MATHEMATICAL FICTION:

a list compiled by Alex Kasman (College of Charleston)

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Georgia on My Mind (1995)
Charles Sheffield
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Contributed by Michele Benzi

The story has to do with Babbage's Analytical Engine and a remote region of Antarctica (the "Georgia" of the title). The mathematics bit, aside from Babbage, consists of a nonlinear optimization problem facing the main characters, for the solution of which they contact "Gene", a numerical analyst from Stanford, who was actually a real person (Gene Golub, an eminent numerical analysts whom I knew very well and co-authored four papers with). There is a brief discussion of the computational complexity of the problem ("it's definitely non-polynomial...").

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Works Similar to Georgia on My Mind
According to my `secret formula', the following works of mathematical fiction are similar to this one:
  1. The Difference Engine by William Gibson / Bruce Sterling
  2. In The Country of the Blind by Michael Flynn
  3. Dark as Day by Charles Sheffield
  4. The Ganymede Club by Charles Sheffield
  5. Nuremberg Joys by Charles Sheffield
  6. Wang's Carpets by Greg Egan
  7. Signal to Noise by Eric S. Nylund
  8. Herbrand's Conjecture and the White Sox Scandal by Eliot Fintushel
  9. The Face of the Waters by Robert Silverberg
  10. One by George Alec Effinger
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Categories:
GenreScience Fiction,
MotifAliens, Real Mathematicians,
TopicComputers/Cryptography, Analysis/Calculus/Differential,
MediumShort Stories,

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May 2016: I am experimenting with a new feature which will print a picture of the cover and a link to the Amazon.com page for a work of mathematical fiction when it is available. I hope you find this useful and convenient. In any case, please write to let me know if it is because I would be happy to either get rid of it or improve it if that would be better for you. Thanks! -Alex

(Maintained by Alex Kasman, College of Charleston)