MATHEMATICAL FICTION:

a list compiled by Alex Kasman (College of Charleston)

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Journey into Geometries (1997)
Marta Sved
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Contributed by Vijay Fafat

It is styled after a frequently-used device: "Alice in X", where X can be any kind of space which you wish to explain to the gentle reader. In this instance, Alice, along with Lewis Carroll and a Doctor WhatIf, gets to explore X=hyperbolic geometries. Poincare's disk is explained in great detail, along with lots of examples and exercises. Characters from "Wonderland" and "Looking Glass" make appearances at various places. Not a book you can read as a novel but fiction is fused completely with the mathematics (except for chapter-end problems). And the author does not waste much time diving into deep geometry so it is not an easy read. Uses a lot of puns, as is to be expected, some good and some groan-worthy. She's thrown in a few poems / limericks / doggerels as well along the way. The foreword to the book compares it directly to Synge's "Kandelman's Krim". The book is an enormous amount of fun if you like geometry. Heartily recommend it to anyone who loves mathematical toys in the abstract (though nothing abstract about geometry on a sphere or on a horse's back...)

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Works Similar to Journey into Geometries
According to my `secret formula', the following works of mathematical fiction are similar to this one:
  1. Flatterland: like Flatland, only more so by Ian Stewart
  2. Gulliver's Posthumous Travels to Riemann's Land and Lobachevskia by William Pepperell Montague
  3. Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions by Edwin Abbott Abbott
  4. A Foundation in Wisdom by Robert Loyd Watson
  5. The Mathematician’s Nightmare: The Vision of Professor Squarepunt by Bertrand Russell
  6. Into Thin Air by Colin Adams
  7. Harvey Plotter and the Circle of Irrationality by Nathan Carter / Dan Kalman
  8. E-Z Calculus [Calculus by Discovery] by Douglas Downing
  9. Journey to the Center of Mathematics by Colin Adams
  10. The Romance of Mathematics: Being the Original Researches of a Lady Professor of Girtham College... by Peter Hampson Ditchfield
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Categories:
GenreHumorous, Fantasy, Didactic,
Motif
TopicGeometry/Topology/Trigonometry, Real Mathematics,
MediumNovels,

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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)