MATHEMATICAL FICTION:

a list compiled by Alex Kasman (College of Charleston)

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(Note: This is not the entire list of works of Mathematical Fiction. To see the entire list, click here.)
Prime (2013)
Steve Erickson
Because he is jealous of the relative success of colleagues he considers his intellectual inferiors, a mathematician kidnaps a celebrity to learn the numerical secret of fame. The kidnapper in this... (more)
Last Changed: 2019-08-13 11:42:18
Applied Scientific Demiurgy I - Entrance Examination Information Sheet (2019)
Mario Daniel Martín
This document is designed to prepare students for an entrance exam into a university program on creating universes. For example: In this practical entrance examination, the basic abilities of creating... (more)
Last Changed: 2019-07-30 15:26:00
I Had to Call In a Mathematician (2019)
Erik Talvila
This short story published in the Mathematical Intelligencer answers the age old question "What if math was more like plumbing?" “Hi Janice. It’s Mort. I’ve got another problem here and I’ve... (more)
Last Changed: 2019-07-23 15:42:45
Benchmark (2014)
Catherine Aird
This short story does little more than set up the scenario of the famous Prisoner's Dilemma from game theory. The detectives do discuss the connection between their situation and that theoretical example... (more)
Last Changed: 2019-07-12 12:15:36
One Under the Eight (1994)
Catherine Aird
A creative but simple mathematical code is utilized by a criminal to secretly pass a number (one that will disable a security system) to an accomplice during a wine tasting event in this short detective... (more)
Last Changed: 2019-07-12 12:00:51
The Tenth Muse (2019)
Catherine Chung
This wide-ranging work of historical fiction unfolds in the period from just before World War II though to the 1960s, in America, Europe and Asia. In the first chapter, Katherine who narrates it is already... (more)
Last Changed: 2019-07-01 19:06:19
The Absolute Value of Mike (2011)
Kathryn Erskine
Mike is a fourteen-year-old with dyscalculia, but his father is a professional mathematician and is quite insistent that he should learn math and go to Newton High, the math magnet school. According to... (more)
Last Changed: 2019-05-29 15:06:05
Roten av minus én [The Square Root of Minus One] (2006)
Atle Næss
There are three different levels of reality in this novel: On the one hand it is the story of Terje Huus, a Norwegian mathematician undergoing a midlife crisis. That part of the story is presented through... (more)
Last Changed: 2019-05-29 14:11:15
Burn Notice (Episode: Signals and Codes) (2009)
Jason Tracey (screenplay) / Jeremiah Chechik (director)
Presumably, each episode of this old TV series features ex-CIA agent Michael Westen catching some "bad guys" in the hope of being re-accepted by his former employer. (I say "presumably" because I've... (more)
Last Changed: 2019-05-21 13:15:32
Permafrost (2019)
Alastair Reynolds
The daughter of the mathematician whose research led to a practical method for time-travel is sent back in time to save the world in this creative science fiction novella. Although I describe the work... (more)
Last Changed: 2019-05-02 08:30:47
Binti (2015)
Nnedi Okorafor
Binti has left her village, left the planet Earth, and is on her way to study math at the galaxy's most prestigious university. When the ship is attacked by the fearsome alien race called the Meduse,... (more)
Last Changed: 2019-04-06 21:32:11
The Infinite Pieces of Us (2018)
Rebekah Crane
Esther's family moves from California to New Mexico after she becomes pregnant while still in school. The main focus of this young adult novel is on her personal relationships (with the baby's father,... (more)
Last Changed: 2019-04-04 13:36:20
Mattemorden (2015)
Alexander Barth / Gustav Öhman Spjuth
In this Swedish TV series, a police officer with dyscalculia and a "professor" who can only do math when he is drunk are working together to solve a murder in which the only clue is a math problem. Unfortunately,... (more)
Last Changed: 2019-03-28 12:25:44
White Rabbit, Red Wolf [This Story is a Lie] (2018)
Tom Pollock
Seventeen-year-old Peter Blankman is afraid of most things, but he loves his mother (a famous research psychologist), his twin sister (a tough girl who looks out for him), and math. So, he is in trouble... (more)
Last Changed: 2019-03-14 20:10:44
Death of an Avid Reader: A Kate Shackleton Mystery (2017)
Frances Brody
A strangled body is found in a supposedly haunted library in England in the 1920's. It turns out to belong to Dr. Potter, a math professor known for being a stylish dandy as well as for his intelligence.... (more)
