a list compiled by Alex Kasman (College of Charleston)
|A mathematical prodigy uses his expertise in artificial intelligence to repair his own brain after he is shot in the head in this novel by famed AI researcher Marvin Minsky together with science fiction author Harry Harrison.
The fact that mathematician Alan Turing is name-checked in the title does not make this mathematical fiction. (The "Turing Test" is not really math, IMHO.) Nevertheless, since Minsky has degrees in mathematics, it is not terribly surprising that math gets mentioned occasionally in the course of the novel. Here are some examples, all relating to the aforementioned prodigy, Brian:
Although it takes the form of a hybrid mystery and science fiction novel, the exposition of the scientific ideas seems to have taken precedence over both the plot and the quality of the writing. According to Minsky, this collaboration came about when Harrison told him that the ideas in his (non-fiction) book "The Society of Mind" would reach more people if it was embedded in a work of fiction. That has not turned out to be the case, at least in part because many readers and reviewers have complained about its literary quality. (See, for example, ‘The Turing Option’: Novel Owes More to Science Than to Art.)
Nevertheless, some readers found it worthwhile to read this book as a way to encounter some cutting edge ideas from artificial intelligence in an entertaining form. That may have been a valid argument shortly after it was published. But now, that it is nearly the year 2023 when the story takes place, it is more interesting to see which of their predictions about the future proved correct and which are (almost laughably) wrong.
Thanks to Vijay Fafat for convincing me to include this novel in this database of mathematical fiction.
|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.)|
Exciting News: The total number of works of mathematical fiction listed in this database recently reached a milestone. The 1,500th entry is The Man of Forty Crowns by Voltaire. Thanks to Vijay Fafat for writing the summary of that work (and so many others). I am also grateful to everyone who has contributed to this website. Heck, I'm grateful to everyone who visited the site. Thank you!
(Maintained by Alex Kasman, College of Charleston)