a list compiled by Alex Kasman (College of Charleston)
|In the first portion of this short story, a teenager and the aunt who took her in when her parents died enjoy doing math together. However, when the girl begins to get advanced training from Cambridge mathematicians and discovers a "universal equation", the story takes an interesting but decidedly nonlinear turn.
The math described in the story is never deep or interesting in itself, but there is a poetry to the author's descriptions of it that I like:
|(quoted from The Central Tendency)|
Sometimes I forgot what time it was, what day it was, because I was lost in numbers and how they all have different faces, depending on how you look at them. Sixteen is twice eight, or two to the power of four, or a ninth of twelve squared.
Then Lallie slowly showed me something better than numbers. She showed me tools and schemes. Matrices and transformations, laws, proofs, operations. Every number has a million faces, but the million faces all line up and you can cancel them all out and just be left with abstractions, blank-faced letters alone at the heart of everything.
In the same way, although I'm not sure I could describe for you what happens at the end -- to me it's sort of like a recursive definition that regresses infinitely -- there is still something emotionally satisfying about it.
This story was published in the July 2003 issue of Strange Horizons and fortunately is still available online.
|More information about this work can be found at www.strangehorizons.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.)|
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)