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In Lab Lit, Fiction Meets Science of the Real World

Lab lit is not science fiction, and in my opinion it’s not historical fiction about actual scientists (though some fictionalized biographies do appear on the list). Instead, in the Web site’s [LabLit.com] words, it “depicts realistic scientists as central characters and portrays fairly realistic scientific practice or concepts, typically taking place in a realistic — as opposed to speculative or future — world.”

Popular writers like Carl Djerassi and Michael Crichton join Sinclair Lewis (“Arrowsmith”) as well as Richard Powers, whose brainy novels like “The Gold Bug Variations” and “Galatea. 2.2” have won many awards.

“Flight Behavior” is just one of several recent novels featuring scientists working on the big issues of our time. Ann Patchett’s “State of Wonder” (2011) takes us into the jungles of the Amazon, where a researcher investigating a promising new fertility drug has gone missing.

Click here to read the full December 3, 2012 New York Times story by Katherine Bouton.

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