a list compiled by Alex Kasman (College of Charleston)
|This fantasy story by the author of Frankenstein, about a man who drinks a half dose of a potion that bestows immortality, is only borderline mathematical fiction. The only arguably mathematical part comes at the end, sort of the punchline, when the question is asked: if the whole dose makes you live forever, what would half of the dose do? In other words, what is "half the infinite"?
The suggestion for including this story comes from R. Nesvet, who also offers a compelling argument for including it in my database of mathematical fiction:
One also must consider the publication context -- a late-1820s Christmas annual whose target audience was very sheltered middle-class girls and whose usual subject matter was sentimental rubbish. So that one line about 'numbering half the infinite' may have been the *only* math puzzle that many of its readers encountered and were expected to get excited about.
|More information about this work can be found at www.rc.umd.edu.
|(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)