My suspension of disbelief is thrown off almost immediately with these science papers. They exist in such exotic locales. For example these tall tales exist in: 1)Volcano caves buried under miles of ice on Antarctica, 2) Old mines, many miles under the Earth’s surface, 3) A 27 kilometer ring that collides particles together at near light speed, 4) an observatory on top of the tallest mountain in the world 5) almost any close space locale, 6) the darkest parts of the rain forest, or any other unlikely settings.
These settings stretch our imaginations too much when readers should only be expected to know the ins and outs of the city of New York and their own town or city. And the only reason New York is allowed is because all the publishers have offices in that city.
One thing that is charming about these science papers is the use of the first person ‘I’ or the first group ‘we’. This method of story telling usually has me so engrossed that I get into the story right away. Like the series The Chronicles of Amber by Roger Zelazny it sucks most people in.
The use of the first person to draw you in is more than countered by the motivation of the I or we character(s). There seems to be a care for such minutiae that it pulls me right out of the story again.
Then there are the info dumps. One info dump follows the other to the end of these papers. The info dump is so severe it’s almost as if the reader needed to know everything so they could replicate it in some exotic locale much like the writers of these papers used.
Where is the build to the climax? The conclusion is just reported on. Has no one told these scientists that all good writing follows the simple rule, “show don’t tell”. Well they all break this rule again and again. I can’t blame them, though. The writing is about such esoteric things that even with telling I find I didn’t understand most of what has been said.
So I must leave these papers with a rating of one half a star out of five. “Nyeah!” I say to the people who put me onto this critique, expecting me to give a rating of zero stars. But I have always been a sucker for first person. It’s just too bad they didn’t have an unreliable narrator, because this review would have been a one star out of five.
And I have been told that with unreliable narrators science wouldn’t progress.