three-and-half-stars
Bookmarks Issue: 
28-May-June-2007
By: 
Rudy Rucker
user_rating: 
0

A-Mathematicians in LovePhD students Bela Kis, a Hungarian-Chinese surfer, and the more analytical Paul Bridge are on the cusp of finding a revolutionary theorem for predicting random behavior and parts of the future. If they discover the Morphic Classification Theorem, they’ve got it made. Then a series of unfortunate events stymies immediate fame and success: Bela’s thesis adviser starts seeing giant cockroaches; Bela and Paul both fall in love with Alma, a Web journalist; and the two mathematicians’ theorem falls into the wrong hands. Add to the events aliens entering through holes in space-time from the computer, a jellyfish god, and altered realities designed to win Alma, and you’ve got a romantic SF comedy of a high order.
Tor. 364 pages. $24.95. ISBN: 076531584X

Denver Post 4 of 5 Stars
"[Rucker’s] new book is not just a transrealist masterpiece but also an excellent book under any label. … Mixing romantic comedy with serious thoughts ranging from computer science to politics, Rucker wields a wild imagination and ensures his math always is laced with sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll." Fred Cleaver

Sci Fi Weekly 4 of 5 Stars
"[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. … But aside from all the glories of the speculative science and math and interdimensional jaunts (and the otherworld where Bela and Alma and Paul end up, La Hampa, is a heavy trip I haven’t even tried to describe), what we have here is a rollicking, roisterous, (ir-)reverent campus novel." Paul Di Filippo

San Francisco Chronicle 3.5 of 5 Stars
"[Rucker] 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. You don’t need to be able to solve a differential equation to enjoy Mathematicians in Love, a definite high point in a Rucker’s singular writing career." Michael Berry

Los Angeles Times 3 of 5 Stars
"It is, for the most part, an invigorating entertainment laced with satirical riffs on rock ‘n’ roll, surfing and the emerging medium of vlogs (video blogs). … The problem with settling upon gnarliness is that the parallel universe here is more inspired by a cheesy episode of ‘Sliders’ than the culturally rich alternate worlds within Dan Simmons’ Ilium." Edward Champion

Critical Summary

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, which takes 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 larger audience wouldn’t enjoy. A few critics commented on some slow, tedious detours, clichéd writing, and a glibness that traded depth for entertainment, but—despite its preposterous storyline—Mathematicians is a worthwhile, imaginative read.