Guest Post: ‘Putting Science in Fiction’ by R J Corgan, author of Cold Flood

I’m delighted to welcome author R J Corgan to What Cathy Read Next today.  RJ’s first book, Cold Flood, a thriller set on a geological expedition was published recently.  Followers of my blog will be aware of my fascination with the facts I come across when reading fiction – you can read my latest Fact in Fiction Friday post here – so you can understand my excitement when I saw the subject of RJ’s guest post.

You can find further details about the book below, along with purchase links.

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Cold FLoodAbout the Book

For geologist Kea Wright, when a volcano erupts under an ice cap, it isn’t just a good time, it’s a living. Camped at the base of an icecap in southeast Iceland, Kea and her team are investigating landforms created by catastrophic floods. With only days left in the field season, bad weather on the way, and the volcano due to erupt at any time, the team is struck by a tragedy that threatens to shut down the entire project.

As the team rushes to complete their work, the expedition continues to be plagued by setbacks, leading Kea to wonder if the initial tragedy was an accident after all. During her reluctant – and inept – attempts to investigate, Kea inadvertently stumbles upon a secret. One so valuable, someone is willing to kill to keep it hidden.

Format: ebook (270 pp.)    Publisher:
Published: 7th April 2018   Genre: Thriller

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*links provided for convenience, not as part of any affiliate programme


Find Cold Flood on Goodreads

Guest Post ‘Putting Science in Fiction’ by R J Corgan, author of Cold Flood

Reading the news or any mystery novel, it seems there are a billion different ways to murder someone. Equally, there seem to be just as many ways for a forensic pathologist to figure out how it was done and whodunnit. Whether in Sherlock Holmes or in Bones, science is often vital to enable the sleuth to solve the case.

Astronaut Mark Watney in The Martian uses, and battles, the laws of physics to figure out how to get back to earth, the planet Mars and some potatoes his only companions. The author, Andy Weir, takes the reader on an adventure where science is central to the resolution. This is tricky to do in novels as the author must inform the reader without appearing to lecture. However, when the author is able to successfully convey their passion for a topic – and the thrill of discovery that drives so much of scientific discoveries – the reader is hooked.

Over the last decade pursuing my degrees, I found reading scientific journals, dense with references, charts, statistics, and methodology sections, a difficult chore. Worse than that, it was only through universities that I was able to access these expensive journals. It was only after I left academia that I began to appreciate that there are other, more fantastic, stories hidden behind many of these articles. Not just of the scientific findings, or the mind bending mathematical differential equations, but the stories of the researchers themselves.

Scientists leading expeditions in the remotest regions of the world are often doing a mad balancing act. Putting aside the fact that they have to acquire funding, manage the logistics for travel, food, and equipment for all of their team members, they also have to ensure the safety of every member under hazardous conditions. They do this while simultaneously mentoring and educating students, managing course loads, and addressing concerns, and enlisting the help, of local populations.

At some point they even manage to collect the data. They do all this while being separated from their children, their families for long periods. And they do this year after year, after year. On my latest expedition to a volcano in Nicaragua, one of the research scientists was 74, and I could barely keep up with him as he leapt on and off the back of the jeep, literally choking on his dust as he jogged ahead of me around the slopes of the volcano. Respect is due.

I wrote Cold Flood as a tribute to these researchers. They labor to publish their findings in peer-reviewed journals, ones most of us will never read. I hope that by telling their story, the reader will get a glimpse of some amazing places and spend some time getting to know some truly amazing people – and maybe be inspired to join an expedition themselves.                                                                                                      © R J Corgan, 2018

mapping Cold FLoodAbout the Author

Raised by librarians, RJ has a PhD in Geology, and has worked on volcanoes and glaciers across the globe. Cold Flood  is his debut novel, mixing genres of actual scientific expeditions and thrillers.

The adventures of Kea Wright will continue in the forthcoming novels Meerkat Murders and Mammoth Drop in 2019.

Connect with R J Corgan

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