a list compiled by Alex Kasman (College of Charleston)

Home All New Browse Search About


133 matches found out of 1229 entries

(Note: This page not the entire list of works of Mathematical Fiction. To see the whole list, click here.)

21 Grams (2003)
Alejandro González Iñárritu
I have not yet seen this film in which Sean Penn portrays a critically ill mathematician. The title is apparently taken from the results of the bizarre (hard to believe and never reproduced) experiments... (more)
After Math (1997)
Highly Rated!
Miriam Webster
The ghost of math professor Ray Bellwether tries to solve the mystery of his own murder in this `first novel' by Amy Babich (Webster is just a pseudonym). Babich has a Ph.D. in mathematics (and a Master's... (more)
An Angel of Obedience (2010)
John Giessmann
Due to his new obsession with fractal geometry, thirteen year-old prodigy Jackson Carter has just ended an illustrious career as a classical musician and enrolled as a math major at Harvard. There he... (more)
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)
Back to Methuselah (1921)
George Bernard Shaw
In this not-very-stageable play in five parts, Shaw expounds on mankind and the theory of evolution, from Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden to a paradise world 30,000 years in the future. It turns... (more)
Barking (2007)
Tom Holt
Duncan Hughes has had a rather monotonous and trite career as an estate and tax lawyer when suddenly werewolves, vampires, zombies, and one impossibly alluring unicorn, along with his ex-wife and his old... (more)
Been a long, long time (1970)
R.A. Lafferty
It's a very well-written humorous tale (as expected if you're familiar with Lafferty). The mathematical content is a literal interpretation of the six typing monkeys. The angel Boshel, as a punishment,... (more)
The Better Mousetrap (2008)
Tom Holt
The Better Mousetrap is the fifth book in Tom Holt's series that began with The Portable Door. The first four books told the adventures of Paul Carpenter, a fairly boring nobody who joined the... (more)
Black Mask of Al-Jabr (1967)
Vladimir Levshin
The 3 friends return to Karlikania. Their friend, the baby zero, is accosted by a mysterious x-shaped stranger, who challenges our heroes to recover his identity. Many adventures unfold, and the... (more)
Black Numbers (2011)
Dean Frank Lappi
In a fantasy world where math is magic, a young boy's life is endangered as it becomes clear that he is the long awaited Aleph Null. I really do like the way the characters utilize equations and mentally... (more)
Blue Tigers (1977)
Jorge Luis Borges
The protagonist, a Scotsman, chases down reports of a blue species of tigers sighted in village in Punjab, Pakistan. He never finds a blue tiger but ends up obtaining some magical stones on a hillside... (more)
Calculated Magic (1995)
Robert Weinberg
In this sequel to A Logical Magician, the mathematically trained wizard's assistant returns to fight evil monsters in Vegas and save his fiance (Merlin's daughter) from Hell. I do like the idea that... (more)
The Call of Cthulhu (1928)
H.P. Lovecraft
This is the most famous story by Lovecraft, which spawned it's own sub-genre and RPG, called the Cthulhu Mythos. It concerns the investigations of Prof. Francis Wayland Thurston as he investigates... (more)
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)
Conjure Wife (Dark Ladies) (1953)
Fritz Leiber
Norman Saylor, a professor of anthropology/sociology, discovers his wife has been practicing magic for years, and that their house is loaded with charms. Annoyed at her secret superstitious bent, he... (more)
Convergent Series (1979)
Larry Niven
According to the liner notes, Niven received an undergraduate degree in mathematics. Mostly the degree has only apparently inspired his titles (note also the book called "The Integral Trees") without noticeably... (more)
Counting the Shapes (2001)
Yoon Ha Lee
How many shapes of pain are there? Are any topologically equivalent? And is one of them death? This is a fantasy story in which magic is achieved through mathematics, and hard work. For example, "Do... (more)
Coyote Moon (2003)
John A. Miller
Well, this book is hard to describe! It's certainly different and not easily categorizable. It is a novel that addresses the question "What if a young, nerdy, MIT mathematics professor died of cancer... (more)
Dante Dreams (1998)
Stephen Baxter
There is an interpretation of Dante's "Divine Comedy" as a mystical description of the universe as a hypersphere (see "Dante and the 3-sphere" American Journal of Physics -- December 1979 -- Volume... (more)
The Dark Lord (2005)
Patricia Simpson
This fantasy/horror/romance novel features as its protagonist a young, female math professor at UC-Berkeley who gets caught up in a battle with a demon when she finds an unusual deck of tarot cards in... (more)
Description of a New World, Called The Blazing World (1666)
Margaret Cavendish
Although there is only a short discussion of mathematics, I had to include it because it is just too interesting that this is not only one of the oldest science-fiction stories but moreover the fact that... (more)
The Devil a Mathematician Would Be (1962)
A.J. Lohwater
This clever short story that captures the feeling of a math problem that "gets under your skin" was printed in The Mathematical Magpie and was said to have been "collected" by A.J. Lohwater. Well, I... (more)
The Devil and Simon Flagg (1954)
Highly Rated!
