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Fantasia Mathematica Paperback – April 1, 1997


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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 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: #119,515 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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I highly recommend this book - its a gem!
Edward A. Hildebrandt
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.
Adelie
This book is worth it in Hard Cover or Paperback.
Jeffrey N. Takle

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 23 people found the following review helpful 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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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Edward A. Hildebrandt on October 23, 1997
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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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Adelie on July 27, 1998
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: Paperback
The mathematics behind the fiction in this book is not deep and often reaches the level of the absurd. Mathematical jargon is (mis)used throughout, if you know the mathematical principles being cited, it will be difficult for you to avoid mentally reciting the mantra, "Ridiculous, ridiculous, ridiculous." Nevertheless it is very fun to read, the stories possess a whimsical quality that will tickle the funny bones of everyone who is willing to relax their mathematical rigidity for a moment. This is due to the general quality of the writing, which is excellent, combined with the humor inherent in seriousness gone effectively awry. This book is the perfect way for a mathematician to respond to a personal need to "lighten up."
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful By amasue@yahoo.com on February 27, 1999
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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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Bill Smythe on May 3, 2000
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
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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