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Dear Australian readers…

Dear Australian Readers (who are over 18 – sorry, I don’t make the rules),

I know this isn’t book related, but I just wanted to take a moment to remind you to fill out your marriage equality survey (with a YES vote of course!) and send it in. I know the survey is ridiculous and insulting, but it’s unfortunately what we’ve got.

Remember that this survey is about one thing, and one thing only: whether or not everyone is equal in our society. That is all.

It is not about political correctness, children, religious freedom, or any other bullshit people have tried to make it about because they can’t logically get around the core argument – that everyone should be treated equally in our society.

The measure of a society is how it treats its most vulnerable citizens. The LGBTQI community has been facing a constant barrage of discrimination for far too long.

If we don’t have basic equality for all, we don’t have anything to be proud of as a society. If the NO vote wins, we’ve failed our basic duty to our fellow humans.

Thank you for listening, and don’t forget to get those YES votes in.

If you are LGBTQI and having trouble with descrimination, or need people to speak to, please see this fantastic list from of support services for LGBTQI individuals in Australia. 

Please note: Any discriminatory comments will be deleted 


Books they need to make colouring books for.

Yeah. I love colouring books. I am not someone who can just sit an watch TV, I need to be doing something at the same time, and colouring books are the perfect amount of doing something without being so distracting that your not paying attention to the show you’re watching. They are also great for when you’re listening to audiobooks.

At the moment, I’m loving the ACOTAR colouring book (although HOW DARE IT not include a picture of the foxes from winter that wear vests! Rude!), I also love the Throne of Glass books, and I’ve recently ordered the lunar chronicles one. And all that got me thinking about books that I just need colouring books for.

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The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

This book is like reading a dream. There is very little plot at all, because it’s just not needed. The visuals of this book are what it is all about, and while I love the images of this in my head from reading it, I would really, really love to see their interpretation by a talented artist.

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

Anyone who has read this book just went “OMG YES I NEED IT NOW!” Because this book would make the best colouring book. There is just so much in this book that would make it awesome. There’s Prague and Morocco, and various types of chimaera.

The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon

The imagery that this book conjures and the aesthetic of the cover art (the original ones, not the abominations that are the re-designed ones) would just make this the most gorgeous colouring book about magical clairvoyants in an old-timey future London.

Red Rising

A science fiction about a society based on colours. This one is a no-brainer. Someone just make it.

The Magicians

A dark version of a magic university and what is basically Narnia for adults? Yeah that sounds awesome. I’ll take three!

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Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

This book would have a completely different feel than any other book suggested on this list. It would be kinda Tron-like and the perfect opportunity to use my neon pencils.

The Diviners by Libba Bray

I can’t be the only person who would love this magic people in 1920’s New York as a colouring book. Flappers, creepy occult paraphernalia, and a particularly creepy villain would make this so much fun to colour.

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

Magic + Russian-inspired imagery would make this a pretty awesome book. And for those of you who are asking, why six of crows, why not Shadow and Bone? Because Shadow and Bone just sucked okay.

Nevernight by Jay Kristoff

Not only should Nevernight be made into a colouring book, it should be done by Kerby Rosanes, the amazing colouring book artist (he illustrated Imagimorphia, Animorphia, and Mythomorphia) who designed the covers for the Aus/UK versions of Nevernight.  It’s like it was meant to be.

Drown by Ester Dalseno

This is a kinda creepy re-telling of the original The Little Mermaid by Hans Christen Andersen. I don’t know about you, but I would absolutely love an under the sea colouring book that has a really dark twistiness to it. You know you would too.



So were all in agreement right? More book-based colouring books? I mean there are like a thousand artists on Tumblr who would be happy to do them and could do a better job than like 90% of the colouring book artists out there. I can’t see a reason why any of these shouldn’t be made. So if publishers could politely get on that, that’d be great.

So do you guys enjoy colouring books? What books would you like to see made into colouring books?

And if anyone knows of any of my suggestions that are actually being made into colouring books, please do let me know.

