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 Gostak and the Doshes by Miles J. Breuer (M.D.)
  2. The Einstein See-Saw by Miles J. Breuer
  3. The Appendix and the Spectacles by Miles J. Breuer (M.D.)
  4. The Captured Cross-Section by Miles J. Breuer (M.D.)
  5. Blinding Shadows by Donald Wandrei
  6. The Magic Staircase by Nelson Slade Bond
  7. The Dangerous Dimension by L. Ron Hubbard
  8. Technical Error by Arthur C. Clarke
  9. The Fourth-Dimensional Demonstrator by Murray Leinster
  10. Skylark of Valeron by E. E. Doc Smith
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Categories:
GenreScience Fiction,
MotifHigher/Lower Dimensions, Future Prediction through Math,
Topic
MediumShort Stories,

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(Maintained by Alex Kasman, College of Charleston)