Paradigm, No. 5 (August, 1991)


The beginnings of a list of scientific (and other) texts using fictional forms

Greg Myers

Department of Linguistics and Modern English Language,
University of Lancaster,
Lancaster LAI 4YT


[This bibliography should be read with ‘Fictional forms and science textbooks which appeared in Paradigm, No. 4]

Aitchison, Jean The Articulate Mammal: An Introduction to Psycholinguistics (2nd ed. Hutchinson, 1983). Chapter 8 presents generative grammar in terms of the King of Jupiter’s attempts to analyze human language.

Ashmore, Malcolm The Reflexive Thesis: Wrighting the Sociology of Scientific Knowledge (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1989). Besides the entries under "Dialogues" in the index, see the opening lecture and the encyclopedia.

Ashmore, Malcolm, Michael Mulkay and Trevor Pinch Health and Efficiency: A Sociology of Health Economics (Milton Keynes: Open University Press, 1989). Chapters 5 and 6 are in dialogue form, and Chapter 4, "Fury Over Prof’s Kidney Call" is a montage of clippings.

Boyle, Robert The Sceptical Chymist [1661], reprint London: Dent, 1964.

Darwin, Erasmus The Botanic Garden, a Poem, in Two Parts, Containing The Economy of Vegetation and the Loves of the Plants reprint London: Jones and Co., 1824.

Day, Thomas The History of Sandford and Merton (A Tale for Boys), [1783], reprint London: Harry Washbourne, 1847. A few scientific lessons among the moral lessons for boys.

Drake, Stillman Cause, Experiment, and Science: A Galilean Dialogue Incorporating a New English Translation of Galileo’s "Bodies That Stay Atop Water, or Move in It" (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1981).

Edgeworth, Richard Lovell, and Maria Edgeworth Harry and Lucy [1783], reprint in Early Lessons (London: George Routledge and Sons, n. d.) The story leads to moral and social lessons as well as experiments with thermometers and soap bubbles.

Galilei, Galileo Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems &endash; Ptolemaic and Copernican [1629], trans. Stillman Drake (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1962).

Galilei, Galileo Dialogues Concerning Two New Sciences [1638], tr. Henry Crew and Alfonso de Salvio, reprint Dover, 1954.

Gamow, George Mr. Tompkins in Paperback (Cambridge University Press, 1964). Collects a series of stories, started in the late 1930s: a bank clerk enters worlds of altered quantum constants by falling asleep at lectures on physics.

Guillet de Monthoux Pierre Action and Existence: Anarchism for Business Administration (Chichester: John Wiley and Sons, 1983). See the dialogue with the skeptic on pp. 220-227, and the fictional preface and epilogue.

Hicks, Diana, and Jonathan Potter ‘Sociology of Scientific Knowledge: A Reflexive Citation Analysis or Scientific Disciplines and Disciplining Science’. Social Studies of Science (forthcoming).

Higgins, Roger ‘A Dialogue on the Navajo Classifier, Diné Bizaad Náníl’iih/’ Navajo Language Review, 1 (1974), pp. 95-119; 121-153.

Hobbes, Thomas ‘Dialogus Physicus’ [1661], trans. Simon Schaffer. In Steven Shapin and Simon Schaffer Leviathan and the Air-Pump: Hobbes, Boyle, and the Experimental Life (Princeton University Press, 1985), pp, 345-392.

Hofstader, Douglas ‘A Coffeehouse Conversation on the Turing Test to Determine if a Machine Can Think’ Scientific American, 244 (May, 1981) pp. 15-25. Three students from biology, computing, and philosophy debate the Turing test.

Jauch, Josef Maria Are Quanta Real?: A Galilean Dialogue (Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 1973; reprint 1989).

Joyce, Jeremiah Scientific Dialogues: Intended for the Instruction and Entertainment of Young People [1807], reprint London: Scott and Webster, n. d.

Kingsley, Charles Madam How and Lady Why, or First Lessons in Earth Lorefor Children (1869], reprint London: Macmillan.

