a list compiled by Alex Kasman (College of Charleston)

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Infinities (2002)
John Barrow
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This play, written by Cambridge cosmologist John Barrow, has been produced and performed in Italy (Milan and Valencia). It is made up of five separate vignettes several of which touch on the deep mathematics of "infinity". In one, we see a theatrical production of an old standard: Hilbert's Hotel with countably many rooms. In another, we are brought to Borges' "Library of Babel". The fourth dramatizes the arguments between Cantor and Kronecker about the nature of infinity. The other two scenarios, about time travel and the possibilities of living forever, are decidedly less mathematical.

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Works Similar to Infinities
According to my `secret formula', the following works of mathematical fiction are similar to this one:
  1. Hilbert's Hotel by Ian Stewart
  2. The Library of Babel by Jorge Luis Borges
  3. Ultima lezione a Gottinga [Last lecture at Göttingen] by Davide Osenda
  4. Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson
  5. Dude, can you count? by Christian Constanda
  6. To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis
  7. The Loom of God: Mathematical Tapestries at the Edge of Time by Clifford Pickover
  8. The Universal Library [Die Universalbibliothek] by Kurd Lasswitz
  9. The Extraordinary Hotel or the Thousand and First Journey of Ion the Quiet by Naum Ya. Vilenkin
  10. A Certain Ambiguity: A Mathematical Novel by Gaurav Suri / Hartosh Singh Bal
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GenreHistorical Fiction, Humorous, Science Fiction, Didactic,
MotifReal Mathematicians, Time Travel,
TopicInfinity, Real Mathematics,

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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 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)