Maybe it doesn’t exist

11 Jan

Okay, you want to know what the most difficult subject to research on the interwebs is? “Scientists in fiction,” and “fiction about science.” I am trying to get a list going of novels and short stories that depict believable (or not-so-accurate) scientist characters, the scientific process, or scientific labs in contemporary fiction, that are not science fiction. But Google and LJ and Amazon keep reading that as “science fiction.”

Maybe there are no contemporary novels showing normal, everyday scientists (in a realistic or uninformed fashion). But I don’t believe that.

ETA: Or, you know, graduate school as a setting in a fictional story, as opposed to graduate schools for writing fiction.

11 Responses to “Maybe it doesn’t exist”

  1. dherblay January 11, 2010 at 10:51 pm #

    http://www.lablit.com/the_list

  2. cactuswatcher January 11, 2010 at 10:54 pm #

    I’ve run into research problems like that in different areas. Look for more specific things like botanists in fiction or fiction about paleontologists. You’ll still get sci-fi hits, but usually it’s easier to sort those out with less to sift through. It’s slow because you have to do more searches, but it can be done. Topics like astronomers, physicists or science labs in fiction will probably get you nowhere, so you’ll have to think creatively.

  3. neshaffer January 11, 2010 at 11:04 pm #

    You rock!

  4. neshaffer January 11, 2010 at 11:34 pm #

    I run into this problem with most searches. I thinking someone called it “Google fatigue”. There’s a funny TV commercial about it.

  5. ladystarlightsj January 12, 2010 at 1:15 am #

    Heh. I just ran a search in my library system and came up with a subject term of “scientists — fiction”, and 71 hits.
    The same search in the Phoenix public library catalogue returned over a thousand hits. There’ll be some culling, obviously, but it’s a start.
    Trying to do a library search for stuff like that often gets you better results than Google sometimes. (A Phoenix library search for “graduate school — fiction” got me 13 hits, btw)
    *takes off liberrian hat*

  6. neshaffer January 12, 2010 at 1:21 am #

    You couldn’t cut and paste the list to my email, could ya?
    ::big eyes::

  7. ladystarlightsj January 12, 2010 at 1:22 am #

    Let me do some more digging around for you — there may be a better search term out there. This is for the grad school, yes?

  8. neshaffer January 12, 2010 at 1:25 am #

    I am trying to find novels that are roughly in the same genre as they novel I finished writing, which deals with (mostly the personal lives of) scientists in an academic/graduate program setting. But there’s stuff related to their work in it, which makes me think it fits the general category of “lab lit” d’H linked to above.

  9. ladystarlightsj January 12, 2010 at 1:37 am #

    Yeah, I think that lab lit list is going to be your best bet *tips the hat to d’H there*.

  10. bhadrasvapna January 13, 2010 at 2:44 pm #

    I can beat that. Try to find legends about angels as vampires. I love Joss, but he made my life hell for a few hours before I gave up (the first time I conceded on a net search) and asked the yahoo loops I’m on if they knew anything. I know the Nephilum drank blood (per Book of Enoch), so I thought there’d be lots out there, I just didn’t know where it was. Surprisingly there wasn’t. I even asked vampire experts. Only one was able to help me.
    If I were you, I wouldn’t look for fiction, but biographies and memoirs.

  11. neshaffer January 13, 2010 at 2:49 pm #

    Yeah, not only do you have multiple matches on unrelated topics that use the same words, but different mythologies and fictional interpretation of those mythologies.
    I gave up trying to research myth on the internet a long time ago. Too difficult to find the actual legends amidst all the personal mythologies and fictional extrapolations.

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