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.)
Arcadia (2016)
Iain Pears
As this clever novel is intentionally a hodge-podge of genres, it is a bit difficult to describe. It involves a British spy brought back from retirement in the 1960s to find a mole, a mathematician in... (more)
Last Changed: 2016-08-18 11:17:03
Story of Your Life (1998)
Ted Chiang
What sort of mathematics would Vonnegut's Tralfamadorean's like to do? Or, alternatively, what sort of worldview would a sentient species have if their idea of simple mathematics was the calculus of... (more)
Last Changed: 2016-08-17 21:48:41
The Countess Conspiracy (2013)
Courtney Milan
This is a romance novel set in Victorian England in which the heroine is a biologist studying inheritance and the hero is her friend who publishes and presents her work in his name. The story begins... (more)
Last Changed: 2016-08-17 13:41:17
Ninefox Gambit (2016)
Yoon Ha Lee
In a desperate attempt to retake the Fortress of Needles from the heretics who have taken it over, the mathematically talented Kel captain named Cheris is promoted to the rank of general and mentally... (more)
Last Changed: 2016-07-27 09:45:18
At Ocean (2016)
Oliver Serang
Because she still makes discoveries with her own brain (unlike most scientists in the near future universe of At Ocean whose discoveries are all made by computers), Eun Kim is selected for a dangerous... (more)
Last Changed: 2016-07-09 15:38:40
E-Z Calculus [Calculus by Discovery] (1982)
Douglas Downing
"E-Z Calculus", which was previously published under the titles "Calculus the Easy Way" and "Calculus by Discovery", aims to teach the fundamentals of calculus through the adventures of a man who has washed... (more)
Last Changed: 2016-06-30 21:51:59
The Magic Two-Horn (1949)
Sergey Pavlovich Bobrov
I barely know anything about this Russian children's book that takes place in a magical mathematical world. Maxim Arnold mentioned it to me at a conference in Oaxaca and told me only that many mathematicians cite it as a source of their interest in mathematics. If you know any more details, please write to let me know. (more)
Last Changed: 2016-06-16 15:29:38
One Hundred Twenty-One Days (2014)
Michèle Audin (Author) / Christiana Hills (Translator)
This tragic "novel" by mathematician and Oulipo member Michèle Audin follows the lives of three fictional mathematicians (Christian Mortsauf, Robert Gorenstein and Andre Silberberg) through the first... (more)
Last Changed: 2016-06-09 08:31:07
A Doubter's Almanac (2016)
Ethan Canin
This literary novel follows the life of the fictional mathematical genius Milo Andret from his youth in Michigan, though his education at Berkeley and the winning of a Fields Medal as a Princeton math... (more)
Last Changed: 2016-05-06 13:35:11
La formule de Stokes, roman (2016)
Michèle Audin
The author, a professional mathematician as well as a member of the Oulipo literary group, wrote this unusual novel whose protagonist is not a person or animal but a formula. At least, that is what I... (more)
Last Changed: 2016-05-05 14:49:44
The Square Root of Summer (2016)
Harriet Reuter Hapgood
In this young adult novel, a mathematically inclined teenager who ignores the sad events she does not want to remember learns to deal with them by literally revisiting her past through wormholes. There... (more)
Last Changed: 2016-05-01 19:32:47
L.A. Math: Romance, Crime and Mathematics in the City of Angels (2016)
James D. Stein
This book of short stories about a "gumshoe" and his mathematically inclined landlord aims teaches the reader some elementary math along the way. The difference between continuous and annual compounding... (more)
Last Changed: 2016-04-02 18:54:18
The Adventures of Topology Man (2005)
Highly Rated!
