a list compiled by Alex Kasman (College of Charleston)

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The Long Chalkboard (2006)
Jenny Allen / Jules Feiffer (Illustrator)
(click on names to see more mathematical fiction by the same author)

Contributed by "William E. Emba"

Allen's book is a collection of three short-short stories spread out over book length with illustrations on every page, in the usual style of children's literature, complete with charmingly simple morals about what's really important in life. The target audience seems to be aging yuppies. The main attraction is certainly the illustrations by her husband, famed cartoonist Jules Feiffer. Indeed, the book classifies itself as a "Graphic Novel", and I personally discovered this book in a comic book store, next to their Asterix and Tintin books. But because of the extreme brevity of the stories, the three stories read more like HAPPINESS IS A WARM PUPPY with a plot than a genuine graphic novel.

The mathematical content is limited to the first story, "The Long Chalkboard", about an apartment with one spacious room that one tenant fills with a long chalkboard in order to encourage the creativity of her children. That doesn't happen, but the next tenant's teenage son is a mathematical whiz, who puts the chalkboard to glorious use. And as a bonus, Feiffer illustrated the chalkboard with real mathematical formulas instead of the usual silly jumble of letters and digits and plus signs that are typically passed off as mathematical genius at work.

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Works Similar to The Long Chalkboard
According to my `secret formula', the following works of mathematical fiction are similar to this one:
  1. L' idée fixe du Savant Cosinus by Christophe -- Georges Colomb
  2. The Dot and the Line: A Romance in Lower Mathematics by Norton Juster
  3. A Deprogrammer's Tale by Colin Adams
  4. The Papers of A.J. Wentworth, B.A. by Humphry Francis Ellis
  5. Do the Math: A Novel of the Inevitable by Philip Persinger
  6. Inquirendo Island by Hudor Genone
  7. Paul Bunyan versus the Conveyor Belt by William Hazlett Upson
  8. PopCo by Scarlett Thomas
  9. Delicious Rivers by Ellen Maddow
  10. G103 by Oliver Tearne (director)
Ratings for The Long Chalkboard:
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:
1/5 (1 votes)
Literary Quality:
1/5 (1 votes)

MediumShort Stories, Comic Book, Picture Book,

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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)