Distances

She was a rider like no other…. Floating in the amnion, she entered unmapped territory; she was a speck, a ship lost in vastness, a rider on waves of maxima and minima, an explorer of a space that, but for her, would remain only guessed at. She entered this mathematical country as an explorer would enter a new land: she looked for singularities, skated over manifolds, sketched out the abstract, mountainous terrain of bizarre mathematical functions; she sought branch points and branch cuts and hidden territories bearing algebraic surprises. She took the esoteric world of the sthanas and made it her reality

Distances, a story of science, art, and deception, is fascinating far-future science fiction, set in a far-future desert city. For Anasuya, mathematics was experiential, a sixth sense that bared before her the harmonies, natural and artificial, that formed the sub-text of the world. So when mathematicians from the planet Tirana, 18-light-years-distant, ask Anasuya’s help in solving a series of equations, she finds the new geometrical space they present her with intriguing. But as she explores the new space, she soon comes to suspect that it represents an actual physical system, and that the equations she is being asked to solve have a significance the Tiranis are concealing

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