Arthur Porges
Mathematicians know the feeling of trying to prove something you really believe to be true, but has never been proven. There is pleasure in doing this, like solving a puzzle, but also frustration and... (more)
The Devil and the Lady (1930)
Alfred Tennyson
Although first published in 1930, this humorous and beautifully worded play was written by the famous poet more than 100 years earlier when he was less than 14 years old. One character is a mathematician... (more)
The Devil You Don't (1970)
Keith Laumer
The devil (who is not such a bad guy after all) seeks help from a quantum physics expert to fight off some aliens (who are not so evil either) that happen to disrupt the "Randomness Field". This disruption... (more)
Donald in Mathmagic Land (1959)
Highly Rated!
Hamilton Luske (director)
Disney's Donald Duck takes an adventure to a land where mathematics "comes alive". (Animated short.) I used this video in my 6th grade classroom. The kids enjoyed watching ... (more)
The Dot and the Line: A Romance in Lower Mathematics (1963)
Norton Juster
This picture book describes the love story of two geometrical figures. It was also made into a cartoon by Chuck Jones (available on YouTube). I have loved this book ever since my wonderful mathematical... (more)
The Dreams in the Witch-House (1933)
H.P. Lovecraft
In this story, Walter Gilman, a mathematics graduate student at Miskatonic University in Arkham, Mass, rents a room in the famed haunted "Witch House" of Keziah Mason, a witch who legend says escaped... (more)
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)
Evariste and Heloise (2008)
Marco Abate
This contribution to the collection The Shape of Content is difficult to classify. Combining fiction and fact, essay and comic book, fantasy and philosophy, it essentially takes the form of a proposal... (more)
The Fairytale of the Completely Symmetrical Butterfly (2003)
Dietmar Dath
I have long thought that Emmy Noether deserved to be the heroine of a work of mathematical fiction. I had even begun writing a story of my own to fill this gap. But, have no fear, since Dietmar Dath... (more)
Fermat's Last Tango (2000)
Highly Rated!
Joanne Sydney Lessner / Joshua Rosenblum
Fermat's Last Tango is an intelligently written, hilarious fantasia based on Andrew Wiles' 1993 proof of Fermat's Last Theorem. The main plot consists of a love triangle between Daniel Keane... (more)
Flatterland: like Flatland, only more so (2001)
Highly Rated!
Ian Stewart
In this "sequel" to Flatland, popular mathematics writer Ian Stewart lets us accompany the granddaugther of the original "A. Square" who starred in original classic, as she learns about fractal dimensions,... (more)
A Foundation in Wisdom (2012)
Robert Loyd Watson
A hitchhiker named Sheridan captivates the man kind enough to offer him a ride with fantastic tales of the Roman village of Ebon and the hero named Marcus who saved it from a giant dachshund named Dachy. Both... (more)
Fractal Mode (1992)
Piers Anthony
Here, Anthony's usual blend of fantasy and science fiction takes us to an alternate universe where the geometry of worlds themselves take on the form of the Mandelbrot set. Unfortunately, he spends a... (more)
The Gate of the Flying Knives (1979)
Poul Anderson
For his contribution to the first "Thieves' World" collection, Poul Anderson contributed a fantasy story about an illustrated scroll which forms a gateway between dimensions. As the story progresses,... (more)
A Gebra Named Al (1993)
Wendy Isdell
In this story, Julie falls asleep on her algebra book after spending a few frustrating minutes trying to finish her homework. An imaginary number comes to visit her in her room, and transports her to... (more)
The Gnome and the Pearl of Wisdom: A Fable (1977)
Highly Rated!
