a list compiled by Alex Kasman (College of Charleston)

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Completeness (2011)
Itamar Moses

This play, currently in production at New York's Playwrights Horizons Mainstage Theater, tells the story of a romance between a biology graduate student and a computer science graduate student. Having read a few reviews, I get the feeling that there is enough math in the play for it to be listed on this database. (For instance, I know there is a discussion of the Travelling Salesman Problem, and so I'm guessing the title has to do with NP-completeness?)

If anyone has seen or read the play and can comment in greater detail on the mathematical content, it would be most appreciated.

Contributed by Anonymous

Math is discussed in at least 50% of the text. In addition, the math establishes the central metaphor in the play. The content is clearly well-researched and accurate. The author makes an effort to explain mathematical concepts rather than dumb them down for the audience.

Thank you, anonymous contributor, for this post. It would seem to confirm that the play is indeed sufficiently mathematical to be listed on this Website. However, I still do not know the specifics. What is the central metaphor? What sort of mathematics appears? (Also, I am still a little concerned that the anonymous poster and I might not agree on the distinction between computer science and mathematics. Though CS did grow out of math in the mid-Twentieth Century, it is really a distinct discipline now. Could some of that 50% be computer science and not mathematics per se?)

I look forward to more posts with further clarification...and of course to someday having the chance to see or read the play myself.

More information about this work can be found at
(Note: This is just one work of mathematical fiction from the list. To see the entire list or to see more works of mathematical fiction, return to the Homepage.)

Works Similar to Completeness
According to my `secret formula', the following works of mathematical fiction are similar to this one:
  1. Arcadia by Tom Stoppard
  2. Mathematics of the Heart by Kefi Chadwick (playwright) / Donnacadh O’Briain (director)
  3. A Doubter's Almanac by Ethan Canin
  4. Stay Close, Little Ghost by Oliver Serang
  5. The Capacity for Infinite Happiness by Alexis von Konigslow
  6. Eye of the Beholder by Alex Kasman
  7. The Wild Numbers by Philibert Schogt
  8. Reality Conditions by Alex Kasman
  9. Elegantly, In the Least Number of Steps by Monica McFawn
  10. Zilkowski's Theorem by Karl Iagnemma
Ratings for Completeness:
RatingsHave you seen/read this work of mathematical fiction? Then click here to enter your own votes on its mathematical content and literary quality or send me comments to post on this Webpage.
Mathematical Content:
4/5 (1 votes)
Literary Quality:
5/5 (1 votes)

MotifAcademia, Romance,

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May 2016: I am experimenting with a new feature which will print a picture of the cover and a link to the page for a work of mathematical fiction when it is available. I hope you find this useful and convenient. In any case, please write to let me know if it is because I would be happy to either get rid of it or improve it if that would be better for you. Thanks! -Alex

(Maintained by Alex Kasman, College of Charleston)