MATHEMATICAL FICTION:

a list compiled by Alex Kasman (College of Charleston)

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I Sin Every Number (2007)
Jason Earls
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This is another work of experimental fiction from Jason Earls that combines some real computational number theory, some mathematical terminology used within nonsense for poetic effect, and a science fiction story. In the story, a woman who is finally "clean" after years of drug abuse is contacted by math obsessed aliens through her computer. They politely ask her to participate in their cybernecromancy experiments, pointing out that she is likely to die on Earth in a nuclear disaster that they foresee if she does not join them.

Contributed by Jason Earls

[This work appears in] an experimental cyberpunk split novel that I put out with Jason Rogers, who is a literature professor currently teaching in S. Korea. The full title is IF(Sid_Vicious == TRUE && Alan Turing == TRUE) {ERROR_Cyberpunk()}, but my part is called "I Sin Every Number" and his part is called "Manufactured." (His part is very short -- more like a short story rather than a novella or novel).

"I Sin Every Number" has a straight story line with some hints of science fiction, but it also has some unusual text experiments for chapters (some might consider the novel 'Bizarro,' which is a new genre of fiction emerging). The chapters alternate between straight and experimental, and the experimental ones were generated by various computer programs. I wanted half of my novel to be computer-generated, which fits with the plot of the book in two ways.

My source material for the experimental chapters was my own math articles (and other articles I had written) plus chapters from the King James Bible, which is in the public domain. I used programs that implemented Burrough's cut-up method and another program for translation and also an anagram program, among others. The text experiment chapters have an avant-garde poetic quality (I wanted them to be similar to Cy Twombly's paintings) and I edited them to bring out the poetic language as much as possible. Also, I broke some punctuation rules in the 'straight' portions of the novel because I was inspired by the prose styles of William Burroughs, Dianne Di Prima, and James Frey. Someday I would like to develop my own unique prose style.

There are a few sections of the book that contain some original number theory work. It isn't deep or anything, just recreational stuff. It isn't too hard to tell the real math from the stuff in the experimental chapters.

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Works Similar to I Sin Every Number
According to my `secret formula', the following works of mathematical fiction are similar to this one:
  1. Red Zen by Jason Earls
  2. The Atrocity Archives by Charles Stross
  3. Borzag and the Numerical Apocalypse by Jason Earls
  4. Contact by Carl Sagan
  5. Cocoon of Terror by Jason Earls
  6. Factoring Humanity by Robert J. Sawyer
  7. Luminous by Greg Egan
  8. Genghis Khan and 888 by Jason Earls
  9. Mathematicians in Love by Rudy Rucker
  10. Eifelheim by Michael Flynn
Ratings for I Sin Every Number:
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:
3/5 (1 votes)
..
Literary Quality:
4/5 (1 votes)
..

Categories:
GenreScience Fiction,
MotifAliens, Religion, Turing,
TopicAlgebra/Arithmetic/Number Theory,
MediumNovels,

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(Maintained by Alex Kasman, College of Charleston)