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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. Star, Bright by Mark Clifton
  6. Starman Jones by Robert A. Heinlein
  7. The Day the Earth Stood Still by Robert Wise (director) / Harry Bates (story) / Edmund H. North
  8. Occam's Razor by David Duncan
  9. Methuselah's Children by Robert A. Heinlein
  10. Nice Girl with Five Husbands by Fritz Leiber
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GenreScience Fiction,
MotifMobius Strip/Nonorientability,
TopicGeometry/Topology/Trigonometry, Analysis/Calculus/Differential, Mathematical Physics,
MediumShort Stories,

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(Maintained by Alex Kasman, College of Charleston)