MATHEMATICAL FICTION:

a list compiled by Alex Kasman (College of Charleston)

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Narrow Valley (1966)
R.A. Lafferty
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Contributed by Vijay Fafat

This is a madcap story about a tract of land which is topologically folded through a shamanic incantation. Contains descriptions of some physical effects but explicitly states that the topological defect exists only in the human mind (photographs of the area show no anomaly). It should be compared to Baxter's "A Pacific Mystery", which talks about a similar topological curiosity, albeit one that is physical in nature. Might also be comparable superficially to Priest's 'Inverted World'. It is an enjoyable tall-tale if you leave your grain of salt aside.

I'm not really sure that this story is sufficiently mathematical to be listed on this website. Though it does mention the words "topological" and "dimension", the described phenomenon is more a combination of strangeness and the supernatural than mathematical. Still, as Vijay points out, it makes a good comparison for the (more mathematical) Inverted World and A Pacific Mystery.

First appeared in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, September 1966.

Contributed by Teresa

I've read several other stories by this author and this is one of my favorites.

More information about this work can be found at www.scifi.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.)

Works Similar to Narrow Valley
According to my `secret formula', the following works of mathematical fiction are similar to this one:
  1. And He Built a Crooked House by Robert A. Heinlein
  2. The Inverted World by Christopher Priest
  3. The Pacific Mystery by Stephen Baxter
  4. Annals of Klepsis by R.A. Lafferty
  5. Getaway from Getawehi by Colin Kapp
  6. Message Found in a Copy of Flatland by Rudy Rucker
  7. The Holmes-Ginsbook Device by Isaac Asimov
  8. Inside Out by Rudy Rucker
  9. The Mathenauts by Norman Kagan
  10. Spaceland by Rudy Rucker
Ratings for Narrow Valley:
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:
1.5/5 (4 votes)
..
Literary Quality:
3.75/5 (4 votes)
..

Categories:
GenreHumorous, Science Fiction,
Motif
TopicGeometry/Topology/Trigonometry,
MediumShort Stories, Available Free Online,

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(Maintained by Alex Kasman, College of Charleston)