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|CARCANET PRESS/PN REVIEW|
the guardian Tue 29 November 2011
Aiming "to reach beyond the common mythologies of science", this anthology of specially commissioned stories explores "lesser known" scientific breakthroughs. Unfortunately, exploding the myth of the eureka moment by showcasing the hard-working individuals and years of study behind scientific revelation does little to aid the narrative flow. However, this unusual juxtaposition of fiction and commentary (each story has a factual afterword) does deliver fascinating insights into the power of science to transform lives, albeit with sometimes undesirable consequences. Pavlov's concept of "transmarginal inhibition" with its legacy of psychological torture, and Lise Meitner's work on nuclear fission resulting in the birth of the atom bomb, are both terrifying in their scope, while the poignant image of crushed butterflies on a truck windscreen in Sarah Hall's tale about the discovery of Aids bears testament to the death toll from a disease for which there is still no cure. Though flawed as a fictional endeavour, this collection is an inspiring tribute to inquiring minds.