Some book-inspired colouring books that do exist, and prove that more of them should:

Throne of Glass

A Court of Thorns and Roses

The Lunar Chronicles

The Mortal Instruments

Game of Thrones

Red Queen


Book Review – A Court of Wings and Ruin

Hello everyone. I know I have been gone for an awfully long time, but I have now finished my PhD and started a proper job, and I work a lot, and I’ve just had no time for anything. But I finally refused to work on the weekend, and snuggled up with ACOWAR.

I will keep this review spoiler free with regards to this book, and try as hard as I can not to give anything major from the previous two books away.

My reviews of the previous two books:

A Court of Thorns and Roses

A Court of Mist and Fury

For the most part, I was in love with this book, but by the end I was really disappointed. The big major battle at the end was what let this down for me. This story deserved so much more than what it got. I expected more of Feyre, but she spent the whole end of this book as a spectator. There are several battles in this book, and she sits a couple out, letting her friends fight and nearly die while she watches. At the time I was okay with this because I thought she was being saved so she could be unleashed at the end in the final battle, and it wouldn’t be repetitive. But that payoff never came. Her power was never used… so there was no point in this plot line of the power she had obtained and had been hiding for a book and a half! I just keep waiting… for something that never came…I’m not angry with you Feyre, I’m just disappointed. All the hype up about Nesta and what she ‘took’ fell pretty flat too.

There were awesome things though. We finally got the see Cassian and Azriel in battle, which was awesome. But I don’t think the ladies really got to show their skills. Amren, Rhys’ second, and super-powerful who-knows-what, plays much of a spectator role as well. We see Mor in one battle. But it was a little underwhelming, and I was REALLY excited to finally see The Morrigan fight. Where were all the bad ass ladies at?

There were also a lot of threads of story that just didn’t come together in the end. Pieces that I was waiting to see be placed perfectly that made everything make sense… and those didn’t happen. Everything was left open. Everything. I have never finished a book before with so many unanswered questions. And this, I believe is the end of the series. Bargains were made but not fulfilled, and characters just sort of popped in to save the day with no reason to be there. All the high lords pretty much turned out to be completely different than previously described. There were so many ‘I’ll tell you the story of that later’, or ‘we will deal with that later’, but NOPE. There were just zero twists, zero big reveals that made me go ‘ooooohhhh!!!’. It felt messy and lazy.

But this book was still a wonderful read, because the characters are just such darlings and I love them.  Their relationships and friendships and banter were what saved it. That was what made this book so lovable. And so even with all its faults (of which there are countless…. countless faults… and SO. MANY. QUESTIONS.) I still really enjoyed it. It just could have been so much better than it was. So so much.

I rate it 4/5 stars

(even though it probably doesn’t deserve it. My heart just loves it…)

Tea pairing: Mi Lan Xiang Dan Cong. Ethereal, floral and honey-touched. 

Where to get it:

The Book Depository. Amazon. Kobo.


My favourite books of 2016!

Well, 2016 is finally gone. Thank goodness! What a terrible, terrible year. 2016 was probably the worst reading year I have ever had (and the worst year in general?), I had a pretty terrible time last year, and I just couldn’t focus on reading because too much other crap was going on and distracting me with it’s awfulness. But I’ve decided that 2017 will be better (it better be or I WILL become an evil supervillain scientist and destroy the world with a super-mega death ray or something).

Anyway… I decided to just do five of my favourite books of the year, and I doubt any of them will be a surprise…. but they are all books released in 2016. Yay. These are in no particular order, except for number 1 which was my favourite, because these books were all phenomenal.

1 – Morning Star by Pierce Brown (review)


2 – Nevernight by Jay Kristoff (review)


3 – A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas (review)


4 – Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas (review)


5 – Gemina by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff (review)


So those are my favourites of 2016. Probably not that surprising. Some runner ups would include: The Rook by Daniel O’Malley, Prince of Thorns by Mark Lawrence, The Hallowed Ones by Laura Bickle, and You by Caroline Kepnes.

Reading goals for 2017?

