Long-listed for the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award 2015 and the Edge Hill Short Story Prize 2016
In these science-inspired tales Einstein ponders on the link between gravity and grief as he voyages in a freefalling lift between his wife and mistress, Turing is capable of imagining the distinction between computers and humans but fails to understand the nature of a police interrogation, Oppenheimer’s isolation in a Cambridge laboratory leads to personal disaster. The suffragette bombing of the Royal Observatory Edinburgh in 1913 is finally explained, and Brecht’s rewriting of ‘Life of Galileo’ is influenced by Hiroshima. A student investigates the erotic possibilities of Einstein’s relativistic thought experiments, a computer scientist breaks the barrier between simulated and real worlds, an astronomer uses a predicted meteorite strike to get revenge on her colleagues.
Read an excerpt here.
It’s published in Germany by CulturBooks Verlag (and translated by Zoë Beck) under the title ‘Von der Notwendigkeit, den Weltraum zu ordnen‘.
The collection has received some great reviews:
‘…a witty blend of history, compassion and poetic passages about neutrinos, space and beyond.’ The Independent
‘Clever and compassionate, funny and bittersweet, inventive and heartfelt, this book’s a real discovery.’ The Independent on Sunday
‘Exceptionally good… a genuinely fascinating volume, rewarding and stimulating.’ Glasgow Herald
‘Goldschmidt’s prose is endlessly inventive, blurring the lines between science, the surreal and the absurd.’ The List
Great review on BookTube by Jen Campbell (@aeroplanegirl)
‘a unique vision… the shorter pieces hinge on brilliance’ Glasgow Review of Books
‘Goldschmidt uses a direct, measured, and sometimes dryly witty, tone to showcase startling metaphors and imagery of stars, bodies, lab equipment, theoretical physics, numbers and cells; revealing how rich the world of science can be for fiction, and how unique this collection is.’ For Books’ Sake
‘These short stories provide a highly original, and engagingly human, slant on science and its practitioners past and present. Read and enjoy.’ Gutter
‘Where Goldschmidt excels … is by taking potentially complex scientific concepts, explaining them effortlessly- without appearing condescending- and using these concepts as a spring board from which to create a thoroughly engaging narrative.’ Dundee University Review of the Arts
‘Pippa Goldschmidt is busy defining an entirely new kind of “science” fiction. These stories – all of which are superb exercises in tone and concision – are urgent dispatches from a territory almost completely ignored by contemporary authors – elegant fables that inhabit the intersection of science, culture, humanity, and which are thoroughly informed by a sharp understanding of both the secret histories and hidden processes of actual science.’ Alastair Reynolds
‘Definitions: ‘scientist’ – human being who wonders, tries, gets things wrong; ‘science’ – curiosity, wrapped in strange language and with odd-looking equipment; ‘story’ – what if, and then, and then. Pippa Goldschmidt mixes all of the above and the resulting compounds are sweet, funny, spicy, provocative, moving. Your universe will be expanded. It doesn’t get any better than that.’ Tania Hershman author of My Mother Was An Upright Piano
‘These stories, written with deep empathy and a bittersweet humour, open up a world where literature often fears to tread. Science is a tool for understanding the universe, but in Pippa Goldschmidt’s hands it is also a metaphor through which we can better understand ourselves. She is a writer of great heart and talent.’ Iain Maloney author of First Time Solo and Silma Hill
‘Sharply imagined stories that glitter like a constellation: funny, sexy and moving by turns. There is a haunting, planetary loneliness at the heart of many of these tales, but they’re told with energy, wit and unflagging inventiveness.’ Wayne Price, author of Furnace and Mercy Seat