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As Above, So Below (2009)
Rudy Rucker
(click on names to see more mathematical fiction by the same author)

Contributed by Vijay Fafat

An LSD of a story - in typical Rucker style - where a computer programmer working with the Mandelbrot set is visited upon by a living UFO in the form of the M-set; the UFO named Ma explains to him how she is the beginning and the end of all reality. To quote a beautiful sequence:

(quoted from As Above, So Below)

"You are a pattern in the potentially infinite computation that is the universe; and I am the actually infinite end of said computation. I am all space and all time. The world you live in is happening; my essence is what comes before and after your mundane time.”

“How long is the program that starts it all?”

“Two bits. One Zero.”

“What about all the details?”

“You‟d call it „screen wrap.‟ Patterns grow out and around and come back over themselves and make fringes. It adds up over the billions of years, especially when you remember that each point in space is updating the computation each instant. Each of those points is me; I‟m the rule that runs it all; and looked at the other way, I'm all the past and all the future.”

“I can totally dig it, Ma. The universe has a simple code and a long rich parallel computation. There are infinitely many size scales so in fact each orange or atom has everything inside it. Right on. What about uncertainty and Planck‟s constant, though. Is that a hassle for you, Ma?”

She got into a complex answer involving infinite-dimensional Hilbert space...

After some mishaps involving his wife and her paramour, the programmer is able to get back to being one with Ma, happy as a clam inside a crab can.

Appeared in Rucker's collection Gnarl! and available for free in PDF format at his website.

Contributed by Michael

Please note that there is another book with the same title "As Above, So Below" from Rudy Rucker, which contains a completely different story about the life of the painter Peter Bruegel. As far as I remember, this book doen't contain any mathematical ideas. ISBN 0-765-30403-1

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Works Similar to As Above, So Below
According to my `secret formula', the following works of mathematical fiction are similar to this one:
  1. Spacetime Donuts by Rudy Rucker
  2. Six Thought Experiments Concerning the Nature of Computation by Rudy Rucker
  3. Probability Pipeline by Rudy Rucker / Marc Laidlaw
  4. Mathenauts: Tales of Mathematical Wonder by Rudy Rucker (editor)
  5. Spaceland by Rudy Rucker
  6. The Mandelbrot Bet by Dirk Strasser
  7. A Mathematician's Galatea by Andrew Magrath
  8. Message Found in a Copy of Flatland by Rudy Rucker
  9. Resolution by John Meaney
  10. Inside Out by Rudy Rucker
Ratings for As Above, So Below:
RatingsHave you seen/read this work of mathematical fiction? Then click here to enter your own votes on its mathematical content and literary quality or send me comments to post on this Webpage.
Mathematical Content:
2/5 (1 votes)
Literary Quality:
1/5 (1 votes)

GenreScience Fiction,
TopicComputers/Cryptography, Chaos/Fractals,
MediumShort Stories, Available Free Online,

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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)