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.)
La Resta [The Remainder] (2015)
Alia Trabucco Zerán
Two friends from modern day Santiago travel through Chile using "mortuary mathematics" to attempt to better understand the legacy of their country's dictatorship: [A]nd just as I'm calming down and... (more)
Last Changed: 2020-05-27 10:59:13
Nagel im Himmel (2020)
Patrick Hofmann
The protagonist in this novel grows up in a loveless, dysfunctional family, but finds refuge and success in mathematics until he is "saved" by a physicist. Since I do not read German, my knowledge of... (more)
Last Changed: 2020-05-22 08:03:54
Dispel Illusion (2019)
Mark Lawrence
This third book in the "Impossible Times" series continues telling the story of math prodigy Nick Hayes and the bizarre time loop he experiences/causes. Many of the chapters in this book take place in... (more)
Last Changed: 2020-05-19 14:11:05
Limited Wish (2019)
Mark Lawrence
In this sequel to One Word Kill, math prodigy Nick Hayes develops the theory of time travel that his future self used to go back in time to meet himself in the first book. The idea, which sounds neat... (more)
Last Changed: 2020-05-19 13:46:28
One Word Kill (2019)
Mark Lawrence
Nick Hayes, a math prodigy with leukemia in the 1980's, meets his future self in this first book of the "Impossible Times" trilogy from Amazon's publishing arm. The consistent time loop that this creates... (more)
Last Changed: 2020-05-19 13:09:46
The Masters (1963)
Ursula K. Le~Guin
This short story, which takes place in a world where society is medieval and the sun is seen less than once per year, focuses on the mathematical advances brought about by the primary protagonist, Ganil.... (more)
Last Changed: 2020-05-06 14:18:39
Beyond Infinity (2004)
Gregory Benford
Cley is one of the few "original" humans left in a future where most of the characters are genetically enhanced. These engineered lifeforms, whether they are Supras (a highly advanced humanoid) or based... (more)
Last Changed: 2020-05-04 15:01:57
A Universe of Sufficient Size (2019)
Miriam Sved
It is only after the death of her father that an Australian sculptor learns that her mother was one of five Hungarian Jews mathematicians who worked on math research together in a public park as Hitler... (more)
Last Changed: 2020-04-19 20:38:44
The Pursuit of the Pankera: A Parallel Novel About Parallel Universes (2020)
Robert A. Heinlein
This alternative version of the much derided Heinlein novel The Number of the Beast was published in 2020 based on notes by the author who died back in 1988. Apparently, "Pursuit of Pankera" was actually... (more)
Last Changed: 2020-03-31 20:47:20
Machines Like Me (2019)
Ian McEwan
There are many ways to describe this book without mentioning mathematics: It is a romance between Charlie (a slacker who dabbles in day-trading) and Miranda (the law student who lives in the apartment... (more)
Last Changed: 2020-03-31 10:05:37
The Hyland Resolution (2020)
Justin Tarquin
Charles Hyland is the sort of math professor who can be totally distracted by a mathematical question while he and several academic colleagues are under attack by an enemy army on the moon. (Specifically,... (more)
Last Changed: 2020-03-23 22:34:39
The Miscalculations of Lightning Girl (2018)
Stacy McAnulty
A girl who developed "genius level" mathematical abilities after being struck by lightning has a thing or two to learn about life in this novel for young adults. Lucy Callahan finds that after her... (more)
Last Changed: 2020-03-12 15:15:52
Apeirogon: A Novel (2020)
Colum McCann
This novel with a mathematical title is based on the real lives of two peace activists, Bassam Aramin, a Palestinian and Rami Elhanan, an Israeli, both fathers of young daughters who died violently in... (more)
Last Changed: 2020-03-07 13:54:47
Invisibly Breathing (2019)
Eileen Merriman
Felix Catalan, a teenager whose autistic tendencies make him unpopular in school, becomes romantically involved with another student whose stutter similarly makes him an outcast. Like many other anti-social... (more)
Last Changed: 2020-03-07 10:20:43
Double Digit (2014)
Annabel Monaghan
This cleverly titled sequel to A Girl Named Digit follows the continuing adventures of a young "math whiz" whose talents make her both a weapon against and a target of terrorists. (more)
Last Changed: 2020-03-07 07:45:15
The Square Root of 2 (2015)
Hackie Reitman (writer and director) / Bernard Salzmann (director)
