a list compiled by Alex Kasman (College of Charleston)
|In an alternate reality where John Kennedy survived the assassination attempt and replaced all national governments with five all-powerful corporations, an award-winning mathematician tries to invent a method of time travel for his employer while being subjected to intimidation from its competitors.
The author does not seem to know much mathematics. So, most of the mathematical references are vague and fleeting, such as:
The most explicitly mathematical section occurs when he meets a woman at a gas bar (where one inhales rather than swallows a concoction of choice):
Like many authors with limited mathematical background, Spruill misuses and confuses words like "proof" and "equation". The theory itself is never explained aside from references to a "many-world" phenomenon, and even the reference to the god Janus in the name of the equation seems to have more to do with a sexual subplot than with the math or physics. However, the presentation of the mathematician is a positive one and there is definitely an indication that mathematics is a powerful and useful thing.
Unconventional sexuality is also a major theme of the book: homosexuality, transsexuality, prostitution, and one extremely unusual tryst that is (at least so far as I know) only possible in science fiction.
This novella was published as a double with Joan Vinge's "Legacy" by Dell as Binary Star #4 in 1980.
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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.)|
(Maintained by Alex Kasman, College of Charleston)