Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2019/07/30/cat-russell.html

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# Zero Sum Game: action-packed sf thriller about a ninja hero whose superpower is her incredible math ability

This novel was really *excellent*. I found it at the local library early this year and immediately started reading everything I could of S.L. Huang’s. So, of course I pre-ordered Null Set. But by the time it arrived, I needed a refresher on the first book, so I bought the audiobook from Chirp when it was offered for the bargain price of just $4.99!

Did you mathematically calculate the correct entry trajectory?

Umm, this

incredible math skills let her calculate the precise angles needed to shoot the bolts out of an armored window as she leaps towards it from an adjacent roof; to time a kick so that it breaks her opponent’s jaw without breaking his neck, or to trace back the path of a sniper’s bullet with eerie accuracy and return fire.

does not seem to me to be primarily about maths skills, per se, but much more about hand-eye co-ordination and practical skills.

But it’s fiction, and it sounds like a good premise for a story/character, so I’ll add it to my virtual reading list (the physical one is already too big).

Indeed, although, I have heard of pure mathematicians who can apparently “see” mathematical forms; this, though, sounds more like a superpower.

I’m interested to see if there is more to this implementation of the idea than, say, Bullseye levels of accuracy or Equalizer/John Wick levels of combat prediction. Like, maybe, just approaching situations in a very logical manner.

Can’t seem to find an ebook version to buy. Is there one?

does not seem to me to be primarily about maths skills, per se, but much more about hand-eye co-ordination and practical skills.

I was going to make a comment just like this. Then I realized what that said about me as a person and choose not to make the comment.

If I were the protagonist I’d skip all the dangerous ninja stuff and just become a millionaire pool hustler.

https://us.macmillan.com/books/9781250180254

Has links to Amazon (Kindle), B&N (Nook), and Books-a-Million (EPUB)

that she has to navigate via tenuous alliances with a PI

How many digits of PI does a math-ninja really need?

It reminds me of the RDJ Sherlock Holmes movie where he uses his basically superpower levels of deductive reasoning to make gigantic leaps of logic necessary to plot out every single punch/kick in a bar fight.

The movie plays it like “He’s out-thought his opponent from before they even stepped into the ring”, but mostly depends on the opponent standing their like a lump and letting RDJ beat on them for 30 seconds.

The PI is dangerous because they’re so irrational. You never know what you’re going to get next with them.

Welcome to my/our world!

(And PS - wear the pendant proudly - it’s the only way.)

A similar idea in the Canadian cartoon show Action Man (some of the same people as Reboot), where the main character can “amp it up” and instantaneously calculate everything *just so* to get otherwise impossible results.

A powerful skill indeed.

Cheers!

May see if I can buy off of Books-a-Million. Alternatively, I could just bite the bullet and buy through Amazon, then convert to EPUB using Calibre.

Kobo has it as well (at least for the US and Canada sites), and they sell in epub format. I’ve only bought a handful of books from them, but I haven’t had any problems downloading the files.

I don’t have an actual Kobo device, either; I nearly bought one but the damn thing locked up on me in the store.

The answer may sound irrational, but: All of them.

It requires hand-eye, but it absolutely is solving maths problems, albeit in a non-numerical intuitive way.

Consider someone playing pool, or throwing darts. They are absolutely both solving maths problems, even if neither of them could ever write down the formulae they’re using. It’s the same with the protagonist, except the intuitive and instinctual process that most folks use is surfaced and formalised to become an explicit part of the problem solving process.

Ooh, shots fired!