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Blasphemy (2008)
Douglas Preston

Contributed by Vijay Fafat

Douglas Preston’s novel, “Blasphemy”, contains a few mathematical references that come up when scientists encounter “God” at the (hypothetical) world’s largest particle collider, SSC II. Chaitin’s Omega number appears along with “e”, as does Knuth’s up-arrow notation (in specifying an ultra-large number dubbed “God’s First Number”). The universe is described by “God” as an irreducible computation whose output would require a complete computation lasting God’s-First-Number years. There are a couple of nice paragraphs, where “God” says: “You give me a hand with 5 fingers, not the integer 5. Your number system has no independent existence in the real world. It is nothing more than a sophisticated metaphor” and “[you are] like a monkey who has figured out how to count to three. You find four pebbles and think you have discovered infinity”.

Contributed by Anonymous

The logics and axiom of mathematics are incredibly important to this story.

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Works Similar to Blasphemy
According to my `secret formula', the following works of mathematical fiction are similar to this one:
  1. The Last Answer by Isaac Asimov
  2. Calculating God by Robert J. Sawyer
  3. Pieces of Pi by David Bartell
  4. The Visiting Professor by Robert Littell
  5. Jack and the Aktuals, or, Physical Applications of Transfinite Set Theory by Rudy Rucker
  6. The Three-Body Problem by Cixim Liu (author) / Ken Liu (translator)
  7. Strange Attractors by Charles Soule (author) / Greg Scott (Illustrator)
  8. The Arrows of Time [Orthogonal Book Three] by Greg Egan
  9. The Axiom of Choice by David W. Goldman
  10. Numbercruncher by Si Spurrier (writer) / PJ Holden (artist)
Ratings for Blasphemy:
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)

GenreScience Fiction,
TopicReal Mathematics,

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May 2016: I am experimenting with a new feature which will print a picture of the cover and a link to the page for a work of mathematical fiction when it is available. I hope you find this useful and convenient. In any case, please write to let me know if it is because I would be happy to either get rid of it or improve it if that would be better for you. Thanks! -Alex

(Maintained by Alex Kasman, College of Charleston)