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Inflexible Logic (1940)
Russell Maloney

There is a famous example of probability which (in one of its many forms) states that six chimpanzees randomly typing at six typewriters would eventually reproduce all of the books in the British museum. In this story, six chimps begin doing exactly that -- without producing any errors or gibberish. The mathematician feels obligated to be a vigilante and defend the laws of probability (which he says take everything into account...including his own actions) by killing the apes before they get too far.
Reprinted in Fantasia Mathematica.

Contributed by Joseph Blanc

Maloney uses no explicit math but he understands far better than engineers at NASA that the improbable will eventually occur. I first read this as a teen-ager and still pick it up now, decades later.

Contributed by Anonymous

As a card-carrying cynic, I really appreciated this story. The fact that I read it when I was still at the impressionable point in my life probably affected my weltanschaung (i.e. scarred me for life!). Great story, well written; I especially liked the end as the last monkey starts typing the opening to "Uncle Tom's Cabin" as he dies.

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Works Similar to Inflexible Logic
According to my `secret formula', the following works of mathematical fiction are similar to this one:
  1. The Law by Robert M. Coates
  2. The Gigantic Fluctuation by Arkady Strugatsky / Boris Strugatsky
  3. Been a long, long time by R.A. Lafferty
  4. Into the Fourth by Adam Hull Shirk
  5. The Crazy Mathematician by Ralph Sylvester Underwood
  6. Scandal in the Fourth Dimension by Amelia Reynolds Long (as "A.R. Long")
  7. Problem in Geometry by T.P. Caravan
  8. Technical Error by Arthur C. Clarke
  9. Sidewise in Time by Murray Leinster
  10. The Ethical Equations by Murray Leinster
Ratings for Inflexible Logic:
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:
2.67/5 (6 votes)
Literary Quality:
3.17/5 (6 votes)

GenreScience Fiction,
MotifEvil mathematicians, Insanity,
MediumShort Stories,

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(Maintained by Alex Kasman, College of Charleston)