*Apostolos Doksiadis, Khristos H. Papadimitriou, Alecos Papadatos and Annie Di Donna**- Logicomix*

At least the nominal protagonist of the tale is a fictitious version of British philosopher and logician Bertrand Russell who tells his life story to an audience of American isolationalists in a lecture just after the World War Two has erupted. These parts alternate with parts where the makers of the graphic novel discuss how they should proceed with the story - between Doksiadis' desire to tell a story about people and Papadimitrou's arguments about the historical and mathematical facts.

During the tale the fictitious Russell meets with famous mathematicians Russell didn't meet in real life (part the writers readily admit in the afterword) and discusses matters of logic with them. Russell is also always drawn without moustache he always used in his early life, presumably so that the character would look more familiar. The ficticious Russell is also a much nicer that Russell ever was in real life.

The primary subject of the tale is the fundamental quest to find mathematical truth - which sort of ends to Gödel's mathematical proof that there are and will be mathematic and logic problems that cannot be solved - at least mathematically. It also sort of continues Doksiasis' theme about scientific obsession leading to madness - or at least ruination of relationships. Many of the greats of the mathematical world (and/or their relatives) succumbed to paranoia and schizophrenia - including Gödel who effectively starved himself to death.

(

*Personally it also brings some ironic pleasure to people like me who had to play with the set theory in Finnish primary school back in the 1970's - if Russell supposedly disposed of an demolished set theory by his paradox before the World War One, why the heck we had to play with those ovals decades later? I can actually agree with the common view that nobody actually needs set theory anywhere outside mathematical academia. In fact, it increased the attitude that "pure mathematics" has little to do with real life - a point the writers of this book also apparently make*).

Many parts of mathematics are still being based of axioms that are regarded as being true - but has not been mathematically

*proven*to be true, essentially being against the mathematics' own rules and therefore being in shaky theoretical foundation. I don't know how many have been fed up with exercises where they should produce a mathematical proof that X=1 when it certainly is but that's what the mathematicians often try to do. The writers illustrate this with the part where Russell writes a multi-page proof that 1+1=2.

The story ends in the dress rehearsal of the Aeschylus' play Oresteia. The play is essentially explanation of how vendettas were replaced with legal courts (not very successfully, I think, because in some areas of Greece vendettas are still popular) - and presents one version of how the problems are actually solved in the real world. Where there are no clear-cut happy or unhappy endings, only imperfect solutions and compromises.

That dichotomy can also be seen in Doksiadis' calling the story a tragedy and Papadimitrou's insistence that all this leads to Alan Turing and foundations of theories that lead to computer programming.