To Fiction or Not to Fiction? that is the question!

This blog will be kind of short this week. I’ve had a long day, and just now got back to my room from a 6 hour long meeting. Anyway, I mainly want to post a question concerning the story of The Double Helix. Should the book be categorized as a work of strictly Non-Fiction or Fiction? Since we get a heavy account of bias from the perspective of Watson, perhaps we should reexamine the way we describe his work. Considering the criticisms by the other people involved, perhaps the unbalance of information among the characterizations of his co-discoverers would lend to the “fiction” description. Here are the choices I think an argument could be made for:

1. Non-fiction. The story does tell of an event that actually happened.

2. Creative Non-fiction. The story tells of true events, but with a creative & interpretive spin by Watson. Also, the first person point of view is related to the genre of Creative Non-fiction

3. Historical Non-fiction. Watson’s bias diverts from the truth enough that Watson’s retelling is a different story all on it’s own.

4. Fiction. Watson’s bias has no basis in actual events.

Personally, I would argue the creative non fiction approach! Also, this sort of narrative construction, for me at least, makes stories about scientific discovery way more interesting to read. Sure, learning about science or stuff in general is fun, but presentation is important too. Also, I love a good story! That’s why we have movies like The Social Network, or the countless science related fiction that’s available to read. Good stories just make learning more fun & more fun to discuss with others.


~ by leviathan on March 20, 2012.

2 Responses to “To Fiction or Not to Fiction? that is the question!”

  1. II would say that it’s a memoir, tell all. He’s recalling it as he remembers it, which is his truth. How much of that is fact and how much is fiction hard to say. I think whether or not his account is true is more difficult to answer. How would you define the truth of what happened? There are only the recollections and experiences of who experienced it. Wouldn’t there be multiple truths then? Each persons own individual truth? But if the truth is individual, what is truth? Truth is far more complicated a concept that fact or fiction.

    • Good point. But, I suppose I’m mainly talking about presentation. Most works of straightforward non-fiction are presented in third person. For example, a history book is presented in third person. Whether or not what’s presented is wholly accurate or not is irrelevant. When you read it in school, you take it to be fact. However, when reading Watson’s work, there are several reservations about the concept of ” factual truth” present because of the heavy evidence of bias. I really like your assessment, then, that it is a memoir.

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