Mathematicians in Love

A novel by Rudy Rucker
2nd Edition, Transreal Books, 2014
Paperback about $15
Ebook about $4.

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Tor Books published the first edition of Mathematicians in Love in 2006. That edition is out of print. In December, 2014, Transreal Books published the second edition Mathematicians in Love. The new edition includes some minor corrections.

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A passionate, lively tale. Two young mathematicians compete for the love of two women across space, time and logic—spinning out Dr. Seuss-like mathematical mumbo jumbo along the way.

Berkeley grad students Bela Kis and Paul Bridge have discovered the mathematical underpinnings of ultimate reality. But then they begin fighting over the beguiling video-blogger, Alma Ziff.

First Bela gets Alma’s interest by starting the wildest rock band ever. But then Paul undertakes the ultimate computer hack: altering reality to make Alma his. The change brings more than he bargained for: Alma is swept away into a higher world of mathematician cockroaches and cone shells bent upon using our world as an experimental set-up for deciding an arcane point of metamathematics.

It’s up to Bela to bring Alma back, repair reality, stop the aliens, and find true love.


Rucker cleverly pulls off a romantic comedy about mathematicians in love. This excursion into alternative versions of Berkeley, Calif., is full of quirky, charming life-forms human and otherwise and ruled by a god who's the female jellyfish-creator of Earth.  All this seethes around Bela Kis; Bela's roommate, Paul Bridge; and Bela's girlfriend, Alma Ziff, who ping-pongs between them in a sometimes acute, sometimes obtuse love triangle. Bela and Paul struggle for their Ph.D.s under mad math genius Roland Haut by inventing a paracomputer "Gobubble" that predicts future events. ... Rucker's wild characters, off-the-wall situations and wicked political riffs prove that writing SF spoofs, like Bela's rock music avocation, "beats the hell out of publishing a math paper."
          --- Publisher's Weekly

In Mathematicians in Love Rucker has created a love story wrapped up in a cross-cultural mystery tour that could only have happened inside the mind of a crazy mathemetician. Buy a ticket. It's well worth the price. It allows you to immerse yourself in math lingo as cool and arcane as anything jazz musicians could come up with and feel knowledgeable, even though it's all so much mumbo jumbo. Somehow, when Rucker's characters talk about the nature of the universe (or the curve of a yellow bikini) in terms of fractals, curved planes and number theory, it all seems totally, intense, relevant and hip. Which would be a pretty good description of the author.
          --- SFRevu

Rucker ... is palpably and quiveringly tuned in to the zeitgeist and can offer cultural and scientific commentary and satire better than almost any other SF author practicing today. And if, as some have it, SF always speaks of the present, no matter what era it's set in, then Rucker has just cut straight to the chase this time, nevertheless retaining all the glorious weirdness that comes with more futuristic milieus.

Mathematicians in Love ... percolates with off-the-wall characters and trippy extra-dimensional shenanigans. Nobody writes math-based science fiction like Rudy Rucker does. He keeps the tone light and the action playful, even as his characters grapple with the meaning of tragedy and the ultimate mechanics of the universe. A definite high point in Rucker's singular writing career.
          --- San Francisco Chronicle

All the pleasures of a Rucker novel come forth abundantly: playfully weird higher physics and math; bizarre conceptual psychedelia; distincively Calfornian counter-cultural comedy; zany romance; doppelgangers; generally happy endings. ... Mathematicians in Love is an egaging and entertaining book, light yet thought-provoking, funny yet of some gravity. It deserves success.
          --- Locus

Writing Notes for Mathematicians in Love

Download the 2.5 Meg PDF file mathlovenotesposted.pdf, a 203 page document containing the working notes for the book. The file includes a number of drawings.

Images with Links

The image captions have links to blog posts describing them.

Cover painting, "Flying Cone Shells," shows two cone shells tracking Bela's car in Big Sur.

Rudy by a Big Sur portal to another world called La Hampa.

Preliminary painting of some creatures in La Hampa.

Painting of Bela/Rudy diving in Jellyfish Lake .

Photo of NYC subway mural of a Jimbo, who appears in the last chapter.

Rudy singing in the Dead Pigs, a band similar to Bela's Washer Drop.