Last Changed: 2019-03-03 15:10:52
No Chance (2001)
Guy Hasson
While playing poker, a math professor and a biology professor discuss the many-worlds interpretation of quantum physics, with the mathematician offering what he sees as a mathematical argument proving... (more)
Last Changed: 2019-02-19 11:54:06
The Ultimate Prime (2001)
Tom Petsinis
A story narrated in second person about a youth with autism whose only interest is mathematics. Since "you" are the protagonist in this story, it puts the reader inside the mind of an individual who... (more)
Last Changed: 2019-02-13 21:56:15
Kazohinia [A Voyage to Kazohinia] (1941)
Sándor Szathmári
This novel features a Gulliver-like character (coincidentally named "Gulliver") who washes ashore in a strange land after a shipwreck. He first stays with the extremely logical Hins, who are always sensible... (more)
Last Changed: 2019-02-06 18:13:32
Midnight Diner (Episode: Omelette Rice) (2016)
Joji Matsuoka (Director) / Marina Oshima (Screenplay)
Each episode of this Japanese TV series follows the stories of some patrons of a Tokyo diner that is only open from midnight to 7AM. "Omelette Rice" is a love story between two regulars who meet there... (more)
Last Changed: 2019-02-01 10:57:28
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (2017)
Amy Sherman-Palladino / Daniel Palladino
The main plot of this show -- which concerns the transformation of Midge Maisel from a Jewish housewife in the 1950s into a successful and edgy standup comic -- has nothing to do with mathematics. So,... (more)
Last Changed: 2019-01-31 11:03:01
Schaurige Mathematik (2007)
Alexander Mehlmann
Professor Moriarty, the evil mathematician best known as the arch enemy of Sherlock Holmes, is both the hero and the narrator of this short story. He joins forces with Dracula and uses math to fight Jack... (more)
Last Changed: 2019-01-21 11:27:13
The Cypher Bureau (2018)
Eilidh McGinness
This work of historical fiction tells the story of Marian Rejewski, a Polish mathematician who used algebraic methods to break the Nazi Enigma code before the beginning of World War II. Most of the book... (more)
Last Changed: 2019-01-13 13:58:22
Archive (Travelers, Season 3 Episode 8) (2018)
Ken Kabatoff / Brad Wright
Math plays a major role in this episode of the Netflix series "Travelers". Following the show's usual format, the episode begins with a person in the present day going about his normal activity when... (more)
Last Changed: 2019-01-09 22:11:55
A Good Problem to Have (2014)
B.J. Novak
A fourth grade math class is interrupted by an old man who bursts in claiming that he was the inventor of the train problem: "That's my problem," said the man. He stared at us all at once, somehow,... (more)
Last Changed: 2018-12-06 16:17:27
The Argentine Ant (2017)
T.C. Boyle
A mathematician, his wife, and their baby who suffers from a skin sensitivity condition uproot their lives and move to a new city: This was an adventure, pure and simple. Or more than an adventure;... (more)
Last Changed: 2018-12-06 16:08:12
Zero Sum Game (2018)
S.L. Huang
Cas Russell is violent and amoral. She is also really good at math. Her understanding of physics and quick work with vectors allows her to do things like ricochet a tossed cell phone just right to knock... (more)
Last Changed: 2018-11-10 17:17:06
The Heart on the Other Side (1962)
George Gamow
A math professor and his beloved girlfriend try to imagine how they could win the approval of her father for their marriage. She laments that he could only do so by being helpful in her father's profession,... (more)
Last Changed: 2018-10-28 19:09:35
Gödel Incomplete (2013)
Martha Goddard (Writer and Director)
A 21st century physicist repeatedly travels back in time for short visits to the 20th century as a result of her experiments at the Large Hadron Collider. For completely unexplained reasons, she always... (more)
Last Changed: 2018-10-11 20:52:10
A Desirable Middle (2016)
Susan Sechrist
In this story which appeared in the Journal of Humanistic Mathematics, a recently divorced woman contemplates her own tastes in things and seems especially concerned with the aspect ratios of the objects... (more)
Last Changed: 2018-09-09 14:24:46
Methuselah's Children (1958)
Robert A. Heinlein
The supporting character of "Slipstick" Libby in this classic science fiction novel is a mathematician, or at least mathematically inclined. This has little to do with the novel's main plot, which concerns... (more)
Last Changed: 2018-09-05 16:46:52

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(Maintained by Alex Kasman, College of Charleston)