MATHEMATICAL FICTION:

a list compiled by Alex Kasman (College of Charleston)

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Für immer in Honig (Forever in Honey) (2005)
Dietmar Dath
(click on names to see more mathematical fiction by the same author)
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Site visitor Hauke Reddmann writes from Germany to tell me about this experimental German novel which includes diagrams from category theory. (For those who might not know, category theory is an abstract branch of mathematics which attempts to find the common structure of all mathematics. So, for instance, although you might think that the study of surfaces in geometry and of fields in algebra seem quite different, category theory views them each as the study of some sort of relationship -- functors -- between some sorts of objects whether they are surfaces or fields. I think there are various opinions as to how useful this enterprise has turned out to be, but it certainly has its proponents.)

When I wrote to Reddmann to inquire further about the role of category theory in the book, he sent back this "colorful" description which I suppose gives you an idea of the sort of book this is. (Further evidence of the strangeness of this book can be found by visiting its website here.)

Contributed by Hauke Reddmann

Oh, this will gonna be a pig. First of all, Dath was chief editor of "Spex", Germans elitarist pop-leftwing music mag. Which means the whole book can only be understood in the frame of postmodernist circle-jerk discourse (pardon my french). And category theory is used as a me-tougher. (When I'm in despiteful mode my puns are even more brilliant :-) Things and verbs, you know. Marxism was too much about things when life is a verb. And category theory is the mathematic version of a verb. Hey, even Sokal could learn from me when conjuring up gobbledygook :-)

Anyway. The book has an annex about the fundaments of category theory, it is dedicated to Grothendieck, but I'd say math only occurs abused as far-out analogy under poetical license. John Baez meets Joan Baez meets Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Hauke Reddmann has written again with information about another book by Dath. It sounds to me as if it is not sufficiently mathematical to justify having its own entry in the database, so I will just include his remarks here for anyone who is interested:

Contributed by Hauke Reddmann

To understand Dath, you have to understand his scene. It's an ultra-intellectual one, meaning you can and should be as hermetic as possible. Anyone crying out "LOLWUT?" automatically disqualifies himself as a doofus. And what could be more hermetically than math (and which math could be more hermetic than category theory - also note the scene is leftist, so Grothendieck is obvious reference fodder)? This prelude holds for all his works.

Now to the other novel:
Am blinden Ufer ["On the Blind Shore"]. Eine Geschichte vom Strand und aus den Schnitten
Roman. Berlin: Verbrecher Verlag 2000. Neuauflage: 2009

From the doofus view, the plot reminds a bit of Schätzings "Swarm". (Don't say that when Dath is standing near, or he might challenge you for a death duel with Lacan quotes :-) The "Schnitten" (cuts) are sort of a parallel universe. It's stated explicitely that their nature is topological, also the term "Calabi-Yau manifold" is dropped. Unluckily this *means* absolutely nothing, they could as well be the fever dream of Nietzsche on his death bed and nothing would change for the plot.

More information about this work can be found at www.textem.de.
(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 Für immer in Honig (Forever in Honey)
According to my `secret formula', the following works of mathematical fiction are similar to this one:
  1. Dirac by Dietmar Dath
  2. The Fairytale of the Completely Symmetrical Butterfly by Dietmar Dath
  3. Intoxicating Heights (Höhenrausch. Die Mathematik des XX. Jahrhunderts in zwanzig Gehirnen) by Dietmar Dath
  4. Gaming Instinct (Spieltrieb) by Juli Zeh
  5. Shakespeare Predicted it All by Dietmar Dath
  6. Alphabet by Chelsea Spear
  7. Calculus (Newton's Whores) by Carl Djerassi
  8. A Madman Dreams of Turing Machines by Janna Levin
  9. Powerball 310 by K.T. Reid
  10. Love Counts by Michael Hastings (libretto) / Michael Nyman (score)
Ratings for Für immer in Honig (Forever in Honey):
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:
2.5/5 (2 votes)
..
Literary Quality:
2/5 (2 votes)
..

Categories:
Genre
Motif
TopicAlgebra/Arithmetic/Number Theory, Logic/Set Theory,
MediumNovels,

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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)