Richard Willmott
A greedy gnome with a countably infinite collection of marbles wants to trade it with Merlin the mathematician for his beautiful "pearl of wisdom". Merlin takes advantage of the gnomes unfamiliarity... (more)
The God Equation (2007)
Michael A.R. Co
The angel Azrael is ordered to kill a Philippine mathematician who is using the Internet to create a mathematical proof of the existence of God. In this story, Azrael is presented as a hitman who kills... (more)
Goliijo (2007)
Alex Rose
A very cute, mind-tickling short tale about a place called “Goliijo”. References to Mandelbrot’s paper on British coastline and the Koch curve lead the reader to a description of Goliijo, which... (more)
Gulliver's Travels (1726)
Jonathan Swift
If you are lucky enough to find an unabridged version of Swift's classic book, you will be able to read (among descriptions of the people of many other unbelievable countries) about the people of Laputa.... (more)
Hamisch in Avalon (1995)
Eliot Fintushel
This story marks the return of the Yiddishe mystic Izzy and his daughter in-law (now a math professor) Hamisch previously encountered in Izzy at the Lucky Three. There isn't as much math in this story,... (more)
Harvey Plotter and the Circle of Irrationality (2011)
Nathan Carter / Dan Kalman
Harvey Plotter, who has a scar shaped like a radical sign on his forehead, must find all of the rational points on the circularum unititatus before the evil Lord Voldemorphism. The reader follows... (more)
Hell of a Fix (2009)
Matthew Hughes
When an actuary's exclamation upon hitting his thumb with a hammer summons a demon, he unwittingly causes a general strike of the workers in Hell. With the help of a theologian with a bizarre theory to... (more)
The Heroic Adventures of Hercules Amsterdam (2003)
Melissa Glenn Haber
The plot focuses on a three inch tall boy who runs away from humans to live with mice, only to discover that the mice are regularly massacred by rats every seven years. The mice, however, cannot anticipate... (more)
I of Newton (1970)
Highly Rated!
Joe Haldeman
In this short story a mathematics professor accidentally summons a demon by cursing while working on a problem involving integration. The devil brags that he is able to disprove Fermat's last theorem,... (more)
Incomplete Proofs (2012)
John Chu
This unusual piece combines equal parts fashion industry and math research, with a dash of fantasy and just a pinch of homo-eroticism. Grant does a favor for his old partner, Duncan, by modeling his new... (more)
The Infinite Worlds of H.G. Wells (Episode: The Truth about Pyecraft) (2001)
Chris Harrald (Script) / Clive Exton (Script) / Herbert George Wells (story)
Please correct me if I'm mistaken here, but it seems that the 2001 TV miniseries The Infinite Worlds of H.G. Wells took the story ``The Truth about Pyecraft'', which has no math in it, and made the main... (more)
Infinities (2010)
Vandana Singh
A nicely written story about Abdul Karim, a mathematics teacher at the local municipal school, set against the backdrop of the religious turmoil between Hindus and Muslims in India. I couldn’t quite... (more)
Jack and the Aktuals, or, Physical Applications of Transfinite Set Theory (2008)
Rudy Rucker
As the title suggests, the seemingly completely abstract Continuum Hypothesis is found to be manifested in the physical universe in this bizarre short story. It is very similar in feel and content to... (more)
Jayden's Rescue (2002)
Highly Rated!
