Rhetoric and the Math Melodrama

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Science  22 Dec 2000:
Vol. 290, Issue 5500, pp. 2263-2267
DOI: 10.1126/science.290.5500.2263

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The Wild Numbers. Philibert Schogt. Four Walls Eight Windows, New York, 2000. 159 pp. $18. ISBN 1-56858-166-1.

Uncle Petros & Goldbach's Conjecture. Apostolos Doxiadis. Bloomsbury USA, New York, 2000. 219 pp. $23.95. ISBN 1-58234-067-6.

These two recent novels have been translated into English by their authors. They have gained some attention for their depictions of how mathematicians search for mathematical truth. Our reviewer, who finds major shortcomings in both works, discusses them as representatives of a new genre he identifies as "Math Melodrama."