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Mathematicians in Love Hardcover – November 28, 2006

4.2 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Dazzling Novels Told From Different Points of View
The Nix: A novel
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Rucker cleverly pulls off a romantic comedy about mathematicians in love. Following 2004's Frek and the Elixir, this even zanier excursion into alternative versions of Berkeley, Calif., is set in university towns called Humelocke and Klownetown, full of quirky, charming life-forms human and otherwise and ruled by a god who's the female jellyfish-creator of Earth. All this seethes around Bela Kis; Bela's roommate, Paul Bridge; and Bela's girlfriend, Alma Ziff, who ping-pongs between them in a sometimes acute, sometimes obtuse love triangle. Bela and Paul struggle for their Ph.D.s under mad math genius Roland Haut by inventing a paracomputer "Gobubble" that predicts future events. While most of the mathematical flights may stun hapless mathophobes, Rucker's wild characters, off-the-wall situations and wicked political riffs prove that writing SF spoofs, like Bela's rock music avocation, "beats the hell out of publishing a math paper." (Dec.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Bookmarks Magazine

Rudy Rucker, formerly a professor of mathematics and computer science, has traveled both into the past and into the future in novels including As Above, So Below (2002) and Frek and the Elixir (2004). Mathematicians, whichtakes place in a contemporary Berkeley-ish setting, offers a "transrealist" and satirical look into academic competition, modern culture, and love. Although the speculative math and science will please knowledgeable fans of those subjects, there's nothing too technical that a larger audience wouldn't enjoy. A few critics commented on some slow, tedious detours, clichéd writing, and a glibness that traded depth for entertainment, but—despite its preposterous storyline—Mathematicians is a worthwhile, imaginative read.
Copyright © 2004 Phillips & Nelson Media, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Books; 1st edition (November 28, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 076531584X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765315847
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1.1 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,626,743 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Peter D. Tillman VINE VOICE on April 8, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Another very entertaining Rucker novel -- one of his best. Surfer mathpunk rules, dog!

You won't be surprised to learn that Robert Sheckley was his first inspiration to write SF -- see rudyrucker[dot]com[slash]mathematiciansinlove

Interesting guy. Cute pix, too. He has a massive pdf of notes for the book online -- -- but for heaven's sake, don't read it first! Some (spoiler-free) samples:

"In principle you could hypertunnel from a Zone B world, but in practice you can't get the tech together. The evil rays revel in chaotic class-three and class-four zones." -- p.183

"What is wrong with those stubborn, clannish SF fans, Frek is exactly the kind of book they want, for heaven's sake, it's just like Lord of the Rings or Henry Potter or The Golden Compass..." --p.185

Very cool book, from an underappreciated author. If you've never tried a Rucker, this would be a good place to start.

Happy reading--

Peter D. Tillman
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
There aren't too many books that attempt to make a story out of mathematical theories, but this one gives it a go. In some ways, this book does a pretty good job of satirizing academia, political and financial shenanigans, patent law, video blogging, and the sub-genre of alternate realities.

It's the story of two Ph.D. candidates working on their doctoral thesis, who along with their advisor come up with a method to accurately model complex everyday happenings, so accurately that the future can be predicted, at least for the short term. Rather than being a very staid story of how to develop and publish the theory, however, it flies off in multiple directions, as both students fall in love with the same lady; their advisor, while brilliant, is also very egotistical and more than a little round the bend; everyone is suddenly subject to being plastered all over the net due to the distribution of cheap vlogging camera rings; playing in a rock band is, it seems, as important as developing his theory for one of the candidates; murder and rigging elections go hand in hand; and then it gets really weird with various odd aliens poking their snouts in to see just how predictable these 'humans' are.

Unhappily, while I found all these ideas made for great hodge-podge of story, the characters themselves neither engaged me nor were fully believable. Nor could I fully buy into the idea that current real-time and near future events would be fully computationally tractable, even with the caveat that the 'reality' of the starting world of this story was 'docile', not subject to truly random events.
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By A Customer on December 10, 2006
Format: Hardcover
In the university, the two mathematic graduate students, Bela Kis and Paul Bridge, are roommates who share much in common besides trying to obtain a PH.D by the numbers and a flat. Both are advised by maniacal mathematician Dr. Roland Haut and each enjoys the lifestyle of an advanced student living in college towns like Humelocke and Klownetown where the zaniest crazies of the universe come together to discuss the meaning of life (more often than not with various forms debating existence). However, what they most share in common is the love of Alma Ziff who is more or less Bela's girlfriend though she zips the bridge at times to be with Paul.

The two roommates compete for who gets the girl at a time when their insane faculty advisor has begun developing a mathematical model that predicts the future; that is when he is not seeing monsters. Jumping off of Mad Haut's theory, Bela and Paul inventing the paracomputer "Gobubble" that predicts even more accurately the future as their advisor's monsters prove real and their love triangle even more acutely convex than keenly isosceles than either student calculated.

Rudy Rucker lampoons politics, universities, mathematical theories, and humanity as he spins a terrific romantic science fiction satire that takes readers where they have never been before with perhaps the only recent exception being the author's novel FREAK AND THE ELIXIR. The math is highbrow insanity as the shortest distance between two points is an arc, but also augments the humorous story line. Haut is way outside the circle of sanity while Bela and Paul argue number theory to determine who ends up with Alma, monsters aside. Readers will appreciate this zany tale that proves the sum of the angles of a romantic triangle does not equal 180 degrees.

Harriet Klausner
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