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A New Golden Age (1981)
Rudy Rucker
(click on names to see more mathematical fiction by the same author)

In this story, and in our world as well, mathematicians lament the fact that legislators cannot sufficiently appreciate mathematics and that this adversely affects the funding of their science. To address this problem, one of the mathematicians in the story creates a device called the Moddler. It can be used to experience the thoughts of a great mathematician considering their greatest theorems, giving the user the momentary feeling of understanding and appreciating the results. An attempt to read the original papers after using the Moddler confirms that it does not actually give one any real understanding of the concepts. Still, the mathematicians find that they love using it to get some appreciation of results that were always beyond them. Finally, the legislators are convinced to try the Moddler, but the consequences are not exactly what the mathematicians had wished. Apparently, the moral of the story is that we should be glad that legislators do not appreciate mathematics, because if they did we might find we do not agree with their taste!

Though this story was originally published in the alumni magazine of Randolph-Macon Women's College, it has since appeared in the collections Mathenauts (edited by the author) and Imaginary Numbers, and now is also available for free at the author's Website.

More information about this work can be found at
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Works Similar to A New Golden Age
According to my `secret formula', the following works of mathematical fiction are similar to this one:
  1. Message Found in a Copy of Flatland by Rudy Rucker
  2. Mathematicians in Love by Rudy Rucker
  3. Jack and the Aktuals, or, Physical Applications of Transfinite Set Theory by Rudy Rucker
  4. Monster by Alex Kasman
  5. 2+2=5 by Rudy Rucker / Terry Bisson
  6. Unreasonable Effectiveness by Alex Kasman
  7. The Mathenauts by Norman Kagan
  8. The Indefatigable Frog by Philip K. Dick
  9. Art Thou Mathematics? by Charles Mobbs
  10. Inside Out by Rudy Rucker
Ratings for A New Golden Age:
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:
3.5/5 (2 votes)
Literary Quality:
4.5/5 (2 votes)

GenreHumorous, Science Fiction,
MotifAcademia, Math as Beautiful/Exciting/Useful,
MediumShort Stories, Available Free Online,

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(Maintained by Alex Kasman, College of Charleston)