MATHEMATICAL FICTION:

a list compiled by Alex Kasman (College of Charleston)

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life.exe (2006)
Jason Rogers
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This work of fiction is not strictly narrative. It is hard to say what is happening since the characters live in the world of "the matrix". Not like the Wachowski Bros.'s epic trilogy of films (though the allusion is both intentional and explicit). No, the characters in this story live in the world of linear algebra: matrices, eigenvalues, Cramer's Rule, determinants. I like the way the author explains that they are governed by rules like the Cayley-Hamilton theorem (that a matrix is a root of its own characteristic polynomial) without understanding them the way that we in our world obey the law of gravity without understanding it.

But, the characters in the story cannot do things the way we do. That's why, for instance, they don't say things but rather "say" things (the story includes the quotes around the verb).

It is available in the collection entitled 0.1361015212836455566789110512013615... along with the story Borzag and the Numerical Apocalypse. Rogers' brief biography at the end of the book says that he is a writer...but then the word "writer" is crossed out and replaced with "pen and paper owner". It is true that this story alone does not make Rogers a conventional fiction writer, but it will make interesting and entertaining reading for anyone who has a basic familiarity with linear algebra and a taste for bizarre writing.

Buy this work of mathematical fiction and read reviews at amazon.com. Amazon.com logo
(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 life.exe
According to my `secret formula', the following works of mathematical fiction are similar to this one:
  1. Borzag and the Numerical Apocalypse by Jason Earls
  2. Monster by Alex Kasman
  3. The Adventures of Topology Man by Alex Kasman
  4. Unreasonable Effectiveness by Alex Kasman
  5. The Secret Number by Igor Teper
  6. On the Quantum Theoretic Implications of Newton's Alchemy by Alex Kasman
  7. 2+2=5 by Rudy Rucker / Terry Bisson
  8. Genghis Khan and 888 by Jason Earls
  9. The Indefatigable Frog by Philip K. Dick
  10. Izzy at the Lucky Three by Eliot Fintushel
Ratings for life.exe:
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:
5/5 (1 votes)
.
Literary Quality:
3/5 (1 votes)
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Categories:
GenreHumorous, Science Fiction,
Motif
TopicAlgebra/Arithmetic/Number Theory, Real Mathematics,
MediumShort Stories,

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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)