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Old 05-06-2010, 07:10 AM   #1
Joebill
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looking for a book title and author

My sister emailed me with this question: "The book was about characters who were actually numbers in a science fiction setting. I cannot remember the name of the book."

The book was probably out about 20 years ago, but like my sister, I cannot remember the title nor author.

I think it might be 'Flatland', but I'm not sure.

Anyone know ?

Thank you.
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Old 05-06-2010, 08:10 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joebill View Post
I think it might be 'Flatland', but I'm not sure.
I was thinking (before reaching the quoted comment) that it might be a mangled memory of Flatland.

Less likely is nightmarish memories of The Letter People.
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Old 05-06-2010, 09:06 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joebill View Post
My sister emailed me with this question: "The book was about characters who were actually numbers in a science fiction setting. I cannot remember the name of the book."

The book was probably out about 20 years ago, but like my sister, I cannot remember the title nor author.

I think it might be 'Flatland', but I'm not sure.

Anyone know ?

Thank you.

Flatland is available here on MR - the characters are dots, lines, etc you see on a page...
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Old 05-06-2010, 01:30 PM   #4
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Was a book ever made of the TV series The Prisoner? I want to be Number Six...
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Old 05-06-2010, 01:36 PM   #5
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The Prisoner
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Old 05-06-2010, 03:27 PM   #6
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I have that book.
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Old 05-06-2010, 07:10 PM   #7
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I'm not sure its The Prisoner. I emailed her the suggestion. I saw the tv show years ago.

She said 'science fiction story'. So I don't think Letter People is it.

She emailed more info.

She read the story in a university class 'Survey of Contemporary Literature. The book was about characters who were actually numbers in a science fiction setting... (snip) the "character names" looked something like the title of a similar book: Ms Fnd in a Lbry (1961)... (snip) mathematics novel of science fiction. I remember also the setting was outer space if I remember correctly.'
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Old 05-07-2010, 10:20 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joebill View Post
I'm not sure its The Prisoner. I emailed her the suggestion. I saw the tv show years ago.

She said 'science fiction story'. So I don't think Letter People is it.

She emailed more info.

She read the story in a university class 'Survey of Contemporary Literature. The book was about characters who were actually numbers in a science fiction setting... (snip) the "character names" looked something like the title of a similar book: Ms Fnd in a Lbry (1961)... (snip) mathematics novel of science fiction. I remember also the setting was outer space if I remember correctly.'


....adapted by Thomas M. Disch, a great sci-fi/literary writer.
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Old 05-07-2010, 10:27 AM   #9
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There's also the absolutely hilarious take on zoned-out, geekie, weirded, just plain paranoid sci-fi fans, called "Gather in the Hall of the Planets," by Barry M. Malzberg - a genius of a writer who just happens to be (unfortunately) classified only as a sci-fi writer, but his talents are phenomenal. One must have a weird sense of the universe in order to enjoy his work, however. I love his writing.

You might also look at his "Dwellers of the Deep," about the obsessional mentality of sci-fi fans who must forgo eating in order to have a complete run of a sci-fi magazine.

Sci-fi fans are portrayed as delusional, self-obsessed, and neurotic as hell - but written with incredible wit and humor.


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Old 05-07-2010, 11:53 AM   #10
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No definitely not Flatland. The entities in that book are not numbers, but polygons. Including that most degenerate of polygons the point.

Quote:
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Wow when I read that I thought: “The Prisoner was based on a book!” That I would have to read. Then I clicked on the link . . .

I don't want to prejudge but . . .

Film or T.V. Series adapted from book? Always a good sign that the book was good and/or popular enough that someone thought it worth at least a few mil to bring it to the screen

Film or T.V series to book? Maybe not so much. Maybe someone just trying to tap into the insatiable fan boi (or grrl) market? So what say you, you that have read it?
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Old 05-07-2010, 07:27 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr. Drib View Post
....adapted by Thomas M. Disch, a great sci-fi/literary writer.
So, uhm, what is the title ?

Thanks.
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Old 05-08-2010, 10:29 AM   #12
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Quote:
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So, uhm, what is the title ?

Thanks.
There were a few book only in the series, but the first one was written by Disch. There was later an omnibus edition that collected this first one by Disch, along with two other Prisoner novels but NOT written by Disch.

You might wish to look at this link:

http://www.fantasticfiction.co.uk/se...r/prisoner.htm



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Old 05-08-2010, 01:38 PM   #13
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I don't think its The Prisoner.

I saw almost very episode of the tv version. She feels the story she is looking for is science fiction. The Prisoner was more psycho-drama.
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Old 05-12-2010, 11:21 PM   #14
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What about We, by Yevgeny Zamyatin? It's dystopian SF. It's not set in outer space, but the main character is a spaceship designer. What I'm thinking the connection might be is that all of the characters are referred to as "numbers," not as people. The characters' names are also pseudo-random combinations of letters and digits (D-503, O-90, etc.), which might be the connection to another book's title (Ralph 124C41+). "Mathematics novel" connection-the spaceship being designed is called "The Integral."

It's obviously more than 20 years old, but there was a new English translation by Clarence Brown published by Penguin in 1993 that got it a lot more exposure.

See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/We_(novel)

Last edited by curtw; 05-12-2010 at 11:57 PM. Reason: tried to include examples...
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Old 05-13-2010, 06:54 PM   #15
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I let my sister know, thanks.
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