Vladimir Tumanov
I am the author of a children's math mystery novel entitled Jayden's Rescue and Published by Scholastic Canada. This novel's plot revolves around mathematical puzzles for the grades 4-6 level. The... (more)
Journey into Geometries (1997)
Marta Sved
It is styled after a frequently-used device: "Alice in X", where X can be any kind of space which you wish to explain to the gentle reader. In this instance, Alice, along with Lewis Carroll and a Doctor... (more)
Journey to the Center of Mathematics (2006)
Colin Adams
A parody of the classic Jules Verne tale, which reads like what Woody Allen would have written if he had taken math instead of philosophy at NYU: The next day, we booked travel on a steamer across the... (more)
Kandelman's Krim: A Realistic Fantasy (1957)
John Lighton Synge
Thanks for Tony Vance for pointing out to me that this novel by mathematical physicist J.L. Synge should be included in my database. It is difficult to find now, but it is clear that at the time of its... (more)
The Last Page (2010)
Anthony Huso
A fantasy novel set in a world where the magic known as "holomorphy" is achieved through mathematical formulas written in blood: Caliph could still remember the banal demonstration Morgan had put on... (more)
The Lions in the Desert (1993)
David Langford
Two men are hired to guard a mysterious treasure. One of them is a math grad student, and so their discussions to pass the time take on a mathematical flavor. Of particular interest are the references... (more)
Little People (2002)
Tom Holt
Tom Holt is generally considered one of the masters of comic fantasy. His humour is apparently too British, though, since he hasn't had an American publisher for quite some time. The British-only... (more)
Little Zero the Seafarer [Captain One's frigate] (1968)
Vladimir Levshin
[This Russian children's novel] is about the titular character (who appears in the other books [by Levshin]), sailing from the A bay through arithmetical, algebraical and geometrical seas, learning... (more)
A Logical Magician (1994)
Robert Weinberg
A very creative romp through the lore of creatures of mythology and their return in modern times. A computer programmer creates a program to decode ancient texts and find the incantations to invoke powerful... (more)
Lord Darcy (1966)
Randall Garrett
The stories in this collection of fantastical murder mysteries take place in an alternate universe where magic rather than science has become the primary human tool for manipulating the world. Frequent... (more)
Los relatos de Gudor Ben Jusá: Cuentos y consejas con algo de matemáticas más son pocas y de las viejas (1994)
Juan de Burgos Román
A compilation of 40 short stories of mathematical fiction by Juan de Burgos, including those from his calculus books and his 1994 commencement address. Published by Fundación General de la Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, 1994. (more)
Lost (2011)
Tamora Pierce
A mathematically talented little girl from a mystical medieval realm is abused by her anti-intellectual father and unappreciated by a mean math teacher who insists that she show all of her work. However,... (more)
Lost in Lexicon: An Adventure in Words and Numbers (2010)
Pendred Noyce
This novel for middle school aged children seems at first rather similar to the Phantom Tollbooth, which was apparently a source of inspiration for its author. The plot is familiar: a boy and girl travel... (more)
The Lottery in Babylon [La lotería en Babilonia] (1941)
Jorge Luis Borges
In what is clearly a metaphor for the apparent randomness of life (and the theological implications that follow), the great Argentinian writer Borges crafts a tale about the all important lottery in a... (more)
Lovesong of the Electric Bear (2005)
Highly Rated!
Snoo Wilson (playwright)
This play about Alan Turing, told from the point of view of Porgy, his teddy bear, was produced as part of the Summer 2005 season at the Potomac Theater Project in Maryland. Turing certainly had both... (more)
Magic or Madness (2005)
Justine Larbalestier
Fibonacci sequences and prime numbers have magical significance in the trilogy of young adult fantasy novels by Australian author Justine Larbalestier. Magic or Madness was the first book in the series, followed by Magic Lessons and Magic's Child. (more)
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)
Math Takes a Holiday (2001)
Paul Di Filippo
Saint Hubert and Saint Barbara, the two patron saints of mathematics, pay a visit to a devout Catholic mathematics professor who has been praying for a mathematical miracle to silence his mockers.... (more)
Mathemagics (1996)
Margaret Ball
This novel continues the adventures of characters developed in the "chicks in chainmail" series of anthologies. As the title implies, in these fantasy stories about a suburban mom who lives the life of a warrior in an alternate reality, mathematics is magic. Specifically, magical incantations take the form of mathematical equations! (more)
The Mathematician’s Nightmare: The Vision of Professor Squarepunt (1954)
Bertrand Russell
This short story by [renowned philosopher and mathematician Bertrand] Russell is a mild satire on numerology, taking [Sir Arthur] Eddington’s obsession with it and spinning it as a “nightmare”... (more)
The Mathematics of Magic (1940)
L. Sprague de Camp / Fletcher Pratt
The "Enchanter Stories" by de Camp and Pratt are a very popular series of SF/fantasy stories whose protagonist, Harold Shea, is able to travel to other universes using symbolic logic. "The Mathematics... (more)
Matrices (2016)
Steven Nightingale
One of 64 fantastical short stories in the collection "The Hot Climate of Promises and Grace", this one concerns a mathematician who fills matrices with real objects instead of numbers. The results are... (more)
Mersenne's Mistake (2008)
Jason Earls
This is a nice piece of mathematical fiction in which the mathematician/monk Marin Mersenne encounters a demon with amazing mathematical skills. Like the other stories by Earls, this seems to be designed to showcase the interesting numbers which he has found using computer algebra tools. (more)
The Midnighters (Series) (2004)
Highly Rated!
