© Science and Fiction was created and is curated by Dr. Helena Hartmann.

Welcome to Science & Fiction

Accessible scientific results and exciting fictional stories in one. This is a space for people who like to a) learn about science and b) read science fiction at the same time. New stories are published monthly around the middle of each month.

Each contribution below includes the following:

  • A fictional short story, poem or other literary work;
  • A scientific publication related to the story;
  • An easy-to-understand summary of the publication and explanation of its connection to the story;
  • Optional content warnings (CWs) to highlight sensitive topics;
  • Tags to search for story themes.

Stories

Browse through all stories or use the tags to search for specific topics (e.g. romance or utopia). There are not only short stories to read, but also comics! The CW stands for content warnings that you might want to know before you start reading.

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A tired cop tries to make it through a day of crashes. CW: Car accident.

You visit Hilbert in his hotel and find some interesting artifacts.

Sci-fi scientists discuss the nitty gritty of creating a cyborg. CW: Prosthetics

Have you thought of love as an all-or-nothing reaction? CW: Sexual desire and preferences

Today’s mightiest technologies morph into a child’s homework companions tomorrow.

A story about babies and robots understanding intentions through gaze.

Confronting yourself might be easier than it seems. CW: drug use, anxiety, depression.

The brain during swimming. CW: disappearance, reckless behavior, PTSD

Who ist Paula 2.0 and why does she look like me? CW: drug use, anxiety, depression.

If you could avoid every fearful situation in the blink of an eye…would you? CW: death.

A story about meeting someone you did not expect. CW: drug use, anxiety, depression.

A story about an uncomfortable journey and personal space. CW: crowds, mental health.

A story about two dogs behaving very strange. CW: suspense.

An upside down story about being neurodiverse. CW: mental health.

A story about taking a pill that will change your life forever. CW: drug use.

Contribute

This project is accepting guest contributions, and you can see the author of each story in the corresponding cover image and on the respective story page. If you want to contribute ideas or stories yourself, you have two options:

  • Are you interested in sending me a story idea or paper you’d like me to write a story around? Submit your ideas here.

  • Do you want to write your own short story and share it with the world? I am happy to publish your work here as part of Science & Fiction as a guest contribution. Submit your work here.

Submission guidelines

  • You need a scientific paper and a short story that matches that paper. While the project originally publishes short stories, you can also submit anything else artistic, such as poems, photos, drawings, comic, graphic novels. … you name it! In that case please shortly e-mail me at scicommandfiction@gmail.com before the submission.
  • You don’t need to be an active scientist to submit a contribution, but the story should be connected to scientific work somehow. The paper can be your own work or just a paper you find interesting and relevant.
  • You need the full citation and link to the scientific paper and a short summary of the paper in lay language. What you write should be understandable for a non-scientific audience (around 1-2 sentences each for introduction, methods, results and discussion). Also add a few words on how the paper and the story are connected. This is important as the two main goals of Science & Fictions are to entertain and educate. The story-paper connection may be through the results (”painkillers reduce empathy” or “sleeping makes you learn better”) or just the broad topic (”pain” or “placebos”).
  • In terms of the story genre or scope, there are no limits, so you can let your creativity run wild. There is also no strict word limit. By sending me your story, you agree to have it published on the Science & Fiction website under your name, and publicised on social media. Be aware of this, when you write about critical or personal topics. You can also submit the story to be published anonymously, in that case just tick the “anonymous” box in the submission form.
  • If you need inspiration what to put for some of the fields, check here.
  • Stories are reviewed by me (Helena Hartmann) and I reserve the right to reject stories if I think they will hurt certain people or groups of people or violate code of conduct rules (see e.g. here). You’ll receive an answer from me after max. 4 weeks whether your story is accepted.
Science and Fiction

Science and Fiction

About the project

History

Science & Fiction is a science communication project launched in January 2023. It was created by Dr. Helena Hartmann. Helena is a neuroscientist, psychologist and science communicator from Germany. She currently works at the University Hospital Essen (DE) as a postdoctoral researcher. Before, she completed her PhD at the University of Vienna (AT). During this time, she was a visiting researcher at the Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience (NL). The project started featuring guest contributions from June 2023 onwards. Since February 2023, the project has its own domain (www.scienceandfiction.net) and there is a German version where many stories were translated from English (www.scienceandfiction.net/de).

Disclaimers

Please be aware that while this project connects science fiction with science communication about real scientific results, the short stories are purely fictional and sometimes only vaguely related to the scientific results, for example in terms of the theme or underlying phenomenon. The stories therefore do not attempt to exactly mirror the scientific research or precisely describe its results, they are rather a gateway to make you interested to know more about the science behind it. Please always also have a look at the original publication if you want to know more about the respective studies.

The German version contains stories that were originally written in English and translated to German either by the authors or by Helena (the latter using support from DeepL). This can be checked at the end of each story.

If I missed a content warning, you can’t access a certain publication or anything is unclear, please write me at scicommandfiction@gmail.com.

Credit attribution

All artwork is created by the authors themselves or using the free version of Canva. To cite a story, please refer to it as follows: Author (month year). Title. Science & Fiction. URL: https://… (e.g. Hartmann, H. (January 2023). Emotion to go. Science & Fiction. URL: https://scienceandfiction.net/stories/1_emotion-to-go/).

Social media

The project is listed as a science communication project on the NaWik. Follow this project on X/Twitter or BlueSky for regular story updates.

Podcast appearances