While the highest forms of science writing soar high above everyday technical journalism, writers and translators with even just a passing interest in science and technology can learn from great science writers such as these.
The books discussed in the interview are:
- Possible Worlds by J.B.S. Haldane
- Of a Fire on the Moon by Norman Mailer
- The Periodic Table by Primo Levi
- The Discarded Image: An Introduction to Medieval and Renaissance Literature by CS Lewis
- The First 3 Minutes by Steven Weinberg
Good writing is not that easy to define, but it’s stuff you want to read. That’s a tautological definition, but also the best definition that I know. If it’s stuff you want to read then it will be well written.
Science explains the world I’m living in and it doesn’t just explain it scientifically, it can explain it in literary terms as well.
Everything about science is hard except the words. ... People will occasionally condemn the use of metaphors in science, and my answer is, ‘Yes, but try and write without them’. You won’t get very far. What you’re doing is describing the world and you’re telling people things that they don’t even know they want to know.
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