MATHEMATICAL FICTION:

a list compiled by Alex Kasman (College of Charleston)

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Onto Infinity (2002)
David Alex
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A young mathematician and his older wife struggle to accept her fate as she slowly dies of cancer.

As you might guess since I maintain a website on mathematical fiction, I am not one of those who see math and science at one end of a spectrum with the humanities at the other end. But, many people do see it that way.

I have not seen the play, but I strongly suspect this is one of those works in which it is necessary for the person at the humanities side of that spectrum (she happens to be his former literature teacher) to teach the naive but brilliant mathematician the real facts of life. For example, the blurb says that he is "searching for a higher level of infinity" but "loses touch with the finite–the real world." Even more tellingly, it says "She, not the mathematician, determines why love cannot be measured." Moreover, I found a quote from the play in a review which suggests that the mathematician proposed not because he was overwhelmed with love, but because he had determined that she was desperate enough to agree and would not attempt to change him. It therefore seems to me that this play utilizes the tired (IMHO) stereotypes that mathematicians are cold and that math hinders (rather than aids) in our understanding of reality.

If anyone reading this has actually seen or read this play, let me know whether my conjecture is correct.

More information about this work can be found at newplayexchange.org.
(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 Onto Infinity
According to my `secret formula', the following works of mathematical fiction are similar to this one:
  1. Midnight Diner (Episode: Omelette Rice) by Joji Matsuoka (Director) / Marina Oshima (Screenplay)
  2. The Hurricane by R.J. Prescott
  3. The Mirror Has Two Faces by Barbra Streisand (director) / Richard LaGravenese (Writer)
  4. The Dark Lord by Patricia Simpson
  5. Bread & Kisses by Katherine Fitzgerald (writer and director)
  6. The Italian in Need of an Heir by Lynne Graham
  7. Invisibly Breathing by Eileen Merriman
  8. The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang
  9. Break Your Heart by Rhonda Helms
  10. The One Plus One by Jojo Moyes
Ratings for Onto Infinity:
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Categories:
GenreRomance,
MotifAnti-social Mathematicians,
TopicInfinity,
MediumPlays,

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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)