a list compiled by Alex Kasman (College of Charleston)
|When he was eight years old, David was visited by an image of his future self, causing him to write mathematical formulas on the wall. (Unfortunately, his parents paint over it before he has a chance to memorize it.) He was then recognized as a mathematical prodigy, but grew increasingly anti-social. Despite his near obsession with rediscovering this equation and the time travel mechanism it apparently allows, he somehow gets a job at the University of Toronto and gets married. But, his wife tires of being married to him. By his own admission "he was completely devoid of social grace and manners...he was completely self-absorbed and useless as a companion."
The conclusion is quite satisfying from an SF point of view. In particular, the way in which he makes his discovery is cute and "mind bending". Mathematical physics terminology is tossed around, but none of it means much. The important point is the strange time loop that occurs and his reaction to realizing what has happened. There is also supposed to be some resolution in the story of his relationship with his wife, but that struck me as less satisfying.
However, I am so tired of the anti-social mathematician stereotype that I have trouble enjoying the story at all. I think that if this was the only story I had read containing this tired cliche, I probably would have liked it much more. As it is, I am just adding it to my growing list of works of fiction that serve (unintentionally) to reinforce an unfair prejudice against mathematicians among the general public.
This story appeared in a collection of Canadian Science Fiction called "Tesseracts Nine".
|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)