MATHEMATICAL FICTION:

a list compiled by Alex Kasman (College of Charleston)

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The Math Olympian (2015)
Richard Hoshino
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A novel about a girl hoping to be on the Canadian team to the International Mathematical Olypmiad written by someone who should know what it is like. (FYI The author earned a silver medal as part of the Canadian team at the 1996 International Mathematical Olympiad in Mumbai.)

I must admit that I have not had a chance to read this book yet, apart from the free samples available on Hoshino's Webpage, but it has glowing reviews from a large number of readers. From what I've seen, it seems to fall into the genre I call "didactic" in that the focus is on what one can learn about math, with the plot and characters serving only as motivation for those didactic goals. The book features real (and really challenging) mathematical problems. In a way, reading about how the character approaches them is similar to what one might do with a coach in preparation for mathematics competitions. If you have read the book and can add more information, please let me know!

Contributed by Jim Marsalis

The mathematics is excellent, with a variety of problems presented as part of the plot line. The story is probably secondary to the mathematics, but is it well-done. The difficulties of being a female in what has been a male-dominated competition are well-presented. There is much here regarding the philosophy of how math should be done. In many ways, it reminds one of the Math Girls series, which also blend math with plots about high school kids who love mathematics. This may be be my second favorite math-related novel, trailing only A Certain Ambiguity. Even for folks who find the problems too challenging (as I sometimes did) the explanations of the various solutions can teach one a lot about problem-solving.

Buy this work of mathematical fiction and read reviews at amazon.com. Amazon.com logo
(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 The Math Olympian
According to my `secret formula', the following works of mathematical fiction are similar to this one:
  1. Question 3 by Martin Sandahl (Director and Writer)
  2. Geek Abroad by Piper Banks
  3. Sophie Simon Solves them All by Lisa Graff
  4. Victoria Martin: Math Team Queen by Kathryn Walat (playwright)
  5. Mean Girls by Tina Fey (screenplay) / Mark S. Waters (director)
  6. Night of the Paranormal Patterns by Robert Black
  7. Night of the Frightening Fractions by Robert Black
  8. Quaternia by Tom Petsinis
  9. Odd Squad by Tim McKeon / Adam Peltzman
  10. Lucy and David and the God Equation by Alan McKenzie
Ratings for The Math Olympian:
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:
5/5 (2 votes)
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Literary Quality:
4/5 (2 votes)
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Categories:
GenreDidactic, Children's Literature,
MotifFemale Mathematicians, Math Education,
TopicReal Mathematics,
MediumNovels,

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(Maintained by Alex Kasman, College of Charleston)