a list compiled by Alex Kasman (College of Charleston)

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The Outer Limits (Episode: Behold, Eck!) (1964)
John Mantley (screenplay) / William R. Cox (story)

In this episode of the classic science fiction series Outer Limits, a 2-dimensional being trapped in our world is aided by Dr. Stone, an engineer described as being an expert in "optical geometry" and "equations of rectilinear motion". Stone's brother, also a successful researcher with but one with government ties, seeks to destroy the creature he sees as a monster.

Despite the mention of mathematical concepts such as dimension and geometry and the equations written on the engineer's blackboard, there really is not much math in this story. In fact, there does not seem to be much sense at all to the idea that lenses (made from "meteoric quartz") would allow the wearer to see this 2-dimensional being or that such a being would be able to go through walls.

It should probably also be mentioned that Dr. Stone is portrayed as absent-minded and anti-social, two traits frequently applied to characters with mathematical knowledge/ability, though he himself explains that he gives people this impression only because he is distracted by deep thoughts.

Thanks to Daniel Look of Saint Lawrence University for bringing this work of mathematical fiction to my attention.

Contributed by robert

This is one of my favorite eps. of Outer Limits. I first saw this when it came out back in early 60s. The main character in this, besides Eck, is Dr.Stone, an expert in optics. Even though he is portrayed as very absent minded, he's a sharp dresser (for a scientist) and has a very cute and hot secretary, who thinks he's the most wonderful man in his field. He also drives a Mustang convertible. In general, this is a funny, though interesting story, if you just go along and not try to analyze the scientific veracity of it. Personally, I love Eck. I think he's very cute and I love the secretary. I thought she was hot in my teens and I still think so. In general, Outer Lims. was very well made, considering the low level of technical effects available at the time.

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Works Similar to The Outer Limits (Episode: Behold, Eck!)
According to my `secret formula', the following works of mathematical fiction are similar to this one:
  1. Blinding Shadows by Donald Wandrei
  2. The Cube Root of Conquest by Rog Phillips
  3. The Planiverse: computer contact with a two-dimensional world by A.K. Dewdney
  4. Tiger by the Tail by A.G. Nourse
  5. The Crazy Mathematician by Ralph Sylvester Underwood
  6. The Exception by Alex Kasman
  7. Plane People by Wallace West
  8. The Time Axis by Henry Kuttner
  9. Threshold by Bragi F. Schut / Brannon Braga / David S. Goyer / Dan O'Shannon
  10. Doctor Who: The Algebra of Ice by Lloyd Rose (pseudonym of Sarah Tonyn)
Ratings for The Outer Limits (Episode: Behold, Eck!):
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:
1/5 (2 votes)
Literary Quality:
3/5 (2 votes)

GenreScience Fiction,
MotifAnti-social Mathematicians, Aliens, Higher/Lower Dimensions,
MediumTelevision Series or Episode, Available Free Online,

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Exciting News: The 1,600th entry was recently added to this database of mathematical fiction! Also, for those of you interested in non-fictional math books let me (shamelessly) plug the recent release of the second edition of my soliton theory textbook.

(Maintained by Alex Kasman, College of Charleston)