a list compiled by Alex Kasman (College of Charleston)
|Three of the characters in this novel are mathematicians. Sam is a former statistician who now works at a successful Auckland data retrieval company. Because he is attracted to the hydrodynamic equations that he spots on one disk, he pretends to be a courier so that he can meet the person to whom the beautiful equations belong. In this way he meets Jules and Candy, both mathematicians. Candy works with wave equations and turbulence with the goal of creating a better propeller. Jules is a lecturer in math at the university who is clearly involved in some "extra-curricular activities" that are mathematical and dangerous.
Despite all of this math in the background, most of their relationship (and most of the novel) is instead about drugs. From this book, one would get the impression that everyone in New Zealand is a serious drug addict. The book takes a suspenseful turn when Candy disappears, Jules is found beaten into a coma, and Sam decides to "play detective". Strange things happen, and the reader may begin to feel that some of it is a consequence of Sam's cocaine induced paranoia. Sadly, the mathematics does not end up playing a serious role in the resolution of the "mystery" (such as it is), but instead seems to be a metaphor for something...I'm not sure exactly what.
The most mathematical part of the book is the discussion of the hydrodynamic formulas. (They are presented explicitly, which is nice, but the discussion is not quite accurate. For instance, despite the claim in the book, shallow water waves are dispersive, but the nonlinearity and the dispersion combine to allow for solitary waves....I'm getting too technical, right? Sorry.) Other than that there are just vague references to chaos, using algorithms to improve images obtained from spy satellites, numbers on tickets from a car wash, etc.
Thanks to Olivier Gerard for suggesting this book.
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|(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.)|
(Maintained by Alex Kasman, College of Charleston)