Biocurious is a weblog about biology, quantified.

Life-Science Fiction

by Andre on 4 July 2007

There’s been some recent discussion sparked by Peggy’s and PZ’s posts on how biology gets treated poorly in science fiction, particularly compared to physics. Rob Knop and Chad Orzel respond that physics is treated poorly enough, thank-you very much, and Razib has some reasonable things to say.

Now, this week’s issue of Nature includes a timely interview with four science fiction writers with backgrounds in biology to get their opinion on the role science fiction can play in communicating good science, how even bad science fiction can play a positive role, and how they use aliens and artificial intelligence in their work.

So, the only question you should be asking is did the Nature editors use their time machine to get this story out on the heels of the discussion in the blogosphere or did they just use their mind control rays to make sure it was discussed once they had the feature ready?



  1. Bill    3519 days ago    #

    It can’t be a coincidence that Nature just revived its fiction section, Futures.


  2. Chris    3519 days ago    #

    I’m not even going to touch those 300 comments on PZ’s post, but I think the real issue here is that science is just too boring to be portrayed accurately.

    I want my exploding death stars and zombie-virus infected dogs that shoot bees out of their mouths!


  3. Black Knight    3518 days ago    #

    I assume anyone really interested in this has already signed up at http://lablit.com (and the fora: forums.lablit.com).

    Chris – that’s just nonsense. Police and medical procedure are as boring (however boring or otherwise that might be) as science, but there is a surfeit of legal and medical dramas. The crucial thing in fiction is the human (and yes, human:alien in some science fiction) imperative. The actual setting is mostly irrelevant.


  4. RPM    3515 days ago    #

    Sorry to threadjack, but you’ve been tagged.


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