MATHEMATICAL FICTION:

a list compiled by Alex Kasman (College of Charleston)

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Moebius (1996)
Gustavo Daniel Mosquera~R.
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In this Argentinian film, a mathematician discovers a bizarre topological explanation for the disappearance of a train in the labrynthian Buenos Aires subway system. Although based on the short story "A Subway Called Moebius" which takes place in Boston and has no political overtones, the disappearance of the train in this film is supposed to represent the people of Argentina who dissapeared under dictatorial regimes. For more information about how this movie was made, check out the director's web page at: http://www.dm.unibo.it/bologna2000/mosquera.html.

Contributed by Anonymous

I didn't know whether to laugh or cry watching Moebius. It was ridiculously poor on every level and as a mathematician it physically hurt me to watch this. Absolutely zero research was done on the mathematical aspects of this movie (which is a main theme of the plot). I hope anyone who has the misfortune of seeing this movie can appreciated the irony of this in the final scene with the notebook.

Most of the maths is little more than random collections of words strung together (and the word Hausdorff underlined multiple times on a blackboard). At one point he walks into the end of a topology lecture as the professor is concluding "so remember, if a physicist tells you time has frozen, he's not crazy". Later when he is supposedly writing down complex mathematical equations you can see the notepad he's holding has a game of naughts and crosses drawn on it! Even the internal mathematical logic of the movie is inconsistent.

I know this is a student film and has other political themes, but I still think more effort could have gone into this, and not just the mathematical aspects. At the end of the movie, the guy is told "let's just forget this ever happened". I wish I could.

More information about this work can be found at us.imdb.com.
(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 Moebius
According to my `secret formula', the following works of mathematical fiction are similar to this one:
  1. A Subway Named Moebius by A.J. Deutsch
  2. Factoring Humanity by Robert J. Sawyer
  3. Diaspora by Greg Egan
  4. Cube by Vincenzo Natali (Director)
  5. Contact by Carl Sagan
  6. Star, Bright by Mark Clifton
  7. Imaginary Numbers : An Anthology of Marvelous Mathematical Stories, Diversions, Poems, and Musings by William Frucht (editor)
  8. The Wall of Darkness by Arthur C. Clarke
  9. Manifold: Time by Stephen Baxter
  10. Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions by Edwin Abbott Abbott
Ratings for Moebius:
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 (5 votes)
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Literary Quality:
3.43/5 (7 votes)
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Categories:
GenreScience Fiction,
MotifCool/Heroic Mathematicians, Mobius Strip/Nonorientability,
TopicGeometry/Topology/Trigonometry,
MediumFilms,

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(Maintained by Alex Kasman, College of Charleston)