Books, Review

Review: Pocketful of Stars

The absolutely fun thing about Pocketful of Stars is that it’s like a matrouyshka doll. It’s got layers. You open up one, and there’s another fun face looking at you, and you open that one to see yet another… you know how this goes. I found myself chortling at some of the humor in this wonderful tale by the inimitable Margaret Ball.

It’s a story about math. But wait! Not that kind of math and mathematicians. No, these are not boring whatsoever, nor do they do magic. Not at all! What they do, hidden in their doorless secret offices in the research center located on a University campus, is simply applied topology. Even if an objective observer would think that feats like mentally warping space to bring yourself another packet of sugar for your coffee, making it look like it was floating across the room, was magic.

This review is cross-posted from Fantastic Schools, and you can find more there… 

You won’t find this review on Amazon, I’m afraid. I’m responsible for the cover art for the trilogy (third book comes out very soon now! I can’t wait…) which means I have a conflict of interest in reviewing these books there, despite my having worked from synopses, and only reading the books when I purchased copies after release. This whole recent controversy over Amazon removing reviews because of connections between authors? Well, if the rules had been read and understood, it wouldn’t have happened. But that’s a ‘nother topic. I’ll just leave you with this: Pocketful of Stars, and the sequel An Opening in the Air, are great fun to read. You should buy them, and then leave a review with the ‘Zon because I can’t. Hmph. 

I’m laughing again! 


11 thoughts on “Review: Pocketful of Stars

  1. In 1960, Eugene Wigner’s article “The unreasonable effectiveness of mathematics” laid out a certain wonderment; as Kepler put it, mathematical insights “dip one’s bucket into the Well of Eternity”.

    For all these glassy-eyed feministical covers, we’d bet that not a single one has ever heard of Emma Noether, 1882 – 1935, almost the sole genderized mathematician of historical significance (see her hyper-geometrical contributions to quantum theory).

    No-one frankly cares whether you know Fermat’s Last Theorem or the Riemann Hypothesis… mathematical beauty is of the spirit, a communion with the ages. In today’s sadsack milieu, any commentary of this nature incites Medusa, Sthenno, and Euryale. Well, let it; and a good day on Brougham (“Broom”) Bridge to you too, Sir.

  2. Noether’s Theorem is a nice little piece of work, and you can do a lot with it. I recommend Ed Neuenschwander’s book “Emmy Noether’s Wonderful Theorem” (disclosure: he and I were the Physics Department at a small Christian college for many, many years) which is a good account of her life and her work.

  3. Both of the stories about the Center for Applied Topology are great reads, full of humor. The characters are well developed,. I could not help thinking that A Pocket Full Of Stars bore a strong resemblance to Jodi Taylor’s Chronicles of Saint Mary’s, in some of the characters’ characteristics (Dr. Verrick to Taylor’s Dr. Bairstow, both directors of their institutes) and some dialogue Great reads, both series.

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