a list compiled by Alex Kasman (College of Charleston)
|It would be an understatement to refer to this massive novel as "complex". Written in Catalan and never translated (not even into Spanish), it is often published in multiple volumes. Adding the intricacy and depth of authors like Pynchon and Calvino to the popular 21st century conspiracy novel genre, Palol's work concerns "Joc de la Fragmentació" (aka the Fragmentation Game), a game known only to initiates in a secret order which literally has the power to change reality.
A key object in the story is the Kaleidoscope, a dodecahedron with moving parts covered in mysterious inscriptions. The reader is even given a page which can be cut out and folded to form a copy of the Kaleidoscope, albeit without any moving parts. In fact, the structure of the novel itself is modeled on the geometry of a dodecahedron, though that in itself does not qualify it to be considered "mathematical fiction" according to my definition. Within the plot, characters studying the Kaleidoscope include a cryptologist and mathematical idiot-savant. It is eventually revealed that the "end game" is a universal transformation involving the uniting of all humanity through acts of sexual intercourse and a new chemical structure based on a four-dimensional generalization of the dodecahedron.
If any of that sounds unlikely, confusing, or wrong, it could well be because I do not read Catalan myself and hence have had to rely on snippets picked up from various websites around the internet. But, I also think it could just be that this is a bizarre and complicated work of fiction which does not quite make sense.
Of course, if anyone who has read the novel could provide more specific comments about the mathematical ideas it utilizes, I would be very grateful.
Thanks to Thomas Riepe for bringing this intriguing work of mathematical fiction to my attention.
|(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)