I'm pretty sure I read this short story in Analog SF, probably before 2010 and possibly much earlier.

The story is structured as several interwoven subplot lines, the initial one (as I recall) being an academic discussion about the correspondence between geometry and story/narrative structure, with one person challenging the other to find a story that corresponds to a Möbius strip. The story itself turns out to be such a story.

I believe one of the subplot lines was a love story.

  • Nice and crazy idea! Sounds a bit like Borges, but too late to be him.
    – Rand al'Thor
    Commented Jan 8, 2016 at 13:26
  • 1
    Looks like it's mentioned here but not identified.
    – Rand al'Thor
    Commented Jan 8, 2016 at 13:30

1 Answer 1


I don't know this one personally, but I will make a guess based on the clues you've provided: Hilbert Schenck's "The Geometry of Narrative," which, according to ISFDB, appeared in Analog's Aug 1983 issue and was a Hugo Award contender the following year.

As the only online summary I found phrases it:

This story begins with a character who is a graduate student of English proposing to his professor a new geometric approach to literary analysis. As he points out, this has been used to some limited degree in the past: merely the one dimensional geometry of a story as a line segment representing linear passage of time, or the planar graph of the "arc" of the storyline building to a local maximum at the climax. However, in the story, the character proposes applications of higher dimensional geometry (and more complicated topologies as well). In particular, he discusses the role of the tesseract in analyzing Hamlet, and is ready with an example when his professor challenges him to apply the topology of the Möbius strip to literature.

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