a list compiled by Alex Kasman (College of Charleston)

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The Infinite Plane (1981)
Paul J. Nahin
(click on names to see more mathematical fiction by the same author)

As a student, Richard Mackley discussed some philosophical aspects of the mathematical abstraction of an infinite plane with his math professor. For instance, they noted that the plane would look the same regardless of your distance from it (having no pattern nor edges for your binocular vision to use as cues) and the fact that it divides three dimensional space in half, so that there is no way to get to the other side other than going through it. Moreover, they even speculate upon what one might find on the other side, with the professor's ideas based upon the important mathematical concept of symmetry.

Later, serving in the US Air Force, Mackley has the misfortune to get shot down over the Sea of Japan and mysteriously find himself falling towards an infinite plane in reality. Following through on his determination to break through to the other side, Mackley is eventually able to verify his old professors conjecture.

(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 The Infinite Plane
According to my `secret formula', the following works of mathematical fiction are similar to this one:
  1. The Wall of Darkness by Arthur C. Clarke
  2. Twisters by Paul J. Nahin
  3. The Library of Babel by Jorge Luis Borges
  4. Message Found in a Copy of Flatland by Rudy Rucker
  5. Tiger by the Tail by A.G. Nourse
  6. The Galactic Circle by Jack Williamson
  7. The Planiverse: computer contact with a two-dimensional world by A.K. Dewdney
  8. The Fourth-Dimensional Demonstrator by Murray Leinster
  9. The Cube Root of Conquest by Rog Phillips
  10. The Grass and Tree by Eliot Fintushel
Ratings for The Infinite Plane:
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:
3/5 (1 votes)
Literary Quality:
3/5 (1 votes)

GenreScience Fiction,
TopicGeometry/Topology/Trigonometry, Infinity,
MediumShort Stories,

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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)