a list compiled by Alex Kasman (College of Charleston)

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Another Cock Tale (1975)
Chris Miller

Contributed by Vijay Fafat

A tale which is best avoided, but documented here for completeness. It is an utterly tasteless, juvenile story designed to evoke titterings among teenagers. One could laugh if it were a funny dirty joke but it isn’t. It is also the most bizarre story one might come across involving a tesseract.

Harry Immelman was a young mathematics instructor at City University, circa 1967. One night, he woke up to a very strange, very grizzly scene best left un-described except to say that he got attacked by a disembodied penis, one which Harry defeated in a sanguinary manner. Seven years passed by, Harry became an accomplished mathematician and Sara, his wife, became a highly regarded gynecologist heading up R&D at a leading firm pioneering new birth-control measures.

Now, at some point, Harry had explained some higher-dimensional geometry to Sara (which description is quite garbled and completely incorrect, as you can read below). As she recollected:

(quoted from Another Cock Tale)

“Remember one night you told me about the Mobius strip, how it converts a one dimensional continuum into a two dimensional one? And how a Klein bottle makes two dimensions into three? And how, theoretically, there would be a means of applying the same principle to a three dimensional solid, transforming it into a four dimensional form called a tess . . .”

Well, Sara and her team decided to use that idea to create an intra-uterine device - dubbed “Plastic Tess” - for birth-control. Sara explained:

(quoted from Another Cock Tale)

“Max got one of his topologists to apply the principle of the Mobius strip and Klein bottle to a three dimensional form, making it four dimensional, then miniaturized it to fit inside a vagina...

“A tesseract!” hissed Harry. “A Plastic Tess is a miniaturized tesseract!”

“Right. And when the semen passes through the Plastic Tess, it moves from a three to a four dimensional continuum and vanishes. As I said, we don't fully understand where it goes yet, but since the fourth dimension is.. .”

“Time!” cried Harry Immelman.”

The reader can guess what had happened from the future to the past.

Published in the May 1975 issue of National Lampoon Magazine.

(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 Another Cock Tale
According to my `secret formula', the following works of mathematical fiction are similar to this one:
  1. And He Built a Crooked House by Robert A. Heinlein
  2. The Fermata by Nicholson Baker
  3. Futurama (Episode: The Prisoner of Benda) by Ken Keeler (writer) / Stephen Sandoval (director)
  4. The Fourth-Dimensional Demonstrator by Murray Leinster
  5. The Four-Color Problem by Barrington J. Bayley
  6. Scandal in the Fourth Dimension by Amelia Reynolds Long (as "A.R. Long")
  7. Inside Out by Rudy Rucker
  8. Message Found in a Copy of Flatland by Rudy Rucker
  9. The Heart on the Other Side by George Gamow
  10. Shaffery Among the Immortals by Frederik Pohl
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GenreHumorous, Science Fiction,
MotifHigher/Lower Dimensions, Time Travel,
MediumShort Stories,

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Exciting News: The 1,600th entry was recently added to this database of mathematical fiction! Also, for those of you interested in non-fictional math books let me (shamelessly) plug the recent release of the second edition of my soliton theory textbook.

(Maintained by Alex Kasman, College of Charleston)