That gold you stole will burn a hole in your heart…
After pulling off the heist of the century, Professor Malago Browne and Pierre de Fermat are determined to hang up their protractors for good. But once you’ve been the most dangerous mathematician in the west, peace doesn’t come easy…
When three women approach Browne with a proposition, she can’t help but listen. Terrorised by a corrupt sheriff and his posse, the town need to hire the quickest and deadliest fighters they can find: in other words, mathmos.
Together with six unlikely allies, Browne once again finds herself facing incalculable odds in a battle for the town, its people, and the fate of every mathematician in the Western States.
And seven isn’t always a lucky number…
The second novella in Stark Holborn’s series, Advanced Triggernometry mixes the grit of the west with a cast of mathematicians from across history to create a truly unique and unforgettable adventure.
"Clever, funny, subversive, wholly original, and packs a bigger punch than a Colt Peacemaker.” – Joanne Harris, author of The Testament of Loki, The Strawberry Thief, Chocolat & many more
“Totally unique and a veritable jolt to the sheer perversity of the imagination… It’s like Sergio Leone and William Gibson rewriting the Old West with a quantum calculator” – Maxim Jakubowski
Plomo al cuadrado me gustó mucho, la mezcla de las matemáticas y el western ya me tenían ganado desde antes de empezar a leer la primera parte, así que, no podía no lanzarme de cabeza a leer esta segunda.
En esta ocasión, la profesora Malago Browne deberá reunir a un grupo de matemágicos para defender a una ciudad.
La novela transcurre con un ritmo ágil, aunque he echado de menos algo más de acción, aún y así, te lees la novela de un tirón sin apenas enterarte.
Me gustaría destacar el elenco de personajes, a los que Stark Holborn dota de personalidad y carisma en apenas unas frases.
En esta continuación, me he quedado con ganas de descubir más sobre los matemágicos y sobre porque al Capitolio no le gustan, pero me sigue encantando el rollo western creado por Holborn.
Si hay más libros ambientados en este mundo, tengo una cosa clara, voy a leerlos.
Continuación de ‘Plomo al cuadrado’, esta historia nos ofrece unos Estados Unidos alternativos, concretamente durante la época del Oeste, donde las matemáticas y todo lo relacionado con los números son ilegales y perseguidos. Es divertido cuando se utilizan cálculos para disparar y reglas como cuchillos, por ejemplo. La idea es interesante.
En esta novela corta, nos encontramos con la profesora Malago Browne, que tras el robo al tren del oro del Capitolio vive bajo el nombre de Sra. Grey. Hasta que unas mujeres vienen a solicitar su ayuda con unos maleantes que les hacen la vida imposible en su pequeño pueblo. Así que la profesora tiene que reunir de nuevo a su pandilla de profesores y físicos. Como se puede observar, estamos ante el enésimo homenaje a Los siete magníficos.
Si bien el primer libro estaba muy bien, era muy entretenido y ameno, no sólo por la novedad sino por el ritmo y los sucesos, este segundo se queda bastante más atrás en todos los sentidos. Es algo insulso y está escrito como a desgana. En mi opinión. Una pena.
Me encantó el primer relato, Plomo al cuadrado, pero este me ha gustado todavía más. La imposible mezcla entre pistoleros del oeste y matemáticos es un gran acierto aunque se acaba tan rápido que dan ganas de volvértelo a leer. Espero que Stark Holborn no se canse de escribir sobre este universo porque te quedas con ganas de saber mucho más.
3,5 en realidad. Lo he disfrutado mucho más que el primero y el concepto me sigue encantando y enganchando, así que lo he disfrutado bastante. Como lectura ligera y refrescante lo recomiendo enormemente, y creo que sin grandes conocimientos matemáticos es muy entretenido de leer. Si ya tienes grandes conocimientos tiene que ser una gozada jajajajajaja.
Gun-slinging mathematicians in an alternate history Wild West shouldn’t work, right? Right? Well, I am here to tell you that it, in fact, does because that’s exactly what we have in Stark Holborn’s two Triggernometry novellas and somehow she manages to make math look cool.
Mathmo, he had daubed across my house. But it might as well have been Monster.
Like I mentioned before, the Triggernometry novellas are set in an alternate history Wild West where mathematics have been outlawed and the former professors and students of it have turned to a new field, triggernometry. All of the Mathmos, as they’re colloquially known, have either been rounded up and imprisoned, forced to work for the government, or they have become outlaws. Since math has been declared illegal, money is no longer commonly used, with people bartering in handfuls of beans or other sundries. It’s a bleak world and one that oddly parallels some of today’s ignorance surrounding the validity of science.
