BooksOfTheMoon

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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