I recently discovered a wonderful new genre of fiction that had previously escaped my attention altogether. I refer to the mathematical science fiction short story, a story written by and/or about mathematicians. I am an amatuer mathematician, but until recently I had never encountered a story that tried to capture the magical qualities of higher math. Apparently such stories occur only about once a year worldwide.
Imagine my delight in finding an entire collection of math stories. The book is called "Mathenauts" and is edited by Rudy Rucker (Arbor House 1987). Within its pages are some of the most bizarre and astonishing short stories I have ever read, including obscure gems from such authors as Martin Gardner and Douglas Hofstadter.
I gather that this is not the first anthology of math stories ever to appear. A generation ago Clifton Fadiman edited two volumes: Fantasia Mathematica (1958) and
The Mathematical Magpie (1962).
BOOK BROWSERS ALERT! If any of you run across either of these two books in the darkest corner of a used book store PLEASE buy them on the spot and rocket them up to command central in Canyon Creek. I want these books!
It's not everyday one discovers a whole new genre!