MATHEMATICAL FICTION:

a list compiled by Alex Kasman (College of Charleston)

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The Ingenious Mr. Spinola (1924)
Ernest Bramah
(click on names to see more mathematical fiction by the same author)
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Contributed by "William E. Emba"

Max Carrados is a blind amateur detective genius, quite popular in the early 20th century, but mostly forgotten since then. (Such is also the fate of E.B.'s Kai Lung fantasy stories.)

In this story, involving two mathematicians, Max is challenged to expose a card-playing automaton. [[An alleged analytic engine, and an even more alleged Charles Babbage, make their appearance.]]

**Note: some may consider this last sentence a spoiler. I cannot figure out a way to convey the mathematical content without giving away some of the surprise. Part of the surprise, of course, is this is a c1920 story. Is it the first computer in fiction?**

First reprinted in THE EYES OF MAX CARRADOS (1924), later reprinted in a Dover collection of Max Carrados stories.

(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 Ingenious Mr. Spinola
According to my `secret formula', the following works of mathematical fiction are similar to this one:
  1. Conned Again, Watson! Cautionary Tales of Logic, Math and Probability by Colin Bruce
  2. The Three Body Problem by Catherine Shaw
  3. Pythagorean Crimes by Tefcros Michaelides
  4. The Jester and the Mathematician by Alan R. Gordon
  5. Flowers Stained with Moonlight by Catherine Shaw
  6. The Parrot's Theorem by Denis Guedj
  7. An Instance of the Fingerpost by Iain Pears
  8. Professor and Colonel by Ruth Berman
  9. The Seven-Per-Cent Solution by Nicholas Meyer
  10. The Library Paradox by Catherine Shaw
Ratings for The Ingenious Mr. Spinola:
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 (2 votes)
..
Literary Quality:
4.5/5 (2 votes)
..

Categories:
GenreHistorical Fiction, Mystery,
MotifReal Mathematicians,
TopicComputers/Cryptography,
MediumShort Stories,

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Your Help Needed: Some site visitors remember reading works of mathematical fiction that neither they nor I can identify. It is time to crowdsource this problem and ask for your help! You would help a neighbor find a missing pet...can't you also help a fellow site visitor find some missing works of mathematical fiction? Please take a look and let us know if you have seen these missing stories anywhere!.

(Maintained by Alex Kasman, College of Charleston)