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.)
The Sigma Structure Symphony (2012)
Gregory Benford
This story about humans in the distant future communicating with alien intelligences contains a lot of familiar ideas and some interesting new ones. Ruth Angle is an employee at the SETI library on... (more)
Last Changed: 2018-02-16 09:47:33
Mandelbrot the Magnificent (2017)
Liz Ziemska
This novella is what I would call a "feel good fantasy" about the mathematician Benoit Mandelbrot who coined the term fractal. It is written in the form of a memoir written by an elderly Mandelbrot... (more)
Last Changed: 2018-02-15 16:52:45
Annika Riz, Math Whiz (Franklin School Friends) (2014)
Claudia Mills
Recently I have been looking for math books for my young children when I came across Annika Riz, Math Whiz by Claudia Mills. I checked the archives of your site and it appears that this book is not on... (more)
Last Changed: 2018-02-02 10:55:51
The Amber Shadows (2016)
Lucy Ribchester
This is another thriller set at Bletchley Park during World War II. Many of the characters are described as mathematicians and Alan Turing is mentioned occasionally, but math is definitely not the center... (more)
Last Changed: 2018-01-05 10:52:27
Question 3 (2016)
Martin Sandahl (Director/Story)
A short film about a boy with Asperger's Syndrome who competes in the International Mathematical Olympiad. However, neither the math problems (or should I say "maths", since this is a British production)... (more)
Last Changed: 2017-12-30 10:54:48
Void Star (2017)
Zachary Mason
This is a beautifully written and deep work of near-future science fiction about the development of an amazingly powerful sort of artificial intelligence. Two of the characters are mathematical both in name and perspective: Thales is a mathematically inclined Brazilian billionaire who encounters a mysterious AI which calls itself "the mathematician". (more)
Last Changed: 2017-12-16 15:27:23
Ungal En Enna [When a wanderer meets a pilgrim] (2017)
Ramprasath
When Ajay discovers that his wife is having an affair with his friend, he receives advice from a stranger who has a mathematical theory of romantic success. The mathematician character, whose name is... (more)
Last Changed: 2017-12-11 09:42:52
The Idiot (2017)
Elif Batuman
A farce about a Turkish-American Harvard freshman. As she is trying to figure out who she is and what academia is about, she meets an older math major with whom she develops both a romantic and intellectual... (more)
Last Changed: 2017-12-10 21:52:22
An Alchemy of Masques and Mirrors: Book One in the Risen Kingdoms (2017)
Curtis Craddock
Princess Isabelle des Zephyrs, whose life and position are endangered by her birth defect and lack of magical abilities, secretly conducts math research that she publishes under a pseudonym. The mathematical... (more)
Last Changed: 2017-12-06 12:23:34
Colonel Lágrimas (2016)
Carlos Fonseca Suárez
This novel is loosely based on the life of Alexander Grothendieck and is "creatively" constructed, like the writings of the Oulipo group or Borges. The Costa Rican/Puerto Rican author focuses much of his attention on Latin America and war, but mathematics itself and eccentricities (Grothendieck was eccentric!) also are major themes. The English version was translated by Megan McDowell. (more)
Last Changed: 2017-10-19 15:19:41
Duke with Benefits (Studies in Scandal) (2017)
Manda Collins
A romance novel with a strong female lead, Lady Daphne Forsyth, who is a mathematician with some stereotypical anti-social traits. She has been set the task of solving an old mystery by breaking a cipher. However, since this is a romance novel, she is unsurprisingly distracted by a certain hunky guy, the "duke" of the title, whose family owns the library containing the cipher. (more)
Last Changed: 2017-10-19 15:05:46
Petersburg (1913)
Andrei Bely
In this modernist Russian novel, the revolutionary Nikolai Apollonovich Ableukhov is charged with the task of killing a Tsarist official ... his own father. In addition to mathematical terminology that... (more)
Last Changed: 2017-10-11 08:43:34
The Mathematics of Friedrich Gauss (2012)
D.W. Wilson
A math teacher compares his life with that of the great German mathematician C.F. Gauss as he ponders his own marital difficulties. This short story appears in the anthology "Once You Break a Knuckle" which was shortlisted for the Dylan Thomas prize. (more)
Last Changed: 2017-08-16 15:56:53
Cap and Gown (2011)
Eric Flint
Richard Leamington has an impact on mathematics at Cambridge University in the 17th Century despite his multiple sclerosis. Although Leamington himself is a fictional character, many of the other characters... (more)
Last Changed: 2017-08-16 14:14:12
The Woman Who Shook the World-Tree (2012)
