MATHEMATICAL FICTION:

a list compiled by Alex Kasman (College of Charleston)

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The Devil a Mathematician Would Be (1962)
A.J. Lohwater
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Note: This work of mathematical fiction is recommended by Alex for math majors, math grad students (and maybe even math professors).

This clever short story that captures the feeling of a math problem that "gets under your skin" was printed in The Mathematical Magpie and was said to have been "collected" by A.J. Lohwater. Well, I finally did a little bit of looking around to see who this Lohwater was and was surprised to find that he was not a writer, but a mathematician and editor of the Mathematical Reviews at about the same time that this story was first printed.

Can anyone out there fill me in on how this came to be? Did he write the story? Did he just put down on paper a joke that had been going around in mathematical circles? How does it relate to the story The Devil and Simon Flagg which was published much earlier and has basically the same plot?

More information about this work can be found at another page on this Website.
(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 Devil a Mathematician Would Be
According to my `secret formula', the following works of mathematical fiction are similar to this one:
  1. The Devil and Simon Flagg by Arthur Porges
  2. The Rose Acacia by Ralph P. Boas, Jr.
  3. Hell of a Fix by Matthew Hughes
  4. I of Newton by Joe Haldeman
  5. Naturally (Double Whammy) by Fredric Brown
  6. The Devil You Don't by Keith Laumer
  7. Numberland by George Weinberg
  8. The Mathematician’s Nightmare: The Vision of Professor Squarepunt by Bertrand Russell
  9. Been a long, long time by R.A. Lafferty
  10. Fermat's Last Tango by Joanne Sydney Lessner / Joshua Rosenblum
Ratings for The Devil a Mathematician Would Be:
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:
2/5 (1 votes)
..

Categories:
GenreHumorous, Fantasy,
Motif
TopicAlgebra/Arithmetic/Number Theory,
MediumShort Stories,

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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 Amazon.com 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)