Iwan Praton, Franklin and Marshall.|
"[In this book], the Order of Pilots tries to tackle the Continuum Hypothesis.
It's a long, strange, complex story, but it seems pretty certain that the
had some mathematical training. He tries to describe a situation where the
act of constructing a mathematical proof has a physical effect on one's
surrounding (e.g., making a Ship go). There are lots of mathematical jargon,
"I'm not a mathematician, so I can't
vouch for the autheticity of the maths
in this work, but there is a lot of it
and it is key to the storyline.
The `pilots' essentially use maths to
navigate through a form of hyperspace.
As for literary quality, as a former
judge of the Arthur C. Clarke Award I'd
offer my opinion that this is one of
the most engrossing and intriguing SF
novels I've read. Though the follow-up,
The Broken God, is even better."
"A Tour de Force! Zindell discards all
the traditional SF tropes and had
produced a body of work that is highly
literate, strong on character and story
ultimately unique. An overlooked work
that deserves a much wider readership."
As you can see, this book has developed quite a following. To some, it is
clearly a great work of art. I must admit, however, that I found it
entirely unreadable. After the first few chapters I had little interest in
continuing, having developed no affection for the characters or belief in
the "reality" that they occupy. I wish I could have read further so that I
could comment here on the mathematics in the book, but I will have to leave
that for our guests. For example:
Jake Kesinger, Texas Technical University.|
Note: "The Continuum Hypothesis from _Neverness_ is not the Continuum
Hypothesis of modern theory, but instead a statement on mappings and
fixed points. There's a line in the book where the protagonist
comments on this."
The first hundred pages are really boring.
It's simultaneously really sexist and semi-enlightened. I get the feeling that the author is trying to make a positive social comment, but failing. For example, almost every female character is described sexually, and the first several examples of female characters are courtesans. On the other hand, many societies are matriarchal, and the god-like character is female. Still, there's a mild slam at female mathematicians.
This sort of commentary goes away after the first hundred and fifty pages, or so.
In 450 pages, almost no specific mathematical concepts referenced, just lots of mathematical language used. Despite the fact that Ian Stewart lists (in Annotated Flatland) the book as one that uses dimensionality concepts, I couldn't find any.