a list compiled by Alex Kasman (College of Charleston)

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The Math Code (2005)
Alex Kasman
(click on names to see more mathematical fiction by the same author)
Highly Rated!

A friend of mine once told me that he believes that mathematicians invented intentionally confusing notations to keep others from understanding what they were saying. I'm sure this is not true. We mathematicians do our best to make our subject understandable, though like any techical subject, this requires so much new terminology and notation that it may look unintelligible to the uninitiated.

Nevertheless, in this short story, a kidnapped mathematician is able to take advantage of this aspect of mathematical notation to send a secret message to his colleagues. The message is supposedly the statement of a theorem which he proved. However, it makes no sense mathematically. Then, another professor realizes that the message is not in the mathematical content, but in the notation itself.

This story appears in the collection Reality Conditions .

Contributed by Anonymous

damn good


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Works Similar to The Math Code
According to my `secret formula', the following works of mathematical fiction are similar to this one:
  1. NUMB3RS by Nick Falacci / Cheryl Heuton
  2. Math is Murder by Robert C. Brigham / James B. Reed
  3. One Under the Eight by Catherine Aird
  4. The Murdered Mathematician by Harry Stephen Keeler
  5. Child's Play by Isaac Asimov
  6. 1 to 999 by Isaac Asimov
  7. Ten by Isaac Asimov
  8. The Mathematicians of Grizzly Drive by Josef Skvorecky
  9. The Brink of Infinity by Stanley G. Weinbaum
  10. Murder, She Conjectured by Alex Kasman
Ratings for The Math Code:
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:
4.67/5 (3 votes)
Literary Quality:
3.33/5 (3 votes)

MediumShort Stories,

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Exciting News: The total number of works of mathematical fiction listed in this database recently reached a milestone. The 1,500th entry is The Man of Forty Crowns by Voltaire. Thanks to Vijay Fafat for writing the summary of that work (and so many others). I am also grateful to everyone who has contributed to this website. Heck, I'm grateful to everyone who visited the site. Thank you!

(Maintained by Alex Kasman, College of Charleston)