I’m usually not one to make too many formal goals, because I am very good at not meeting them, so I now try to avoid the disappointment by not making goals to begin with. This year, however, I am definitely hoping to finish more books than in 2016. I started so many books in 2016, a lot of them really good, but with everything going on I just never stuck with anything, and kept starting new books hoping something would work. So this year I hope to finish some of those great books I started.

So those are my favourites of the year. Did any of these top your favourites list?


Book Review – Goldenhand by Garth Nix

Hello, everyone! So amid my flurry of writing job applications, I managed to squeeze in reading the latest installment in one of my FAVOURITE series. Goldenhand is the fifth book in this super awesome series. As normal, with this being a later book in the series, I want to avoid any spoilers of any of the books but you can go read my review on the first book, Sabriel, to find out more about the series, but in a few words it’s about: Magic, Necromancy (both good and bad), bells, and talking animals!

I really enjoyed this installment, although Sabriel does still remain my favourite of the series. We get to revisit some of our favourite characters in this book (although perhaps not a much of the talking animals as I would have liked), as well as meeting a new POV character. Some parts of the romance in the book felt just a little too rushed, and just a little out of character (but that could just be my non-romantic cold, cold heart). Unfortunately, this was a split-POV book, and I was also far more invested in one of the storylines. The other storyline wasn’t bad, but it was just a bit slower and didn’t quite grip me as much as the other.


I was expecting this to be as fast-paced as the previous books in the series, and it was a bit slower. The ending was also less climactic, but that’s not really a criticism, as I still enjoyed it.

As expected for this series, the world-building is fantastic and remains one of the highlights. The world in this series is just so unique and so completely fleshed out that it will always stand out in my mind as one of my favourite worlds to retreat to when reality is being too much of a jerk.  If you’ve read this series, you’re sure to love this one as well.

I rate it 3.5/5 stars

After reading this I have a serious urge to go back and read the entire series. As I never posted reviews for Abhorsen and Clariel (lazy, lazy Tina) I have another reason to do so.

Just a note. You may want to read the short story, The Creature in the Case, before diving into this one.

Find it here:

Goodreads. The Book Depository. Amazon. Kobo.

Publisher: Allen & Unwin

RRP: $24.99


Halloween Reads!

Happy Halloween! So I am a lover of horror fiction! (I even helped write a horror novel which you can find here – but warning it’s super bloody – and it’s sequel, which I co-authored and had a bigger part in writing here ). Anyway… shameless self-promotion over, here are my top Halloween reads!

The literary horror – The Lesser Dead by Christopher Buehlman


Yeah… I know, I talk about this book a lot, but that’s because it’s definitely one of my absolute favourites! A vampire who was turned as a 14 year old boy, tries to stop a group of crazy vampire children from ruining everyone’s fun. A vampire tale with a very Fitzgerald/Salinger-esque vibe; what more could you want? Review

The spooky-but-not-scary horror – The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman


This tale about the undead residences of a graveyard raising a toddler after his family is killed is super fun! And you know Neil Gaiman is always worth your time!

The actually-really-super-creepy horror book – Birdbox by Josh Malerman


Another one I talk about ALL THE TIME is Birdbox. This has to be the most successful horror novel I’ve ever read. This is the story of a woman and two children in a world where  just seeing something can turn you into a monster. Imagine trying to survive in a post-apocalyptic world, where any time you go outside you need to blindfold yourself. Yeah… super creepy. Review.

The Classic Horror – Frankenstein by Mary Shelley


Easily my favourite classic novel, Frankenstein is just so incredible, and Shelley is just proof that anything a man can do, a teenage girl can do better.

The weird-as-F*ck-horror – John Dies at the End and This Book is Full of Spiders by David Wong


This book is completely demented but also completely brilliant, if not just really juvenille at times (there are a lot of penis jokes. It’s just a hilarious cock-forest at times), and it is definitely not for everyone, but if you like really out-there absurd horror that is also hilarious – John Dies at the End is for you. And the sequel is even better! Review.

