a list compiled by Alex Kasman (College of Charleston)
|Into the Comet (1960)
|Arthur C. Clarke
(click on names to see more mathematical fiction
by the same author)
|When a computer malfunction prevents the crew of a spaceship from being able to determine a trajectory back to Earth, they are forced to resort to using an abacus to aid in the computation. [Note that this seems to foreshadow the real event in which pilots on a ship designed to visit the moon were forced to do some computation by hand in order to determine a trajectory that would send them back to earth after a power failure. I'll admit that calculus may not generally be a matter of life and death, but I always point this out to my calculus students since they have all seen the film Apollo 13 in which one can clearly see the astronauts computing antiderivatives to save their lives.]
First published in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction (1960) under the title "Inside the Comet" and collected in Tales of Ten Worlds.
|(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)