a list compiled by Alex Kasman (College of Charleston)
|A story written in a psychedelic, stream-of-consciousness style a la William S. Burroughs concerning the discovery of previously unknown countries on the Earth whose existence provides a counter-example to the Four-Color Theorem. The idea that there might be these other countries in some tangential direction and that this would be topologically interesting was apparently inspired by the fact that at the time the story was written there was a proof that any map could be colored with five colors but no proof of the full Four-Color theorem. The many references to sex, the idea that mathematicians have taken over the government, and the inclusion of seemingly non-fictional lectures and footnotes make this story quite strange. Now that the theorem has been proved (at least to the satisfaction of most mathematicians, despite the involvement of a computer to check some cases), the story is all the more bizarre.
|(quoted from The Four-Color Problem)|
The maths men were already adept at taking over the nation like the SS
used to take over -- the reasons and methods were the same --
Weltanschauung -- Belief in correctness of technique -- Professor
M.M. was putting infants in sealed metal chambers and irradiating them
with alien equations -- They started by running the economy -- Look
they said economics should be left to us not to untrained psychotics
-- You have to align the growth vectors -- Forumlas and differential
equations a mile long put them through logic units look we got pulse
trains a light year long -- Dynamic topology -- Structural morphology
-- Soon there was nothing in the White House but a big computer with
direct lines to MIT and Caltech -- The president sits hypnotized by a
stroboscope -- MIT and Caltech start fighting it out they got
different ideas see they send the electronic word war streaming
through respective landlines -- Hostile pulse trains content in White
House computer while Soviet satellite is beaming subversive equations
of surplus value to confuse the parameters -- The technician spoke out
of the corner of his moutn -- ``Don't let the computer cotton on to
those Marxist surplus value pulse trains from outside the ecliptic''
-- He picked up a bucket of water and threw it over the consoles to
cool them down -- Steam drifted through the white rooms -- Outside the
city continuous explosions of lifting Moon rocket washes over the
suburbs fluttering flags -- ``Those outer space vectors sure pack a
Look they said exploit new lands according to precise formula
otherwise returns are not maximized. We know formula have trained
forebrain will travel. But once installe in SAC Mission Control they
puruse their own interest and convert the whole f***ing issue into a
word-spanning trillion-dollar exercise in abstract mathematics.
Originally published in New Worlds Quarterly 2, ed. Michael Moorcock, London: Sphere 1971 (although it is sometimes called ``The Four-Colour Theorem''), it can now be read for free at Google Books.
Thanks to Vijay Fafat for bringing this unusual story to my attention.
|More information about this work can be found at books.google.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.)|
May 2016: I am experimenting with a new feature which will print a picture of the cover and a link to the Amazon.com 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)