16. September 2017 · Comments Off on New review of TMS in the AMS and why I’m so tickled about it · Categories: Math Shiva News

Over four decades ago, I was a college science nerd who loved Russian and German novels. American authors did not often resonate with me at the time. But I found an American book, Gravity’s Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon, and I was struck by how it was possible to put real science and math in a novel.

Pynchon’s use of math was done so well that Science magazine reviewed Gravity’s Rainbow (maybe the only novel it has ever reviewed). I read that review and thought, “I want to do that. Write a literary novel that contains so much realistic science it gets reviewed in Science.” I thought I’d do it in my twenties. But my writing talent then was raw at best and at worst, nonexistent. I couldn’t write fiction worth beans until I was in my fifties.

As I wrote The Mathematician’s Shiva, I thought about Gravity’s Rainbow. The novel as an art form has lost its primacy in American culture. A magazine like Science won’t likely review a novel again. But I did have a fantasy that I kept to myself: TMS would get a review in an American Mathematical Society publication.

I knew the odds were next to zero. But it did happen. My little dream came true. I’m ecstatic. You can find the review here.

Of course, my next novel has some math in it. Write about what you know. But math isn’t its central focus. It’s mostly about the life of a family that owns a restaurant in Omaha. Maybe it will get reviewed by a National Restaurant Association publication. Who knows? I’ll keep my fingers crossed.

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