View from the fence

Social, environmental and economic issues surrounding GM foods, and the latest news

Book Club: Does your novel give a balanced view of GM?

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This is one of the book club questions for my novel A Column on Smoke. Please add your thoughts in the comment section below – I will be very interested to read them.

No, and I don’t believe a novel could or even should. A Column of Smoke has characters with a wide range of opinions and I hope that it will cause readers to stop and question their own views.

To me, balance is looking at the evidence around a wide range of views. It’s about trying to free ourselves of biases and preconceptions. To fill my book with unbiased characters would be entirely dis-satisfying.

All the characters are biased – they have developed their point of view based on their interests. Mel, for example, has a pragmatic view of patents and the relationship between business and biotechnology. Sally is more idealistic so doesn’t want this to be true.

Do you think fiction could, or should, be un-biased? Is it more important when a book covers an issue such as GM? In the case of A Column of Smoke, Which characters do you agree/disagree with and why?

Author: Rebecca Nesbit

I am author of a popular science book 'Is that Fish in your Tomato?' exploring the fact and fiction of GM crops. In my work and leisure so far, I have trained bees to detect explosives, used a radar to study butterflies for my PhD, written a novel, taken the train from London to China, organised Biology Week, sold science jewellery on Etsy, and traveled to four continents with Nobel Laureates. Best off all, I've made lots of friends whose support I very much appreciate. Thank you! Please visit my website:

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