a list compiled by Alex Kasman (College of Charleston)
|A bipolar artist and an obsessive mathematician who meet by chance get to know each other (and themselves) better through the course of six conversations. Although the artist already has a boyfriend, their relationship blossoms into a full-blown romance. Their conversations also help the artist break free from the psychoactive pharmaceuticals she has been required to take since being convicted of planning to counterfeit money. (The controversial viewpoint that life is better without those prescription drugs seems to be a message that this book seeks to convey.)
The mathematician is both a doctoral student and a university lecturer who works on research involving time travel. Kurt Gödel's work on general relativity is mentioned in passing, and we witness the character's attempt to motivate the chain rule to his calculus students. Unfortunately (IMHO), this character is yet another example of the stereotypical mathematician that one would find in many works of fiction: he prefers "theoretical" math and despises any practical applications, he is a horrible teacher, and seemingly has no friends aside from his father. He is supposedly a talented researcher, but the ideas described (something about hexagons being the "direction" to travel to achieve closed paths that return to an initial point in spacetime) make no sense to me. Moreover, the book makes it clear that he enjoys working on this because it will always remain an incomprehensible enigma, suggesting that he is not making any actual progress on it. The author must have a very low opinion of mathematics if that is her idea of what talented mathematicians do with their time.
(BTW Since this author is best known for fantasy, one might expect that time travel would actually be manifested or play a role in this book. But, it only remains "theoretical".)
|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 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)