The Jinn from Hyperspace: And Other Scribblings--Both Serious and Whimsical

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Overview

For over fifty years Martin Gardner has been delighting readers with elegant, witty, and highly intelligent writing on an amazing array of topics. Best known for his works on popular science and mathematics, and as an incisive skeptical commentator on the paranormal, Gardner is also an accomplished writer of children's literature, a novelist, and a prolific essayist on religion, philosophy, and other issues.
This new collection of Gardner gems takes its name from an essay on a mathematical theme, about a jinn (or genie) trapped in a "Klein Bottle"—an amusing tale that also teaches the math phobic something interesting about a theoretical one-sided object with no distinction between inside and outside. Other topics in math and physics include speculations about universes where time runs in reverse; the Banach-Tarski paradox (whereby a sphere, after being deconstructed, can be reassembled at twice its size); and a vigorous defense of the objective reality of mathematical theorems independent of human culture.
On the literary side, Gardner discusses two neglected works by G.K. Chesterton, one of which concerns an imaginary but now very topical war between Islam and Christianity. He also considers the fantasies of L. Frank Baum that don’t take place in Oz, Clement Moore’s ever-popular The Night Before Christmas, and the many fascinating books by Lewis Carroll that are sometimes overshadowed by his famous Alice in Wonderland.
A treat for longtime Gardner readers or the perfect introduction for newcomers, The Jinn from Hyperspace offers a rich selection of stimulating intellectual wonders.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Martin Gardner's status as a legend of popular mathematics and science writing was secured long ago. If you know him chiefly as a recreational mathematician, you'll find this collection of writings an eye-opener. Gardner includes musings on homeopathy, false memory syndrome, G. K. Chesterton and Lewis Carroll among curiosities in physics and maths, harvested from essays, articles and even letters to newspaper editors. Clear, closely argued and entertaining, they are a fascinating insight into the breadth of interest and fecundity of the man, now in his 90s."
—New Scientist

"This collection, brimming with charm and wit, includes a fascinating range of articles originally published in such journals as Math Horizons, The Skeptical Inquirer and The New Criterion, as well as in Gardner’s past books. The title story is a confabulation of satire, homage and mathematical puzzle that encapsulates the many themes and variations of this far-reaching book... Though readers might be put off by the breadth of subject matter, or wonder why a "serious" mathematical writer might trouble himself with The Wizard of Oz, Gardner fully validates all his interests with lively prose, appropriate humor and umbrage where needed."
—Publishers Weekly

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781591025658
  • Publisher: Prometheus Books
  • Publication date: 2/28/2008
  • Pages: 270
  • Product dimensions: 9.24 (w) x 6.22 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Martin Gardner, the creator of Scientific American’s "Mathematical Games" column, which he wrote for more than twenty-five years, is the author of almost one hundred books, including The Annotated Night Before Christmas, The Annotated Snark, Martin Gardner’s Favorite Poetic Parodies, From the Wandering Jew to William F. Buckley Jr., and Science: Good, Bad and Bogus. For many years he was also a contributing editor to the Skeptical Inquirer.

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Table of Contents

Preface     9
Science, Math, and Baloney
The False Memory Wars     13
The Sad Case of Father Shanley     21
Penrose: The Road to Reality     33
Penrose: The Emperor's New Mind     39
Time-Reversed Worlds     45
The Ars Magna of Ramon Lull     57
The Banach-Tarski Paradox     83
Transcendental Numbers and Early Birds     89
A Defense of Platonic Realism     93
The Jinn from Hyperspace     105
Satan and the Apple     111
Blabbage's Decision Paradox     115
Professor Cracker's Antitelephone     119
Energy from the Vacuum?     123
PopCo     129
Four Letters     133
Is Beauty Truth?     137
Is String Theory in Trouble?     141
Do Loops Explain Consciousness?     147
Literature
Chesterton: The Flying Inn     155
Chesterton: Manalive     161
The Night Before Christmas     173
The Great Crumpled Paper Hoax     193
So Long Old Girl     197
L. Frank Baum
Queen Zixi of Ix     205
The Enchanted Island of Yew     213
John Dough and theCherub     221
The Magical Monarch of Mo     235
American Fairy Tales     243
Mother Goose in Prose     251
How the Oz Club Started     259
Lewis Carroll
Sylvie and Bruno     265
Phantasmagoria     281
The Nursery Alice     287
Alice's Adventures Under Ground     293
The Two Alice Books     301
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