Jul 21, 2015

Science Fictioned

I received a free copy as a contest promotion

by Lee Falin, PhD

What do goblins, zombie viruses, inept magicians, and alien-invasion survivors have in common? They all make wonderful story elements for teaching about real science.

Science Fictioned takes ideas from cutting-edge, scientific research papers and turns them into science fiction and fantasy stories.

Learning science has never been this fun.

Author's Note
I was reading over the details of yet another extremely dull paper one day, trying to keep my colleagues from noticing the drool on my chin, when I realized that there was a better way -- what if every research paper was accompanied by a thrilling story?

I knew at once that this idea was nothing short of pure genius. Scientists would get their research out there, the public would have a better understanding of cutting-edge research, and scientific journals would sell like hotcakes. Everybody wins.

And thus, Science Fictioned was born: an entertaining collection of science fiction and fantasy short stories based on ideas from cutting-edge, peer-reviewed, scientific research articles.

Mice, Bacteria, and Golins
The Science--
Bacteria are a lot smarter than most people give them credit for. Granted, they do spend most of their short lifespans moving around aimlessly in search of good things to eat, responding to chemical signals from other members of their species, and occasionally ganging up on weaker creatures they encounter. Humans are obviously way more advanced than that.

It's common to think of bacteria as those nasty little buggers that make us sick when we accidentally forget to wash our hands before eating. However, many strains of bacteria floating around in the world don't make you sick at all. In fact, some of them can be quite beneficial to humans.

Bacteria that cause illness an disease are called "pathogenic" [path-OH-jinn-ick] bacteria...and they detect if there are enough of them around to survive (an) attack.

The Fiction--
Grog smiled to himself as he glanced up at the crescent moon. It was the perfect night for a hunt. There was just enough moonlight for a goblin to see by. They'd definitely have the advantage over the human scum this night. A light breeze rustled the corn stalks that surrounded him on all sides.

He couldn't see the farmhouse from here, not with so many stalks of corn, but he knew it wasn't far. If all went well, by this time tomorrow he and his clan would be dining on fresh-- a loud snap behind caused Grog to spin around.

He was just in time to see Smurg scramble to his feet, looking embarrassed.

"Quiet!" Grog hissed, glancing in the direction of the farmhouse. It was unlikely anyone had heard them at this distance, but you couldn't be too careful. Some humans were clever.

"It's not may fault," Smurg muttered as he squeezed noisily through two stalks of corn to join Grog. "It's dark and this ground is uneven."

Grog rolled his eyes. "Dark," he muttered. "What kind of goblin hunter can't see in the dark? That's what I want to know." Not for the first time, Grog wondered which of the seven cursed spirits was responsible for giving him the clumsiest goblin in the clan for a brother...

...Now be quiet so we don't miss the signal.

My Review
I received this book as part of The Summer Reading Trek 2015 from NewLDSFiction.com.

I had multiple books to choose from, yet this one captured my attention--I was intrigued with the idea of using fiction to explain science--I also noted a bit of humor from the author--

I was not disappointed! In fact I LOVED this book!

There are two parts to each section: The Science and then The Fiction

First you get a fun, fact-based run-down on the scientific explanation--so well written that even a child can understand and so entertaining that it sticks with you.

Then you get an intriguingly entertaining fiction story that further examples that specific scientific effect in action in everyday life.

Science has never been so entertaining :)

I am highly impressed with this concept and hope that the author continues the series!

About the Author
Lee first fell in love with science while watching old Star Trek episodes with his mother. After eventually completing a PhD in genetics, bioinformatics, and computational biology, he discovered that real science wasn't at all like Star Trek. One day he realized that he enjoyed the fiction part of science fiction quite a bit more than the science part.

His favorite books include any good science fiction or fantasy story he wouldn't be embarrassed to let his grandmother read, and anything written by Jane Austen. Lee's claims to fame include having served as the host for the Everyday Einstein podcast, making it to the final round of the Wheel of Fortune Teen Week tryouts, being a beekeeper, and winning the heart of the most amazing woman in the world.

Lee met his amazing wife while serving as a missionary in Brazil. They have five awesome children, and their family loves to travel around listening to great audio books. Lee's current goal is to one day learn how to load the dishwasher with competence. You can find out more about Lee on his website: http://LeeFalin.com


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