I liked the opening of “The Space Time Pool,” by Catherine Asaro. It seemed a lovely setting, the Great Smoky Mountains covered with rhododendrons in flower and cicadas buzzing on a fine day in June. A lovely place for Janelle to go for a walk to celebrate getting a her math degree from MIT. Considering that I had just been looking up hair tropes, (for completely coincidental reasons) I should have realized what I was getting into when Janelle’s hair swirled around her face and her summer dress swirled around her body. Then a handsome man of distinguished looks (grey in the long hair, doncha know) appears, disappears, appears, and says, “Destiny requires your presence.”
I skimmed a lot of romance, finding every now and then, a clump of math as Noether’s Theorem. It seemed odd that someone who could casually converse about Riemann sheets wouldn’t have read enough science fiction to immediately guess that the oddly dressed man was either a LARPer or a visitor from a parallel universe. (Unlike Jack in The Ray-Gun, whose mind was filled with heroic SF.) Her superior knowledge and her math degree make things interesting toward the end, but I’m not willing to go back and try again to figure out what exactly happened along the way.
I liked the math better than the story.