Both novellas follow ‘Mad’ Malago Browne, a former geometry professor turned mathmo turned station clerk. Browne has somewhat of a legendary reputation, having been an outlaw since the laws banning mathematics were put in place, and it’s really fun to see how others react to her upon learning who she is. At the beginning of Triggernometry, Browne has left the life of a Mathmo behind and settled down to a quiet life. All of that is shattered, however, when an old acquaintance shows up and forces Browne to come back for one more job. The character interactions are all richly written and the tension between Browne and Fermat, her old accomplice, are expertly handled. The plot could be pulled straight out of the best spaghetti westerns. Well, except that you’d need to season them with a dash of math. Advanced Triggernometry sees Browne back in the proverbial saddle yet again. Most of the supporting cast are made up of famous mathematicians from all throughout history, from Pierre de Fermat, a French mathematician credited with creating the basis for calculus, and Emmy Noether, a German algebraist, to Charles Reason, the first black college professor in the US, and Wang Zhenyi, a Qing Dynasty Chinese astronomer and mathematician. It was exciting for me to look up these characters and see all of the accomplishments of their real world inspirations. I will say that most (all) of the math in here went completely over my head, but this didn’t affect my enjoyment.
I took out the protractor. ‘Let X be a random variable with a finite number of finite outcomes,’ I murmured, and looked up. ‘Let them try to stop us.’
There’s something so absurdly cool about protector-wielding mathematician working out the appropriate angle at which to fire her gun in order to take out a room full of enemies with a single shot. The novellas take their namesake from the in-world martial art of triggernometry. Basically, think of gun fu taken to the extreme, where split second mathematical calculations tell the practitioner the exact angles at which to fire based on any number of factors (gun caliber, bullet velocity, weather conditions, etc.) Add to this all of the other ‘tools’ Mathmos use, such as the sword-like sharpened rulers, and you have some very over the top, yet still very exciting, action.
My only complaint is the lack of real character development and worldbuilding. Sure, we know that math is illegal and all, but it’s never expounded upon past that point. I want to know more! I want to know what happened and how we got where we are at this point in the story. I don’t know if this is the fault of the format or just the relentlessly fast pace that the books kept up, but there were several times where I was so frustrated because it seemed as if some substantial character development/worldbuilding was about to happen only for something to get in the way. The story is never given the opportunity to breathe, with one event happening on the heels of the one before it. I think that given the space she could craft a hell of tale because she was able to do so much here with so little (both novellas combined are only a hair over 100 pages).
‘What’s it called,’ she murmured, ‘when you know something is true?’ I met her eyes. ‘In mathematics, it’s called law.’
Overall, I really enjoyed my time with Triggernometry and its sequel Advanced Triggernometry. While I was ultimately a bit frustrated with the lack of character development and worldbuilding, I think Holborn has managed to pack quite a lot into these two little novellas. The setting is unique and the action is ridiculously cool. I would be hard pressed to find a better way to spend an afternoon and I look forward to reading more of Holborn’s work in the future.
Sequel to the fun Triggernometry, this one picks up at some point after the events of that one when a desperate town comes to "Mad" Malago Browne in search of help from the dreaded mathematicians ("mathmos"). Another fun weird Wild West tale, with an ending that leaves me wanting more.
Me ha pasado lo mismo que con el anterior: la acción es muy satisfactoria, pero la novela necesita más espacio para que conozcamos bien a los personajes y que, por tanto, las consecuencias de esa acción sean significativas. Aun así, buen western matemático.
From the back-cover blurb: "Having pulled off the heist of the century, Professor Malago Browne and Pierre de Fermat are determined to hang up their protractors for good. But when you're the most notorious mathematician in the west, peace doesn’t come easy."
Full disclosure/confession: I failed Algebra in high school. From 1st grade right on up through high school, I struggled to hang onto a barely-passing D in anything pertaining to math of any sort. I simply don't have the mind for it. YET! I absolutely loved reading Triggernometry, and now, Advanced Triggernometry. How is this possible? I'll tell you.
It's the wordsmithery. My math-addled brain *gets* a well-turned phrase. I wasn't expected to use a protractor to solve a problem while enjoying this adventure, but I was expected to accept that a protractor could be a deadly weapon. I could do that!
This is the classic old west, with descriptions that will put you in mind of vintage westerns. I could easily picture in my mind's eye every turn of the head, every bold stance, every facefull of attitude. I could hear the wind blowing dust down every street of small towns built of wood planks and hope. I could smell the hate on those who would stand up to the 'Mathmos'.
It's a well told story, with plenty of details to wallow in and action to keep you awake. All that in only 58 pages—how on earth can that add up? Don't worry about it. The math's solid.
