BooksOfTheMoon

Advanced Triggernometry (Triggernometry, #2)

By Stark Holborn

Rating: 4 stars

Following the events of the first book, Professor Malago Browne is now living under an assumed identity south of the border, with a big stack of gold, when a group of women come to her asking for help dealing with a corrupt sheriff who’s draining their town dry. Against her will, Browne is drawn back to the mathmo world.

This was a fun little novella which manages, in few words, to widen the world from the first one. The idea of maths as a sort of magic that makes you deadly in combat is still somewhat hilarious. In this one, though, I got a much stronger sense of parable – of a world in which intellectual thought is frowned upon and learning is feared. Remind you of anything?

It’s only as I come to write this that I realise that Browne had gathered a group of six other mathmos around her to form her own magnificent seven. Ha, I hadn’t even noticed that, but that’s nice.

And I liked the trope of the group that comes into town to help protect it and, through tragedy, overcomes the distrust of the town and everyone pulls together to carry the day. And we end on a very definite pointer for the next book, as Browne and her comrades are no longer content with hiding and being driven away and hounded wherever they go. They’re going to make a stand, and I’m here for it.

Book details

Publisher: Rattleback Books
Year of publication: 2021

Triggernometry (Triggernometry #1)

By Stark Holborn

Rating: 4 stars

“Mad” Malago Browne is tired of life as an outlaw and is trying to be a respectable woman in a small frontier town. But when her old partner, Fermat, comes to her with a plan for one last job, she’s sucked back into her old life. The two of them round up a posse and go to rob a train…

This is a fun little novella taking place in an interesting “weird western” universe, where maths is nearly illegal and those who wield it are master gunslingers, using their mathematical knowledge to aid their fighting skills.

You have to wonder how it would be possible to build an (early) industrial civilisation if maths is as shunned as this book portrays; even basic arithmetic seems frowned upon, but that’s not really the point. There’s cool gunplay, double-crosses (in fact n-crosses) and, I think, a lot of in-jokes. I suspect several of the names referred to real mathematicians, but that’s not my field and Lovelace was the only one I recognised.

It’s cool that the specialisations of the mathematicians helped them in different ways: Browne’s field is geometry, and she uses this to calculate the best angle to fire a weapon to make it ricochet and cause most damage. The others, likewise, have their specialities, although given how short the story is, we don’t really have time to explore them in any great depth.

A fun idea and a good implementation. I think I’ll probably look out the sequel too.

Book details

Publisher: Rattleback Books
Year of publication: 2020

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