a list compiled by Alex Kasman (College of Charleston)

Home All New Browse Search About

Lines of Longitude (1997)
Stephen Baxter
(click on names to see more mathematical fiction by the same author)

Contributed by Vijay Fafat

The story tries to delve into Hawking's idea of imaginary time - how it may occur that at the beginning of the universe, time and space were ambiguously defined, smeared out into each other as a flattened patch of space-time instead of a sharp cusp of the big bang. Some geometrical explanation of how any point on the surface of a sphere can be considered a pole with radiating longitudinal lines (lines of great circle) follows and tied into the geometrical explanation of the Hawking-Hartle scheme (related to the removal of the big bang singularity in a cosmological model incorporating imaginary time). But frankly, I was at a loss to understand the setting of the story. Why were there UFOs figuring in? How did some crazed mind of an elderly student end up at a self-created pole of space-time big bang? Why did he find some girl there (and was this girl his teacher, who also ends up at that pole?)? And in general, why was anything happening the way it was described? It sounds all very mystical, which is fine by me since it's a Baxter. But not particularly satisfying.

Originally in "Dark of the Night" ed. Stephen Jones, 1997.
Also available in "Phase Space".

Buy this work of mathematical fiction and read reviews at logo
(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.)

Works Similar to Lines of Longitude
According to my `secret formula', the following works of mathematical fiction are similar to this one:
  1. Approaching Perimelasma by Geoffrey A. Landis
  2. Schwarzschild Radius by Connie Willis
  3. The Cube Root of Conquest by Rog Phillips
  4. The Light of Other Days by Arthur C. Clarke / Stephen Baxter
  5. The Logic Pool by Stephen Baxter
  6. Manifold: Time by Stephen Baxter
  7. Dante Dreams by Stephen Baxter
  8. Planck Zero by Stephen Baxter
  9. The Mandelbrot Bet by Dirk Strasser
  10. Gödel's Sunflowers by Stephen Baxter
Ratings for Lines of Longitude:
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.


GenreScience Fiction,
TopicMathematical Physics, Real Mathematics,
MediumShort Stories,

Home All New Browse Search About

(Maintained by Alex Kasman, College of Charleston)