The fun horror – Horrorstor by Grady Hendrix


This is a book about a haunted Ikea (only it’s not called Ikea). What makes this book really special is the formatting. It’s set out like an Ikea catalogue, complete with store maps and product descriptions. Review. 

The YA-romance horror – The Hallowed Ones by Laura Bickle

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Vampire apocalypse in Amish country? Yes please. But don’t let the YA-romance trick you into thinking this book is all batting eyelashes and canoodling. There are some serious blood and guts in this book.  Review.

So those are my go-to Halloween reads. I’ve also been reading The Supernatural Enhancements by Edgar Cantaro recently and I am really enjoying that. So what are some of your Halloween recommendations?


Book Review: GEMINA by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Hello, everyone! Today I will be reviewing on of my most anticipated reads of the entire year and perhaps ever. Gemina is the second book in the Illuminae Files series, and you can check out my (extremely eloquent) review of the first book, Illuminae here. Yeah… you could say I’m a fan of this series. So let’s get on with the review.


What it’s about? Um… I’m not going to tell you. firstly, because it’s a sequel and I don’t want to give any spoilers for the first book. Secondly, this series is one where you absolutely want to go in completely blind, just trust me. Just know that it’s Sci-Fi, it’s YA, it’s absolutely hilarious, it’s got amazingly creative formatting (it’s all documents and chat logs etc.), there’s spaceships. Just read it okay? Promise? Good.


What I thought: I think the best response to this is just an eternal standing ovation. It just deserves applause FOREVER. After a massive reading slump, I sat down and read this in a single sitting. This only arrived Friday morning, and I was finished it by Friday evening, and it’s not a small book. It’s one of those books that you would almost rather die from an exploded bladder than put it down for a single moment (I know… I only narrowly escaped with my life. Too much information?). I MISSED AN ENTIRE MEAL SO THAT I WOULDN’T HAVE TO PUT IT DOWN. And if that doesn’t tell you how good it is, nothing will.



Find it here:

Goodreads. Amazon. The Book Depository.


Throne of Glass Colouring Book

Thank you to Bloomsbury Australia for sending me this awesome colouring book!

So, I’m definitely late to the adult colouring book thing, but when this arrived in the mail, I literally sat there for hours colouring in while watching stuff on Youtube. I’m one of those people who can’t just sit and watch something, I always need to be doing something at the same time (but it usually means I get distracted from what I’m watching), so this was perfect. Although, it turns out I’m pretty terrible at colouring (staying inside the lines is HARD!).





I really think more book series need colouring books, because I love being able to see other people’s interpretations of what characters and settings look like. There are pictures of lots of different characters in the book, and I was obviously super excited to see some of Manon and Abraxos in there.

So, do you guys like colouring books? What other books would you love to see colouring books of?

Find it at Amazon or The Book Depository

Publisher: Bloomsbury Australia . RRP (AUD): $19.99 . Release date: 06.09.16


Book Review – Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas

First off, a big congratulations to ME because I submitted my PhD thesis this week! After four-years slaving away over a hot monkey brain (not really!) it’s finally done! YAY FOR ME!!!

Anyway… Empire of Storms…(Come for the review, stay for my self-congratulations!)

So as with most sequels, I won’t be giving out any spoilers for any of the other books in this series in this review, but I will STRONGLY encourage you to go read the first book, because this series is still A-M-A-Z-I-N-G-!

This is now the fifth book in this series (if you don’t count the book of prequel short stories) and this series is still awesome. Firstly, we are introduced to lots of new exciting places in this instalment of the series, which was pretty cool.

Like always there is plenty of our plucky young protagonist setting everything on fire (both figuratively and literally), and there are LOTS of ships in this book (both figuratively and literally – lots of fun, romantic times on the high seas to be had by all!).

This book is just another fantastic instalment of this series.


