Jinn from Hyperspace: And Other Scribblings--Both Serious and Whimsical by Martin Gardner
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.