a list compiled by Alex Kasman (College of Charleston)

Home All New Browse Search About

Approaching Perimelasma (1998)
Geoffrey A. Landis
(click on names to see more mathematical fiction by the same author)

As part of a planned experiment, a man falls into a black hole and escapes through a wormhole. (Don't worry, it is only a backup copy of his mind on an artificial body specifically designed for this task.) The story explains Lorentz transformations the way I always like to: as demonstrating that there is a sort of "conversion" possible between space and time. People sometimes object when I describe it that way, thinking that it may look like that mathematically though "of course" space and time are different. But, this story illustrates what would happen if this mathematical metaphor was real and taken to the extreme:

(quoted from Approaching Perimelasma)

When the mathematicians describe the passage across the event horizon of a black hole, they say that the space and time directions switch identity. I had always thought his only a mathematical oddity, but if it were true, if I had rotated when I passed the event horizon and was now perceiving time as a direction in space, and one of the space axes as time, -- this would explain everything. Stars extend from billions of years into the past to long into the future; perceiving time as space, I see lines of light. If I were to come closer and find on of the rocky planets of Wolf 562, it woud look like a braid around the star, a helix of solid rock.

First published in Asimov's Science Fiction magazine (January 1998) and reprinted in Impact Parameter.

More information about this work can be found at
(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 Approaching Perimelasma
According to my `secret formula', the following works of mathematical fiction are similar to this one:
  1. The Planck Dive by Greg Egan
  2. Lines of Longitude by Stephen Baxter
  3. Incandescence by Greg Egan
  4. Schwarzschild Radius by Connie Willis
  5. Snow by Geoffrey A. Landis
  6. Ouroboros by Geoffrey A. Landis
  7. Ripples in the Dirac Sea by Geoffrey A. Landis
  8. La formule: (A story of fourth dimension) by Jean Ray
  9. Border Guards by Greg Egan
  10. Diaspora by Greg Egan
Ratings for Approaching Perimelasma:
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)

GenreScience Fiction,
TopicGeometry/Topology/Trigonometry, Mathematical Physics,
MediumShort Stories,

Home All New Browse Search About

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)