MATHEMATICAL FICTION:

a list compiled by Alex Kasman (College of Charleston)

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Alex Recommends...

I frequently receive e-mail requests from teachers, students and other fans of mathematical fiction asking for my recommendations for what they should read. So, beginning in Summer 2012 I will offer you my "recommended reading" lists for a few different specific audiences (children, science fiction fans, literati, etc.). I hope you find this useful or helpful, but also ask you to remember that my opinion is simply that ('my opinion'), and you may find that you do not share my tastes.

Works from the database I recommend for children:

  • The Boy Who Reversed Himself by William Sleator
  • Carry On, Mr. Bowditch by Jean Lee Latham
  • The Cat in Numberland by Ivar Ekeland (author) / John O'Brien (illustrator)
  • Counting on Frank by Rod Clement
  • Cyberchase by Educational Broadcasting Corporation
  • Donald in Mathmagic Land by Hamilton Luske (director)
  • Hannah, Divided by Adele Griffin
  • The Heroic Adventures of Hercules Amsterdam by Melissa Glenn Haber
  • Jayden's Rescue by Vladimir Tumanov
  • A Little Mathematician - Katie by Tadashi Miura
  • The Man Who Counted : A Collection of Mathematical Adventures by Malba Tahan
  • Math Curse by Jon Scieszka / Lane Smith (illustrator)
  • MathNet by Childrens Television Workshop
  • Monster's Proof by Richard Lewis
  • The Number Devil (Der Zahlenteufel) by Hans Magnus Enzensberger
  • The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster / Jules Feiffer (Illustrator)
  • Recess (Episode: A Genius Among Us) by Brian Hamill
  • Works from the database I recommend for young adults:

  • Carry On, Mr. Bowditch by Jean Lee Latham
  • A Certain Ambiguity: A Mathematical Novel by Gaurav Suri / Hartosh Singh Bal
  • The Cold Equations by Tom Godwin
  • Conned Again, Watson! Cautionary Tales of Logic, Math and Probability by Colin Bruce
  • Crimes and Math Demeanors by Leith Hathout
  • Gödel, Escher Bach: an eternal golden braid by Douglas Hofstadter
  • Geek Abroad by Piper Banks
  • Life After Genius by M. Ann Jacoby
  • A Little Mathematician - Katie by Tadashi Miura
  • Logicomix by Apostolos Doxiadis / Christos Papadimitriou
  • The Man Who Counted : A Collection of Mathematical Adventures by Malba Tahan
  • Math Girls by Hiroshi Yuki
  • Mean Girls by Tina Fey (screenplay) /Mark S. Waters (director)
  • Monster's Proof by Richard Lewis
  • Null-P by William Tenn
  • The Number Devil (Der Zahlenteufel) by Hans Magnus Enzensberger
  • Numberland by George Weinberg
  • Panda Ray by Michael Kandel
  • Reality Conditions: short mathematical fiction by Alex Kasman
  • Riot at the Calc Exam and Other Mathematically Bent Stories by Colin Adams
  • Star, Bright by Mark Clifton
  • Strange Attractors by William Sleator
  • Victoria Martin: Math Team Queen by Kathryn Walat (playwright)
  • Works from the database I recommend for math majors, math grad students (and maybe even math professors):

  • Breaking the Code by Hugh Whitemore (playwright)
  • A Certain Ambiguity: A Mathematical Novel by Gaurav Suri / Hartosh Singh Bal
  • Conned Again, Watson! Cautionary Tales of Logic, Math and Probability by Colin Bruce
  • Continuums by Robert Carr
  • Conversations on Mathematics with a Visitor from Outer Space by David Ruelle
  • Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson
  • A Deprogrammer's Tale by Colin Adams
  • The Devil a Mathematician Would Be by A.J. Lohwater
  • The Devil and Simon Flagg by Arthur Porges
  • Division by Zero by Ted Chiang
  • The Extraordinary Hotel or the Thousand and First Journey of Ion the Quiet by Stanislaw Lem
  • Fermat's Best Theorem by Janet Kagan
  • Flatterland: like Flatland, only more so by Ian Stewart
  • Gödel, Escher Bach: an eternal golden braid by Douglas Hofstadter
  • Goldman's Theorem by R.J. Stern
  • Good Benito by Alan P. Lightman
  • Hilbert's Hotel by Ian Stewart
  • Letters to a Young Mathematician by Ian Stewart
  • Logicomix by Apostolos Doxiadis / Christos Papadimitriou
  • The Man Who Counted : A Collection of Mathematical Adventures by Malba Tahan
  • Math Girls by Hiroshi Yuki
  • Mathematically Bent by Colin Adams
  • The Oxford Murders by Guillermo Martinez
  • The Parrot's Theorem by Denis Guedj
  • The Penultimate Conjecture by Leonard Michaels
  • PopCo by Scarlett Thomas
  • Pythagorean Crimes by Tefcros Michaelides
  • Reality Conditions: short mathematical fiction by Alex Kasman
  • Riot at the Calc Exam and Other Mathematically Bent Stories by Colin Adams
  • Strange Attractors by Rebecca Goldstein
  • Strange Attractors by Charles Soule (author) / Greg Scott (Illustrator)
  • The Three Body Problem by Catherine Shaw
  • Tracking the Random Variable by Marcos Donnelly
  • Turing (A Novel About Computation) by Christos Papadimitriou
  • Uncle Petros and Goldbach's Conjecture by Apostolos Doxiadis
  • White Light, or What is Cantor's Continuum Problem? by Rudy Rucker
  • The Wild Numbers by Philibert Schogt
  • Works from the database I recommend for hardcore fans of science fiction:

