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.)|
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)