MATHEMATICAL FICTION:

a list compiled by Alex Kasman (College of Charleston)

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Turnabout (1955)
Gordon R. Dickson
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Contributed by Vijay Fafat

It's a story about a physics professor who is investigating a device that creates planar force-fields. In its first run, an explosion destroys the device and the physicist is trying to obtain an answer to a seeming engineering problem using a second version. The story then goes on to describe how he gets trapped in the 2-D field and how a geometric property of the field, coupled with the fact that the planar field actually takes the form of a mobius surface, enables him to escape. There is a brief description of the way a stick figure on a paper mobius strip reverses orientation on completing a circuit.

Published in If, January 1955. Later republished in the anthology Ends in 1988.

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Works Similar to Turnabout
According to my `secret formula', the following works of mathematical fiction are similar to this one:
  1. Left or Right by Martin Gardner
  2. No-Sided Professor by Martin Gardner
  3. Technical Error by Arthur C. Clarke
  4. The Plattner Story by Herbert George Wells
  5. Starman Jones by Robert A. Heinlein
  6. Occam's Razor by David Duncan
  7. Star, Bright by Mark Clifton
  8. The Day the Earth Stood Still by Robert Wise (director) / Harry Bates (story) / Edmund H. North
  9. The Hyperboloid of Engineer Garin by Aleksei Nikolaevich Tolstoi
  10. Jack of Eagles by James Blish
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Categories:
GenreScience Fiction,
MotifMobius Strip/Nonorientability,
TopicGeometry/Topology/Trigonometry, Analysis/Calculus/Differential, Mathematical Physics,
MediumShort Stories,

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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 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)