Science and horror have long gone together. Often, it’s in the sense of a cautionary tale, such as Frankenstein, where humans are advised to take care what natural forces they tamper with. Occasionally, a scientist is brought in to actually solve a problem, such as Professor Van Helsing in Dracula.
Writers are advised to write what they know, so as a scientist, when I wrote Vampires of the Scarlet Order, I wrote a tale of scientists who became vampires. I also had some commentary about scientists tampering with things they don’t understand in a deliberate homage to Frankenstein. The important and fun part was that having scientists become vampires allowed them to explore what becoming a vampire actually meant. In one chapter, physicist Jane Heckman writes her observations of what its like to gain vampiric powers and attempt to understand what they’re for.
In my forthcoming novel, The Astronomer’s Crypt, I also pit scientists against dark forces. In this case, I don’t really give them time to try to understand what the dark forces are. However, I do work to uncover scientists’ underlying humanity that so often gets left out of a lot of fiction and movies. We often see scientists portrayed as cold, or maybe thoughtful, but we sometimes forget they are humans who experience joy, fear, and sadness as well.
One of the reasons “write what you know” is so important is that it allows us to share those experiences which are unique to us. On recent panels and interviews, I’ve been touting the importance of writers having day jobs they love. Besides allowing a writer to assure they have an income better than minimum wage, it allows a writer to chronicle a wider view of the world.