a list compiled by Alex Kasman (College of Charleston)

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Nice Girl with Five Husbands (1951)
Fritz Leiber
(click on names to see more mathematical fiction by the same author)

Contributed by "William E. Emba"

A man is unwittingly swept by a time wind 100 years into the future. He and the people he meets in the future--including the nice girl of the title--talk at cross purposes, but no one realizes it.

The children of the future mostly scare him, since they are so evidently brilliant. One child does not scare him, though, because she says dumb things like "one plus one equals ten" and chants silly child's nonsense syllables while skipping rope.

Eventually, he is swept back to his point of origin. Over time, he reads lots of popular science, but never connects the newfangled computer's reliance on binary arithmetic 1+1=10 with the girl of the future. And the narrator comments that he never notices that the generalized Einstein equations (given explicitly in the story) if pronounced directly, read the same as the girl's nonsense chant.

(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 Nice Girl with Five Husbands
According to my `secret formula', the following works of mathematical fiction are similar to this one:
  1. Mimsy Were the Borogoves by Lewis Padgett (aka Henry Kuttner and Catherine L. Moore)
  2. The Fourth Dynasty by R.R. Winterbotham
  3. Progress by Alex Kasman
  4. The Feeling of Power by Isaac Asimov
  5. Star, Bright by Mark Clifton
  6. The Crazy Mathematician by Ralph Sylvester Underwood
  7. The Mandelbrot Bet by Dirk Strasser
  8. Problem in Geometry by T.P. Caravan
  9. The Moebius Room by Robert Donald Locke
  10. The Higher Mathematics by Martin C. Wodehouse
Ratings for Nice Girl with Five Husbands:
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:
2/5 (1 votes)
Literary Quality:
1/5 (1 votes)

GenreScience Fiction,
MotifTime Travel,
TopicMathematical Physics,
MediumShort Stories,

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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)