  • The Blind Geometer by Kim Stanley Robinson
  • Buried Alive at the End of the World by Blair Bourrassa
  • The Captured Cross-Section by Miles J. Breuer (M.D.)
  • Children of Dune by Frank Herbert
  • The Cold Equations by Tom Godwin
  • Contact by Carl Sagan
  • Conversations on Mathematics with a Visitor from Outer Space by David Ruelle
  • Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson
  • The Curve of the Snowflake by William Grey Walter
  • Dark Integers by Greg Egan
  • Diaspora by Greg Egan
  • Distances by Vandana Singh
  • Distress by Greg Egan
  • Drode's Equations by Richard Grant
  • Eifelheim by Michael Flynn
  • The Feeling of Power by Isaac Asimov
  • Foundation by Isaac Asimov
  • The Gostak and the Doshes by Miles J. Breuer (M.D.)
  • How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe by Charles Yu
  • In The Country of the Blind by Michael Flynn
  • The Infinite Assassin by Greg Egan
  • The Lions in the Desert by David Langford
  • Luminous by Greg Egan
  • Mathematicians in Love by Rudy Rucker
  • The Mathenauts by Norman Kagan
  • Mimsy Were the Borogoves by Lewis Padgett (aka Henry Kuttner and Catherine L. Moore)
  • Mother's Milk by Andrew Thomas Breslin
  • Oracle by Greg Egan
  • Paradox by John Meaney
  • Psychohistorical Crisis by Donald Kingsbury
  • Schild's Ladder by Greg Egan
  • Star, Bright by Mark Clifton
  • Story of Your Life by Ted Chiang
  • Works from the database I recommend for literati:

  • Beyond the Limit: The Dream of Sofya Kovalevskaya by Joan Spicci
  • Blue Tigers by Jorge Luis Borges
  • The Book of Sand by Jorge Luis Borges
  • Breaking the Code by Hugh Whitemore (playwright)
  • Buried Alive at the End of the World by Blair Bourrassa
  • A Catastrophe Machine by Carter Scholz
  • The Chosen by Chaim Potok
  • The Cold Equations by Tom Godwin
  • Continuity by Buzz Mauro
  • Continuums by Robert Carr
  • Coyote Moon by John A. Miller
  • The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon
  • Death and the Compass (La Muerte y La Brujula) by Jorge Luis Borges
  • The Devotion of Suspect X [YĆ“gisha X no kenshin] by Keigo Higashino
  • Diary of a Bad Year by John Maxwell Coetzee
  • Division by Zero by Ted Chiang
  • Evariste and Heloise by Marco Abate
  • Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions by Edwin Abbott Abbott
  • The Geometry of Love by John Cheever
  • Good Benito by Alan P. Lightman
  • Gravity's Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon
  • Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift
  • The Housekeeper and the Professor (Hakase No Aishita Sushiki) by Yoko Ogawa
  • I Married You for Happiness by Lily Tuck
  • Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace
  • Kavita Through Glass by Emily Ishem Raboteau
  • The Last Theorem by Buzz Mauro
  • The Library of Babel by Jorge Luis Borges
  • Lord Byron's Novel: The Evening Land by John Crowley
  • The Mathematics of Nina Gluckstein by Esther Vilar
  • Mefisto: A Novel by John Banville
  • The Ore Miner's Wife by Karl Iagnemma
  • The Oxford Murders by Guillermo Martinez
  • The Penultimate Conjecture by Leonard Michaels
  • Pi by Darren Aronofsky (director)
  • Proof by David Auburn (playwright)
  • Properties of Light by Rebecca Goldstein
  • The Steep Approach to Garbadale by Iain Banks
  • Strange Attractors by Rebecca Goldstein
  • Three Days and a Child by Abraham B. Yehoshua
  • Touch the Water, Touch the Wind by Amos Oz
  • Uncle Petros and Goldbach's Conjecture by Apostolos Doxiadis
  • The Wild Numbers by Philibert Schogt
  • Zilkowski's Theorem by Karl Iagnemma
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    Your Help Needed: Some site visitors remember reading works of mathematical fiction that neither they nor I can identify. It is time to crowdsource this problem and ask for your help! You would help a neighbor find a missing pet...can't you also help a fellow site visitor find some missing works of mathematical fiction? Please take a look and let us know if you have seen these missing stories anywhere!.

    (Maintained by Alex Kasman, College of Charleston)