Mathematical SF novels


I, of course, am not at all nervous about normal math, which I define as arithmetic and algebra. You hand me a polynomial and I can factor that sucker, though if I have to find rational zeros to get started, I will be peeved. (I admit I don’t recall anything about trig except it has to do with triangles, and very little about calculus except that derivatives have to do with finding the rates at which things change.)

Anyway, sure, I will probably like math in SF, unless it just seems stupid, like the magic wand math in the TV show “NUMB3RS.” Alas, that is most often the case for math in SF.

Let me see which books Book Riot points to here …

Gosh, I haven’t read any of these. Plus the post is perhaps cheating by pointing to two books by the same author — Middlegame and Imaginary Numbers, both by Seanan McGuire. Perhaps that isn’t cheating, as I see the two books belong to different series. The latter is an InCryptid novel, not a series I liked at all when I tried it. The former looks like horror:

Doesn’t that look like horror? And while the end of October is a good time to read horror or dark fantasy, I have a book or two of that description I was already planning to read.

Anyway, it’s surprising to me that Book Riot would pick out five SF novels in which math is important and I wouldn’t have read any of them. Maybe I will try Middlegame after all.

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5 thoughts on “Mathematical SF novels”

  1. Good to know, Allan; I think I’ll stick with the horror-ish novels I’ve got handy and not try that one, at least not yet.

  2. I like Seanan McGuire a lot, but her dark stuff is too dark for me. Bounced off the zombie novels entirely, and Middle Game fell into that zone for me. Incidentally, I just bounced off of T. Kingfisher’s latest for the same reasons. That one I would normally have finished, but I’m particularly horror-adverse right now given the state of the world…

  3. I liked the Zombie trilogy, but … I mean, I really liked them, except … the magic clone in the third book? I may never re-read the series because that plot twist is just so, so stupid. I mean, she hand-waved. But no amount of hand-waving can make a magic clone work for me.

    I liked The Twisted Ones a lot, so I will probably like The Hollow Places … but I haven’t picked it up yet, so apparently I’m not super eager to read it right now. Still, I trust her not to kill a really important protagonist. Or a dog.

  4. Mentioned this in a recent post, but David Zindell’s _Neverness_ is about math (and probably too many other things) and is often very good and always at least interesting.

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