MATHEMATICAL FICTION:

a list compiled by Alex Kasman (College of Charleston)

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The Magic Staircase (1946)
Nelson Slade Bond
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Contributed by Vijay Fafat

A Mathematics professor develops a theory of "intra-dimensional" spaces, hypothesizing that the vast, empty spaces in atoms form a parallel dimension in which alternative histories of "what might have been" have real existence. He ends up becoming a carpenter who builds mathematically precise staircases to access these worlds (!!! one smiles at the simplicity of transforming theorems into ladders; sort of like Erdos' mathematician in reverse, who converts coffee into theorems). There isn't much Math content as such beyond this flimsy quasi-explanation for an otherwise tall-tale; it does have the charm of the old-time tales, though short on plot.

Contributed by Edursho

This was the first book I ever bought in my life, in a far away country, at age 12, with my very own money, on my very own way to school, out of a window bookstore. Today, as a professional mathematician, I am certain this book was one of the many influences toward this direction. I don't have the book anymore, of course. I am constantly looking at online stores to buy it again, to re-read it again!

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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.)

Works Similar to The Magic Staircase
According to my `secret formula', the following works of mathematical fiction are similar to this one:
  1. The Fifth-Dimension Catapult by Murray Leinster
  2. The Einstein See-Saw by Miles J. Breuer
  3. Space Bender by Edward Rementer
  4. A Victim of Higher Space by Algernon Blackwood
  5. Plane People by Wallace West
  6. The Fourth-Dimensional Demonstrator by Murray Leinster
  7. The Appendix and the Spectacles by Miles J. Breuer (M.D.)
  8. Hidden in Glass by Paul Ernst
  9. Technical Error by Arthur C. Clarke
  10. The Land of No Shadow by Carl H Claudy
Ratings for The Magic Staircase:
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 (1 votes)
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Literary Quality:
4/5 (1 votes)
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Categories:
GenreScience Fiction,
MotifHigher/Lower Dimensions,
TopicGeometry/Topology/Trigonometry, Mathematical Physics,
MediumShort Stories,

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(Maintained by Alex Kasman, College of Charleston)