a list compiled by Alex Kasman (College of Charleston)

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The Rose Acacia (1995)
Ralph P. Boas, Jr.

Contributed by Arturo Magidin, UNAM, Mexico

"A computer makes a deal with the devil, with the usual escape clause: if it can ask a question the devil cannot answer, the computer gets the information for free. As the devil puts it, no logical paradoxes, no infinite tasks, no undecidable propositions, no solutions of unsolved problems are allowed. So the computer in the end asks for a display of the exact number of terms required to compute the sum of a particular infinite series to two decimal places. The series was
sum_{n=2}^{infty} (1/(n log(n(log log(n))^2))
The number needed is 10^{87}."

Appears in the collection Lion Hunting and Other Mathematical Pursuits.

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Works Similar to The Rose Acacia
According to my `secret formula', the following works of mathematical fiction are similar to this one:
  1. The Devil and Simon Flagg by Arthur Porges
  2. I of Newton by Joe Haldeman
  3. The Devil a Mathematician Would Be by A.J. Lohwater
  4. The Dark Lord by Patricia Simpson
  5. The Devil You Don't by Keith Laumer
  6. The Parrot's Theorem by Denis Guedj
  7. The Number Devil (Der Zahlenteufel) by Hans Magnus Enzensberger
  8. The Gnome and the Pearl of Wisdom: A Fable by Richard Willmott
  9. Flatterland: like Flatland, only more so by Ian Stewart
  10. A Foundation in Wisdom by Robert Loyd Watson
Ratings for The Rose Acacia:
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:
4/5 (2 votes)
Literary Quality:
2.5/5 (2 votes)

GenreFantasy, Didactic,
TopicComputers/Cryptography, Analysis/Calculus/Differential, Real Mathematics,
MediumShort Stories,

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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)