Happy New Year – and yet more reading for your pile!

Well, that was quick: and another year has gone by. Here at LabLit.com, we’re approaching our 13th year of existence, and our 1000th article. It’s hard for me to believe that we’re still going strong, and that interest in the project remains high.

To wit, over Christmas I was interviewed on NPR about a few recently published lab lit books. Most aren’t on the List yet, because we’re still in the process of preparing our Spring upgrade. So consider this broadcast a sneak preview!

In other news, we’ve just published another fine, one-word-titled short story from our fabulous repeat offender João Ramalho-Santos: Statistics. João’s stories always have an autobiographical feel and tend to be steeped in melancholy, but with a humorous edge. Do check it out – and take a look at his back catalogue when you’re finished.

From all of us here at LabLit.com, we hope the new year brings you everything you need and want!

It’s that time of year again!

The twinkling lights of LabLit

I’m pleased to report that here in the LabLit nerve center, we are officially off for the Christmas holidays. This means family time, down time, not-thinking-quite-so-much-about-science time. And of course, reading time, at long last.

There are quite a few books on my pile. But at the moment I am devoting all of my spare time to the pre-publication flurry surrounding my own upcoming lab lit novel, Cat Zero. There are galleys to proof, dedications and acknowledgments to write, puffs to solicit, advance review copies to be optimistically posted to various outlets. The big day is 1 February 2018, but the novel can be pre-ordered on Amazons near and far already (UK and USA).

We are delighted today to publish two new pieces on the site. First we have “Geeks at play“, a brief review by our chief lab lit sniffer, Dom Stiles, of some of the main science-y board games. So if you’re strapped for a last-minute Christmas gift for that scientifically-minded loved one, do check it out. And second, we’ve published “Along the edge“, a fantastic flash fiction from Maura Yzmore (the pen name of a professor in the physical sciences at a large university in the US). Her day job, according to her bio, involves “quantum mechanics, dry-erase markers, geeky puns, and lots of technical writing.”

How can you possibly resist? Get in.

From all of us at LabLit.com, have a wonderful and restful holiday season!

The Colour of Cats

What do cats have to do with pH? you might well ask.

Actually, according to Fiction Lab regular Richard Marshall, not a lot. Instead, in “Wyndhams“, he claims that the inspiration behind those coloured pH strips familiar to those of us who have spent any time at all in the chemistry lab was not so much feline, as piscine.

The trouble with lichen is that it all smells a bit fishy.

And I’ll let you into a little secret: ‘Universal Indicator’ was the working title for this series, before we settled on “The League of Imaginary Cats”… for reasons that may or may not become apparent in a few installments’ time.

The dog’s…

No cat, but a strange take on various heroes of genetics from Rachel Rodman.

A feint mewling sound

We hope you’ve been enjoying our series that’s not entirely not about cats so far.

There is a cat in the next piece. Who is the cat and what it has to do with anything is not for me to say. But do look out for a rather interesting and whimsical tale (if not a tail) to come.

A short poem about N0thing

Cherry blossom

When the LabLiterati first toyed with the idea of doing “something better“, one of the pressing questions was, naturally, “what can I write about?”

Richard Marshall said I should write “A short poem about n0thing”. I could hear him pronounce the zero.

“A short poem about nothing?” I asked.

“A short poem about n0thing,” he said.

So I wrote a love poem—as I am wont to do—and it’s called “Zero“.

I hope this is what he meant, and that he enjoys it.

More books! Get reading!

Our most recent Editorial says it all – but just to note that we have added 29 new titles to our Lab Lit List and there is a wide variety of science in fiction to check out. So get in!

Big pharma: the Dark Side?

As winter trundles ever onward and distressing world events tug at our attention, it’s great to have fiction as an escape.

Following on from Alison Frank’s debut story Los Muchachos Observatory, about strange goings-on at a remote mountain-top telescope, we are pleased to present regular contributor Becky Nesbit’s most recent story, A night in Trump Tower. Many scientists leave academic research to take on roles in the pharmaceutical industry, but it’s rare to see a fictional account of the unease that some feel in that role.

Meanwhile, our intrepid curator, Asa, has just filed our near-final upgrade of the Lab Lit List, so we hope to have this published within the week. There are quite a few titles on it, so we are very excited to turn the spotlight on yet more science-in-fiction!

Spiders in 2017

Happy new year to all of our readers – I hope 2017 brings you love, literature and science-y goodness.

By coincidence, two of our last three pieces of fiction have involved our eight-legged friends. First, Dom Stiles (our intrepid lab lit “sniffer”) contributed an intriguing piece called Catastrophic cascade which involved an uncomfortable number of bugs and spiders. And today, we’ve published a fabulously understated story about spiders by Emma Grygotis, Arachnophage. Both of these are debut fiction contributions, which we welcome happily.

We also published The family skeptic by regular contributor Becky Nesbit, which is about climate change denialism – with a clever family twist.

We are currently in the midst of compiling the next upgrade to the LabLit List, which should be ready in early February. We’ve got a satisfyingly large number of suggestions to sort through, so it should be another big one!

New year, new reading pile

Behold my bedside reading material: not too much and not too little.

bedside

I think three is just about right as my Christmas holiday approaches its second week. Unfortunately reading has to compete with a lot of other things: family time, baking, gardening, and a long list of home chores that we’ve been avoiding all year. The most important of these is tidying up my writing area, which has been so messy of late that I’ve not been able to find that quiet mental space I need to create life on the page.

The image features the upcoming Fiction Lab book group selections for the next three months. I am most excited by The Comet Seekers by Helen Sedgwick, which looked so promising that we violated our hallowed “wait until it comes out in paperback” rule especially for it. None of these titles is yet on the LabLit List, which is due to be updated in a few months’ time.

If you’re as busy as I am and don’t have time to read a novel, do check out regular contributor Becky Nesbit’s short story ‘The family skeptic’ published today on the site. At just over 500 words, you’ll still have plenty of time for mince pies, cheese and port, box sets and quarreling cheerfully with your family over the festive period.

From everyone here at LabLit, we wish you a happy and prosperous new year, full of great science in fiction.

What’s on your reading pile?