a list compiled by Alex Kasman (College of Charleston)
|Far in the future, a human explores a giant fractal construction which is a
physical realization of the total knowledge of the creatures which created
it long ago. In the process he learns about Gödel's Theorem. Apparently, Incompleteness forms a fundamental aspect of the worldview of these aliens, and this explains why the construction seeks to collect (but not interpret) knowledge and why it is waiting patiently for the continued expansion of the universe. Personally, I have always thought that the supposed philosophical implications of Gödelian incompleteness is blown out of proportion, but this story is fun and mindblowing nevertheless. (If I am to be picky, I could also complain about the claim that a snowflake is an example of a fractal.
Although it may have self-similarity of complexity on several different
scales, according to any current physical theory this complexity breaks
down as one nears the atomic level.)
I think [Vacuum Diagrams] is an excellent Hard SF book. It spans 5 million
years of human history, through wars with the Xeelee, the fall of
civilization (sort of), and the final victory of Dark Matter life over
Baryonic life. It is an epic book, and the physics in it sometimes make
you just sit back and say 'wow'. It deals with all areas of science,
from biology to mathematics. I highly recommend you try to get this book
(I first read it from the library, and then bought it on EBay for
$1.00!), I believe there was a few copies on EBay, and there may be more
than when I got mine. So maybe the characterization in the book isn't
the greatest, but the book isn't about character development, it's about
Originally published in Interzone 1992 and reprinted in the collection Vacuum Diagrams.
See also The Logic Pool.
|Buy this work of mathematical fiction and read reviews at amazon.com. |
|(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.)|
Exciting News: The total number of works of mathematical fiction listed in this database recently reached a milestone. The 1,500th entry is The Man of Forty Crowns by Voltaire. Thanks to Vijay Fafat for writing the summary of that work (and so many others). I am also grateful to everyone who has contributed to this website. Heck, I'm grateful to everyone who visited the site. Thank you!
(Maintained by Alex Kasman,
College of Charleston)