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Stewart, Ian

Entry updated 28 August 2023. Tagged: Author.

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(1945-    ) UK mathematician, currently Emeritus Professor of Mathematics at the University of Warwick; he was elected to the Royal Society in 2001. His sf novels Wheelers (2000) and Heaven (2004), together with the nonfiction The Collapse of Chaos: Discovering Simplicity in a Complex World (1994) and other popular-science works of sf interest, were written in collaboration with Jack Cohen – whom see for further discussion. The Wheelers series prequel Oracle (2021), opening on Earth in 17,000 BCE but featuring galaxy-wide action, was written by Stewart alone after Cohen's death, making extensive use of his ideas.

Stewart, whose solo nonfiction works deal with Mathematics, was the fourth writer of the Scientific American column founded by Martin Gardner as "Mathematical Games" and continued by Douglas Hofstadter and A K Dewdney: Stewart's columns were titled "Mathematical Recreations". Several collections of these and related popular-maths essays have appeared under generally punning titles, beginning with Game, Set & Math: Enigmas and Conundrums (coll 1989). Science-fictional themes and trappings frequently appear. Also of tangential interest is Stewart's involvement with what might be termed a mathematics Fanzine, Manifold, published from the University of Warwick 1968-1980; inspired by Martin Gardner's columns, this mingled serious, comic and bizarre mathematical speculations, partially collected as Seven Years of Manifold 1968-1980 (anth 1981) edited by Stewart and John Jaworski.

The Science of Discworld (1999) with Jack Cohen and Terry Pratchett and its sequels use Pratchett's Discworld as a launch pad for highly readable popular-science commentary, each time appearing between the chapters of a novella by Pratchett solo. Flatterland: Like Flatland Only More So (2001) uses Edwin A Abbott's Flatland (1884; rev 1884) as the starting point for a Flatland girl's fictionalized tour (with much wordplay in echo of Lewis Carroll) of more modern mathematical concepts of Dimensions, geometries, topology and so one, including an sf excursion into Black Holes and Time Paradoxes.

Further sf novels are The Living Labyrinth (2016) and its sequel Rock Star (2017), both with Tim Poston (1945-2017), being two-thirds of an intended trilogy; and Loophole (2023). [DRL]

see also: Thought Experiment.

Ian Nicholas Stewart

born Folkestone, Kent: 24 September 1945




  • Wheelers (New York: Warner Aspect, 2000) with Jack Cohen [Wheelers: hb/Bob Eggleton]
  • Heaven (New York: Warner Aspect, 2004) with Jack Cohen [Wheelers: hb/Steve Stone]
  • Oracle (Coventry, Warwickshire: JOAT Enterprises, 2021) with Jack Cohen [Wheelers: pb/]

Living Labyrinth

  • The Living Labyrinth (Golden, Colorado: ReAnimus Press, 2016) with Tim Poston [Living Labyrinth: pb/]
  • Rock Star (Golden, Colorado: ReAnimus Press, 2017) with Tim Poston [Living Labyrinth: pb/]

individual titles

  • Jack of All Trades (Coventry, Warwickshire: JOAT Enterprises, 2011) [fixup: ebook: na/]
  • Loophole (Dartford, Kent: Elsewhen Press, 2023) [pb/David A Hardy]

collections and stories

nonfiction (selected)


Scientific American

Collections of Mathematics-based columns from both the French (written in English to be translated) and US editions of Scientific American.

The Science of Discworld

individual titles (selected)

works as editor


previous versions of this entry

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