a list compiled by Alex Kasman (College of Charleston)

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The Light of Other Days (2000)
Arthur C. Clarke / Stephen Baxter
(click on names to see more mathematical fiction by the same author)

Using the WormCam (a camera sent through a wormhole in space-time), it is possible to witness any event that is taking or has taken place in the universe. This makes privacy essentially an obsolete concept, but also allows us to answer many of the nagging mysteries: who painted the Mona Lisa? Was there really a "Jesus"? Who killed JFK?

There really is not much math in the book, but I'll include it on this list of mathematical fiction on account of the following two little tidbits: There is a brief discussion of the metric on Minkowski space when the inventors of the WormCam first realize that the can use it to look back in time. A high school student uses the WormCam to look back at Pierre Fermat as he wrote the famous marginal note that inspired so much interest in the question of whether xn+yn=zn has any solutions in the positive integers for n>3. Thus, he is able to determine whether Fermat actually knew a proof, had a mistaken proof, or was merely joking when he wrote that he knew a proof of the so-called "Fermat's Last Theorem".

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Works Similar to The Light of Other Days
According to my `secret formula', the following works of mathematical fiction are similar to this one:
  1. The Last Theorem by Arthur C. Clarke / Frederik Pohl
  2. PreVision by John Pierce
  3. Manifold: Time by Stephen Baxter
  4. Rama II by Arthur C. Clarke / Gentry Lee
  5. The Ghost from the Grand Banks by Arthur C. Clarke
  6. Diaspora by Greg Egan
  7. The Logic Pool by Stephen Baxter
  8. Planck Zero by Stephen Baxter
  9. Lines of Longitude by Stephen Baxter
  10. Paradox by John Meaney
Ratings for The Light of Other Days:
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:
1.5/5 (2 votes)
Literary Quality:
4/5 (2 votes)

GenreScience Fiction,
MotifTime Travel,
TopicGeometry/Topology/Trigonometry, Algebra/Arithmetic/Number Theory, Mathematical Physics,

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(Maintained by Alex Kasman, College of Charleston)