MATHEMATICAL FICTION:

a list compiled by Alex Kasman (College of Charleston)

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On the Nature of Human Romantic Interaction (2003)
Karl Iagnemma
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The title of the story was the title of a chapter in the Ph.D. thesis that Joseph, the main character, was working on...but never finished. Instead, he wound up living with his advisor's daughter, working at the computer help desk, and handing out pamphlets to strangers entitled "Proof of God's Existence by Series Expansion" and "The Combinatorics of Ancient Roman Orgies".

Joseph believes that dynamical systems can help him understand his relationship with Alexandra. Some of these equations are presented explicitly in the story (including the famous "predator-prey model that many students see in ODE) and others are just hinted at. However, Joseph has to decide whether to trust in these models, or follow the advice of his former advisor who has his own "theory".

A running subplot concerns the history of the icy Michigan town in which the story takes place and the tragic life of its founder.

This short story is one of three "mathematical" stories by Iagnemma which appear in his collection On the Nature of Human Romantic Interaction: Stories". Iagnemma recently received his Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from MIT where he now works as a research scientist. In addition, his short stories have been published in many prestitigious literary magazines and have won him numerous prizes.

Contributed by Darren Lipman

"On the Nature of Human Romantic Interaction" is an anthology of relationship stories about the scientifically minded, not all of which revolve around the topic of math, but all of which are worthwhile reads that will leave any impression on the literary inclined. This is one of my favorite anthologies, and I recall fondly reading it before bed many a late night. Its depth of characters is considerably great, and the implications it gives between the lines are equally as stunning. For any lover of science and fiction, this is the book for you.

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(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 On the Nature of Human Romantic Interaction
According to my `secret formula', the following works of mathematical fiction are similar to this one:
  1. Zilkowski's Theorem by Karl Iagnemma
  2. The Ore Miner's Wife by Karl Iagnemma
  3. Stay Close, Little Ghost by Oliver Serang
  4. The Arnold Proof by Jessica Francis Kane
  5. Reality Conditions by Alex Kasman
  6. Singleton by Greg Egan
  7. Towel Season by Ron Carlson
  8. The Three Body Problem by Catherine Shaw
  9. Belonging to Karovsky by Kathryn Schwille
  10. The Devotion of Suspect X [YĆ“gisha X no kenshin] by Keigo Higashino
Ratings for On the Nature of Human Romantic Interaction:
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:
3/5 (2 votes)
..
Literary Quality:
4/5 (2 votes)
..

Categories:
Genre
MotifAcademia, Romance,
TopicAnalysis/Calculus/Differential,
MediumShort Stories,

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(Maintained by Alex Kasman, College of Charleston)