Crossover novels

Science fiction or other genres with particularly realistic scientists

Blood Music

by Greg Bear
Thriller: Genetically engineered cells take over (admittedly in an over-the-top way, but the lab scenes are extremely realistic, hence the book’s inclusion here).
Links: Amazon (UK)

Jurassic Park

by Michael Crichton
Thriller: Ancient dinosaur DNA wreaks more havoc (also surprisingly plausibly; one could argue that dinosaurs could be cloned as Crichton describes, and the scientists are believable too).
Links: Amazon (UK)

Timescape

by Gregory Benford
Drama: A Californian scientist in the 60’s find signatures of tachyons in a spin resonance experiment which turn out to comprise an urgent subatomic message.
Links: the author chats on LabLit’s forums • Amazon (UK)

Cosm

by Gregory Benford
Drama: Amidst academic intrigue, a high-energy physicist creates an unusual object which she suspects could be a pocket universe.
Links: the author chats on LabLit’s forums • Amazon (UK)

Twistor

by John Cramer
Drama: A physics postdoc and graduate student access a portal to the dark-matter universe.
Links: Amazon (UK)

The Secret

by Eva Hoffman
Drama: A futuristic account of a cloned young woman which contains a substantial amount of credible detail by a non-scientist who has done her homework.
Links: Amazon (UK)

Survival

by Julie E. Czerneda
Drama: A biologist studying salmon gets captured by alien archeologists for her unique perspectives on migration, featuring startling accurate field biology culture (first part of a series, ‘Species Imperative’).
Links: Amazon (UK)

His Master’s Voice

by Stanislaw Lem
Drama: A large team of scientists try to decode a message from space, featuring a great depiction of how scientific collaborations work.
Links: Amazon (UK)

The Swarm

by Frank Schatzing
Drama: Deep-sea intelligent life seeks revenge on man’s careless environmental ways, with realistic scientist characters (and a cameo by a real one).
Links: Our piece by its translator • Amazon (UK)

Red Mars

by Kim Stanley Robinson
Drama: People arrive on Mars and debate the ethics of terraforming, featuring realistically drawn science and scientists (Part 1 of a trilogy).
Links: our author interview • Amazon (UK)

Green Mars

by Kim Stanley Robinson
Drama: The scientist settlers, now technically traitors, rebel against Earth (Part 2 of a trilogy).
Links: our author interview • Amazon (UK)

Blue Mars

by Kim Stanley Robinson
Drama: Mars looks beyond Earth to the future (Part 3 of a trilogy).
Links: our author interview • Amazon (UK)

The Gold Coast

by Kim Stanley Robinson
Drama: A near-future California becomes obsessed with technology and divided by a battle between weapons manufacturers and terrorists.
Links: our author interview • Amazon (UK)

Trouble with Lichen

by John Wyndham
Drama: Two scientists investigating a rare lichen make a remarkable discovery.
Links: Amazon (UK)

Master and Commander

by Patrick O’Brian (and others in the series)
Naval adventure: Chronicles the voyage of a ship with a science-friendly captain and his very scientific ship’s naturalist.
Links: our related essay • Amazon (UK)

A For Andromeda

by Fred Hoyle
Drama: Scientists at a radio telescope study to decode a message from space.
Links: Amazon (UK)

The Andromeda Strain

by Michael Crichton
Drama: A bacteriologist helps the government contain deadly microorganisms from space.
Links: Amazon (UK)

Darwin’s Radio

by Greg Bear
Drama: A virologist grapples with a strange and ancient virus that appears to be the next phase of human evolution. (Also its sequel, Darwin’s Children
Links: Amazon (UK)

Galileo’s Dream

by Kim Stanley Robinson
Drama: Galileo’s historic world is brought to life – but he’s also transported to colonies of Jupiter to troubleshoot.
Links: Amazon (UK)

The Highest Frontier 

by Joan Slonczewski
Drama: A young girl goes to college to learn more about the interesting world of biology but learns that not everything is what it seems – or is it?
Links: Amazon (UK)

