MATHEMATICAL FICTION:

a list compiled by Alex Kasman (College of Charleston)

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Lord Byron's Novel: The Evening Land (2005)
John Crowley
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Note: This work of mathematical fiction is recommended by Alex for literati.

This book is made up of notes and e-mail messages from a feminist historian interspersed with chapters from a previously unknown novel by Lord Byron which she has discovered while researching his daughter, the mathematician Ada Byron (Countess of Lovelace). And, it is all fictional -- the notes, messages, the historian and the novel were all created by Crowley's imagination.

The novel is found by the historian in the form of a manuscript consisting entirely of tables of numbers. With the help of her mathematician girlfriend they decipher it and discover what appears to be an autobiographical novel by Byron. (It was apparently encoded in this form by Ada who wanted to preserve it when the original is burned at her mother's insistence.)

Contributed by Anonymous

The best portrait of Ada (Byron's daughter) outside of her biographies. Crowley breathes life into her. And the processing of encryption and decoding will become a classic of its kind, on a par with Poe's "Gold Bug"

Contributed by NM

Excellent book all around. The author has written a creditable and quite readable complete book-within-a-book in the style of Byron, which means that he really wrote two books here. While application of the encryption and decoding is central to the story, he does not spend a lot of time on the hows. All in all, a very satisfying read.

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Works Similar to Lord Byron's Novel: The Evening Land
According to my `secret formula', the following works of mathematical fiction are similar to this one:
  1. Arcadia by Tom Stoppard
  2. Shooting the Sun by Max Byrd
  3. The Difference Engine by William Gibson / Bruce Sterling
  4. Beyond the Limit: The Dream of Sofya Kovalevskaya by Joan Spicci
  5. Conceiving Ada by Lynn Hershman-Leeson
  6. The Lost Books of the Odyssey by Zachary Mason
  7. The Rule of Four by Ian Caldwell / Dustin Thomason
  8. Mrs. Einstein by Anna McGrail
  9. Abendland (Occident) by Michael Köhlmeier
  10. Too Much Happiness by Alice Munro
Ratings for Lord Byron's Novel: The Evening Land:
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:
2.67/5 (3 votes)
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Literary Quality:
4.67/5 (3 votes)
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Categories:
GenreHistorical Fiction,
MotifReal Mathematicians, Female Mathematicians,
TopicComputers/Cryptography,
MediumNovels,

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(Maintained by Alex Kasman, College of Charleston)