MATHEMATICAL FICTION:

a list compiled by Alex Kasman (College of Charleston)

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Mathematician Proof (1920)
Ralph Ellison de Castro
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Contributed by Vijay Fafat

An utterly trite story about a genius of a mathematician (aren’t they all? To wit, “he had the binomial theorem for breakfast, lunched on integral calculus and for his evening meal considered attempts at the solution of the age old problem of squaring the circle” – clearly not a fan of Lindemann), Thaddeus Randolph. Thaddeus, the world’s foremost authority on combinatorics, publishes a paper on the design of a fool-proof safe. His school friend, now on the Chairman of a bank, gets the safe built but makes some pragmatic changes to the design during implementation. He challenges Thaddeus with a goading remark that the safe is fool-proof against everyone, including mathematicians. That sets off the title of the story, the safe is duly broken, the author attempts to build some suspense about the person who broke it – turns out it was some professional safe-cracker, not Thaddeus. Atrociously written.

Published in All-Story Weekly January 17, 1920.

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Works Similar to Mathematician Proof
According to my `secret formula', the following works of mathematical fiction are similar to this one:
  1. Getting the Combination by Isaac Asimov
  2. The Universal Library [Die Universalbibliothek] by Kurd Lasswitz
  3. The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman by Laurence Sterne
  4. Gravity's Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon
  5. Stand-In by Tay Garnett
  6. Odile by Raymond Queneau
  7. The Geometrics of Johnny Day by Nelson Bond
  8. Coconuts by Ben Ames Williams
  9. Quicksilver: The Baroque Cycle Volume 1 by Neal Stephenson
  10. The Papers of A.J. Wentworth, B.A. by Humphry Francis Ellis
Ratings for Mathematician Proof:
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:
1/5 (1 votes)
..

Categories:
GenreHumorous,
MotifGenius,
Topic
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 Amazon.com 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)