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Mathematicians in Love

3.45  ·  Rating Details  ·  359 Ratings  ·  53 Reviews
Reality is never more unpredictable than when two mathematicians are in love with the same girl, and can change the world to get her.

Bela and Paul, two wild young mathematicians, are friends and roommates, and both are in love with Alma, Bela’s girlfriend. They fight it out by changing reality using cutting-edge math. The contemporary world they live in is not quite this o
Hardcover, 368 pages
Published November 28th 2006 by Tor Books
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Jan 12, 2009 Michael rated it really liked it
In a parallel universe close to our own, Bela and Paul are two doctoral students in mathamatics. The two are friends and roomates who come up with a new theory that will predict the future and eventually becomes the way to break down the barrier from one parallel universe to the other. Into this equation comes Alma, who at first is romantically linked to Bela but then dumps him for Paul.

Bela's more than a little upset and uses the new math theory to travel to parallel universes to win back Alma.
Jul 29, 2009 Andrew rated it it was amazing
In college, I read one of Rucker's first books, "White Light", a Carrollian meditation on infinity, academics, and the rabbit hole. It seemed like a hybrid of science fiction and mathematics -- math-fi, if you will -- but Rucker wasn't up to the task of weaving a yarn half as exciting as the geometric conceptions he was tackling. Thankfully, "Mathematicians in Love", written 25 years later, finds Rucker wonderfully adept at balancing his myriad mathematical passions with a genuinely engaging, al ...more
May 21, 2008 steven rated it it was ok
The problem about reading a book about mathematicians is that, well, it's about math. The math is handled in a Lewis Carroll sort of way, with plenty of metaphors to explain the complicated concepts, but at times I almost wished there would be a page or two of technobabble rather than another metamorphosis of the teakettle and the rake.

The love story, which is supposedly the whole reason these math graduates are traveling through parallel dimensions, falls flat. The woman the protagonist is in l
Jun 14, 2009 Nate rated it liked it
This was ok. A problem in general with most sci-fi that I have read is that the quality of the writing is just lacking. I love the ambitious ideas that sci-fi writers shoot for, but I wish they would work a little harder with the writing and characters.

In 1997 or so, the NY Times reported on some experiments that indicated that implied that we don't really have free will. It was mostly about how it appears that our brains are reactionary to stimulus and that our conscience thought is a "story"
Jan 08, 2009 Iris rated it did not like it
Elliott Bay Books - Science Fiction book club for February 2009

This book fell far short of my expectations. It shifted tone and style so many times that it became incoherent in the middle and barely corrected in time for the ending. The story devolves from a cheesy almost-romance into a religious acid trip into a political-SF-action-thriller that's completely non-credible.
Colin Grove
Mar 09, 2014 Colin Grove rated it did not like it
I really wanted to like this book. And at first I did... reading a novel that begins by describing thoughts of a mathematics graduate student, written by someone who's been there, is a rare pleasure. Unfortunately it soon becomes clear that this book has no grasp of the way people are, or the way they interact. This was far more unrealistic than the transrealist elements (like giant 10-foot flying alien shells). It didn't help that many of the women were written like characters in an 18-year-old ...more
Jason (RawBlurb)
A decade ago, i knew a man who went by the moniker “The Professor” (Fess). we all called him that because he was our leather clad, pc geek, rivet head savant. Dustin, as his parents called him, was a real gem of a human.

fond memories of fess prior to his demise include drunken ramblings regarding “abstract mathematics”. the professor did not hold the same view on abstraction as core mathematicians. core math removes the ties to physical objects thus breaking out into pure theory and crossing sta
Karl Schaeffer
Aug 06, 2013 Karl Schaeffer rated it liked it
Got this one at the dollar store. Had never read any of this author before. Phillip K Dick award winner. Not too shabby. Might have been not the best timing to read this after just finishing Stross's singularity book; but, never the less... Two math nerds, with barely sub psychopathic social and interpersonal skills figure out how to travel between parallel universes. Hilarity then ensues. Including, murder, romance, violence, political intrigue and high tech machinations. Oh don't forget the ma ...more
Feb 09, 2009 Johnny rated it it was amazing
Shelves: science-fiction
Rudy Rucker’s Mathematicians in Love begins on an alternate world (where David Hume and Alexander Locke get the name nod for the university town instead of Idealist philosopher George Berkeley) from our own and ends up with several options/timelines from there. I’m not giving anything away here. The very first sentence of the book indicates that the protagonist will travel through multiple worlds to get to the point where he is writing his memoirs, the conceit for the novel itself.

