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Antibodies (2000)
Charles Stross
(click on names to see more mathematical fiction by the same author)

Contributed by "William E. Emba"

P vs NP is perhaps the greatest problem of theoretical computer science, and has attracted attention of a range of mathematicians, from logic to topology. It's one of the seven Clay Millennium Prize problems (click here). It also has connections with theoretical cryptography.

In "Antibodies", the discovery that P=NP (which is described with some plausible mathematical jargon) provokes a peculiar, frightened, and rather unexpected reaction. (But rather funny from outside.)

Contributed by Florian Mittag

I started reading Charles Stross a year ago and I can't stop. "Antibodies" is the first short story of him I've read so far and after finishing it last night I couldn't get to sleep because I was overwhelmed by the dozens of ideas that are packed into the last few pages.

The central idea of this story is that P = NP and that this discovery has huge consequences. As a student of informatics I was thrilled to see historical persons and theorems of math, which I only encountered in my theoretical lectures so far, in a SF-story. It also animated me to look for more information about the origins of computer science.

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Works Similar to Antibodies
According to my `secret formula', the following works of mathematical fiction are similar to this one:
  1. The Rapture of the Nerds by Cory Doctorow / Charles Stross
  2. Travelling Salesman by Andy Lanzone (writer) / Timothy Lanzone (director and writer)
  3. The Atrocity Archives by Charles Stross
  4. Border Guards by Greg Egan
  5. Gödel's Doom by George Zebrowski
  6. The Arrows of Time [Orthogonal Book Three] by Greg Egan
  7. Eye of the Beholder by Alex Kasman
  8. Schild's Ladder by Greg Egan
  9. Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson
  10. Signal to Noise by Eric S. Nylund
Ratings for Antibodies:
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 (1 votes)
Literary Quality:
4/5 (1 votes)

GenreScience Fiction,
TopicComputers/Cryptography, Real Mathematics,
MediumShort Stories,

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(Maintained by Alex Kasman, College of Charleston)