Or, Jodi Picoult makes up a whole lot of stuff about wolves in her newest novel and pisses off a lot of people who actually know things about wolves.
Why Are Wolf Scientists Howling At Jodi Picoult? : 13.7: Cosmos And Culture : NPR
Do fiction writers have an obligation to ensure that the science they import into their novels is credible? Or does the creative license that writers enjoy mean that there's no such responsibility? What happens when a novelist explicitly notes that the work in question is based on trusted science, but scientists insist is it not?
These questions have been on my mind since I reviewed Jodi Picoult's new novel Lone Wolf for The Washington Post. I was disappointed by Picoult's far-out characterizations of wolves and their relationship to humans. Luke Warren, the book's fictional wolf expert, describes a joyful moment sharing a carcass with captive wolves: "I lowered my face to the carcass and began to rip off strips of raw flesh, bloodying my face and my hair ..." This was bizarre enough, but my limit of tolerance was finally exceeded with Luke's remark that, even before she is pregnant, an alpha female wolf knows the number of pups she will birth, their sex, and whether they will stay with her or go off to live elsewhere. This claim is nonsense, not to mention scientifically untestable.
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