MATHEMATICAL FICTION:

a list compiled by Alex Kasman (College of Charleston)

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Bill, the Galactic Hero (1965)
Harry Harrison
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Contributed by "William E. Emba"

The famed parody of Asimov and Heinlein. Amongst other issues, the book asks what happens to all the garbage from a one city planet (a la Trantor from FOUNDATION)? It seems to be a losing battle down below, but the planet's topologists have come up with an empty soda can that spontaneously deforms into a long playing record, which the user naturally wants to keep.

I'm not sure, but I have the impression that Harrison once read the joke about a topologist being a mathematician who cannot the difference between a coffee cup and a doughnut, but completely missed the topological point of the joke.

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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 Bill, the Galactic Hero
According to my `secret formula', the following works of mathematical fiction are similar to this one:
  1. The Cyberiad by Stanislaw Lem
  2. The Mathenauts by Norman Kagan
  3. Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
  4. Ms Fnd in a Lbry by Hal Draper
  5. Quanto scommettiamo ("How much do you want to bet?") by Italo Calvino
  6. Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency by Douglas Adams
  7. Mathematicians in Love by Rudy Rucker
  8. To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis
  9. Narrow Valley by R.A. Lafferty
  10. And He Built a Crooked House by Robert A. Heinlein
Ratings for Bill, the Galactic Hero:
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:
1.66/5 (3 votes)
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Literary Quality:
4.33/5 (3 votes)
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Categories:
GenreHumorous, Science Fiction,
Motif
TopicGeometry/Topology/Trigonometry,
MediumNovels,

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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 Amazon.com 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)