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Waiting for Citizen Gödel (2005)
Howard V. Hendrix
(click on names to see more mathematical fiction by the same author)

Contributed by Vijay Fafat

Short story revolving around Godel's application for US citizenship. There is a well-known episode from Godel's life, where Einstein and Oscar Morgenstern took Godel for his citizenship oath. Godel, as a fastidious stickler for logic, started telling the judge about a loophole in the constitution which could allow the formation of a dictatorship in the US. Thankfully, the judge was not interested and Godel obtained his citizenship. The current story revolves around this incident, along with some political commentary about the perceived lack of respecct for the constitution in recent times (the author, writing in 2005, may have had the "War on Terror" in mind). There isn't any math here but it does involve a couple of great mathematicians and references to Veblen and von Neumann, to boot, not to mention Einstein himself.

Published in Aeon Speculative Fiction Magazine, Nov 2005. Since Hendrix controversially criticized the free distribution of fiction on the internet, it is perhaps not too surprising that I cannot find a good URL for this story (published in a now defunct magazine). Thanks to Vijay Fafat for finding and reviewing it! If anyone knows a good source for it today, please let me know and I'll post it here.

(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.)

Works Similar to Waiting for Citizen Gödel
According to my `secret formula', the following works of mathematical fiction are similar to this one:
  1. Uncle Petros and Goldbach's Conjecture by Apostolos Doxiadis
  2. Continuums by Robert Carr
  3. Oracle by Greg Egan
  4. Logicomix by Apostolos Doxiadis / Christos Papadimitriou
  5. A Madman Dreams of Turing Machines by Janna Levin
  6. One, True Platonic Heaven: A Scientific Fiction of the Limits of Knowledge by John L. Casti
  7. A Beautiful Mind by Sylvia Nasar / Akiva Goldsman
  8. The Goddess of Small Victories [La déesse des petites victoire] by Yannick Grannec
  9. Newton's Hooke by David Pinner
  10. Calculus (Newton's Whores) by Carl Djerassi
Ratings for Waiting for Citizen Gödel:
RatingsHave you seen/read this work of mathematical fiction? Then click here to enter your own votes on its mathematical content and literary quality or send me comments to post on this Webpage.
Mathematical Content:
2/5 (1 votes)
Literary Quality:
3/5 (1 votes)

GenreHistorical Fiction,
MotifInsanity, Real Mathematicians, Religion, Gödel,
TopicLogic/Set Theory,
MediumShort Stories,

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(Maintained by Alex Kasman, College of Charleston)