4/9/2021 With this sequel to the gangbusters math- and gun-slinging debut of the Triggernometry series, Stark Holborn goes from tackling the heist trope to taking on the theme of Seven Samurai. Professor "Mad" Malago Brown has gone into hiding again, pretending to be a simple schoolmarm, when she's approached by three desperate women from the nearby town of Summerville. A rancher named Austin has moved in and told the townsfolk that he's the area's new Capitol Representative. No one questioned this until Austin's taxation went from inconvenient to deadly. When Marshal Miller went to the sheriff in the next town over for help, she was told to take it up with the local Capitol Representative -- a vicious cycle that can only spell even more trouble, or worse, for a town already pressed to its limit.
Not knowing where else to turn, the townsfolk take a vote and decide to seek help from those deadliest of outlaws: mathematicians. Browne is hardly interested in upsetting her quiet new life in order to help people who, at best, look down on her kind, but her inability to let inequalities stand drives her to round up a crew to help Summerville fight back. And so seven mathematicians gather to help protect a small town against the Capitol and its Representative, hoping to strike a greater blow for freedom and equality.
I very much enjoyed this second Triggernometry novella, as Browne and her desperate crew fight enemies from both outside and inside Summerville, while winning hearts and minds to her cause. For whatever reason, the lack of back story (why, I still wonder, are mathematicians outlawed in this alternate universe?) seemed less pressing an issue for me than while reading the first book, so absorbed was I in the immediacy of the proceedings. I did wonder exactly what happened to the Kincaid boy when he was surrounded by the rest of the posse, but overall think this was a terrific alt-Western tale of math so fancy it looks like magic.
I'm really looking forward to reading more of this series, but am definitely eyeballing Stark Holborn's Nunslinger books to sate the craving for Weird West tales in the meantime (and playing some of the terrific interactive fiction games on Stark's itch.io page too!)
Advanced Triggernometry by Stark Holborn was published today April 8 2021 by Rattleback Press and is available from all good booksellers, including Amazon!
The power of maths compels you to check out this extraordinary alt-western adventure! This is a stand-alone follow-up to Holborn’s well-received and brilliantly named ‘Triggernometry’ set in a world where mathematicians are literally outlaws – and gunslingers to boot.
The plot sees the infamous Professor Malago Browne who is hiding out as a teacher after a daring heist (which I’m going to hope is in the first book as I’ll be reading that very soon). Browne is tempted back into the saddle when three women make her proposition to help them overcome a corrupt sheriff and his mean posse who are killing off their town.
It may not be a long read but the action cracks along at such a breathless pace you’ll be lapping up the classic western tropes such a dodgy saloon bars (complete with brawl), the timid townsfolk and the hard-drinking, hard maths dealing heroes.
In these post-Trump times, it is easier to relate to a world where science is frowned upon and maths itself outlawed in the way witchcraft was back in Salem’s times. What Triggernometry does so well is wrap up a well-trodden tale in fancy new trappings that hooked me in immediately and made me an instant fan.
Following the events of the first book, Professor Malago Browne is now living under an assumed identity south of the border, with a big stack of gold, when a group of women come to her asking for help dealing with a corrupt sheriff who's draining their town dry. Against her will, Browne is drawn back to the mathmo world.
This was a fun little novella which manages, in few words, to widen the world from the first one. The idea of maths as a sort of magic that makes you deadly in combat is still somewhat hilarious. In this one, though, I got a much stronger sense of parable - of a world in which intellectual thought is frowned upon and learning is feared. Remind you of anything?
It's only as I come to write this that I realise that Browne had gathered a group of six other mathmos around her to form her own magnificent seven. Ha, I hadn't even noticed that, but that's nice.
And I liked the trope of the group that comes into town to help protect it and, through tragedy, overcomes the distrust of the town and everyone pulls together to carry the day. And we end on a very definite pointer for the next book, as Browne and her comrades are no longer content with hiding and being driven away and hounded wherever they go. They're going to make a stand, and I'm here for it.
"The cash we stole dragged at our heels, bloody and guilty, but we didn't let it go. That's the problem with gold..."
A year ago, with Triggernometry, Holborn introduced a version of the Old West where practitioners of mathematics are outlawed - literally. In that book her outcast "mathmos", "mad" Malago Browne and her sidekick, Pierre Fermat, used their skills in advanced calculus and complex analysis to get an edge in every gunfight - not to mention the keen edges of their steel protractors, rulers and setsquares - and pulled off an audacious robbery. The Big One. The heist to end all heists.
So as Advanced Triggernometry begins, we find Browne living as "Mrs Grey", apparently at peace, across the Border - as the way is, or was, in the Old West.
She's teaching maths in a school, until one day three strangers arrive.
She should have stayed there...
Advanced Triggernometry is another riff on a classic Western theme - this time, the town defenceless against bandits. The three strangers want help. It's time for Browne to saddle up, ride out, and, accompanied by Dog, get the gang together agains.
