a list compiled by Alex Kasman (College of Charleston)

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Turnabout (1955)
Gordon R. Dickson

Contributed by Vijay Fafat

It's a story about a physics professor who is investigating a device that creates planar force-fields. In its first run, an explosion destroys the device and the physicist is trying to obtain an answer to a seeming engineering problem using a second version. The story then goes on to describe how he gets trapped in the 2-D field and how a geometric property of the field, coupled with the fact that the planar field actually takes the form of a mobius surface, enables him to escape. There is a brief description of the way a stick figure on a paper mobius strip reverses orientation on completing a circuit.

Published in If, January 1955. Later republished in the anthology Ends in 1988.

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Works Similar to Turnabout
According to my `secret formula', the following works of mathematical fiction are similar to this one:
  1. Left or Right by Martin Gardner
  2. No-Sided Professor by Martin Gardner
  3. Technical Error by Arthur C. Clarke
  4. The Plattner Story by Herbert George Wells
  5. The Moebius Room by Robert Donald Locke
  6. Problem in Geometry by T.P. Caravan
  7. The Mobius Trail by George Smith
  8. Flower Arrangement by Rosel George Brown
  9. The Higher Mathematics by Martin C. Wodehouse
  10. Project Flatty by Irving Cox Jr.
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GenreScience Fiction,
MotifMobius Strip/Nonorientability,
TopicGeometry/Topology/Trigonometry, Analysis/Calculus/Differential, Mathematical Physics,
MediumShort Stories,

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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)