a list compiled by Alex Kasman (College of Charleston)

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Murder on the Einstein Express (2016)
Harun Šiljak
(click on names to see more mathematical fiction by the same author)

An essay containing many interesting remarks and anecdotes about mathematics and mathematical physics presented in the form of a dialogue between a professor and students. Topics covered include entropy, countable and uncountable sets of infinite cardinality, Hilbert's hotel, Maxwell's demon and Laplace's demon, quantum mechanics, relativity, and Gödel's incompleteness theorems.

Unfortunately, it is very difficult to read. The English is quite poor, the dialogue stilted, and the concepts not presented coherently.

This story appears in a collection of short stories by the same name that is available as a "print on demand" book from Springer in their "Science and Fiction" series. Two other stories from that collection are listed separately in this database as (better IMHO) examples of mathematical fiction. [In addition, the anthology also contains the cryptically written (indeed, the conclusion is literally encrypted) story "In Search of Future Times" which includes just a bit about math. However, I am not including a separate entry for it in the database.]

I gratefully thank Dr. Allan Goldberg for bringing this work to my attention.

Contributed by Dr. Allan Goldberg

I own many of the titles found on your web site, and find the commentary there enlightening and enjoyable.

I am not a mathematician, but have a strong interest in many mathematical subjects. Please forgive my lack of mathematical sophistication.

I just finished ["Murder on the Einstein Express and Other Stories"] and have the following comments:

In my opinion, the reason the editors of the series didn't adequately proof it for syntax is that they didn't understand it.

The first story, Normed Trek, becomes clear once you consider it's relation to a Fourier series, the clunker term involving ln x, and the incompatibility of transcendental and non-transcendental functions. The mathematical equivalent of a "quest" for love is a cute touch.

The second story, the Cantor Trilogy, provides a nice twist ending presumably having a "traditional" mathematician using the liar's paradox to foil computer infallibility

The third story, In Search of Future Time, is a convoluted attempt to explain dreams in the context of the ever evolving computer-brain interface.

The fourth story, Murder on the Einstein Express, is a mixed bag of SOMETIMES well written informal vignettes expounding on counterintuitive or controversial aspects of mathematics and physics. The plagiarism section made no sense until I consulted the author's the Science Behind the Fiction section. The tie in with Borges is a nice touch.

All in all, this short anthology is of diverting interest and if properly proofed and edited, could have been much clearer and entertaining.

More information about this work can be found at
(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 Murder on the Einstein Express
According to my `secret formula', the following works of mathematical fiction are similar to this one:
  1. Normed Trek by Harun Šiljak
  2. Cantor Trilogy by Harun Šiljak
  3. Lucy and David and the God Equation by Alan McKenzie
  4. Ultima lezione a Gottinga [Last lecture at Göttingen] by Davide Osenda
  5. Intoxicating Heights (Höhenrausch. Die Mathematik des XX. Jahrhunderts in zwanzig Gehirnen) by Dietmar Dath
  6. The Shackles of Conviction by James R. Meyer
  7. The Extraordinary Hotel or the Thousand and First Journey of Ion the Quiet by Naum Ya. Vilenkin
  8. Cantor’s Dragon by Craig DeLancy
  9. A Certain Ambiguity: A Mathematical Novel by Gaurav Suri / Hartosh Singh Bal
  10. Let's Consider Two Spherical Chickens by Tommaso Bolognesi
Ratings for Murder on the Einstein Express:
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:
4/5 (1 votes)
Literary Quality:
2/5 (1 votes)

TopicInfinity, Mathematical Physics, Real Mathematics, Logic/Set Theory,
MediumShort Stories,

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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)