a list compiled by Alex Kasman (College of Charleston)

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The Mathematicians (1953)
Arthur Feldman

A father tells his daughter of an invasion of the Earth by aliens who were "the greatest mathematicians in the galaxy":

(quoted from The Mathematicians)

"Go on, papa. These beings over-ran all Earth. Go on from there."

"You must know, these newcomers were vastly more intelligent than the Earth-lings. In fact, the invaders were the greatest mathematicians in the System."

"What's the System? And what does mathematician mean?"

"The Milky Way. A mathematician is one who is good at figuring, weighing, measuring, clever with numbers."

The humans eventually triumph over these alien mathematicians by "imbuing these [aliens] with human emotions". Alien mathematicians are themselves a sort of stereotype (see here), but so is the idea that human mathematicians are cold and emotionless. So, arguably, this is a conflation of those two stereotypes. However, we do not see any direct evidence of their mathematical abilities or knowledge. So, despite the title, there really is not much math either implicitly or explicitly within this story.

The story ends with a Twilight Zone-like twist and a very corny math joke which really is the primary mathematical content.

It was originally published in the October-November 1953 issue of Amazing Stories and can now be found online for free at many locations including

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 The Mathematicians
According to my `secret formula', the following works of mathematical fiction are similar to this one:
  1. Battlefield Earth: A Saga of the Year 3000 by L. Ron Hubbard
  2. Flower Arrangement by Rosel George Brown
  3. The Snowball Effect by Katherine Maclean
  4. The Higher Mathematics by Martin C. Wodehouse
  5. Dalrymple’s Equation by Paul Fairman
  6. All the Universe in a Mason Jar by Joe Haldeman
  7. Freemium by Louis Evans
  8. Scandal in the Fourth Dimension by Amelia Reynolds Long (as "A.R. Long")
  9. Private i by S. R. Algernon
  10. Another Cock Tale by Chris Miller
Ratings for The Mathematicians:
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:
1/5 (2 votes)
Literary Quality:
2.5/5 (2 votes)

GenreHumorous, Science Fiction,
MediumShort Stories, Available Free Online,

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Exciting News: The total number of works of mathematical fiction listed in this database recently reached a milestone. The 1,500th entry is The Man of Forty Crowns by Voltaire. Thanks to Vijay Fafat for writing the summary of that work (and so many others). I am also grateful to everyone who has contributed to this website. Heck, I'm grateful to everyone who visited the site. Thank you!

(Maintained by Alex Kasman, College of Charleston)