a list compiled by Alex Kasman (College of Charleston)
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Highly Rated! 
Egan's "Orthogonal Trilogy" explains how the Peerless and its crew of scientists, mathematicians and engineers was launched in the hope if find a way to save their homeworld from destruction. A major focus is on the way physics and biology would be different in a universe where the laws of physics were different.
As you probably know, according to the theory of relativity, the crew of a space ship that traveled quickly away from Earth and back would return to find that many years had passed here at home for each year they experienced on the ship. (This theoretical prediction, by the way, has been experimentally verified. So, as strange as it may seem, it really seems to be true.) The very basis of this series of novels is that with the change of just a single sign (replacing the minus sign in one component of the metric tensor of spacetime with a plus sign) the situation reverses. In particular, in such a universe the space travelers would experience many years for each year passed on their home world. Consequently, when it was discovered that the home planet was in danger of being destroyed in a collision (with "orthogonal matter"), it made sense to send a ship into space to try to find a solution to the problem. In particular, generations of scientists could live and work on the ship seeking a way to save the planet and yet they could return with the answer before the disaster occurred. Another author might have been content to write a story around that one difference without considering what other changes would follow from this one little sign change, but Egan is not your average science fiction author. He does a truly spectacular job of working out the ways in which that universe would be the same and the ways in which that universe would be different. For a knowledgeable reader, then, there are several pleasures in reading this book. In addition to following the storyline as one would with any novel, we can experience the joy of discovery when a character figures something out, we can have the fun of trying to recognize and recall the analogous discovery in human history, and finally the very intellectual pleasure of comparing the two. Of course, there is math here, otherwise I would not be listing it on my Website, but it is no more prominent than the physics and biology that are around. So, you have to look for it. In the first novel, the main mathematical content is in the mathematics that underlies their version of special relativity (and, just a little bit about quantum physics, too). There are plenty of diagrams and formulas for the reader's convenience as well. I wholeheartedly believe that taste in fiction is subjective, and this is certainly not for everyone, but to me this novel is just the start of a threepart work of art that is truly exquisite. If this description appeals to you at all, I urge you to give it a try. (And, be sure to check out its sequels, The Eternal Flame and In a nutshell Yalda turns out to be the equivalent of Einstein in her home world (universe). By studying the Hurtlers' phenomenon (some sort of comets which appeared when she was little) she establishes (by accident) the principles of Special Relativity based on her studies of light and the mathematics that describe it, calling it Rotational Physics. This revolutionizes the scientific knowledge of her time (as expected), but also sheds light on the enormous threat the Hurtlers represent to her planet (and everything else actually), prompting the scientific community and the society to engage in the biggest project ever to get a chance of survival. A space opera on board the Peerless (a mountain turned into a spaceship) looking for the answers needed to prevent the impending catastrophe is in order. 
Contributed by
Andy Breslin “Ye cannae change the laws of physics!” So said Star Trek’s beloved Mr Scott. Or maybe he never explicitly said that on the show, and only uttered that frustrated maxim in a popular song parody . Still, it’s undeniably and unalterably true. But what if you could? That’s exactly what Greg Egan did. He just changed the laws of physics. Sneaky bastard. And the result is a mindbending head trip. A trip taking place at infinite velocity, no less. “But that’s impossible!” you say. Ha! Didn’t you hear? Mr. Egan changed the laws of physics. This was simultaneously both a delightful thought exercise and a real slap across my brain’s face, because unlearning what you’ve already learned is a much bigger pain than learning in the first place. Remember your introduction to relativistic physics? It was tough to grasp. You had to get all Taoist and Zen, allowing your mind to free itself from its expectations, apprehending the universe unfettered by the illusions deeply ingrained in it through a lifetime of experience. And now you’re going to have start all over again. Assume the lotus position and clear your mind. First there is a mountain, then there is no maintain, then there is . . . . Back when you first studied relativity, you started with Einstein’s amazing, utterly counterintuitive insight that light’s velocity is always measured exactly the same, regardless of the speed of the observer. Once you were able to wrap your brain around that, everything else flowed logically and inevitably from it. The Lorentz–FitzGerald contraction. Relativistic mass. And of course, the most fun, time dilation and the consequent twin paradox. As you approach the speed of light, time slows down. At a velocity sufficiently close to the speed of light, you could take a little trip that seemed to last an hour, only to return to Earth and find that your twin brother is an old man and all your Windows updates have taken effect and your system has rebooted. Also, your cat will be dead and the library fines for your long overdue copy of The Clockwork Rocket will rival the national debt. Not in this orthogonal universe. There is no “speed of light.” Time dilation is essentially reversed (you’ll come back an old man, and your computer will still be installing the same damn updates). And nobody has a twin, though most people have a “co.” The mathematical details of the laws of physics in this new universe are spelled out as lucidly as possible in the context of a science fiction novel. That doesn’t mean it’s easy to grasp, but that shouldn’t dissuade you from trying. If, however, it doesn’t all immediately make perfect sense, you should keep reading anyway. Besides being a fascinating speculation on the physics of a different universe, this is also just a damn good story. Our protagonist, Yalda, is as memorable a character as you could hope to find. And not just memorable, but also relevant. A brilliant scientist such as she, taking action against a global danger that most of the population doesn’t really understand, might find our nonorthogonal universe, with its own bizarre laws of physics, surprisingly familiar. And maybe she could offer us some suggestions on how to address the global threats facing our world, where human industryinduced climate change threatens all future civilization, yet is rejected by the sorts of people who for some unfathomable reason think that their utter inability to do basic math somehow gives them an advantage over actual climate scientists. A fine story, through and through, and not too long. You could read it in a couple of days. But, if you are pressed for time, and have looming deadlines to meet, it would be nice if, by moving at an infinite velocity, you could have all the time you want to read, with no time passing from everyone else’s perspective. Alas, that won’t work here with our laws of physics, and you cannae change them. 
Buy this work of mathematical fiction and read reviews at amazon.com. 
(Note: This is just one work of mathematical fiction from the list. To see the entire list or to see more works of mathematical fiction, return to the Homepage.) 

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Your Help Needed: Some site visitors remember reading works of mathematical fiction that neither they nor I can identify. It is time to crowdsource this problem and ask for your help! You would help a neighbor find a missing pet...can't you also help a fellow site visitor find some missing works of mathematical fiction? Please take a look and let us know if you have seen these missing stories anywhere!.
(Maintained by Alex Kasman, College of Charleston)