MATHEMATICAL FICTION:

a list compiled by Alex Kasman (College of Charleston)

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Solid Geometry (1976)
Ian McEwan
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This short story from McEwan's award winning first collection is about a man who learns some topology from his grandfather's journals...but not your average topology. He learns how to fold surfaces (like pieces of paper) until they disappear...and that's just the beginning!

After a failed attempt to make a TV version of this story in the 1970's (the story was deemed too "sexy" for the BBC) it was made into a short film starring Ewan McGregor in 2002. (Note added June 2004: The short film is now available for sale from www.solidgeometry.net.)

Contributed by Nelson Walker

I was very glad to find your website on Mathematical Fiction. I wanted to tell you about the short story "Solid Geometry" by Ian McEwan (written in the mid 1970s) - the short story is currently in the anthology "First Love, Last Rites". I just read this short story and I was surprised how closely it resembles the old 1940s short story "No-Sided Professor", which you have featured on your website. I have No-Sided Professor in one of my older sci-fi anthologies, and I have read the short story several times.

"Solid Geometry" is about a man discovering mathematical diagrams in a diary from the 1800s, and is able to fold sheets of paper which disappear; also people can be folded in a similar manner and disappear.

Contributed by Mikko

Very disturbing and intriguing short story. I recommend.

Buy this work of mathematical fiction and read reviews at amazon.com. Amazon.com logo
(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 Solid Geometry
According to my `secret formula', the following works of mathematical fiction are similar to this one:
  1. Killing Time by Frank Tallis
  2. No-Sided Professor by Martin Gardner
  3. The Hollow Man by Dan Simmons
  4. To Walk the Night by William Sloane
  5. Schwarzschild Radius by Connie Willis
  6. Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton
  7. The Atrocity Archives by Charles Stross
  8. Pi by Darren Aronofsky (director)
  9. Cube by Vincenzo Natali (Director)
  10. Phase IV by Mayo Simon (writer) / Saul Bass (director)
Ratings for Solid Geometry:
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 (4 votes)
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Literary Quality:
4.25/5 (4 votes)
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Categories:
GenreScience Fiction, Horror,
MotifRomance,
TopicGeometry/Topology/Trigonometry,
MediumShort Stories, Films,

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Your Help Needed: Some site visitors remember reading works of mathematical fiction that neither they nor I can identify. It is time to crowdsource this problem and ask for your help! You would help a neighbor find a missing pet...can't you also help a fellow site visitor find some missing works of mathematical fiction? Please take a look and let us know if you have seen these missing stories anywhere!.

(Maintained by Alex Kasman, College of Charleston)