Fabian Asker on literary deconstruction

"[I]f I come to the conclusion that Henry James was an Eccles cake, left here by alien invaders in the year 1855, and that he had had a brief liaison with White Fang of the Yukon, there wouldn't be any repercussions and I might even get a PhD."

- Fabian Asker, writing in the The Science Reporter

Writing in his regular column in the official newsletter of the Association of British Science Writers, Asker brings us news of his experiences as a mature student studying English literature. He laments that decontructing James ("ordinary people use the word 'analyse', but that's not quite good enough for Henry James") is not the same as dealing with scientific certainties such as Ohm's law. "I never knew [Ohm's] context," he writes, "had no idea or interest in his sexual history, and his law was and is blindingly lucid."

Asker also describes the adoration of his twenty-something classmates when he was able to fix an overheating lecture theatre radiator, deemed irreparable for more than a year, with a simple pair of pliers.