I wrote a science fiction novel Pattern Earth with mathematical themes.
After 16-year-old Kris Argentia—a mathematics prodigy—proves the Riemann hypothesis, the world’s deepest and until now un-solved mathematical problem, she is charged by high-ranking world officials to advise the M-Team, a group of the planet’s best mathematical minds. The M-Team are comprised of geniuses tasked with staving off the threat of a possible alien invasion. To accomplish this, they must decipher the strange mathematical and geometrical messages displayed by mysterious black, floating, and mass-less spheres that have appeared out of nowhere onto the streets of the metropolitan cities of the globe.
These black ‘orbs’ first appear in Toronto, then New York, Beijing, London, and so on, causing millions of people to vanish without trace. While a mass exodus from major cities cripples the world, Kris and the other members of the M-Team endeavor to bring the vanished people back by uncovering the secrets behind the orbs and their message. To make matters worse, not everyone wants them to succeed. Kris’s solution to the Riemann hypothesis may be the key communicating with the orbs, but she begins to wonder if the job they’ve been tasked with is not as peace-oriented as it seems.
Coming in at a little over 85,000 words, Pattern Earth was a blast to write. Writing is something I am quite passionate about… having published over a hundred works ranging from papers to books.
The novel explores science fiction themes which have several existing reference points. Works such as Ender’s Game, Children of Dune and even the Harry Potter books explore themes of child or teenage genius confronted with adversity. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time is a mystery novel with a 15-year-old protagonist who is gifted in mathematics. Works such as 2001: A Space Odyssey or Carl Sagan’s Contact present their characters with the challenge of communicating with an extraterrestrial intelligence. Such themes provide a rich back drop to explore human identity and relationships in the face of the unknown or unknowable. The mixing of the motifs of the child mathematical genius and extra-terrestrial contact is, to my knowledge, singular to Pattern Earth.
I view my novel Pattern Earth as a contribution to an emerging genre known as mathematical fiction. As science fiction and fantasy draw us into imagined worlds with elements such as future or alien technology, magic, or space travel, mathematical fiction explores mathematical themes and mathematically-inclined characters. One of the earliest and best known such works is Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions (from 1884), which explores the world from the point-of-view of two-dimensional characters. I point out that Dr. Alex Kasman at College of Charleston maintains a website which catalogues over 1100 fictional works in the genre (over 450 entries in its science fiction category). Mathematical fiction was also the topic of a recent doctoral thesis by Dr. Jennifer R. Shloming of Fashion Institute of Technology.
I am happy now to soon share Pattern Earth with the world. Drop me a note if you are interested in learning more about the work.
6 thoughts on “Pattern Earth: a novel”
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[…] posed by Bernhard Riemann in 1859. The Riemann hypothesis plays a central role in my novel Pattern Earth. Here is the paper, in German, where the conjecture was first […]
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Interesting. BTW Thanks for the follow at scifibookreview. My next book deals with using math as a predictor for the future. It is still science fiction, more action plot than cerebral, but uses math as a theme. So yours also sounds interesting.
Thanks so much for the personalized note. Your future book sounds right up my alley; please keep me in mind as a potential beta reader.
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