MATHEMATICAL FICTION:

a list compiled by Alex Kasman (College of Charleston)

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The Phantom of Kansas (1976)
John Varley
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Contributed by "William E. Emba"

A sublunar meteorological artist wakens from her memory recording to learn that a serial killer has been murdering her repeatedly, and is presumably still targeting her. In trying to comprehend what it means to be "herself" under these circumstances, she works out a four-dimensional metaphor for her various selves.

Appeared in GALAXY SCIENCE FICTION (Feb 1976) reprinted in his THE PERSISTENCE OF MEMORY.

Contributed by Raja Thiagarajan

While I think this is a wonderful story, the "mathematics" of seeing a life as a 4-dimensional object is only mentioned in a few sentences, and (in my opinion anyway) isn't central to the story.

(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 The Phantom of Kansas
According to my `secret formula', the following works of mathematical fiction are similar to this one:
  1. Left or Right by Martin Gardner
  2. The Library of Babel by Jorge Luis Borges
  3. Message Found in a Copy of Flatland by Rudy Rucker
  4. The Cube Root of Conquest by Rog Phillips
  5. The Plattner Story by Herbert George Wells
  6. Technical Error by Arthur C. Clarke
  7. The Image in the Mirror by Dorothy Leigh Sayers
  8. An Episode of Flatland by Charles H. Hinton
  9. The Number of the Beast by Robert A. Heinlein
  10. Cascade Point by Timothy Zahn
Ratings for The Phantom of Kansas:
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 (1 votes)
..
Literary Quality:
5/5 (1 votes)
.

Categories:
GenreScience Fiction,
MotifHigher/Lower Dimensions,
Topic
MediumShort Stories,

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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)