Fiction Lab - December 2013

7.00pm start, Monday 9 December

Conversation Room

The Royal Institution of Great Britain GB United Kingdom W1S 4BS 21 Albemarle Street London

This event has already taken place

  • Books on a shelf
    Credit: Wikimedia Commons (Onderwijsgek)



Event description

Jennifer Rohn of hosts the monthly book club dedicated to great fiction books with a science theme. If you're an interested reader who has something to say, then come along.

The format of Fiction Lab is simple. All you need to do is check this webpage for the book choice, read the book beforehand and then drop into the Ri to discuss it with other fiction lovers.

Fiction Lab will be held in the Conversation Room this month. Admission is free and there is no need to book tickets in advance.

December's book is Moss Witch, a collection of short fiction by Sara Maitland.

The new collection of short fiction from the internationally recognised author is a compendium of stories inspired by science, accompanied by afterwords written by the scientists that consulted on each one, explaining the science behind it.

A bryologist enters an ancient British woodland to research a rare strain of moss, only to discover an even more exotic specimen... A geologist explains the failures of the feminist movement to her teenage niece in terms of tectonic subduction…Two Old Testament newlyweds scheme to make the most of their tightly negotiated dowry by applying 21st century genetic engineering techniques…

Each story in Sara Maitland’s new collection enacts a daring piece of alchemy, fusing together specific pieces of contemporary scientific research with an ancient myth or a folkloric archetype. As the laboratory smoke settles, we meet witches that can outwit botanists, religious soothsayers that read evolutionary biology in feverish dreams, scientists that fall in love with the birds they study….

What’s all the more extraordinary is each of these stories began as a collaboration with a scientist; and has grown out of a current piece of research. Each story also comes with a specially written afterword, penned by the scientist, and expanding upon the theory within the story – be it quantum mechanics, planetary physics, game theory, or nanotechnology…

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