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.)
Saint Joan of New York: A Novel About God and String Theory (2019)
Mark Alpert
A teenage math genius living in Manhattan believes she has been contacted by God to let her know that her work on string theory is part of an important cosmic plan. In many ways, Joan Cooper is like... (more)
Last Changed: 2019-12-07 14:56:24
The Monkey in Hilbert's Hotel (2019)
K. B. Basant
This is yet another tale about a hotel to illustrate the mind-blowing properties of infinite cardinals. Like the others, which you can find listed below among the "similar works", this is only barely... (more)
Last Changed: 2019-11-03 17:10:16
The Men who Murdered Mohammed (1958)
Alfred Bester
A time-travel story in which Henry Hassel travels back in time to change the past (specifically, to kill his wife who has cheated on him), but finds that none of the usual time-travel tropes apply. In... (more)
Last Changed: 2019-10-31 14:17:28
The Limit (2019)
Freya Smith / Jack Williams
This pop-rock musical about the life of mathematician Sophie Germain was performed in March 2019 at the VAULT festival in London. The playwrights were supposedly looking for a historical female character... (more)
Last Changed: 2019-09-16 10:33:18
In Alien Flesh (1978)
Gregory Benford
A human scientist discovers that the Drongheda, a whale-like alien species, do sophisticated mathematics that he can access by climbing inside an orifice and implanting electrodes inside their bodies.... (more)
Last Changed: 2019-09-02 09:43:51
Prime Suspect: The Anatomy of Integers and Permutations (2019)
Andrew Granville / Jennifer Granville / Robert J. Lewis (Illustrator)
In this graphic novel, the surprising coincidences between complete factorizations of integers, permutations, and polynomials is presented as if it were the discovery of a forensic team investigating seemingly... (more)
Last Changed: 2019-08-22 14:16:50
Null Set (2019)
S.L. Huang
Cas Russell, the math-genius mercenary, returns in the sequel to Zero Sum Game. As before, she can perform calculations quickly and accurately enough to determine exactly how she needs to swing, kick,... (more)
Last Changed: 2019-08-19 15:49:29
Account Unsettled [Crime Impuni] (1954)
Georges Simenon
Elie is a Polish Jew who has come to study math in pre-war France. He is noticeably anti-social and awkward. He seems to be aware of the landlady's daughter, but neither to be in love with her nor sexually... (more)
Last Changed: 2019-08-19 14:43:37
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

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(Maintained by Alex Kasman, College of Charleston)