHO any story with a human cloning plot device is science fiction.

You can find the recommended novels and movies at

1 comment:

  1. I would like to add "Inherit The Stars," by James Hogan. It uses evolutionary theory in a reasonable, clear and extensive way and reads like an essay from America's Best Science Writing.


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