Mangnall, Richmal Historical and Miscellaneous Questions for the Use of Young People; With a Selection of British and General Biography, &c. &c. , ed. G. N. Wright, London: Thomas Tegg, n. d.

Marcel, Jane Conversations on Chemistry, In Which the Elements That Science Are Familiarly Explained and Illustrated by Experiment [1806], 3rd ed. London: Longman, Hurst, Rees, and Orme, 1808.

Marcel, Jane Conversations on Natural Philosophy, In Which the Elements of That Science Are Familiarly Explained, and Adapted to the Comprehension of Young Persons [1819], 11th ed. (London: Longman, Brown, Green, and Longmans, 1847).

Marcel, Jane Conversations on Vegetable Physiology; Comprehending the Elements of Botany With Their Application to Agriculture, 3rd ed. (London: Longman, Orme, Green, and Longmans, 1839).

Mulkay, Michael (ed.) ‘Looking Backward’ Science, Technology, and Human Values, 14 (1989), pp. 441-459. An account of attitudes towards scientific knowledge, presented as a tape of a speech by a woman sent back from 100 years in the future.

Mulkay, Michael The Word and the World: Explorations in the Form of Sociolopcal Analysis (London: Allen and Unwin, 1985). Experiments with form include a self-commenting text, various dialogues, a one-act play, and a parody of a Nobel Prize address.

Needham, Joseph ‘Prefatory Dialogue’. In The Sceptical Biologist (London: Chatto & Windus, 1929), pp. 3-8.

Parkes, Samuel A Chemical Catechism [1806], 3rd ed., London, 1808.

Pinch, Trevor, and Trevor Pinch ‘Reservations about Reflexivity and New Literary Forms, or Why Let tile Devil Have All the Good Tunes’. In Steve Woolgar (ed.)Knowledge and Reflexivity: New Frontiers in the Sociology of Knowledge (London: Sage, 1988) pp. 178-197. A dialogue on New Literary Forms.

Rényi, Alfréd A Diary in Information Theory [1984], trans. Zsuzsanna Makkai-Bencsáth (Chichester: John Wiley and Sons, 1987)

Rényi, Alfréd Dialogues on mathematics [1965], tr. (San Francisco: Holden-Day, 1967).

Ruskin, John The Ethics of the Dust: Ten Lectures to Little Housewives on the Elements of Crustallisation [1865]. In E. T. Cook and A. Wedderburn, (eds) The Works of John Ruskin XVIII (London: George Allen, 1905).

Scott, Dana, (ed.) ‘Semantical Archaeology: A Parable’. In D. Davidson and G. Harman, Semantics of Natural Language (Dordrecht: D. Reidel, 1972), pp. 666-674. Don’t ask me.

Sherratt, Bernard Reading Relations: Structures of Literary Production, A Dialectical Text/Book (Brighton: Harvester, 1982). Includes a fictional Ph. D. dissertation, which includes a fictional M. A. dissertation, as well as an examination with answers, a montage of quotations, fictional reviews and publisher’s referee’s comments.

Stewart, Balfour, and P. G. Tait Paradoxical Philosophy (A Sequel to The Unseen Universe) (London: Macmillan, 1879).

Walton, Izaak, and Charles Cotton The Compleat Angler 5th ed. [1876], reprint Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1982.

Woolgar, Steve ‘A Coffeehouse Conversation on the Possibility of Mechanizing Discovery and Its Sociological Analysis’ Social Studies of Science, 19 (1989), pp. 658-68. Part of a symposium on claims for computer simulation of scientific discovery; for the title see Hofstader.

Wynne, Anna ‘Accounting for Accounts of the Diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis’. In Steve Woolgar (ed.) Knowledge and Reflexivity: New Frontiers in the Sociology of Knowledge (London: Sage, 1988) pp. 101-122.

Zililman, Adrienne and Jerold Lowenstein ‘A Few Words With Ruby’ New Scientist (14 April 1983) pp. 81 ff. In an interview, a 3 million-year-old revived frozen australopithecine woman comments on interpretations by physical anthropologists. "One thing hasn’t changed in three million years. Males still think sex explains everything."

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