MATHEMATICAL FICTION:

a list compiled by Alex Kasman (College of Charleston)

Home All New Browse Search About

...
Life in a Mirror (2003)
Daniel Ryan
...

This e-book not only contains many explicit references to mathematics, but it also claims to follow the outline of a mathematical text!

Set in 18th century Brittany, the story is ostensibly about royalty and religion, duels and battles. There are references to Newton and his discovery of calculus, of mental computations computed with the aid of the properties of logarithms, and of the combinatorics of certain choices which arise as part of the story. Some of this strikes me as anachronistic. For instance, the logarithm computation seems more likely to have been done by an engineer in the early 20th century than by anyone in 1713. Moreover, much of the language is also anachronistic ("Oh my gawd!" and "Okay").

Still, the most fascinating aspect of this book is the author's claim that the form of the book is based on the now classic mathematical text Theory of Games and Economic Behavior by John von Neumann and Oskar Morgernstern.

Unfortunately, at this point in time I do not have time to read this book carefully enough to see what is meant by this. (I also have to admit to having never read Theory of Games... either!) However, I hope to find time to look into this aspect of it at a later date. If you can say more, please do write to me with your comments. (The easiest way is to use the link below for entering your "votes" on the quality of this work and include any comments you might have.)

Contributed by Daniel M. Ryan

I have to admit that Dr. Kasman caught me out on something, even if one modernism was put there deliberately. I really should plead artistic freedom with this one, as the modernisms (Americanisms) do tend to make the modern reader relate to the story more easily, but I cannot get around the obvious rejoinder that my skill in Standard English needs polishing up.

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 Life in a Mirror
According to my `secret formula', the following works of mathematical fiction are similar to this one:
  1. Lord Byron's Novel: The Evening Land by John Crowley
  2. Shooting the Sun by Max Byrd
  3. Quicksilver: The Baroque Cycle Volume 1 by Neal Stephenson
  4. The Years of Rice and Salt by Kim Stanley Robinson
  5. Still She Haunts Me by Katie Roiphe
  6. War and Peace by Lev Tolstoy
  7. Calculus (Newton's Whores) by Carl Djerassi
  8. The Music of the Spheres by Elizabeth Redfern
  9. One, True Platonic Heaven: A Scientific Fiction of the Limits of Knowledge by John L. Casti
  10. Newton's Hooke by David Pinner
Ratings for Life in a Mirror:
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.
(unrated)

PLEASE HELP US OUT BY ENTERING YOUR OWN RATINGS FOR THIS WORK.

Categories:
GenreHistorical Fiction,
Motif
Topic
MediumNovels,

Home All New Browse Search About

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)