a list compiled by Alex Kasman (College of Charleston)
|The Devouring Tide (1944) ||John Russell Fearn (under the pseudonym Polton Cross)|
(click on names to see more mathematical fiction
by the same author)
Another horridly written story by JRF, this time about an all-consuming, universe-destroying frontier of “non-spacetime” dubbed “Black Infinity”, a shock wave from the original big bang which is now catching up with the matter-universe. JRF has his genius of a protagonist postulate that our universe was a result of a pure thought process acting on absolute nothingness. To escape Black Infinity, far flung alien civilizations are attacking Earth as a temporary foot-hold (we're getting visitors from as far away as the other end of the universe….). The genius builds “mathematical weapons” (“The basic energy quanta of those ships is rendered void because the mathematical postulations making them up are being cancelled out. My weapons are based on the probability waves of the electron, incorporating nine dimensions (!)”) to stop the aliens and also erects “mathematical barriers” (“they're not dealing with material things but
transfigurations”) to slow them down. In the end, he uses his mathematical energies to focus intense thoughts on Black Infinity and spawns a new universe.
The story features slower-than-light signals outracing FTL communication and a planet “infinitely closer to earth” than another body….all in all, a nice concept which would have been wonderful in the hands of Asimov or Baxter but completely trashed by JRF
Published in the Summer 1944 issue of Thrilling Wonder Stories.
|(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)