Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Ten numbers-obsessed sci-fi & fantasy stories for math nerds

Jeff Somers is the author of Lifers, the Avery Cates series from Orbit Books, Chum from Tyrus Books, and the Ustari Cycle from Pocket/Gallery, including We Are Not Good People. At the B&N Sci-Fi & Fantasy blog he tagged ten SFF stories in "which math isn’t just a spice, it’s the main course," including:
Cryptonomicon, by Neal Stephenson

Entire sections of this doorstopper novel read like the coolest, most entertaining math or computer science textbook you’ll ever encounter. Considering the entire plot hinges on ideas involving cryptography, programming, chemistry, and physics—not to mention spycraft—that’s not too surprising. You don’t need to hold any advanced degrees to read and enjoy this modern classic, but you do need to pay attention as Stephenson breaks down these concepts in-between two timelines, one an espionage thriller set during World War II, and the other a conspiracy drama set in the 1990s; together they an epic story about codebreaking, spies, data havens, and technology that was pretty cutting-edge when the book was published and has dated little in the decades since.
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue