a list compiled by Alex Kasman (College of Charleston)

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Altogether Elsewhere, Vast Herds of Reindeer (2011)
Ken Liu
(click on names to see more mathematical fiction by the same author)

One advantage of the human race having been uploaded into a virtual existence, in this post-singularity story, is that it offers a wide variety of decorating choices not normally available to those of us constrained to a physical reality. For instance, the protagonist (sixth-grader Renée Tae-O (star) (whale) Fayette) says

(quoted from Altogether Elsewhere, Vast Herds of Reindeer)

My bedroom is a Klein bottle so I don't ever feel like I'm boxed in. A warm yellow light suffuses the room and fades gradually into darkness at infinite distance. It's old fashioned, like something from years ago, when designs still tried to hint at the old physical world. Yet the smooth, endless surface makes me feel secure, something to hang onto, being enclosed and outside at the same time. It is better than Sarah's room in her home, which is a Weierstrass “curve”: continuous everywhere, but nowhere differentiable. Jagged fractals no matter how closely you look. It's certainly very modern, but I don't ever feel comfortable when I visit. So she comes over to our place a lot more often.

Renée's mother has remained three-dimensional. (Aren't parents embarrassing?!)

However, I am afraid that these remarks will give you the wrong impression about this story. Math provides a sort of comic relief, but this is no joke. Renée's mother is going to explore a distant planet and will never return. The emotional and philosophical consequences of that choice, as well as the whole idea of virtual life, are really what this piece is about.

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Works Similar to Altogether Elsewhere, Vast Herds of Reindeer
According to my `secret formula', the following works of mathematical fiction are similar to this one:
  1. Border Guards by Greg Egan
  2. Diaspora by Greg Egan
  3. Summer Wars by Mamoru Hosoda (Director)
  4. Music of the Spheres by Ken Liu
  5. The Hidden Girl by Ken Liu
  6. Star, Bright by Mark Clifton
  7. Count to a Trillion by John C. Wright
  8. Ghost Days by Ken Liu
  9. Axiom of Dreams by Arula Ratnakar
  10. The Pythagoras Problem by Trevor Baxendale
Ratings for Altogether Elsewhere, Vast Herds of Reindeer:
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:
4/5 (1 votes)

GenreScience Fiction,
MediumShort Stories,

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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)