Reality is never more unpredictable than when two mathematicians are in love with the same girl, and can change the world to get her.
Bela and Paul, two wild young mathematicians, are friends and roommates, and both are in love with Alma, Bela’s girlfriend. They fight it out by changing reality using cutting-edge math. The contemporary world they live in is not quite this one, but much like Berkeley, California, and the two graduate students are trying to finish their degrees and get jobs. It doesn’t help that their unpredictable advisor Roland is a mad mathematical genius who has figured out a way to predict specific bits of the future that can cause a lot of trouble…and that he’s starting to see monsters in mirrors.
When Bela and Paul mess around with reality, all heaven and hell break loose. Those monsters of Roland’s were really there, but who are they?
This novel is a romantic comedy with a whole corkscrew of SF twists from the writer who twice won the Philip K. Dick Award for best SF novel.
"An excellent book under any label."—The Denver Post
"Rucker draws on his academic mathematics background for a mind-bending tale about the hazards of reshaping reality to suit one's own ends. Set in an alternate-universe Berkeley, California, dubbed Humelocke, the story revolves around a bizarre romantic triangle involving cerebral math majors Bela and Paul and their seesawing love interest, Alma. With the dubious patronage of their mentally unbalanced advisor, Professor Roland, Paul and Bela develop a proof for a radical new theorem that may facilitate prediction of future events with astounding accuracy. The roadblock to capitalizing on their discovery lies in creating a "paracomputer" to spit out usable data. When the cockroach monsters Professor Roland claims to have seen begin appearing in Bela's mirror with a written solution, reality begins to take a decidedly surrealistic turn. In a riotously twisting plot, complete with hypertunnels, alien shellfish from a parallel universe, and an improbable resolution to the threesome's romantic dilemma, Rucker pulls out all the stops for one of his most entertaining yarns to date."—Carl Hays, Booklist
"Rucker cleverly pulls off a romantic comedy about mathematicians in love. Following 2004's Frek and the Elixir, this even zanier excursion into alternative versions of Berkeley, Calif., is set in university towns called Humelocke and Klownetown, 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. While most of the mathematical flights may stun hapless mathophobes, 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.’"—Publishers Weekly
"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 and Frek and the Elixir. 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 . . . Mathematicians is a worthwhile, imaginative read."—Bookmarks Magazine
"Rudy Rucker should be declared a National Treasure of American Science Fiction. Someone simultaneously channeling Kurt Godel and Lenny Bruce might start to approximate full-on Ruckerian warp-space, but without the sweet, human, splendidly goofy Rudy-ness at the core of the singularity."—William Gibson
"This may well be Rudy Rucker's best novel—funny, wise, fast and inventive. A real advance."—Gregory Benford
"Rudy Rucker writes like the love child of Philip K. Dick and George Carlin. Brilliant, frantic, conceptual, cosmological . . . like lucid dreaming, only funny. This book rocks!"—Walter John Williams
"Rudy Rucker never fails to leave me breathless . . . Reading one of his stories is like a reset button on reality: when it's over, the whole universe looks slightly different...and much stranger."—Spider Robinson
"For sheer gonzo inventiveness, trust Rucker and this gut-wrenching, near-ftl-speed intellectual adventure. And trust me, too: You won't read another sf work all year this much mind-bending, synapse-tingling fun."—Michael Bishop
Rudy Rucker lives in Los Gatos, California.