Over the last few days I've read two widely divergent pieces that I think are interesting. The first is a story in the February ASIMOV'S: Rudy Rucker and Bruce Sterling's "Colliding Branes." It's a sharp, wildly funny satire on the blogosphere and the people who take it very seriously. As a blogger myself, I laughed out loud at how closely the story nails some of my self-important colleagues (who shall remain nameless).
Although I'm guessing here, I suspect that the physics of branes was, at least in part, Rudy Rucker's contribution. I have used branes myself in a story ("Mirror Image"), but not as satire. Comparing how two different stories exploit the same science, in far different ways, is instructive.
My other recommendation is also instructive. It's Mark Schultz's THE STUFF OF LIFE: A GRAPHIC GUIDE TO GENETICS AND DNA. In graphic novel form, basic knowledge about genetics is embedded in a story about an alien race with a genetic problem. The story is, granted, pretty lame, but the information is accurate, illustrated, and humorously presented. This should be used in schools; it's a big improvement over dry textbooks. And who couldn't love aliens that prefer the sea cucumber to humans on purely aesthetic grounds?
After reading this book and considering my second-to-last post, I kinda wish I could get one of my stories into graphic novel form. But I have no idea how that might be done.