Alex Kasman
Parody is easy....topology is hard! In this short story, I made use of (and made fun of) the classic superhero comic book genre to illustrate some ideas from topology. So, we end up seeing a battle... (more)
Last Changed: 2016-03-31 10:58:29
The Three-Body Problem (2006)
Cixim Liu (author) / Ken Liu (translator)
This creative "first contact" novel by a famous Chinese science fiction author won many awards, including the Hugo award. Like much "hard SF", it is a work of fiction in which the ideas are at least... (more)
Last Changed: 2016-03-17 14:21:13
The Hurricane (2016)
R.J. Prescott
A British novel in which a shy math student, damaged by her past, begins an unlikely romance with a powerful boxer. "Hurricane" O'Connell is handsome, muscular, and dangerous, but also happens to be madly... (more)
Last Changed: 2016-03-07 16:17:42
The Man Who Knew Infinity (2015)
Matt Brown (Screenwriter and Director)
This biographical film starring Dev Patel as Ramanujan and Jeremy Irons as Hardy is based on the biography of the same name by Robert Kaniglel. Because it is a rather reliable adaptation of that non-fictional... (more)
Last Changed: 2016-02-19 09:16:54
The Cinderella Theorem (2014)
Kristee Ravan
A very serious, mathematically inclined teenage girl is shocked to learn that her father is not dead as she had previously believed but rather is the ruler of an enchanted kingdom. The no-nonsense,... (more)
Last Changed: 2016-02-13 21:16:16
Odd Squad (2014)
Tim McKeon/ Adam Peltzman
A governmental organization run by children investigates "odd" phenomena and solves problems with some math and a lot of computer graphics in this live-action TV show from TVOKids and PBS Kids. I'm... (more)
Last Changed: 2016-02-13 21:03:18
Quaternia (2015)
Tom Petsinis
Ivan, the main character in Tom Petsinis' Quaternia, is a fictional teenager who spends a lot of his time and energy on playing video games. Ivan goes beyond merely devoting so much time to this hobby... (more)
Last Changed: 2016-02-09 08:39:28
The Theory of Death (2015)
Faye Kellerman
The apparent suicides of a math student and math professor at Kneed Loft College are investigated by a detective, his wife, and a former detective now studying law. It was sufficiently engrossing and... (more)
Last Changed: 2016-01-11 13:49:43
The Mathematics of Being Human (2015)
Michelle Osherow / Manil Suri
A math professor and a literature professor attempt to collaborate on an interdisciplinary course in this semi-autobiographical one act play. To begin with, I should admit that nearly everything I know... (more)
Last Changed: 2016-01-06 09:36:28
Nightscape: The Dreams of Devils (2012)
David W. Edwards
A teenage math prodigy is contacted by other-worldly beings through his nightmares. As the separation between dream and reality seems to disappear, he faces a supernatural threat with the help of a religious... (more)
Last Changed: 2016-01-04 16:51:01
Im Schatten des Regenbogens (1993)
Helga Königsdorf
Desillusioned after the fall of communism, several academicans are willlessly "abgewickelt" (read: annexed and thrown onto the scrap heap) by the Western "invaders". Contains a few references to her old "Lemma 1", a mention of the Mandelbrot set and a short discussion of the pattern paradox (1,2,3,4,5,6 in lottery is as probable as any other combination drawn). (more)
Last Changed: 2015-12-08 15:48:26
Krise [Crisis] (1978)
Helga Königsdorf
A pure mathematician at an East German research facility has already moved (not entirely by choice) to a technical institute when his paper on a crisis ["Krise"] in number theory is published. So, the... (more)
Last Changed: 2015-12-04 21:55:14
Lemma 1 (1978)
Helga Königsdorf
This short story by an East German author concerns a mathematics graduate student who realizes right before her thesis defense that Lemma 1 (the initial small step on which the rest of her results depend)... (more)
Last Changed: 2015-12-04 09:37:34
Dark of the Moon (1995)
John Dickson Carr
The crime novel "Dark of the Moon" by John Dickson Carr has as one of its characters a female "mathematician", Camilla Bruce. (She is called a mathematician and is enthusiastic about the subject but... (more)
Last Changed: 2015-11-29 14:06:25
Elementary (Episode: Solve for X) (2013)
Jerry Levine (director) / Jeffrey Paul King (screenplay)
In this episode from the second season of Elementary featuring a modern version of Sherlock Holmes with a female Watson, the duo discover equations in invisible ink on the walls in a murdered mathematician's... (more)
Last Changed: 2015-09-13 17:07:22
Resistance is Futile (2015)
Jenny T. Colgan
This novel begins as a familiar farce in which mathematicians are gathered by the government to decipher a message from space. However, in this case, the story soon turns into a romance between a human... (more)
Last Changed: 2015-09-05 23:06:50
The Extraordinary Hotel or the Thousand and First Journey of Ion the Quiet (1968)
Highly Rated!
Naum Ya. Vilenkin
The author toys with the counter-intuitive nature of the countably-infinite by postulating the existence of an intergalactic hotel with rooms indexed by the positive integers. For instance, the narrator... (more)
Last Changed: 2015-08-23 10:07:36
The Capacity for Infinite Happiness (2015)
Alexis von Konigslow
A math grad student trying to start her thesis on graph theory discovers some of her family's secrets when visiting their resort in Canada. Graph theory involves the study of vertices (points or dots)... (more)
Last Changed: 2015-08-21 08:26:26

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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)