This is yet another tale about a hotel to illustrate the mind-blowing properties of infinite cardinals. Like the others, which you can find listed below among the "similar works", this is only *barely* a work of fiction. The characters and very thin plot only serve to illustrate some mathematical ideas, making it not much more a work of fiction than any word problem in a math textbook, in my opinion.
However, unlike the others, the characters in this story reach mistaken conclusions based on faulty logic. By considering fractions with transfinite cardinals as denominators and by confusing the use of finite binary strings to number the countably infinite rooms with the uncountably infinite number of ways that those rooms can be occupied or empty, the story reaches false conclusions. I'm not sure if the author intends this to be funny or educational, but I would not be surprised if some readers will be left believing these falsehoods.
This story is to appear in the *Mathematical Intelligencer* and has already been posted online here. Thanks to Allan Goldberg, Renling Jin and Andrew Przeworski for sharing their thoughts on this unusual work of mathematical fiction. |