However… It seemed too short…. I know this thing is clocking in at well over 700 pages, and making it much longer wouldn’t have really been practical… but honestly, it just wasn’t enough for me. I just wanted it to not end (I don’t think that’s an unreasonable request. I would like a never-ending version of this book immediately please! Chop chop!). I was just watching the pages tick away and desperate for it to not end, and I am one of those people who loves finishing books (it makes me feel accomplished, okay?!), but I was just begging my book not to end… but it did. WHEN IS THE NEXT ONE ALREADY!!!???!!!! I HAVE A MIGHTY NEED!!! Okay, so I guess I can’t really count this as criticism.

My only other criticism was that there were a lot (and I mean A LOT) of references to stuff from the prequel short stories (otherwise known as The Assassin’s Blade), which I have not read. So sometimes I was a little lost. I didn’t realise that reading the sequels was so essential in this series. So if you have not read those, I think you would get more out of this book if you did go ahead and read those first.

But that minor little detail aside, I LOVED this book, just like I LOVED the last three (strangely I didn’t LOVE the first book, but the rest have thoroughly made up for it) books. What can I say, let’s just crown Sarah J. Maas as the Queen of Everything and be done with it.

I rate it 4.5/5 stars!


Tea pairing: Firebird Song Zhong Dancong (say that ten times fast!) by Bitterleaf Teas.

This tea is a dancong oolong from Pheonix mountain in the Guangdong Provence in China. Dancong teas take on different flavours (despite not actually being flavoured), and this one has a sweet caramel, treacle taste with a burst of dried fruits and flowers. It’s completely unsubtle and decadent, just like this book.

Also, there is a super awesome new Throne of Glass colouring book which I will do a post on in the next couple of days (after I’ve brushed up on my colouring inside the lines), because it’s my first and favourite adult colouring book! Yay!

Find stuff here:

Empire of Storms:

Release date: 6th September, 2016
Publisher: Bloomsbury (here)
RRP (Aus): $17.99

Goodreads. The Book Depository. Amazon. Kobo.

Previous reviews:

Crown of Midnight. Heir of Fire. Queen of Shadows.

Thank you to Bloomsbury Australia for providing me with a copy of this book for review.


The evil scientist trope, why it’s doing real world damage to scientists, and why authors need to stop.

I may be a book blogger by night, but by day I spend my time as a scientist, specifically a tumour immunologist. You may assume that due to my vocation, scientific inaccuracies in books would drive me crazy. Mostly, they don’t (Okay, sometimes they do, but within reason), but the one type of inaccuracy that I have thoroughly reached my tolerance level for is the portray of scientists as amoral, ethically bankrupt, animal-torturing jerkfaces.

You may think Why does it matter? It’s only fiction! or even, well yeah, scientists are amoral, ethically bankrupt, animal-torturing jerkfaces, but the problem is that it’s completely untrue, and this fictional view of scientists does shape peoples’ opinions of science and scientists in the real world.

Well, today, gentle book lovers, I’m going to tell you a little bit about what it’s like to actually be a scientist. And I can tell you, it’s very different to how it’s portrayed in books (there’s generally a lot more crying). This will also be pretty specific to medical science, as that’s what I am familiar with, but as a scientist, you’re treated pretty shit, regardless of your field.

Now, while most people probably think that science is a super fun career that involves running around in lab coats, making things glow, and dreaming of one day having your own secret lair inside of a volcano, but that’s only a very tiny part of being a scientist. The majority of time we spend as scientists involves freaking out over funding and whether or not were going to lose out position in the near future.

So I am about to finish my PhD (for real this time, guys! I have my final draft in front of me!) and while I did some awesome stuff in my PhD (I developed a $5 cancer treatment that has none of the nasty side effects of chemotherapy, and which is now in clinical trials), my future is looking pretty bleak.

I have agreed to work 50% of my time voluntarily for the next year after handing in my PhD to continue working on my cancer treatment, while spending the other 50% of the time in a non-research job (that I only got on the provision that I do research for free when I’m not at work). And you know what, I’m actually pretty lucky to have this deal. There is no funding to pay me, because none of the large funding bodies or industry will fund a $5 cancer treatment or sponsor the clinical trial. Any money we do have is going into the research and running the clinical trial. We have not patented our work, because we want it to remain cheap, so there is no incentive for pharmaceutical companies to put money into it. You would think our university would be totally into it, but honestly, they would rather we were making money. So that’s what I’m facing after spending about a decade studying to become a scientist.

