a list compiled by Alex Kasman (College of Charleston)
|Note: This work of mathematical fiction is recommended by Alex for math majors, math grad students (and maybe even math professors).|
|I think the best description of this book is Naked Lunch
meets The Wild Numbers, with a cameo appearance by
Donald Duck's nephews. Happily, this book has recently been rereleased
(2001) in a new format (without the mathematical subtitle, which I suppose
it is feared might scare away readers.) Like many other Rucker books, I
feel as if the hype on the jacket and foreward are ridiculously over the
top. IMHO, they go too far in praising Rucker and overstate influence of this book...but that doesn't mean I don't like the book. In fact, I think it is
an enjoyable read and a really great example of mathematical fiction.
The plot concerns mathematician Felix Rayman, whose bizarre out of body
experiences are nightmarishly related to his research into Cantor's
continuum hypothesis. Now, I'm not sure exactly how much this is really
autobiographical, but Rucker admit's in the "afterword" that he actually
had a position at the university described in the book, and that his own
attempt to address the continuum problem led nowhere...except to writing
this book which I suppose was the start of his successful writing career.
I don't know if someone unfamiliar with the logic of transfinite cardinals
would be able to really understand what "Aleph-null" is after reading this
book, nor why this infinite number is still too small to describe the how many real
numbers there are, but if you already know (or can look it up in a set
theory book somewhere) then this psychedelic journey to infinity and back
can be a lot of fun.
While perhaps interesting to a layperson, it is only truly enjoyable for a mathematician. Very good fiction.
|Buy this work of mathematical fiction and read reviews at amazon.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.)|
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)