a list compiled by Alex Kasman (College of Charleston)
(click on names to see more mathematical fiction
by the same author)
|Note: This work of mathematical fiction is recommended by Alex for hardcore fans of science fiction.
|My friends and I are all in agreement on this one: this book starts
out great (at a mathematical physics conference where people are
talking about the latest theories of quantum gravity) but then it
degenerates into a ridiculous ending. The story takes place just a
little bit in the future. People are still talking about string
theories and the loop quantization of gravity (in fact, some real
papers by mathematical physicists are mentioned, which is kind of
cool.) The big difference is that things really seem to be coming to
a conclusion: the much discussed "Theory of Everything" is about to
become a reality, which is exciting to the mathematical physicists
(and hopefully to the readers too) but is a threat to a group
of crazy people who believe the universe will be altered when the
truth is discovered. Spoiler: I do not recommend you read this
book to find out the ending because so many people before you have
been disappointed by it, but if you don't want to know, please stop
reading now as I am about to reveal the ending. In the end, it turns
out that those crazy people were right. Once the theory of everything
is discovered, suddenly everybody alive knows everything, they see
equations in their heads all of the time and can predict in advance
every nuance of the motion of a falling leaf. This is a hard
adjustment for the people who lived before this "enlightenment", but
the new generation grows up in this new world without emotions or
BTW: Check out Egan's Home Page for more information about his fiction, his programming and the mathematics underlying them.
Greg Egan is a hard sf writer whose first novels (Quarantine and Distress) end in an almost metaphysical transcendence. In spite of all the sf trappings and all the hi-tech gizmos he so cleverly imagines, Egan seems to have (at least in the beginning of his career as a novelist) an undercurrent of mysticism which always pushes him toward endings that posit The Mind as the ultimate reality.
Egan is like A.E. van Vogt -- he introduces astonishing idea after astonishing idea, and then when you think it can't go any further he introduces two more!
|More information about this work can be found at www.amazon.com.
|(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)