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Kapitoil (2010)
Teddy Wayne

It is 1999 and Karim Issar is a Qatari programmer who has just moved to NYC to work on Wall Street. Karim understands the world through mathematics and equations, and wishes others did as well. He does not understand why people cannot correctly evaluate the relative fuel efficiencies of air versus automobile travel, and enjoys it when his romantic interest attempts to communicate in the form of an equation. He compares the lyrics of Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen to the feeling one gets when mathematics reveals a hidden truth about the seeming chaos of the universe. And, he is able to write a computer program which successfully predicts oil prices based on political instabilities in different countries around the world.

It is this last bit, the program for predicting oil prices, which is the primary focus of the novel, but mathematical ideas permeate it, as do a somewhat typical "math nerd learns to be sociable" subplot and a nostalgia for a simpler pre-9/11 worldview.

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Works Similar to Kapitoil
According to my `secret formula', the following works of mathematical fiction are similar to this one:
  1. The Bank by Robert Connolly
  2. Odds Against Tomorrow by Nathaniel Rich
  3. Risqueman by Mike Wood
  4. The Solitude of Prime Numbers [La Solitudine dei Numeri Primi] by Paolo Giordano
  5. Orpheus Lost: A Novel by Janette Turner Hospital
  6. A Beautiful Mind by Sylvia Nasar / Akiva Goldsman
  7. The Axiom of Choice by David Corbett
  8. Zero by Buzz Mauro
  9. Le larmes de saint Laurent (Wonder) by Dominique Fortier
  10. Mathematicians in Love by Rudy Rucker
Ratings for Kapitoil:
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:
2.5/5 (2 votes)
Literary Quality:
3.5/5 (2 votes)

MotifAnti-social Mathematicians, Future Prediction through Math, Romance,
TopicMathematical Finance,

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(Maintained by Alex Kasman, College of Charleston)