a list compiled by Alex Kasman (College of Charleston)

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Black Numbers (2011)
Dean Frank Lappi

In a fantasy world where math is magic, a young boy's life is endangered as it becomes clear that he is the long awaited Aleph Null.

I really do like the way the characters utilize equations and mentally manipulate numbers in order to achieve their magic. Having to invent new equations that relate others that you already know sounds and feels more like real math than the mathematical spells in books like Threshold or the reified numbers in Napier's Bones.

However, I find that I cannot strongly recommend this book, and it is not only because the "chosen one" theme has already been done to death. There were far too many scenes that I found unbearably disgusting. Not merely blood and guts, but also feces and men raping boys and monsters erotically circumcising boys with their mouths and... If that is your cup of tea, then this book is for you. Otherwise, I would suggest you read something else instead.

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(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 Black Numbers
According to my `secret formula', the following works of mathematical fiction are similar to this one:
  1. The Rithmatist by Brandon Sanderson
  2. The Last Page by Anthony Huso
  3. Mathemagics by Margaret Ball
  4. Threshold by Sara Douglass
  5. Your Magic or Mine by Ann Macela
  6. Counting the Shapes by Yoon Ha Lee
  7. Napier's Bones by Derryl Murphy
  8. Phantom by Terry Goodkind
  9. Voyage of the Shadowmoon by Sean McMullen
  10. The Gate of the Flying Knives by Poul Anderson
Ratings for Black Numbers:
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:
3/5 (1 votes)
Literary Quality:
2/5 (1 votes)


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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)