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Comment: Good paperback book with tight binding and gift note on inside cover.
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Fantasia Mathematica Paperback – April 1, 1997

4.8 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Scientific American

...this anthology of mathematically oriented short stories and poems should delight a new generation of readers.

Review

Math can be a more rewarding source of fun and laughter than I thought possible. -- New Scientist
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 298 pages
  • Publisher: Copernicus; 1st ed. 1958, 2nd printing 1997 edition (April 1, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0387949313
  • ISBN-13: 978-0387949314
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.7 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #426,249 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Jeffrey N. Takle on March 15, 2001
Format: Paperback
What a relief to open the pages of this book. I approach mathematics as a subject necessary, but always painful, to learn. Dare I say I love this book? Some of the short stories are humorous, some are endearing, some have common characters. All deal with mathematics in one way or another. Fadiman's book succeeded where so many others failed--it interested me.
A LIFE LEARNING POINT: This book closely tied math with imagination and fantasy--a connection never clearly drawn in my public education. I think, though, that it's very important to present mathematics as the language for interpreting the world that it is...rather than as a cold and mostly irrelevant subject to get C minuses in! IT MADE MATH EXCITING. Yikes, did I say that? It is another way to know why your baseball is going to break the window, how to build a spaceship in your back yard, and how to teleport to Argentina in 0 seconds flat.
A real tangible benefit to reading this book was learning the derivation of Pythagoras' Theorom. Not to sound like an idiot, but I think most of us went through high school geometry having no clue where a2 + b2 = c2 came from. In two pages, this book explained it so clearly to me that I laughed out loud. IF ONLY THEY USED THIS TO TEACH ME INSTEAD OF A BRUTAL MATH BOOK!
This book is worth it in Hard Cover or Paperback. Own it and you too can open up to your closest friends and admit you liked a book about math...
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Format: Paperback
I am delighted to find this book available for sale. I lost my copy several years ago and have missed it immensely. This is a delightful collection of science fiction stories and poems all with the common property that they use mathematics of some kind as their theme. Some stories are very funny, others are thought provoking and at least one is quite touching. They're all entertaining. You probably won't learn much mathematics from these stories (mathematicians are warned in the forward to stay away), but if you're the least bit interested in mathematics, you will find them enchanting. I highly recommend this book - its a gem!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I was a mere child when this book originally came out, and have worn out my first copy - delighted to see it back in print. Contrary to your write-up, I, a certified math-phobic, actually learned a fair amount of "math stuff" from it. Some of the stories are poignant, some are wildly funny, some are terrific satires, some are quite predictive of the future, and all but one are very worth reading. (That one, the first in my old copy, has so much critical information in Italian, with no translation, that it was a waste of time to read it.) I intend to reread my old friend, and pass it around to like-minded new ones.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book is a delightful collection of short stories -- each based on an aspect of mathematics. A friend of my father's gave me my first copy back in the '50s. I read it cover to cover. Thirty years later, my daughter read the same copy with similar enthusiasm. The book worked as a spring-board that allowed us to dive into discussions about math.

Sadly, I have lost that copy. When I saw the title for sale at Amazon, I purchased my second copy.

Note that my father, my daughter, and I are considered 'math' people [but not mathematicians]. We are musical. We enjoy Martin Gardner's books and 'recreational math' -- a term that is an oxymoron to many. I hesitate to classify this as a book for 'young readers' since I am enjoying the re-read, and am no longer young. But I do believe that, for the middle-schooler who both reads and is 'good at math', this book hits a sweet-spot.

I look forward to sharing my new copy with two of my grandchildren -- and diving in once more.
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Format: Paperback
i have a very old copy that belonged to my uncle, a math proffessor...and i would recommend this to anyone who enjoys math and science fiction...it is great even for those who dont understand in depth math concepts because everything is at a level that most will understand. I first read at age 12, and i liked it then and still do. READ IT!!!!!
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You don't have to be mathematically inclined to enjoy this collection, but it helps. On the other hand, if you take your math too seriously, this book may go right under your head. This anthology was first assembled in 1958, with some stories dating back to the 1920s, so some of the accounts of how machines could be used in the future now make one want to say, "If only you knew". Some of the best stories, however, are timeless. Section 2 (Imaginaries) is the best; my favorites are A Subway Named Moebius, And He Built a Crooked House, A Botts and the Moebius Strip, The Captured Cross-Section, and No-Sided Professor. A science-fiction writer friend once pooh-poohed this collection as amateurish sci-fi, but the rest of us will love it. It's great to have it back in print.
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