a list compiled by Alex Kasman (College of Charleston)

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Two Moons (2000)
Thomas Mallon

A historical novel set in Washington DC of the late 19th century in which astronomers and the Naval Observatory (aided by the "computer" Cynthia May) deal with scientific and political matters of the day. May is the "mathematician" character in the novel, and her interest in mathematics is colorfully drawn. For instance:

(quoted from Two Moons)

Her columns grew longer, and if she squinted at them, the confetti of inklings began to resemble a skyful of stars. She had time to let her mind wander. The Magi's search for Bethlehem; the music of Milton's crystal spheres; the prognostications of the D Street astrologer in whose parlor Cynthia had lately spent a dollar she could not afford: they could all be reduced to these numbers. There was actually no need to squint and pretend that the digits were the stars. They were, by themselves, wildly alive, fact and symbol of the vast, cool distances in which one located the light of different worlds.

However, many readers have found this book to be either boring or dry. (The good news, I suppose, is that you can consequently get it really cheaply.)

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Works Similar to Two Moons
According to my `secret formula', the following works of mathematical fiction are similar to this one:
  1. Arcadia by Tom Stoppard
  2. A Higher Geometry by Sharelle Byars Moranville
  3. Beyond the Limit: The Dream of Sofya Kovalevskaya by Joan Spicci
  4. Abendland (Occident) by Michael Köhlmeier
  5. Lord Byron's Novel: The Evening Land by John Crowley
  6. The Mathematician's Shiva by Stuart Rojstaczer
  7. Hypatia by Mac Wellman
  8. A Certain Ambiguity: A Mathematical Novel by Gaurav Suri / Hartosh Singh Bal
  9. The Stargazers by Barbara Susan Lefever
  10. Mrs. Einstein by Anna McGrail
Ratings for Two Moons:
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 (1 votes)
Literary Quality:
4/5 (1 votes)

GenreHistorical Fiction,
MotifFemale Mathematicians, Math as Beautiful/Exciting/Useful, Romance,

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(Maintained by Alex Kasman, College of Charleston)