And you know what? I am not a unique case. 

Numerous PhD students extend their PhDs by years because their supervisors cant afford to pay them an actual salary. So even though they’ve done the work to be granted a PhD, they usually agree to continue working on a PhD scholarship (which is probably a quarter of what their salary would be otherwise). And most students are willing to do this for the sake of their research because: A) it’s very difficult to walk away from research you have spent years of your life on, and B) they know that actually getting a job in research is going to be incredibly difficult (because who is going to pay a scientists salary when you have limited funding and can get a PhD student for free?).

I was at a talk the other day by a very esteemed scientist, who while discussing his career noted he had had over 60 PhD students, but only ever employed 5 scientists in his lab. And this isn’t really by choice, it’s by necessity. Because science funding is just so limited, and no one cares about the plight of scientists. Scientists would love to employ the people they have spent years teaching. No one wants to have to start from scratch every time a PhD student graduates. It’s completely counter productive.

So what do scientists do when they cant get funding?

1 – Leave science (what a waste right?). Why are we training people to be scientists if we don’t provide jobs for them? It’s not like there aren’t plenty of diseases out there to cure. So sadly, many PhD students don’t ever get jobs in science (and aren’t often informed before doing the PhD – because you don’t want to discourage your free labour force from doing the work!).

2 – Numerous scientists work without pay (living solely on their spouse’s pay) but continue doing research because they want to make a difference.

Science is maybe one of the only jobs out there where when you actually get a position, you don’t necessarily get a salary. You need to find that from grants. And that’s incredibly difficult. In Australia, for example, our grant success rate is around 10%.

So imagine, every year, you only had a 10% chance of keeping your job. How long would you stay in that career? It’s incredibly hard and requires a lot of personal sacrifice. And this is becoming worse every day as now even grants specify that the money cant be used to pay your salary, or will only pay a portion of it (the remainder of which, most scientists just do without).

And if you think, what about all those new scientific institutes popping up everywhere? They must be full of scientists! Think again. Because it happens time and time again that people spend millions on scientific institutes only for them to remain empty, because they just assumed that someone else would pay for the scientists to actually work there.

So I think from just a few of the things I’ve mentioned (which is only a few of the issues scientists face), you would probably agree that it’s not a job that’s suited to people without a serious altruistic streak.

And on top of scientists getting a really shit deal in terms of their career, they also get branded as the token evil villain almost every time they appear in any book/movie/TV show. And that does real-world damage, because people don’t give a shit about scientists, and they don’t trust scientists, and they don’t care whether or not scientists get the funding to do their research. They don’t believe scientists when they try to share their knowledge.

I had someone recently tell me that I didn’t have the capacity to make ethical decisions because I’m a scientist. Seriously. That is a thing that happened. And it’s total bullshit. But this is a wide-held view. And the amount of ethics applications we have to write because of it is staggering. And many of the ethical barriers we face, are not faced by people in other industries (even though other industries have comparably worse and less ethical practices), because people only to think that scientists above everyone else, need to be ethically babysat. And entire university departments are established based on the idea that scientists cant be trusted to act appropriately. And the mere fact that these exist, based on this idea, is pretty damn offensive. But the reason these departments exist is not because scientists actually lack ethical values, but because people think that they do based on the false but frequent portrayals of scientists as evil villains constantly doing despicable things.

Another issue is the all-doctors-are-scientists trope. This is definitely not true. A medical doctor could no sooner do the kind of research I do, than I could perform open-heart surgery. One might think that being a medical doctor, one would have an in depth knowledge of science, right? Wrong. There is a saying in science: “Never trust the research of an MD without a PhD”. Now this may seem elitist and snarky, but it’s really not overly different from saying that someone has the knowledge required to build a house because they sell home insurance. They both revolve around housing, but they aren’t exactly transferable skills. Well guess what! Science and medicine are TOTALLY different things that require totally different skill sets and totally different training. And while some MDs do have PhDs, this is not the norm.

