a list compiled by Alex Kasman (College of Charleston)

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Bill, the Galactic Hero (1965)
Harry Harrison
(click on names to see more mathematical fiction by the same author)

Contributed by "William E. Emba"

The famed parody of Asimov and Heinlein. Amongst other issues, the book asks what happens to all the garbage from a one city planet (a la Trantor from FOUNDATION)? It seems to be a losing battle down below, but the planet's topologists have come up with an empty soda can that spontaneously deforms into a long playing record, which the user naturally wants to keep.

I'm not sure, but I have the impression that Harrison once read the joke about a topologist being a mathematician who cannot the difference between a coffee cup and a doughnut, but completely missed the topological point of the joke.

More information about this work can be found at
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Works Similar to Bill, the Galactic Hero
According to my `secret formula', the following works of mathematical fiction are similar to this one:
  1. The Cyberiad by Stanislaw Lem
  2. Bellwether by Connie Willis
  3. The Mathenauts by Norman Kagan
  4. Dimensional Analysis and Mr Fortescue by Eric St. Clair
  5. Doctor Who: The Turing Test by Paul Leonard
  6. Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
  7. The Anomaly [L'Anomalie] by Hervé Le Tellier
  8. Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency by Douglas Adams
  9. Ms Fnd in a Lbry by Hal Draper
  10. Mathematicians in Love by Rudy Rucker
Ratings for Bill, the Galactic Hero:
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:
1.66/5 (3 votes)
Literary Quality:
4.33/5 (3 votes)

GenreHumorous, Science Fiction,

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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)