MATHEMATICAL FICTION:

a list compiled by Alex Kasman (College of Charleston)

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Notes from the Underground (1864)
Fyodor Dostoevsky
(click on names to see more mathematical fiction by the same author)
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Contributed by "William E. Emba"

Part I involves an unnamed rather crazed and unreliable narrator (generally known as "the Underground Man") raving and rambling against life, the universe, and everything. A few times, he rails at the scientifically established fact that free will is an illusion (because everything follows mathematically from initial conditions) and that responsibility thus does not exist. In particular, the Underground Man particular tries to think through the consequences of the eventual discovery of the ultimate formulas that describe all forthcoming human action.

Part II is the actual story, regarding the sequence of events that made the Underground Man the man he is today. His narration is still unreliable, but is primarily concerned with the events in question (and no mathematics).

An unidentified translation is online at http://eserver.org/books/dostoevsky-underground/ Mathematically minded passages are in part I, sections VII and VIII of the above. (Unfortunately, various translations differ in regard to the subdivisions, and even the paragraphing, so it's not possible to give absolute references.)

More information about this work can be found at eserver.org.
(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 Notes from the Underground
According to my `secret formula', the following works of mathematical fiction are similar to this one:
  1. War and Peace by Lev Tolstoy
  2. The Power of Words by Edgar Allan Poe
  3. The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky
  4. Hard Times by Charles Dickens
  5. The Odd Women by George Gissing
  6. Mrs. Warren's Profession by George Bernard Shaw
  7. Geometry in the South Pacific by Sylvia Warner
  8. Royal Highness (K├Ânigliche Hoheit) by Thomas Mann
  9. Round the Moon by Jules Verne
  10. Young Archimedes by Aldous Huxley
Ratings for Notes from the Underground:
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:
1.33/5 (3 votes)
..
Literary Quality:
5/5 (3 votes)
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Categories:
Genre
MotifFuture Prediction through Math,
Topic
MediumNovels, Available Free Online,

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(Maintained by Alex Kasman, College of Charleston)