This book contains some of the
most realistic sounding fictional mathematics I have ever read, as
well as some very high praise for mathematics (from a fictional
character). In this book, an astronaut returns from a 10 year mission
(though it took 127 Earth years because of relativistic effects, so
everyone he knew is dead) to learn that much has changed in his
absence. Most notably, although his mission seemed important when he
left, nobody finds it or him especially interesting any more. He
explains how he became interested in mathematics
during the trip:
(quoted from Return from the Stars) I only came to understand this there. Because mathematics
stands above everything. The works of Abel and Kronecker are as good
today as they were four hundred years ago, and it will always be so.
New roads arise, but the old ones lead on. They do not become
overgrown. There...there you have eternity. Only mathematics does not fear it. Up there, I understood how final it is. And strong."

The fictional mathematics comes in the form of a conversation between the astronaut and an elderly mathematician who, by coincidence, he had met as a young boy before his flight:
(quoted from Return from the Stars)
"You haven't heard of Igalli's studies, I suppose?" [asks the elderly mathematician].
"No, what are they?" [the astronaut].
"The theory of the discontinuous antipole."
"I don't know anything about an antipole. What is it?"
"Retronihilation. From this came parastatics."
"I never even heard of these terms."
"Of course, for it originated sixty years ago. But that was only the beginning of gravitology."
"I can see that I will have to do some homework," I said. "Gravitology  that's the theory of gravitation?"
"Much more. It can only be explained using mathematics. Have you studied Appiano and Froom?"
"Yes."
"Well, then you should have no difficulty. These are metagen expansions in an ndimensional, configurational, degenerative series."
"What are you saying? Didn't Skriabin prove that there are no metagens other than the variational?"
"Yes. A very elegant proof. But this, you see, is transcontinuous."
"Impossible! That would...but it must have opened up a whole new world!"

Contributed by
Michael
I doubt it has any math value at all. But very inspirational for everybody who dreamt to become a mathematician or a physicist at the time I read it back in ~ 1968. Everybody was dreaming about travelling in time or to the stars. First time I read it in Ukrainian (best translation ever) the language which is very close to the original (Polish).I also suggust to read Solaris or watch the russian version of the movie.