It's all great fun, working on three levels (at least). First, on the surface, there are the classic locations, characters and situations: the mining camp, the saloon bar fight, the corrupt lawman, the climactic shootout. Then, we have the joy of seeing Holborn recast everything in a mathematical framework, having the fights won by a keen eye, a quick brain and a well deployed instrument. This carries through to the chapter names and headings and the background and character of the protagonists (who must surely be drawn from a Valhalla of the science - Holborn manages to have figures together who were born hundred or even thousands of years apart: even Archimedes makes an appearance).
Finally, there's a serious note in the way society has gone here. A little bit Fahrenheit 451, a little bit The Handmaid's Tale, but wholly its own thing, the depiction of a nation where the Capitol has manipulated prejudice and greed to turn people away from learning and enlightenment is... not that far from reality, in some respects. And its fitting that the response, as depicted here, is to seek solidarity and mutual protection from the bullies.
The writing is sharp and authentic for the genre ('Noches was named for its trade: night pursuits, fuelled by liquor and as many bad decisions as could be crammed into ten hours of darkness', 'People began to emerge from the houses, their eyes guarded, words of welcome locked behind their teeth') but at the same time full of great mathematical in-jokes ('Évariste Galois. Careful of him. He's young, but he's a trouble-maker. Obsessed with radicals.') and in places Holborn both manages to hit a reference or work in a quote and to make her writing deeply moving.
To summarise, whole short, Advanced Triggernometry entertains throughout. It's a fun read, and raises some serious issues. I'd recommend.
The 2nd Novella in this quite extraordinarily creative series featuring Ninja style mathematicians set in the Wild West! Yep Craxy but oh so good!
Lucky enough to get an ARC of this from Stark Holborn, I quickly set about getting hold of a copy of Triggernometry, the first in the series and quickly found myself completely drawn into this dusty western world of gunslinging mathematicians!
In this world so vividly drawn by Holborn, Mathematicians are banned, they are hated and hunted, now seen more as devils and criminals.
Now hiding in plain sight the story follows the charismatic Professor Malago Browne and her much shifter partner, Pierre De Fermat, who are pulled out of hiding, and retirement to help a town being pillaged and run by the newly established constitution.
It’s absolutely rip-roaring fun with a serious premise bubbling at its surface, it’s completely unique, like nothing I’ve read before and it’s really just outstandingly good.
The return to the land of Triggernometry where experts in sciences and skills are now outlaws in a weird Wild West. This time a riff on The Magnifixnet Seven but again a story examine how public opinion of experts change. Action packed with humour on top
Stark Holborn is a very talented and interesting writer and one that I’m eager to see more from. When I read ‘Triggernometry’ I assumed it was a one off. Reading this sequel it now seems that this is going to be a series, like Holborn’s excellent debut ‘Nunslinger’. That was a 12-part series of western novellas about a gun-toting Sister in the old West. Packed with wit and incident, it had the pace and cliffhanger endings of a Saturday Morning pictures series and was effortlessly entertaining. The ‘Triggernometry’ books are shaping up to be just as much fun, but there are differences and similarities between the two series. The humour and thrills are similar, but whereas ‘Nunslinger’ felt like a clever but fairly conventional take on the horse opera, ‘Triggernometry’ is far more quirky. The books are set in an alternative universe where mathematics is outlawed and mathematicians are, well, outlaws. They follow a gang of “mathmos”, led by Professor Malago Browne, who are on the run and trying to live a relatively quiet life. In classic western fashion, they get called upon to defend the citizens of a small town in this second outing. What makes the books so much fun is the fact that Holborn resolutely refuses to accept how absolutely crazy the concept is. The mathmos are drawn from throughout history, and this instalment introduces Archimedes, whose dialogue is written in Ancient Greek. Everything else is written with a straight face, the result being a gripping adventure that just happens to be set in a universe that makes no sense. The juxtaposition makes for a read that is pure entertainment from beginning to end. It’s fun, funny, and thrilling. What’s more, Malago Browne is shaping up to be as likeable and convincing heroine as Sister Thomas Josephine, the Nunslinger, was.
Welcome back to a world of train jobs, posses and the violent application of mathematical instruments (if you didn’t bring a protractor to the gun fight, you’ve already lost it, you just don’t know it yet).
Where Triggernometry played on classic heist tropes, Advanced Triggernometry channels The Magnificent Seven then delivers the tongue-in cheek joys of both a recruitment and a training montage along with a daring rescue from a lynch mob and an epic shoot-out.
Stark Holborn once again has enormous fun riffing on the familiar, but there’s sly commentary in the on-point world-building: the villain is a former entertainer who rose to prominence for discrediting mathematicians back when their stock in trade was still theorems rather than violence. A society that has been manipulated by corrupt men into brutally rejecting reason – along with any experts who might challenge the discourse – is disturbingly familiar…
Highly entertaining - here's hoping for further mathematical adventures in future as the mathmos take the fight back to the Capitol.