MATHEMATICAL FICTION:

a list compiled by Alex Kasman (College of Charleston)

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Kapitoil (2010)
Teddy Wayne
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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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(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 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. Zero by Buzz Mauro
  5. Orpheus Lost: A Novel by Janette Turner Hospital
  6. A Beautiful Mind by Sylvia Nasar / Akiva Goldsman
  7. The Solitude of Prime Numbers [La Solitudine dei Numeri Primi] by Paolo Giordano
  8. The Axiom of Choice by David Corbett
  9. Le larmes de saint Laurent (Wonder) by Dominique Fortier
  10. Bonita Avenue by Peter Buwalda
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)
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Literary Quality:
3.5/5 (2 votes)
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Categories:
Genre
MotifAnti-social Mathematicians, Future Prediction through Math, Romance,
TopicMathematical Finance,
MediumNovels,

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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)