Novels and thought experiments can be pathways to different kinds of knowledge. We may, however, be hard pressed to say exactly what can be learned from novels but not from thought experiments. Headway on this matter can be made by spelling out their respective conditions for epistemic failure. Thought experiments fail in their epistemic role when they neither yield propositional knowledge nor contribute to an argument. They are largely in the business of ‘knowing that’. Novels, on the other hand can be an epistemic success by yielding ‘knowledge how’. They can help us to improve our competences.