I don't want to get into a debate here about whether superstrings are math or physics. I know mathematicians and physicists who would argue (with some good points on each side) that it is in their area of study and not the other. Similarly, I know mathematicians and physicists both who think superstrings are a waste of time, and would argue that it is in the other area of study. (These mathematicians would say derisively "It's not math at all, just `physics'" and in the same tone a physicist might say "That's not physics, just `math'.")
For the purpose of this description, let's just accept that superstring theory is both mathematics and physics. In which case, this story counts as mathematical fiction. In it, a white Afrikaaner is forced by bad circumstance (a traffic accident involving an elephant) to take a bus ride with black workers. From a roofer named Mordecai Thubana, he learns a bit about string theory and a lot about apartheid.
The story is, fortunately, dated. There is mention of Soviet
spaceflights to Mars, which I suppose means that it is set in the
`future' which neither the Soviet Union nor Apartheid survived long
enough to see. Nevertheless, it is still interesting (in an eerie way) and full of bizarre analogies between one of the most complicated theories of mathematical physics and one of the most unjust forms of government.
