Category Archives: mathematics

“The Pi Man,” Alfred Bester, 1959

“The Pi Man,” Alfred Bester, 1959 — Bester’s pyrotechnic prose describes the agonized existence of the Pi Man, a man who must always find balance in numbers and patterns–and elude those who wish to use his abilities for their own … Continue reading

Posted in 1946-1959, love/family/children, mathematics, psych/mind/madness, senses/space, violence | 1 Comment

“Gomez,” C. M. Kornbluth, 1954

“Gomez,” C. M. Kornbluth, 1954 – An otherwise unremarkable Mexican kitchen worker is discovered to be a mathematical genius, and the U.S. military quickly appropriates him as “human resources,” necessary for its defense against the Soviets in the Cold War.  … Continue reading

Posted in 1946-1959, bureaucracy/corporations, intelligence, love/family/children, mathematics, primitive/civilized, satire, sex/reproduction/sterility, the Other, war/soldiers | 2 Comments

“FYI,” James Blish, 1953

“FYI,” James Blish, 1953 – Men in a bar anxiously await news of the outcome of a future war.  An eccentric mathematician strongarms a reluctant man into listening to his explanation that humanity may or may not have received a … Continue reading

Posted in 1946-1959, mathematics, reality/VR/surreal, time/history/causality | 2 Comments

“The Nine Billion Names of God,” Arthur C. Clarke, 1953

“The Nine Billion Names of God,” Arthur C. Clarke, 1953 – Numbers, names, and prophecy merge in the story of two salesmen who make a strange device for Tibetan monks in search of the true name of God. Comments: Themes … Continue reading

Posted in 1946-1959, mathematics, religion/soul/spirituality | Leave a comment

“God and the Machine,” Nigel Balchin, 1951

“God and the Machine,” Nigel Balchin, 1951 — Uncle Charles relates to his nephew the story of Professor Plumreach and his draughts-playing automaton.  Arrogant, misanthropic, abusive to his family, Plumreach appears to be a rigid man of absolutes.  Charles notes … Continue reading

Posted in 1946-1959, atomic bomb/Hiroshima, emotions/intimacy/empathy, hubris/pride, international, logic/reason, mathematics, scientific ethics, the scientist | Leave a comment

“Superiority,” Arthur C. Clarke, 1951

“Superiority,” Arthur C. Clarke, 1951 — A mighty fleet is defeated by inferior science at the Battle of the Five Suns.  Too many resources were invested in the latest military technology, the Sphere of Annihilation, and all other research was … Continue reading

Posted in 1946-1959, atomic bomb/Hiroshima, international, logic/reason, mathematics, primitive/civilized, progress/obsolescence, war/soldiers | Leave a comment

“Inflexible Logic,” Russell Maloney, 1941

“Inflexible Logic,” Russell Maloney, 1941 — Mr. Bainbridge, a sober bachelor from Connecticut, visits New York. While there, he attends a cocktail party at which he hears the “old cliche of mathematicians” regarding the “six chimpanzees.”  According to the law … Continue reading

Posted in 1940-1945, language/libraries, logic/reason, mathematics | Leave a comment

“The Death of Archimedes,” Karl Capek, 1949

“The Death of Archimedes,” Karl Capek, 1949 — (short) A reimagining of Archimedes’s last moments.  After conquering Syracuse, Romans burst in upon Archimedes, who is busy with “his circles.”  Archimedes contrasts the importance of his method of calculating the area … Continue reading

Posted in 1946-1959, alternate history, international, mathematics, the scientist, war/soldiers | Leave a comment

“Pythagoras and the Psychoanalyst,” Arthur Koestler, 1943

“Pythagoras and the Psychoanalyst,” Arthur Koestler, 1943 — (humorous short) The theory is never found, because a psychoanalyst convinces Pythagoras that his obsession with triangles is the result of suppressed love triangle. Comments: Read in Fantasia Mathematica. Author: Wikipedia: “Arthur … Continue reading

Posted in 1940-1945, humor, international, mathematics, psych/mind/madness | Leave a comment

“John Jones’s Dollar,” Harry Stephen Keller, 1927

“John Jones’s Dollar,” Harry Stephen Keeler, 1927 —  “The main mathematical content of this science fiction story is an illustration of the potential of exponential growth in the form of considering how a single dollar invested in a bank would … Continue reading

Posted in 1926-1939, economics, mathematics | Leave a comment

“The Universal Library,” Kurd Lasswitz, 1901

“The Universal Library,” Kurd Lasswitz, 1901 — Professor Wallhausen and his wife pose a question to Max Burkel, an editor, regarding the limits of human imagination, commenting that perhaps everything that “can be expressed with letters has been tried.” The … Continue reading

Posted in 1926 and earlier, genrecraft, international, language/libraries, mathematics | 1 Comment

“Young Archimedes,” Aldous Huxley, 1924

“Young Archimedes,” Aldous Huxley, 1924 — An English couple on holiday in Italy rents lodging from the avaricious Signora Bondi, whose greatest pleasure is to “do in” her trusting tenants.  Despite the Signora, the two city-dwellers find themselves in the … Continue reading

Posted in 1926 and earlier, aesthetics/beauty, favorites, intelligence, international, mathematics, primitive/civilized, suicide, tourists | Leave a comment

“The Atoms of Chladni,” J. D. Whelpley, 1860

“The Atoms of Chladni,” J. D. Whelpley, 1860 — The narrator has befriended Mrs. Bertaldy, soon revealed to be the widow of the deceased inventor and mathematician, Gustav Mohler.  Now that she has passed, he wishes to tell the story … Continue reading

Posted in 1926 and earlier, favorites, gender, interior/exterior, knowledge/truth/epistemology, love/family/children, mathematics, mechanization, psych/mind/madness, surveillance, the scientist | Leave a comment

“Dr. Materialismus,” Frederic Jesup Stimson, 1893

“Dr. Materialismus,” Frederic Jesup Stimson, 1893 — The narrator introduces C. S. J. J. “Rousseau” Tetherby as a young man he encountered at Newbridge, where they both studied law.  Tetherby has a knack for debate but is normally withdrawn, becoming impassioned … Continue reading

Posted in 1926 and earlier, automata/robots, capitalism/Marxism, emotions/intimacy/empathy, favorites, gender, love/family/children, mathematics, mechanization, natural/artificial, psych/mind/madness, religion/soul/spirituality, scientific ethics, senses/space, the body, the scientist | Leave a comment