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The Year of the Jackpot (1952)
Robert A. Heinlein
(click on names to see more mathematical fiction by the same author)

A statistician notices trends in everything from war and famine to women unexpectedly stripping off their clothes in public. He concludes that the year 1954 is going to be an exceptionally bad year. With his new girlfriend, one of the women who was stripping in public with whom he starts a "cute" romantic relationship, he runs to the country to hide. As the world collapses around them, he reads his journals and finds an article of interest (because of its presentation of Heinlein's concept of research in the USSR as well as for its mathematical content and significance to the plot):

(quoted from The Year of the Jackpot)

Some Notes on the Stability of G-Type Stars with Especial Reference to Sol by Dynkowski, Lenin Institute, translated by Heinrich Ley, FRAS.

Good boy, Ski -- sound mathematician. Very clever application of harmonic series and tightly reasoned.

Breen started to thumb for his place when he noticed a footnote that he had missed. Dynkowski's own name carried down to it: "This monograph was denounced by Pravda as `romantic reationaryism' shortly after it was published. Professor Dynkowski has been unreported since and must be presumed to be liquidated.

Unfortunately for the protagonist, the implications of the article are worse than even he had imagined. Escaping to the country with his girlfriend was not sufficient precautions to escape the disaster that Dynkowski predicted with his mathematics.

Sexist by today's standards, not terribly mathematical, and entirely depressing, but still worth reading!

Thanks to Professor Fred Galvin for sending me a copy of this story.

Contributed by Anonymous

I found that this story was amazing i read it with great passion. I believe that the book is not fiction but pure reality. You can find out the future with mathematic theories and other statistical formulas. i think that what is written in the book will someday unfortunatly happen,

P.S. It has already started its just going to be a litle slower than in the book.

(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 The Year of the Jackpot
According to my `secret formula', the following works of mathematical fiction are similar to this one:
  1. Blowups Happen by Robert A. Heinlein
  2. A Slight Miscalculation by Ben Bova
  3. The Law by Robert M. Coates
  4. Misfit by Robert A. Heinlein
  5. The Rolling Stones by Robert A. Heinlein
  6. Starman Jones by Robert A. Heinlein
  7. The Non-Statistical Man by Raymond F. Jones
  8. The Cube Root of Conquest by Rog Phillips
  9. Gomez by Cyril M. Kornbluth
  10. The Fairy Chessmen by Henry Kuttner
Ratings for The Year of the Jackpot:
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 (4 votes)
Literary Quality:
4/5 (4 votes)

GenreScience Fiction,
MotifFuture Prediction through Math, Romance,
MediumShort Stories,

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(Maintained by Alex Kasman, College of Charleston)