a list compiled by Alex Kasman (College of Charleston)

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Annals of Klepsis (1983)
R.A. Lafferty
(click on names to see more mathematical fiction by the same author)

A wacky sci-fi adventure comedy featuring space pirates. There is not much math in the book, but the central plot revolves around a mathematical ``doomsday equation'' and the goal of preventing the horrible fate it predicts for humanity:

(quoted from Annals of Klepsis)

The humanly inhabited universe, according to the best -- or at least the newest -- mathematical theory, does have a tertiary focus, and it is there that it is vulnerable. The humanly inhabited universe, with its four suns and its seventeen planets, is an unstable closed system of human orientation and precarious balance, a kinetic three-dimensional ellipse in form, with its third focus always approaching extinction. As with any similar unstable premise-system, the entire construct must follow its third focus into extinction. This is known as the `Doomsday Equation.'

The equation has been bad-mouthed because it originated on an asteroid and not a planet; but must we forever believe that planetary mathematics is always superior to asteroid mathematics?...

As a result, attempts to understand or alter the equation and characters with expertise in mathematics play a key role in the plot.

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Works Similar to Annals of Klepsis
According to my `secret formula', the following works of mathematical fiction are similar to this one:
  1. The Dark Side of the Sun by Terry Pratchett
  2. Narrow Valley by R.A. Lafferty
  3. Message Found in a Copy of Flatland by Rudy Rucker
  4. The Zero Theorem by Pat Rushin (screenplay) / Terry Gilliam (director)
  5. Inside Out by Rudy Rucker
  6. The Girl with the Celestial Limb by Pauline Melville
  7. The Heart on the Other Side by George Gamow
  8. 1963 by Alan Moore
  9. Nymphomation by Jeff Noon
  10. Getaway from Getawehi by Colin Kapp
Ratings for Annals of Klepsis:
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:
3/5 (1 votes)

GenreHumorous, Science Fiction,
MotifFuture Prediction through Math,

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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)