A movie about the difficulties faced by an autistic young woman with over-protective parents who attends college to pursue a career in mathematics. Author/director Reitman is an M.D. with an interest in... (more)
Last Changed: 2020-02-20 21:26:53
Die Gleichung des Lebens [The Equation of Life] (2017)
Norman Ohler
This German novel is based on the true story of Leonhard Euler being assigned by Frederick the Great to supervise the draining of the Oderbruch marshlands near Berlin. From reviews I have read, I know... (more)
Last Changed: 2020-02-15 19:21:10
The Mad Mathematician (from ITV's Junior Maths) (1984)
ITV~Schools
Each episode of Junior Maths, a British children's TV program that was part of ITV Schools, featured a story about "The Mad Mathematician". For example, in this episode (currently available on YouTube),... (more)
Last Changed: 2020-02-09 16:40:21
What the Revolution Requires (2020)
Timons Esaias
A minimalist short story in which an author seeks to write a ground breaking work of mathematical fiction: Raymond had several plotlines laid out, all their steps organized and ready. He intended to... (more)
Last Changed: 2020-01-31 19:45:50
Incident on Simpac III: A Scientific Novel (2018)
Doug Brugge
In this science fiction novel, human colonization of extra-solar planets is guided by "synthesis", mathematical algorithms that make determinations about the best course of action in the future based on... (more)
Last Changed: 2020-01-21 11:53:54
The Simplest Equation (2014)
Nicky Drayden
Mariah is a Stanford University math major who has lost her interest in the subject of mathematics. She is initially annoyed when Kwalla takes the seat next to hers in class. Kwalla is an alien with... (more)
Last Changed: 2020-01-19 16:35:23
Det sista ordet inom vetenskapen [The Last Word in Science] (1987)
Peter Nilson
This is very short story by a Swedish astronomer and author which presents a mathematical version of the biblical story of Genesis. Carl Gustav Werner, who kindly brought it to my attention, translates... (more)
Last Changed: 2020-01-07 14:35:47
Och fjättra Lilith i kedjor [And Shackle Lilith in Chains] (2005)
Åsa Schwarz
People die of shortage of blood, with bite marks on their necks. But, no, there is a natural explanation to it. Some old sect devoted to Lilith, and governed by mathematical principles, lies behind,... (more)
Last Changed: 2020-01-07 14:29:17
Divide Me By Zero (2019)
Lara Vapnyar
Notes intended to be the outline for a math textbook by the narrator's mother instead give structure to her stories about her mother's death and her own love life. Like the author, the character Katya... (more)
Last Changed: 2020-01-07 13:45:13
Incendies (2010)
Denis Villeneuve / Valérie Beaugrand-Champagne / Wajdi Mouawad
After their mother is struck speechless at a pool, resulting in her hospitalization and then her death, twins Jeanne and Simon are given two sealed envelopes and told to deliver them to the father they... (more)
Last Changed: 2019-12-19 15:27:42
Middlegame (2019)
Seanan McGuire
When they were young, Roger (who lives in Cambridge MA and loves words) and Dodger (who lives in Palo Alto and loves math) had a psychic link that allowed them to see through each other's eyes, and to... (more)
Last Changed: 2019-12-12 13:24:24
Time Bends (The Students Tale) in The Rags of Time (2009)
Maureen Howard
The poetic ramblings of an aging author confined to her New York apartment, who presumably is Maureen Howard herself, include short stories about the ongoing lives of her characters, including the math... (more)
Last Changed: 2019-12-11 14:43:32
The Helpline (2019)
Katherine Collette
In this work of fiction, an anti-social character who believes that all of life's questions can be answered by mathematics discovers that there's more to life than numbers. In this particular version... (more)
Last Changed: 2019-12-09 11:14:43
Number of Love (The Codebreakers) (2019)
Roseanna M. White
This novel may fall into an unlikely combination of categories (it is a wartime religious historical romance spy story that is also mathematical), but its main character is a familiar stereotype: Margot... (more)
Last Changed: 2019-12-09 11:09:59
Murmur (2019)
Will Eaves
A novel about a character whose story is clearly closely modeled on the life of Alan Turing. Like Turing, Alec Pryor is a British mathematician whose worldview is shaped by a childhood romance with a... (more)
Last Changed: 2019-12-09 10:44:07

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(Maintained by Alex Kasman, College of Charleston)