MATHEMATICAL FICTION:

a list compiled by Alex Kasman (College of Charleston)

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The Labyrinth Key (2004)
Howard V. Hendrix
(click on names to see more mathematical fiction by the same author)
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Contributed by "William E. Emba"

In the near future, the US and China engage in a race involving the ultimate quantum computer and quantum cryptography. Along the way, numerous mathematical concepts are cited and sometimes discussed, from Mobius strips and Klein bottles to probability and higher dimensions.

Before reading this book, younger readers may want to look up information about Paul Linebarger, a godson of Sun Yat-sen who was one of the founders of modern psychological warfare. He is best known in science fiction circles as the highly influential, and at the time, totally mysterious, "Cordwainer Smith". His future history, concerning the "Instrumentality of Mankind", is referred to frequently in this novel, but attributed to a lesser known Linebarger pseudonym, "Felix C. Forrest". In the novel, Forrest appears as a large part of the backstory, and he is a very thinly disguised Linebarger. Unfortunately, the writing, plotting, and characters are all extremely cliche. The quantum computation issues are mixed in as part of the plot with no understanding of the mathematics or physics involved.

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(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 The Labyrinth Key
According to my `secret formula', the following works of mathematical fiction are similar to this one:
  1. The Atrocity Archives by Charles Stross
  2. Factoring Humanity by Robert J. Sawyer
  3. Diaspora by Greg Egan
  4. Dark as Day by Charles Sheffield
  5. Palimpsest by Howard V. Hendrix
  6. The Lure by Bill Napier
  7. Spherical Harmonic by Catherine Asaro
  8. Six Thought Experiments Concerning the Nature of Computation by Rudy Rucker
  9. Schild's Ladder by Greg Egan
  10. River of Gods by Ian McDonald
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Categories:
GenreScience Fiction,
MotifMobius Strip/Nonorientability,
TopicComputers/Cryptography, Mathematical Physics,
MediumNovels,

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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)