MATHEMATICAL FICTION:

a list compiled by Alex Kasman (College of Charleston)

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The Hyland Resolution (2020)
Justin Tarquin
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Charles Hyland is the sort of math professor who can be totally distracted by a mathematical question while he and several academic colleagues are under attack by an enemy army on the moon. (Specifically, he is wondering whether Latin squares of order six form a single equivalence class under rotations of intercalary squares.) This science fictional scenario provides the author an opportunity to explore the innermost desires of a stereotypical mathematician.

In attempting to escape, the team of professors (along with the captain of the vessel they were in) stumble upon an ancient spacecraft and the mummified remains of its alien crew.

Hyland is able to connect to the ship telepathically. However, rather than being able to control the alien vessel as they had hoped, he becomes lost in a virtual reality based on his own fantasies. The others try to lure him out of it, but he is too captivated by the dream world in which he has found the secret of eternal youth and is lauded for his research.

Among the mathematical ideas discussed in this story are the smallest number that can be expressed as a sum of three fourth powers in two different ways, the question of whether ππ is transcendental, and the difference between a homomorphism and a homeomorphism. But the main idea, according to the author (see here) is the way that the others are eventually able to use Hyland's interest in math and his habit of consulting a computer named "Thoth" for assistance with computations to convince him that he is not a celebrity mathematician being interviewed for his adoring fans as he imagines but rather is still strapped in a chair in the alien spacecraft.

This story was published in the Planetary Anthology Series: Luna edited by Declan Finn.

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(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.)

Works Similar to The Hyland Resolution
According to my `secret formula', the following works of mathematical fiction are similar to this one:
  1. Quaternia by Tom Petsinis
  2. The Devil and Simon Flagg by Arthur Porges
  3. The Humans: A Novel by Matt Haig
  4. Strange Attractors by Charles Soule (author) / Greg Scott (Illustrator)
  5. Music of the Spheres by Ken Liu
  6. One Word Kill by Mark Lawrence
  7. Limited Wish by Mark Lawrence
  8. Cap and Gown by Eric Flint
  9. Mathematicians in Love by Rudy Rucker
  10. Resistance is Futile by Jenny T. Colgan
Ratings for The Hyland Resolution:
RatingsHave you seen/read this work of mathematical fiction? Then click here to enter your own votes on its mathematical content and literary quality or send me comments to post on this Webpage.
Mathematical Content:
4/5 (1 votes)
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Literary Quality:
3/5 (1 votes)
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Categories:
GenreScience Fiction,
MotifAcademia, Aliens,
TopicAlgebra/Arithmetic/Number Theory,
MediumShort Stories,

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(Maintained by Alex Kasman, College of Charleston)