MATHEMATICAL FICTION:

a list compiled by Alex Kasman (College of Charleston)

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The Book of Worlds (1929)
Miles J. Breuer
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Contributed by Vijay Fafat

Another story of 4-D from Miles Breuer, this time with Prof. Cosgrave who builds a "hyper-stereoscope" that can combine 3-dimensional views ("geometrical stereograms") from different angles into a 4-D composite using the extended holographic principle. With his instrument, he finds out that Total Reality is like a book, with each page reflecting the stages of the universe's evolution, including the rise of organic life. On finding that our future evolution dooms us to an inevitable, self-destructive war, he goes mad. Written in a very skimming, peremptory style, especially the teleologic description of our pessimistic fate.

There are quite a few pithy lines scattered in the story,

"I worked out the mathematics of a very ingenious instrument for integrating light rays from two directions into one composite beam"

"Points on the adjacent leaves of a book are far apart, considered two-dimensionally. But with the book closed, and to a three dimensional perception which can see ACROSS from one page to another, the two points are very near together"

and one unusual line for most stories back then:

[Professor's assistant mathematician]: "he asked me to work out the equations for the projection of a tesseracoid: c1*w^4 + c2*x^4 + c3*y^4 + c4*z^4 = k^4 from eight different directions, each opposing pair of right angles to the other three pairs. Most of the problems he gave me were projection problems."

Originally published as Amazing Stories July 1929 and now available in the collection The Man with the Strange Head.

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Works Similar to The Book of Worlds
According to my `secret formula', the following works of mathematical fiction are similar to this one:
  1. The Captured Cross-Section by Miles J. Breuer (M.D.)
  2. The Einstein See-Saw by Miles J. Breuer
  3. The Gostak and the Doshes by Miles J. Breuer (M.D.)
  4. The Appendix and the Spectacles by Miles J. Breuer (M.D.)
  5. The Magic Staircase by Nelson Slade Bond
  6. The Cube Root of Conquest by Rog Phillips
  7. Blinding Shadows by Donald Wandrei
  8. Plane People by Wallace West
  9. A Victim of Higher Space by Algernon Blackwood
  10. The Land of No Shadow by Carl H Claudy
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Categories:
GenreScience Fiction,
MotifHigher/Lower Dimensions, Future Prediction through Math,
Topic
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)