Anyone who kno
Aug 25, 2013 Skander rated it really liked it
I found this at random on a shelf in the library and picked it up. I'd really give it a 3.5 stars, but there are enough other folks that I might recommend it to that I put it in my 4 stars bin for now.

I really liked the take on futureness and predictability, and the star-trek style math kept it from seeming like overly 'technical' sci-fi. The focus on the girl these mathematicians fall in love with is in some ways what keeps it from being better - I think the same premises could have produced a
Warning: review contains minor spoilers.

It turned out to be a different book than I'd expected. I get the impression this may be due to a lack of familiarity with Rudy Rucker's work. I had hoped it would be a more serious scifi novel instead of something closer to a novel by Christopher Moore (whom I love, but I go in expecting that kind of story).

There were some thinly veiled critiques of the Bush Administration as well as the Democratic party. Nothing really insightful, but okay.

The thing th
Jun 04, 2007 Trin rated it it was ok
Shelves: sci-fi, music
I have mixed feelings about this one. I loved the first few chapters, setting up Bela’s alternate universe—our world but not (and specifically, Berkeley but not, which was particularly fun for me). I loved some of the insights into the different ways Bela and Paul approached math; the idea of Bela hearing equations as music was wonderful, because I’m always fascinated by the way people think. Some of the alternate universe theory was cool, too—I dug the council of alien mathematicians—but other ...more
Sep 20, 2008 Chris rated it really liked it
Shelves: cyber-punk
First of all this is not just a book for people that like math. It's well written, good characters and a sturdy plot line.
In my eyes Rudy Rucker rarely fails me as a writer. I have yet to encounter a book he has written that was something I had to put down. That being said I am also not a book snob. It's great when a writer captures my attention and I am able to read a book cover to cover with out distractions. I am one of those peoples that reads several books at a time. This book took most of
Jeff Raymond
Aug 26, 2014 Jeff Raymond marked it as unfinished-reads
Shelves: to-read-sci-fi
Another one of those high concept, questionable execution-type things. I was hoping for a romp of sorts, an Eternal Sunshine-style scientific romantic comedy of some sorts, and it didn't really come close to that in the hundred or so pages I read.

This was a random book I picked up off the shelf, those don't always work out.
Jan 08, 2009 Michelle rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
The premise of this book is fascinating: 2 guys, 1 girl, and an unlimited amount of MATH to make it all possible in a Sliders style of paradoxes.

Too much setup for how we could all obviously gleam this was going to end up. I think the author must be addicted to Guitar Hero because the whole band subplot seemed very overworked and handy more than necessary.

The dialogue is priceless. "I love you." "I'm glad." So true.

The author is great at showing how college relationships evolve and dissolve at
Peter Aronson
Jun 26, 2016 Peter Aronson rated it really liked it
On another Earth, this book is rated three stars. This is a very, strange, weird, playful book -- in other words, a Rudy Rucker book. The ideas are stimulating, the plot indescribable, the settings highly imaginative, but alas the characters are sort of annoying -- otherwise it'd be an utter romp. But I'm still glad I read it.
Jul 22, 2010 Josh rated it liked it
The back of this book bills it as a "romantic comedy" with sci-fi aspects. It doesn't work well as a romantic comedy because one does not root for the romantic leads to get together. The protagonist is ok, except for his unnatural attraction to a rather questionable female (This might be better explained in the movies with visual cues as to why he finds her so appealing).

