MATHEMATICAL FICTION:

a list compiled by Alex Kasman (College of Charleston)

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Monster's Proof (2009)
Richard Lewis
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Note: This work of mathematical fiction is recommended by Alex for children and young adults.

With parents and a younger brother who are all "mathematical geniuses", Livey Ell (who is in danger of getting kicked out of cheerleading unless she improves her algebra grades) is a bit too normal. Things get out of control when her brother's computations brings Bob, a mathematical creature from Hilbert space, to life.

This science fiction novel aimed at a young adult audience includes brief discussions of the Riemann Hypothesis (perpetuating the myth that it would somehow be upsetting if zeroes of the zeta function were to be discovered off the critical line), Hilbert space, Pythagorean cults and fractals (in the form of a "fractal sword"). Additionally, there are religious overtones to the story which develop when some of the characters are discovered to be angels and/or demons.

The author knows quite a bit about mathematics (he insists that the highpoint of his mathematical education was truly understanding the definition of the limit in calculus, but has clearly read a lot of popular mathematics since then), and so much of this rings true. He includes some famous mathematical jokes and anecdotes and presents characters that (while stereotypical) reflect some knowledge of the mathematical community. I don't think he knows what a Hilbert space is (besides that it is a cool sounding name), and suspect his notion of "the Hilbert space of all Hilbert spaces" does not even make mathematical sense. (What would be the inner product of two Hilbert spaces? I seriously doubt it would be complete under any reasonable definition.) But, that doesn't prevent the book from being fun and worth reading.

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(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 Monster's Proof
According to my `secret formula', the following works of mathematical fiction are similar to this one:
  1. Mother's Milk by Andrew Thomas Breslin
  2. Evil Genius by Catherine Jinks
  3. Napier's Bones by Derryl Murphy
  4. Panda Ray by Michael Kandel
  5. Doctor Who: The Algebra of Ice by Lloyd Rose (pseudonym of Sarah Tonyn)
  6. The Living Equation by Nathan Schachner
  7. Jack and the Aktuals, or, Physical Applications of Transfinite Set Theory by Rudy Rucker
  8. On the Quantum Theoretic Implications of Newton's Alchemy by Alex Kasman
  9. Numbercruncher by Si Spurrier (writer) / PJ Holden (artist)
  10. Summer Wars by Mamoru Hosoda (Director)
Ratings for Monster's 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:
5/5 (1 votes)
.
Literary Quality:
3/5 (1 votes)
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Categories:
GenreHumorous, Science Fiction, Fantasy, Children's Literature,
MotifProdigies, Insanity, Proving Theorems, Female Mathematicians, Math Education, Religion,
Topic
MediumNovels,

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(Maintained by Alex Kasman, College of Charleston)