MATHEMATICAL FICTION:

a list compiled by Alex Kasman (College of Charleston)

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Nice Girl with Five Husbands (1951)
Fritz Leiber
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Contributed by "William E. Emba"

A man is unwittingly swept by a time wind 100 years into the future. He and the people he meets in the future--including the nice girl of the title--talk at cross purposes, but no one realizes it.

The children of the future mostly scare him, since they are so evidently brilliant. One child does not scare him, though, because she says dumb things like "one plus one equals ten" and chants silly child's nonsense syllables while skipping rope.

Eventually, he is swept back to his point of origin. Over time, he reads lots of popular science, but never connects the newfangled computer's reliance on binary arithmetic 1+1=10 with the girl of the future. And the narrator comments that he never notices that the generalized Einstein equations (given explicitly in the story) if pronounced directly, read the same as the girl's nonsense chant.

(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 Nice Girl with Five Husbands
According to my `secret formula', the following works of mathematical fiction are similar to this one:
  1. Mimsy Were the Borogoves by Lewis Padgett (aka Henry Kuttner and Catherine L. Moore)
  2. The Fourth Dynasty by R.R. Winterbotham
  3. Progress by Alex Kasman
  4. The Feeling of Power by Isaac Asimov
  5. Young Beaker by J.T. Lamberty, Jr.
  6. The Curve of the Snowflake by William Grey Walter
  7. Star, Bright by Mark Clifton
  8. Occam's Razor by David Duncan
  9. A Rite of Spring by Fritz Leiber
  10. The Unwilling Professor by Arthur Porges
Ratings for Nice Girl with Five Husbands:
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:
1/5 (1 votes)
..

Categories:
GenreScience Fiction,
MotifTime Travel,
TopicMathematical Physics,
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)