Michael Swanwick
A mathematical prodigy (she derived her own version of calculus to compute volumes when she was only seven years old, and by age 18 she had three PhD.s, including one in a field she had invented) teams... (more)
Last Changed: 2017-08-16 10:31:46
Mysterious Mysteries of the Aro Valley (2016)
Danyl McLauchlan
A semi-serious Lovecraftian novel set in New Zealand's Te Aro suburb featuring some mystical mathematicians (and questions of Platonism) in a central role. This sequel to the Danyl McLauchlan's "Unspeakable... (more)
Last Changed: 2017-08-09 13:53:53
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: 2017-08-02 15:21:31
Gifted (2017)
Marc Webb (director) / Tom Flynn (writer)
Mary is a seven year old math prodigy being raised by her uncle (Chris Evans from Captain America) after her mother's suicide. The uncle believes he is following his sister's wishes by trying to raise... (more)
Last Changed: 2017-08-02 15:11:11
Infinite Sum (2016)
Sheila Deeth
Although trained as a mathematician and happily married, Sylvia has psychological issues that are interfering with her life. The main focus of this novel is on her interactions with her therapist in which... (more)
Last Changed: 2017-07-31 10:28:28
What it Means When A Man Falls From The Sky (2017)
Lesley Nneka Arimah
In a post-apocalyptic Africa, now home to many Europeans who came as refugees from the floods but then took over, mathematicians have the job of eliminating people's pain. In this fantastical world,... (more)
Last Changed: 2017-07-27 21:52:36
Very in Pieces (2015)
Megan Frazer Blakemore
A coming-of-age novel for young adults about a mathematically talented girl named Very Sayles-Woodruff who has trouble fitting in with her family of painters and poets. In one subplot, a teacher has put... (more)
Last Changed: 2017-07-16 19:30:23
The God Wave (2016)
Patrick Hemstreet
A neuroscientist and mathematician team up to boost the intellectual power of some experimental subjects by altering their brain waves in this techno-thriller. Math is frequently mentioned throughout... (more)
Last Changed: 2017-07-16 19:06:40
The Fall of Man In Wilmslow (2009)
David Lagercrantz
Before he gained fame in the US as the Swedish author taking over the mystery series featuring the fictional heroine Lisbeth Sander, David Lagercrantz wrote this novel about the death of mathematician... (more)
Last Changed: 2017-05-16 15:31:46
Our Lady, Queen of Undecidable Propositions (2016)
Hugh C Culik
A story that uses math as both a language and a metaphor for a poetic discussion of the human condition involving a Catholic priest. Published in the Journal of Humanistic Mathematics, Volume 6 Issue 2 (July 2016), pages 230-240. (more)
Last Changed: 2017-04-24 11:12:52
Final Exam (2011)
Robert Dawson
A math professor nearing retirement and displeased with trends in academia decides to use his final exam (the last he will ever give) to get his revenge on the cheating students in his calculus class.... (more)
Last Changed: 2017-04-14 11:40:02
On the Occasion Of Your Graduation (2011)
Robert Dawson
A thesis advisor entrusts his Ph.D. student with the responsibility of determining what to do with his discovery that mathematics contains inconsistencies. This is one of several works of fiction that... (more)
Last Changed: 2017-04-14 11:07:06
Damned Souls and Statistics (2011)
Robert Dawson
A statistician sells her soul to the devil in exchange for guaranteed tenure, but redeems herself by creating a cleverly useless confidence interval. I like the part about the realization during her... (more)
Last Changed: 2017-04-13 17:52:37
Ladies' Night (2017)
Robert Dawson
A card sharp known as "Lady Jane" attempts to swindle a statistician visiting Las Vegas for a conference. The plot twists and turns as it mentions things like the Monty Hall Problem, Game Theory, and Bayes' Theorem. It appeared in the Journal of Humanistic Mathematics (Volume 7, Issue 1, January 2017). Thanks to Larry Lesser for bringing it to my attention. (more)
Last Changed: 2017-04-12 16:39:35
Who Killed Professor X? (2010)
Thodoris Andriopoulos / Thanasis Gkiokas
The famous mathematician Professor X (not to be confused with Charles Xavier) is found dead before his presentation to the International Congress of Mathematicians in 1900, and this graphic novel puts... (more)
Last Changed: 2017-03-27 09:58:35
The Steradian Trail (2013)
M.N. Krish
This mathematical thriller takes place in India where American computer science professor Joshua Ezekiel is attempting to figure out the twisted criminal plot that his recently murdered student had become... (more)
Last Changed: 2017-03-24 16:51:59

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(Maintained by Alex Kasman, College of Charleston)