A Door Into the Ocean 

by Joan Slonczewski
Drama: Two completely different worlds collide: a world inhabited by pacifists and the new violent rulers.
Links: Amazon (UK)

In His Genes

by Robin Stratton
Drama: A lab researcher struggles to find a cure for his son’s disease.
Links: our review • Amazon (UK)

Ratner’s Star

by Don DeLillo
Drama: In the near future a brilliant mathematician is living with Nobel prize winners to decipher transmissions from outer space.
Links: Amazon (UK)

Fluke: I Know Why the Winged Whale Sings

by Christopher Moore
Drama: A marine biologist studies humpback whales, which shouldn’t be able to spell – should they?
Links: Amazon (UK)

FlashForward

by Robert J. Sawyer
Thriller
What would you do if you saw your future in a flash? And what would the world do?
Links: Amazon (UK)

The Infinities

by John Banville
Magic realism: The family of a mathematician who contributed to the foundations of quantum physics has to deal with his terminal illness.
Links: Amazon (UK)

The Jericho Deception

by Jeffrey Small
Thriller
A Yale neuroscientist is on the verge of a groundbreaking discovery unlocking the secrets of God before a war breaks out.
Links: Amazon (UK)

The Colony

by A.J. Colucci
Thriller: A super-colony of ants is sweeping in to attack New York City – can the world’s greatest ant expert save the day?
Links: Amazon (UK)

Annihilation

by Jeff VanderMeer
Drama/Thriller: A biologist and her team explore dangerous and unknown territory. The first of a trilogy.
Links: Amazon (UK)

In The Garden of Iden

by Kage Baker
Drama/Thriller: A botanist travels back in time to collect samples from an Elizabethan garden. Series.
Links: Amazon (UK)

The Discovery of Heaven

by Harry Mulisch
Magic realism: An astronomer who loves fast cars, nice clothes and women meets a cerebral chaotic philologist who cannot bear the banalities of everyday life (translated from the Dutch).
Links: Amazon (UK)

The Black Cloud

by Fred Hoyle
Drama: Scientists struggle to understand a black cloud threatening Earth’s existence.
Links: Amazon (UK)

A Box of Birds

by Charles Fernyhough
Drama: A neuroscientist conducting experimental brain research gets drawn into more than she bargained for.
Links: Amazon (UK)

Sixth Winter

by John Gribbin & Douglas Orgill
Thriller: Will the next ice age start next winter?
Links: Amazon (UK)

Boneland

by Alan Garner
Drama: A tortured scientist savant searches for sister and sanity (part of the Weirdstone Trilogy)
Links: Amazon (UK)

The Edge of the Sky

by Roberto Trottam
Experimental fiction: Exploring the most important ideas about the universe in language simple enough for anyone to understand
Links: Amazon (UK)

Galileo’s Daughter

by Dava Sobel
Historical Fiction: On the cusp between non-fiction and fiction, this work is a narrative treatment of great Italian scientist Galileo and his daughter Virginia
Links: Amazon (UK)

Flowers for Algernon

by Daniel Keyes
Drama: An experiment in the enhancement of human intelligence turns a simple man into a genius
Links: our review • Amazon (UK)

Infinite Ground

by Martin MacInnes
Thriller: A forensic scientist finds curious abnormalities in bacteria after a man disappears
Links: Amazon (UK)

The Calculus Affair (The Adventures of Tintin)

by Hergé
Comic: A slightly distracted professor invents a novel weapon that could change the world
Links: Amazon (UK)

Odds Against Tomorrow 

by Nathaniel Rich
Thriller: A gifted mathematician spends his days in a near-future Manhattan, calculating worst-case scenarios for a consulting firm that indemnifies corporations against potential disasters.
Links: Amazon (UK)

Spaceman of Bohemia

by Jaroslav Kalfar
Sci-fi: A Czech astronaut launches into space to investigate a mysterious dust cloud covering Venus.
Links: Amazon (UK)

Good Morning, Midnight 

By Lily Brooks Dalton
Drama: A scientist in the Artic and an astronaut returning from Jupiter find themselves on the same journey.
Links: Amazon (UK)