MATHEMATICAL FICTION:

a list compiled by Alex Kasman (College of Charleston)

Home All New Browse Search About

...
A Logical Magician (1994)
Robert Weinberg
(click on names to see more mathematical fiction by the same author)
...

Contributed by Vijay Fafat

A very creative romp through the lore of creatures of mythology and their return in modern times. A computer programmer creates a program to decode ancient texts and find the incantations to invoke powerful demons. An untimely earthquake ends up releasing a fearsome demon who is bent on bringing back the rule of the dark side. To fight the good war, Merlin the Magician selects as the savior of humanity an out-of-work Math Ph.D. with a strong penchant for science fiction and fantasy. And for good reason, too! For the only weapons that can work against the creatures of chaos in modern times are tools of logic and mathematics…In one hilarious episode, the monsters of darkness are unable to enter the building housing the department of mathematics because “mathematics must bother them”.

Weinberg develops this concept over the course of the novel, first explaining how strong beliefs in magical figures are enough to crystallize those fictional characters from primal chaos into reality. From there, he ends up showing why mere data storage disks, pocket calculators and lasers (“coherent, ordered light!”) can destroy the mythical creatures – Mathematics and logic are the epitome of logical, ordered, rational and precise thinking, attributes which are antithetical to the chaotic origins and nature of the mythic monsters.

I really liked this theme beyond just its funny execution. Unlike regular math-fiction which may use some particular theorem or figures for plot angle or a description about mathematicians, this story employs the philosophy behind mathematics in a very logical (true to form) fashion, with a strong dose of fantasy. The result is extremely entertaining.

There is a sequel to this novel, called “A Calculated Magic”, which follows the story line to its conclusion.

Buy this work of mathematical fiction and read reviews at amazon.com. Amazon.com logo
(Note: This is just one work of mathematical fiction from the list. To see the entire list or to see more works of mathematical fiction, return to the Homepage.)

Works Similar to A Logical Magician
According to my `secret formula', the following works of mathematical fiction are similar to this one:
  1. Calculated Magic by Robert Weinberg
  2. Phantom by Terry Goodkind
  3. Sine of the Magus [aka The Magicians] by James Gunn
  4. Conjure Wife (Dark Ladies) by Fritz Leiber
  5. The Atrocity Archives by Charles Stross
  6. Mathemagics by Margaret Ball
  7. Threshold by Sara Douglass
  8. The Last Page by Anthony Huso
  9. The Mathematics of Magic by L. Sprague de Camp / Fletcher Pratt
  10. Vampire World (Trilogy) by Brian Lumley
Ratings for A Logical Magician:
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.
(unrated)

PLEASE HELP US OUT BY ENTERING YOUR OWN RATINGS FOR THIS WORK.

Categories:
GenreFantasy, Horror,
MotifCool/Heroic Mathematicians,
TopicLogic/Set Theory,
MediumNovels,

Home All New Browse Search About

Your Help Needed: Some site visitors remember reading works of mathematical fiction that neither they nor I can identify. It is time to crowdsource this problem and ask for your help! You would help a neighbor find a missing pet...can't you also help a fellow site visitor find some missing works of mathematical fiction? Please take a look and let us know if you have seen these missing stories anywhere!.

(Maintained by Alex Kasman, College of Charleston)