Monday, August 3, 2009

On "Modeling" by Sarah Scoles (3506 words) ***

If stories are often built out of motifs, this one is built out of mathematics. There's something nice about applying something as seemingly nonliterary as math to fiction. Not that it's not done or that one couldn't, for example, try to apply mathematics to a given Chekhov story, but math in fiction, frankly, is not usually on the surface, not something folks in the humanities put front and center. Perhaps it's our own discomfort with the subject, the way that some English majors do all they can to avoid math. Myself, I often wonder if maybe that's what I should have done instead--I was usually better at math than vocabulary. But the upper echelons of the subject might have scared me off eventually, even though it's there that the more interesting elements of math come into practice, the philosophy and theory. And it is this theoretical component that the author, an astrophysics major, begins to explore in this story, along with psychology and the whole world of fate. Read the story here at Diagram.

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