Friday, January 29, 2016

James D. Stein's "L.A. Math"

James D. Stein is emeritus professor in the Department of Mathematics at California State University, Long Beach.

His books include Cosmic Numbers and How Math Explains the World.

Here Stein dreamcasts an adaptation of his new story collection, L.A. Math: Romance, Crime, and Mathematics in the City of Angels:
There are three main characters in the book: Freddy Carmichael, Lisa Carmichael, and Pete Lennox. The narrator of the stories is Freddy, a private investigator recently separated from his wife Lisa, who decides to relocate to Los Angeles. He takes up residence in a guesthouse in Brentwood, which is owned by Pete, who has a surprising ability to apply mathematics to the situations Freddy encounters.

All of the characters are in their late 20s or early 30s. I don't pay as much attention to movies and TV as I used to, so I'm going to describe people who played in TV shows in the past, and ask the reader of this blog (or the director and producer of the movie) to “fill in” contemporary actors who would parallel the ones I suggest.

The easiest is Lisa Kudrow, who could play Lisa Carmichael in the same way that she played the quirky Phoebe in Friends. I like Jim Hutton, who played Ellery Queen in the TV series of the same name, for Freddy Carmichael. From roughly the same era, take Jack Klugman, who played the sportswriter Oscar Madison in The Odd Couple, and regress his age to the late 20s or early 30s, and you have an excellent Pete Lennox.
Learn more about L.A. Math at the Princeton University Press website.

The Page 69 Test: L.A. Math.

Writers Read: James D. Stein.

--Marshal Zeringue