a list compiled by Alex Kasman (College of Charleston)

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Mirror Image (1972)
Isaac Asimov
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A robot volunteers the aid of his human, Earthling friend to settle a dispute between a pair of feuding "spacer" mathematicians. It seems that an old mathematician (over 270 years old in fact) and a young mathematician (only in his 50s) both tell the same story: one of them made a startling new discovery in neurobiophysics and told the other one about it, and then the other one stole the idea. The stories are identical, except that the roles are reversed: each claims the other stole the idea. The idea of symmetry runs throughout the story (and is the key to the solution of the mystery.)

Originally published in Analog magazine (1972).

Contributed by Adlai

Despite containing almost no mathematical content, this is a highly insightful story about mathematicians, and innovators in general.

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Works Similar to Mirror Image
According to my `secret formula', the following works of mathematical fiction are similar to this one:
  1. Furuhata Ninzaburô (Episode 13) by Kôki Mitani
  2. The Ultimate Crime by Isaac Asimov
  3. The Image in the Mirror by Dorothy Leigh Sayers
  4. The Last Answer by Isaac Asimov
  5. Go, Little Book by Isaac Asimov
  6. The Feeling of Power by Isaac Asimov
  7. Sixty Million Trillion Combinations by Isaac Asimov
  8. Moriarty by Modem by Jack Nimersheim
  9. Getting the Combination by Isaac Asimov
  10. The Adventure of the Russian Grave by William Barton / Michael Capobianco
Ratings for Mirror Image:
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:
2/5 (4 votes)
Literary Quality:
3.75/5 (4 votes)

GenreMystery, Science Fiction,
MediumShort Stories,

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May 2016: I am experimenting with a new feature which will print a picture of the cover and a link to the 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)