MATHEMATICAL FICTION:

a list compiled by Alex Kasman (College of Charleston)

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Evariste and Heloise (2008)
Marco Abate
(click on names to see more mathematical fiction by the same author)
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Note: This work of mathematical fiction is recommended by Alex for literati.

This contribution to the collection The Shape of Content is difficult to classify. Combining fiction and fact, essay and comic book, fantasy and philosophy, it essentially takes the form of a proposal for a comic book that the narrator would like to write about Evariste Galois. However, rather than being merely a graphic novel presenting the tragic life of this real mathematician based on the few historical facts we know, it would have him spending some time in a metaphysical but real "ideaspace" where he meets Heloise, a woman from the 21st century who is in an unhappy marriage and has repressed her interest in mathematics. (In another less mathematical subplot, we find Galois becoming good friends with Poe's Detective Auguste Dupin to unravel the mystery of his father's apparent suicide. Abate does not mention it, but I am left wondering whether his Dupin would share with Galois the same distaste for mathematics that he expresses in The Purloined Letter.)

The sample illustrations by Paolo Bisi are beautiful and leave me wanting more. The outline of the story, though detailed in many ways, is occasionally (intentionally?) vague. As a result, I really hope that I someday get to see this comic book in its final form. I think I would love it as much as I loved this bit of "metafiction"...but I am not sure. Perhaps this description of an "ideal" comic book is the perfect medium for this ambitious and creative idea.

(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 Evariste and Heloise
According to my `secret formula', the following works of mathematical fiction are similar to this one:
  1. The French Mathematician by Tom Petsinis
  2. Logicomix by Apostolos Doxiadis / Christos Papadimitriou
  3. The Parrot's Theorem by Denis Guedj
  4. Der Tag ohne Abend (The Day without Evening) by Leo Perutz
  5. Flowers Stained with Moonlight by Catherine Shaw
  6. The Three Body Problem by Catherine Shaw
  7. Murder and Mendelssohn (Phryne Fisher Mystery) by Kerry Greenwood
  8. The Fairytale of the Completely Symmetrical Butterfly by Dietmar Dath
  9. The Jester and the Mathematician by Alan R. Gordon
  10. The Shape of Content: Creative Writing in Mathematics and Science by Chandler Davis (editor) / Marjorie Senechal (editor) / Jan Zwicky (editor)
Ratings for Evariste and Heloise:
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:
4/5 (1 votes)
..
Literary Quality:
5/5 (1 votes)
.

Categories:
GenreHistorical Fiction, Mystery, Fantasy,
MotifCool/Heroic Mathematicians, Real Mathematicians, Female Mathematicians, Math as Beautiful/Exciting/Useful, Romance,
Topic
MediumShort Stories, Comic Book,

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(Maintained by Alex Kasman, College of Charleston)