View from the fence

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


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Book Club: Did Sally make the right decision?

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.

I’m talking about her primary moral dilemma here (I do think she made the right decision regarding Paul). Continue reading

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Book Club: Which characters do you have sympathy for?

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.

All of them! Some to a much greater extent though.

I can identify with Sally’s challenges pretty much throughout. I can understand how pressure from her colleagues would prevent her from doing what she knows to be right, even though high moral values are very important to her. Her treatment of Mel and Darren is where my sympathy wanes. Continue reading


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Book Club: Do you portray life as a scientist accurately?

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.

Yes, I think so. I wanted it to be as accurate as possible, with lots of different characters who you encounter in the lab. I wanted to portray the pressures which scientists experience, particularly the pressure to publish, and explore how this can affect their lives and their judgements.

The blurring of personal and professional life I think is also very common for scientists. I suspect many people will also identify with the power hierarchies as students, research scientists, professors and technicians all interact.

I would be very interested to hear which bits people felt did or didn’t match well with their experiences in the lab. What characterises life in the lab for you?