a list compiled by Alex Kasman (College of Charleston)

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Ground Zero Man (The Peace Machine) (1971)
Bob Shaw
(click on names to see more mathematical fiction by the same author)

A self-described `unimportant mathematician' who works on guidance systems for a British weapons manufacturer discovers, just by playing around with the formulas, a way to cause the explosion of every nuclear bomb in the world. While his marriage dissolves and people around him die or are kidnapped, he races to use this knowledge for the benefit of mankind.

The fact that he is a mathematician is mentioned frequently, and words like `Schrödinger Equation', `Hermite Polynomial' and `Legendre Function' are tossed around. However, the math is not discussed in explicit detail but rather is just used as an explanation for the key plot device: his ability to `make neutrons dance'. Still, even if the math content is not very high, I think this was a rather engaging and thought provoking cold war thriller which might be of interest to some of you out there. Unfortunately, it does not appear to be in print at the moment, but many used copies are available (see links in next paragraph).

Originally published as ``Ground Zero Man'' in 1971, this was republished under the name ``The Peace Machine'' in 1985.

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Works Similar to Ground Zero Man (The Peace Machine)
According to my `secret formula', the following works of mathematical fiction are similar to this one:
  1. The Janus Equation by Steven G. Spruill
  2. Paint ‘Em Green by Burt Filer
  3. Nuremberg Joys by Charles Sheffield
  4. Four Brands of Impossible by Norman Kagan
  5. Drunkard's Walk by Frederik Pohl
  6. The Anomaly [L'Anomalie] by Hervé Le Tellier
  7. Equations of Life by Simon Morden
  8. The Blind Geometer by Kim Stanley Robinson
  9. Void Star by Zachary Mason
  10. The Fear Index by Robert Harris
Ratings for Ground Zero Man (The Peace Machine):
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)

GenreScience Fiction, Adventure/Espionage,

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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)