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A Deadly Medley of Smedley (2003)
Feargus Gwynplaine MacIntyre

Contributed by "William E. Emba"

Paradox Patrol officer Julie Anne Callender, with the help of her brother Gregorian and her uncle Newgate, track down yet again the timecrime master of evil Smedley Faversham (and atrocious punmeister) and his two evil henchmen, who happen to be quantum entangled clones of himself from parallel universes. The trio of criminals face a quantized Prisoner's Dilemma challenge.

Along the way, dodging bad puns galore, are higher dimensions, aleph-null bottles of beer on the wall, and Möbius Dick, the inside-out cetacean. Even Smedley's hairlocks and mustache have the shape of an infinity sign.

Published in Analog, April 2003.

And, if you enjoy reading about the dastardly plots of Smedly Faversham, you should check out his earlier adventures. "Medley" is the most mathematical of the stories, but all of them include at least some small mention of advanced mathematics along with a goodly dose of theoretical physics. More importantly, all of the stories contain 1000% of your recommended daily allowance of puns. Check out all of Smedley's adventures listed by Mr. MacIntyre in the e-mail message below:

Contributed by F. Gwynplaine MacIntyre

Dear Professor Kasman:

Greetings to you from F. Gwynplaine MacIntyre, science-fiction author and amateur physicist. Having enjoyed your excellent website in the past, I was chuffed (delighted) today to discover that you've added a mention of myself and my latest science-fiction story 'A Deadly Medley of Smedley', which appears in the current (April 2003) number of 'Analog'. As you correctly note, this story indeed has mathematical content.

However, 'A Deadly Medley of Smedley' is the fifth instalment (British spelling, ONE 'L') of an ongoing series of stories about Smedley Faversham, the time-travelling (British spelling, TWO 'L's) confidence trickster. ALL of the instalments in my ongoing Smedley Faversham saga feature a substantial amount of mathematical content, as well as a good deal to do with quantum physics. You may be aware of George Gamow's stories which attempted to explain the fundamentals of chemistry and subatomic reactions in a fictional context: in the Smedley Faversham stories, I endeavour to do similarly with quantum physics and higher maths. (Why is 'mathematics' singular in Yankspeak but plural in Britspeak? This may be a question for the English department.)

In the hope that you and/or your colleagues in C. of Charleston's physics department would like to have a complete list of the Smedley Faversham chronicles to date, they are (in order):
#1. 'Time Lines', published in Analog, June 1999.
#2. 'A Real Bang-Up Job' (Analog, July/August 2000)
#3. "Put Back that Universe!" (originally published in Analog, October 2000; recently reprinted in a British anthology which will appear Stateside from Carroll & Graf ... and yes, this title has double quotation marks)
#4. 'Schrödinger's Cat-Sitter' (Analog, July/August 2001: my favourite title so far, although some non-physicists mightn't get the joke)
#5. 'A Deadly Medley of Smedley' (Analog, April 2003)

As I'm an artist as well as an author, I'll add that from the third story onwards I've illustrated these stories as well as written them.

To reward you for your attention to my published work, I'll now give you a scoop which you're welcome to post on your website: you're the first person to whom I've divulged this. I'm now writing another Smedley Faversham story in which he travels back in time to 19th-century Kirkcudbrightshire, Scotland to meet the physicist James Clerk Maxwell. The title of this forthcoming story is (drum roll, please) 'Maxwell's Silver Hamster'.

Seriously, although the Faversham stories are mostly humour, I well and truly intend them as vehicles in which to explain to the reading public some of the fundamental principles of quantum physics and mathematics. If I manage to get a few 'civilians' interested in science and maths, then I've served a noble purpose.

Straight on till mourning,
Feargus (Gwynplaine MacIntyre)

(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 A Deadly Medley of Smedley
According to my `secret formula', the following works of mathematical fiction are similar to this one:
  1. Perry Rhodan 2638: Zielpunkt Morpheus-System by Marc A. Herren
  2. Uncle Georg's Attic by Ben Schumacher
  3. Unreasonable Effectiveness by Alex Kasman
  4. The Girl with the Celestial Limb by Pauline Melville
  5. The Atrocity Archives by Charles Stross
  6. The Adventures of Topology Man by Alex Kasman
  7. The Zero Theorem by Pat Rushin (screenplay) / Terry Gilliam (director)
  8. The Pexagon by D.J. Rozell
  9. The Devil You Don't by Keith Laumer
  10. Numbercruncher by Si Spurrier (writer) / PJ Holden (artist)
Ratings for A Deadly Medley of Smedley:
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)

GenreHumorous, Science Fiction,
MotifTime Travel, Mobius Strip/Nonorientability,
TopicMathematical Physics,
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)