a list compiled by Alex Kasman (College of Charleston)

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The Pi Man (1959)
Alfred Bester
(click on names to see more mathematical fiction by the same author)

Contributed by Jerry Summers

I found this work in an anthology of Alfred Bester short stories "The Dark Side of the Earth". It is an ironic story of a man that calls himself the Pi Man (irrational) that tries to set a pattern in Earth's population actions by performing irrational acts. The main character is a statistics major that has Extra Pattern Perception (Pi power) compared to Extra Sensory Perception (Psi power). There is some math like X^2 + X + 41 = prime number except when x=40 and discussion of pi. The author uses an irrational stream of consciousness style that is a little unnerving but palatable in short story form.

Contributed by Nomad

This is a great story. Under any circumstance less than the birth of a child would I ever use the word "amazing" to describe anything, but this is a terrific story. I wish I had written it.

I wish I knew where to get a copy of the story. (I know I could buy the collection, but there must be an easier way!)

More information about this work can be found at
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Works Similar to The Pi Man
According to my `secret formula', the following works of mathematical fiction are similar to this one:
  1. The Year of the Jackpot by Robert A. Heinlein
  2. The Non-Statistical Man by Raymond F. Jones
  3. Into the Comet by Arthur C. Clarke
  4. The Feeling of Power by Isaac Asimov
  5. Foundation by Isaac Asimov
  6. The Nine Billion Names of God by Arthur C. Clarke
  7. Brain Wave by Poul Anderson
  8. The Cold Equations by Tom Godwin
  9. The Curve of the Snowflake by William Grey Walter
  10. The Island of Five Colors by Martin Gardner
Ratings for The Pi Man:
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:
2.5/5 (4 votes)
Literary Quality:
4.25/5 (4 votes)

GenreScience Fiction,
TopicAlgebra/Arithmetic/Number Theory, Probability/Statistics,
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 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)