And you might be thinking, how does this idea relate to how scientists/doctors are portrayed in the media?  Well, because a disproportional amount of science funding goes to medical doctors (especially philanthropic funding) who aren’t actually trained to do science (often with terrible results). And this is because people just have the perception that all doctors have all the skills of a scientist, without all the evil. People trust doctors, but they don’t trust scientists. And this also leads to people thinking that while we have doctors, we don’t need scientists. But scientists are the ones who make all those medicines that doctors distribute. And usually get none of the credit.

So in light of all this, can we just cut scientists some slack? We really have enough shit to deal with, and we get basically no credit for what we do, no empathy or understanding for just how difficult our jobs are, and what we personally sacrifice to try to cure horrible diseases and make the world a better place. We are out there just trying to make a difference, while dodging all the shit that’s constantly flying at us from every direction.

And I know that there is no easy solution to the problems scientists face every day, but all I ask, dear readers, is that next time you come across the evil scientist character in a book, maybe you could try to not let it influence your opinions on us.

And now to all the authors out there who seem to think that using scientists as literary fodder is totally cool, maybe you might want to think a little harder about the consequences next time you decide to pull out the evil scientist trope.

After all, being a scientist is a lot like being an author. We both have to ‘publish or perish’, we both seem to be the most important people in our industry, and despite basically providing the product that is the actual purpose of that industry existing, people seem to think that if money is short, we’re the ones who should go without. Publishing houses, like universities, seem to have no issues paying for all the buildings and administration staff to support our industry, but seem to think we’re somehow not important, and should just feel privileged to be included, even though we’re the actual ones with the talent. They think that if we don’t like it, there are plenty of others out there willing to take our place. But while we never know who will write the next bestseller, we never know whether that PhD graduate who had to go get a job in admin despite a decade of training, just because replacing them with another PhD student is cheaper, would have gone on to cure cancer. We also both seem to have very limited rights over our own work. For authors, their work generally belongs to the publishers, like ours belongs to the universities and/or the biotech companies that take it to market. We both suffer having the quality of our work diminished for ‘marketing purposes’.   And even the consumers of our products often don’t give a crap about whether we are paid for the work we do, but at least when people steal your ebooks, it’s because they’re selfish. When people don’t care that we work for free, it’s because they don’t think we deserve any better.

So while I imagine that authors would be particularly shitty if scientists tried to release a bunch of studies saying “studies show authors have no hearts (although you do really seem to like crushing our hearts, don’t you?)” or “research demonstrates that authors lack basic ethical values”, you’d probably be pretty upset. You would run through the streets protesting about how unfair and false those claims were, and how dare scientists spread such filth about authors. But those claims aren’t very different to those you frequently make about us. And even though you might claim your work is fictional, the consequences are real. Those fictional characters get translated into real stigma. Real scientists suffer because you’re fictional characters have shaped people’s actual opinions.

So, I ask, I beg you, authors, before you next write that evil scientist character, perhaps just think about how that is affecting actual scientists. Think of all those climate scientists who nobody trusts, think about those immunologists and virologists making vaccines against deadly diseases that parents wont give their children because they don’t trust the scientists who made them. Think of all the damage being done because people don’t value the advice of scientists. Just think of how much greater the world would be if when scientists spoke about devastating issues like climate change, people actually trusted them and listened. So next time you’re trying to find a character to blame for the apocalypse, try not to just take the path of least resistance and blame the scientist. Do what you authors do best, and be creative. Come up with something original that wont further entrench the lack of trust in scientists.

And if you do that for us, as scientists, we wont get so snarky when you misuse scientific terms.

here are some articles on the plight of scientists if you are interested in reading more:

[x] [x] [x] [x]

This post, and the content within, is based on my personal experience with research over the past decade, and with people’s reactions to finding out I’m a scientist. Other people may have had different experiences, but I think these will probably be fairly familiar to most early-career scientists out there.