Literary fiction about science, G suggests, was aimed at improving the reader in the worst possible way.
Its attempts to impose a priest on a congregation–& not just a priest but a priest chosen from a farcically inappropriate demographic–were Edwardian in their pomposity. Why didn’t one see that ?
Never mind, D says: our duty now is to undermine the legacy by writing absolutely unscientific fiction. We have an immediate duty to explore, celebrate and riff off the virtues of trash. “Octopuses from outer space,” she says, “shamelessly bugger a young fermion in your street while the Old One looks on with a smile, dreamily having one of Einstein’s shoes. I don’t want to be a vicar nouveau. The fun goes out of it.”
G tells D that she can’t be serious about this.
She was never more serious, D replies. Her preferred fiction would consist in a list of the most minor & unfortunate sexual peccadilloes of the great researchers, stitched together as a series of clues in a kind of giant Da Vinci Code of the scientific soul.
She smiles reminiscently.
“But perhaps written by Catherine Cookson.”