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The Exploration of Space (1972)
Barrington J. Bayley
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Contributed by Vijay Fafat

The author has used - as in some of his other stories like "The problem of Morley's Emission" - a story format to lay out some of his philosophical speculations, in this instance about the nature of spacetime. The first person narrator, under opium-induced haze, is visited upon by a knight on a chess board. Evidently, it has arrived in a space-ship from a "locational-transitional" space. The ensuing conversation ranges over a few theories the author has about other types of possible spaces of existence. Einstein's field equation of General Relativity makes an appearance in tensor form. There is a minor discussion about the abstraction of numbers and a cursory paragraph about Cantor, transfinite numbers and transfinite spaces. Finally, the knight leaves and the opium wears off. A fairly nicely written fantasy piece, though at places it feels quite hurried or not sufficiently fleshed out.

Originally published as New Worlds Quarterly 4, ed. Michael Moorcock, London: Sphere 1972 and recently reprinted in The Knights of the Limit.

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Works Similar to The Exploration of Space
According to my `secret formula', the following works of mathematical fiction are similar to this one:
  1. The Bees of Knowledge by Barrington J. Bayley
  2. Symposium by R.A. Lafferty
  3. Cantor's War by Christopher Anvil
  4. The Galactic Circle by Jack Williamson
  5. The Grand Wheel by Barrington J. Bayley
  6. The Four-Color Problem by Barrington J. Bayley
  7. The Crazy Mathematician by Ralph Sylvester Underwood
  8. The Seventh Stair by Frank Brandon
  9. The Riddle of the Universe & Its Solution by Christopher Cherniak
  10. Another Cock Tale by Chris Miller
Ratings for The Exploration of Space:
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Mathematical Content:
2/5 (1 votes)
Literary Quality:
3/5 (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)