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. The Devil You Don't by Keith Laumer
  6. Naturally (Double Whammy) by Fredric Brown
  7. The Mathematician’s Nightmare: The Vision of Professor Squarepunt by Bertrand Russell
  8. Numberland by George Weinberg
  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)
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Literary Quality:
2/5 (1 votes)
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Categories:
GenreHumorous, Fantasy,
Motif
TopicAlgebra/Arithmetic/Number Theory,
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)