MATHEMATICAL FICTION:

a list compiled by Alex Kasman (College of Charleston)

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Statistician's Day (1970)
James Blish
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Contributed by "William E. Emba"

An aging novelist and Nobel Prize winner gives what he knows is his last interview. But rather than take questions, he has rather pointed ones of his own, based on his twenty years of statistical analyses of the obituary pages. He claims to have identified the real way that zero population growth has been achieved (using plausible sounding statistical terminology), right down to predicting the day of his own death (using plausible sounding Malthusian economics and an implausible sounding reference to projective geometry).

Originally appeared in Anthony Cheetham (ed) SCIENCE AGAINST MAN.

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Works Similar to Statistician's Day
According to my `secret formula', the following works of mathematical fiction are similar to this one:
  1. Conservation of Probability by Brook West
  2. Drunkard's Walk by Frederik Pohl
  3. The Last Starship from Earth by John Boyd
  4. Solar Lottery by Philip K. Dick
  5. We by Yevgeny Zamyatin
  6. The Crazy Mathematician by Ralph Sylvester Underwood
  7. The Seventh Stair by Frank Brandon
  8. Paint ‘Em Green by Burt Filer
  9. Futility by Sterner St. Paul Meek (S.P. Meek)
  10. My Random Friend by Larry Eisenberg
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Categories:
GenreScience Fiction,
MotifFuture Prediction through Math,
TopicProbability/Statistics,
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)