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The Last Answer (1980)
Isaac Asimov
(click on names to see more mathematical fiction by the same author)

Contributed by "William E. Emba"

Physicist Murray Templeton dies and is then surprised to find that he somehow still exists. Murray engages in a conversation with his Creator (who is bemused at being called `God'), in the course of which he learns he is now immortal, much against his will.

At one point, there is an unsophisticated argument regarding the nature of infinity, expressed in terms of bijections between an infinite set and a proper subset.

Contributed by Brendon S. Merriner

Wonderful story. It is great because it really makes you think. The basis of the story is Murray dies and a "Voice" talks with him. The Voice wants Murray to think. Life is about intelligence, and it never dies. Murray then decides to think of a way to destroy the Voice which makes the Voice finally disappear. He tries to think of a way to destroy an infinite entity that has no beginning and no end. How do you do that? The story includes concepts of infinity and even and odd integers. A good read for a math project (like I am doing), and just a good read to make you think. Awesome website. - brendon

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Works Similar to The Last Answer
According to my `secret formula', the following works of mathematical fiction are similar to this one:
  1. Blasphemy by Douglas Preston
  2. The Feeling of Power by Isaac Asimov
  3. 21 Grams by Alejandro González Iñárritu
  4. Mirror Image by Isaac Asimov
  5. The Holmes-Ginsbook Device by Isaac Asimov
  6. Solid Geometry by Ian McEwan
  7. Axiom of Dreams by Arula Ratnakar
  8. The Library of Babel by Jorge Luis Borges
  9. Ker-Plop by Ted Reynolds
  10. The Phantom of Kansas by John Varley
Ratings for The Last Answer:
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:
1.75/5 (4 votes)
Literary Quality:
4.33/5 (3 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)