a list compiled by Alex Kasman (College of Charleston)

Home All New Browse Search About

The Heroic Adventures of Hercules Amsterdam (2003)
Melissa Glenn Haber
Note: This work of mathematical fiction is recommended by Alex for children.

Contributed by Melissa Glenn Haber

The plot focuses on a three inch tall boy who runs away from humans to live with mice, only to discover that the mice are regularly massacred by rats every seven years. The mice, however, cannot anticipate the attacks because they can't count past three. As a result, Hercules must teach them to count in base four.... The book contains a mathematical appendix to teach readers how to count correctly in base 4 (Hercules doesn't do it well in the text); an appendix to the appendix that discusses base two; and an appendix to the appendix to the appendix, which teaches kids to count in hexadecimals.

(quoted from The Heroic Adventures of Hercules Amsterdam)

Hercules found that his head was pounding. He took a deep breath to settle his shaking hands. Then he ripped a piece of paper into ten pieces and laid them down. "One, two, three," he counted in mouse-squeak. Then he took the fourth piece. "Humans have a number for this one, too," he said. "We call it four" He took up the next. "Five"

Quangster was staring at him, shaking his head. "I almost understand," he said, " but I feel like there's a cloud before my eyes."

"It's okay," Hercules said. "I'll try something else." He laid out three pieces of paper, then three more below them, and then three more beneath them. "Look here," he said. "One, two three, as you know. The rest are lak right? But you can see that the lak are broken into groups of three. He paused to make sure Quanster was following. Quangster's brow was furrowed. His paw curled around his tail as it always did when he was thinking hard.

"Let's call this second row lak-one," Hercules went on. "We'll call this number one-one: the first lak number. This number is one-two, the second lak number. And this, one-three. those are the first three number after three."

Quangster looked, and squinted, and though, and then with super-rodent effort, pointed to the third row. "This is lak-two?" he guessed. "And we call the numbers two-one, two-two, and two-three?"

Hercules stood up and did a little dance. "Quangster," he marveled, "you must be the first mouse ever to count past lak!"

Buy this work of mathematical fiction and read reviews at logo
(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 Heroic Adventures of Hercules Amsterdam
According to my `secret formula', the following works of mathematical fiction are similar to this one:
  1. The Mouse and his Child by Russell Hoban
  2. Lost in Lexicon: An Adventure in Words and Numbers by Pendred Noyce
  3. Three Days in Karlikania by Vladimir Levshin
  4. Empire of the Ants by Bernard Werber
  5. The Star Dummy by Anthony Boucher
  6. The Shadow Guests by Joan Aiken
  7. Nena's Math Force by Susan Jarema
  8. Magic or Madness by Justine Larbalestier
  9. A Gebra Named Al by Wendy Isdell
  10. The Number Devil (Der Zahlenteufel) by Hans Magnus Enzensberger
Ratings for The Heroic Adventures of Hercules Amsterdam:
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:
3/5 (1 votes)
Literary Quality:
3/5 (1 votes)

GenreFantasy, Children's Literature,
TopicAlgebra/Arithmetic/Number Theory,

Home All New Browse Search About

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)