So the romantic comedy aspects of the book are lacking, but the sci-fi is pretty fun. Lots of alternative worlds and mathemat
Genevieve Heinrich
Sep 03, 2008 Genevieve Heinrich rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: math geeks
Shelves: favorites
There are some authors who you will drop anything to read. Rudy Rucker is one of them. I have as hard a time giving any of his works less than five stars as I do rating anything by Camus as low as a four! I devoured this newest novel by Rucker as soon as it came out, and was not disappointed. Rucker's expansive philosophy of reality explores the reaches of possibility, while remaining grounded enough to touch on the unlikely topic described by the title. This clever love story has a slightly uns ...more
Mar 09, 2008 Chadwick rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: everyone
Shelves: sf
Rudy Rucker has this thing that he does, this almost magical power where he imagines some sort of mathematics that is so powerful that it warps reality and he does it in a way that you don't feel like he's dumbing it down for you. This book is well written, and you come to care deeply for the characters, despite the fact that none of them seem to really give a shit for one another, because, hey, we're going to get it right in one of these realities. And yeah, I should really be putting more effo ...more
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 l

Weston Beecroft
Mar 09, 2015 Weston Beecroft rated it really liked it
Classic Rucker. Very fun universe to visit, out there, awesome mathematical ideas.
Guy Ferguson
Tried another read in 2014, didn't finish.
Aug 05, 2015 Kate rated it it was ok
Seemed good in idea, but I couldn't finish it
Dec 12, 2014 Lucas rated it it was ok
Shelves: science-fiction
I was really excited to read this book.

Perhaps because of that I found it totally disappointing me. The back cover makes it appear so cool.

I am not saying it is a bad story. It is a nice one. But the characters make no sense. I am friends with lots of mathematicians. None of them say "dog" constantly. Some of them do play in bands, nevertheless.

Anyway, the parts in which "math" happens are cool. The parts about drugs, sex and behaviours I'd not associate in any way with DPhil mathematicians are
Jul 31, 2008 gepr rated it it was ok
I was very annoyed at the repetitive "teapot on a cake with a rake sticking out of it" descriptions of math. For the first 1/2 of the book, that prevented me from enjoying it. But, I eventually got over it and appreciate the attempt to describe math as it really is, which is largely "visual". I also appreciate Rucker's take on "hard sci-fi", referring to real people and real theorems. So, by the end of the book, I came to enjoy it.
Susy Gage
Feb 17, 2013 Susy Gage rated it it was amazing
This is my first discovery of Rudy Rucker--and it left me in stitches. How I love the grad students (the superstar vs. the slacker), the evil thesis advisor driven mad by coneshells (deservedly!), and the aliens themselves... "learn talk eat Owen brain" OMG. Linguistically fun, imaginative, wacky. Slowed down a bit near the end, but I didn't care. Nanonesia? Sea slug dinners that make you a genius? WANT.
Jan 25, 2016 Steven rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this book. Will be looking for more by Rudy Rucker.
Aug 04, 2008 Jennifer rated it liked it
Shelves: scifi
One of the blurbs on the back of this book describes Rudy Rucker as the love child of Philip K. Dick and George Carlin, which is not a bad description. This book has multiple universes, crazy mathematicians, benevolent aliens, sex, drugs, and rock and roll. It's a pretty fun, wild ride, even if the math concepts didn't make any sense to me.
Dec 12, 2009 Manda rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 12, 2008 Taters rated it liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
Not the book I thought I bought - while I expected a playful work, and got that, I wasn't really in for the psuedo-science and concepts that kept being flung at my head. I also wasn't wild about the OMG TWIST ending, or the character development of any of the females.

Entertaining: mostly, but mostly in the early chapters.
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Enough to hold on to? 1 9 Oct 10, 2008 01:21PM  
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Rudolf von Bitter Rucker is an American mathematician, computer scientist, science fiction author, and one of the founders of the cyberpunk genre. He is best known for his Ware Tetralogy, the first two of which won Philip K. Dick awards. Presently, Rudy Rucker edits the science fiction webzine Flurb.
More about Rudy Rucker...

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