a list compiled by Alex Kasman (College of Charleston)
|Been a long, long time (1970) ||R.A. Lafferty |
(click on names to see more mathematical fiction
by the same author)
It's a very well-written humorous tale (as expected if you're familiar with Lafferty). The mathematical content is a literal interpretation of the six typing monkeys. The angel Boshel, as a punishment, is assigned to supervise the project until the randomly-typing monkeys produce a perfect copy of the collected works of Shakespeare. The four and a half pages of the story follow the project through immense vistas of time, though not to completion. The story appeared in the December 1970 issue of Fantastic, and has been reprinted several times, e.g. in the anthology "Galactic Empires Volume One" by Brian W. Aldiss.
David R Tribble|
Lafferty does a very good job of depicting extremely vast amounts of time, not to mention a great job of making it humorous. One of my favorite SF stories.
If you're interested, you can see my take on the infinite monkey conjecture at my website.
Not a story about math, but the concept of infinity. The story tries to give the reader a way to grasp the concept of infinity, by trying to measure, what appears to the main character, as an infinite amount of time.
R.A. Lafferty is an underappreciated science fiction author.
|(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.)|
May 2016: I am experimenting with a new feature which will print a picture of the cover and a link to the Amazon.com page for a work of mathematical fiction when it is available. I hope you find this useful and convenient. In any case, please write to let me know if it is because I would be happy to either get rid of it or improve it if that would be better for you. Thanks! -Alex
(Maintained by Alex Kasman,
College of Charleston)