What’s the last PhD straw?

We’re delighted today to publish a humorous story, Serendipity, from one of our regulars, Nik Papageorgiou. This story is of particular interest because he tells us it’s based on something that really happened to him. I guess all scientists have had moments like this, but perhaps not at such a crucial moment. Let us know if you’ve been there yourself…

On DNA, poetry and the darker side of science

We’ve had some interesting stuff up recently from contributors old and new. One of our most prolific fiction contributors, Portuguese scientist João Ramalho-Santos, continues on in his series of stories with Blind. João’s stories not only always have a single-word title, but they tend to show the grittier side of the scientific profession – the lot of the researcher who is not the best or who is slowly in the process of becoming disillusioned. We like his stories because they show an aspect of research that is very real but that is seldom acknowledged.

New to LabLit.com, we welcome John Flicker, who has contributed two original science poems. The first is called “Erudite lessons from cosmology”, and his second is coming soon. We do hope you enjoy them.

Finally, in today’s issue we feature the conclusion of Corrando Nai’s three-part essay celebrating 60 years (in 2013) of the discovery of the structure of DNA. I liked this instalment particularly because I learned a clever new use for DNA that has nothing to do with biology.

In other news, we’ve been sent a few new novels from publishers that look very much like lab lit – always exciting. We’ll let you know how we get on!

All about your naughty bits

New on LabLit.com today, regular contributor and all around ace labliterati, scientist and novelist Steve Caplan reviews Bonk: The Curious Coupling Of Sex and Science by Mary Roach.

Warning: it contains a few seriously bad puns.

We don’t review non-fiction very often, but Steve thought this book was relevant because it was reinforcing some scientist stereotypes.

Let us know what you think!

A few new bits on LabLit.com

We hope your new year is full of great reads and geeky science-y moments!

Recently we’ve published a super short story by Nature editor Liesbeth Venema called Shine Forever. It features the same protagonist as in her previous story, The Invisible Physicist – an intrepid science journalist named Cindy who is always getting into trouble.

Today we’re presenting the second of a three-part essay by Corrado Nai celebrating the 60th birthday of DNA – check it out here.

Unstable elements

New LabLit podcast, Unstable Elements, is live!

Crisis management

From Cath Ennis, a darkly comic tale from our short story series.

Global warming and surrealism

Read Rebecca Nesbit’s review of “Flight Behavior” by Barbara Kingsolver; and get your fish on its bicycle with this essay on surrealism and Benjamin Péret from Rachel Rodman.

Molecules of incense, reordered, may contribute to the whale; molecules of jelly beans, reordered, may contribute to the tiger.

Hunting Unicorns Part II

The concluding part of Henry Gee’s story is up!

Hunting unicorns – Henry Gee

Part 1 of ‘Hunting Unicorns’, a whimsical little tale, is up on the main site.

Read the rest of this entry »

Lazy summer

It’s been pretty quiet these days. Life in the lab has been enjoyable but uneventful (except for the infestation of maggots in the bacterial waste bin – don’t ask). And my chief stress at home has been the growing pile of reading material that I’m supposed to be finishing but can’t quite seem to get through in a timely fashion.

For our next Fiction Lab book group on 9 September, we’re reading Roger’s Version by John Updike – it’s a little hard to tell from the back-cover blurb, but a friend suggested it might be lab lit. We shall see!

I’m also reading the distinctly non-science-y Stonemouth by Iain Banks, in memorandum. Banks (without his middle initial) made a huge impression on me when I was in graduate school, starting with The Crow Road, which remains one of my all-time favorites. Later on, his stuff started to get a little more weird and violent, but I’ve been reliably informed that Stonemouth is very much a return to form. I can’t believe Banks is no longer with us – I’m sure I’m not alone in that sentiment.

I’m also supposed to be reading an unpublished lab lit novel with a view towards supplying a puff, but I’m ashamed to admit I’ve not started that either. Ditto, regular LabLit contributor Pippa Goudschmidt’s debut novel The Falling Sky, which we’ll discuss at Fiction Lab with the author in November. Sorry about that, ladies.

If anyone out there is enjoying some good summer reading, let us know!