Scott Westerfield
Teenagers discover an extra hour to the day during which they can do things while everyone else is frozen. Unfortunately, they also have to worry about the Darklings! One of the teens, Dess, is interested... (more)
Moebius Trip (2006)
Janny Wurts
Featuring an aging mirror-maker who is asked to create a mirror which acts like a moebius strip and shows a reflection of the past and the future. Frankly, I did not think it was done well at all and... (more)
Monday Begins on Saturday (1966)
Arkady Strugatsky / Boris Strugatsky
In this parody of the activity at Soviet research thinktanks, mathematics underlies the "science" of magic. Math is rarely discussed in depth and a knowledge of Russian fairy tales helps the reader to... (more)
Monster's Proof (2009)
Richard Lewis
With parents and a younger brother who are all "mathematical geniuses", Livey Ell (who is in danger of getting kicked out of cheerleading unless she improves her algebra grades) is a bit too normal. Things... (more)
Mortal Immortal (1833)
Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley
This fantasy story by the author of Frankenstein, about a man who drinks a half dose of a potion that bestows immortality, is only borderline mathematical fiction. The only arguably mathematical part... (more)
The Mouse and his Child (1967)
Russell Hoban
Not really a kids book (too violent and depressing) nor an adult book (about a toy mouse that goes on an adventure, with illustrations) this is nonetheless an interesting allegory for those so inclined.... (more)
The Mummy and Miss Nitocris: A Phantasy of the Fourth Dimension (1906)
George Griffith
In his presentation entitled "An Examination of Some Supposed Mathematical Impossibilities" before the Royal Society, Professor Marmion demonstrates that he can do three geometric constructions that mathematicians... (more)
Nanny and the Professor (TV Series) (1970)
AJ Carothers (creator) / Thomas L. Miller (creator)
A handsome math professor gets the help of a magical British nanny in raising his adorable kids in this early '70's sit-com. I actually used to watch this show when I was a little kid, but had completely... (more)
Napier's Bones (2011)
Derryl Murphy
In the fantasy/SF world of this novel, numerates are special people who are aware of the fact that numbers themselves are alive and can be coaxed or controlled into doing seemingly magical things for them.... (more)
Naturally (Double Whammy) (1954)
Fredric Brown
Fredric Brown, a prolific and acclaimed writer of mystery and science fiction stories and novels, was an extraordinary master of the short-short. "Naturally" is a one-pager about Henry... (more)
Necroscope (Series) (1992)
Brian Lumley
Harry Keogh is a "necroscope" who can communicate with the dead. So, when omens suggest that the Möbius strip and space-time are going to be relevant to his plans in the near future, he goes straight... (more)
Nena's Math Force (2005)
Susan Jarema
This picture book for children, which is available for free online and also in print, tells the story of a girl who is upset when her math teacher requires the class to do arithmetic without a calculator.... (more)
The New Tales of the Absent-Minded Master (1971)
Vladimir Levshin
This is the third in the Master of the Absent-Minded Sciences trilogy. The third book is about the two investigating the stealing of a very valuable stamp. It ends with the promise of further adventures, but the author never wrote them. Levshin's beloved children's books have never been translated into English, but can be read in Russian at (more)
Night of the Frightening Fractions (2015)
Robert Black
In this sequel to Night of the Paranormal Patterns, teenager Lennie Miller continues to solve mathematical problems to save her town from ghosts and zombies. I haven't read this young adult novel. I hope to get a chance to do so someday and will post more information here if I do. Or, if you have read it, please write to let me know what you thought of it, and I'll post your review here! (more)
Night of the Paranormal Patterns (2014)
Robert Black
A young adult novel that uses the fantasy adventure genre to introduce pre-algebra concepts. The protagonist, a seventh grader named Lennie, has been chosen as the "pattern finder" for werewolves, vampires... (more)
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)
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)
The Number Devil (Der Zahlenteufel) (1997)
Highly Rated!
Hans Magnus Enzensberger
"The title may be translated as The Counting Devil, or maybe The Number Devil, and it has a subtitle that translates to 'a pillowbook for everyone who is afraid of math'. Enzensberger is a respected... (more)
Numbercruncher (2013)
Si Spurrier (writer) / PJ Holden (artist)
A recently deceased mathematician "cracks the recirculation algorithm" and thus is able to control his own reincarnation in the hope of being able to spend more time with the woman he loves. It ends up... (more)
Numberland (1987)
George Weinberg
The co-author (with John Schumaker) of STATISTICS: AN INTUITIVE APPROACH, and practicing psychotherapist, tells a charming little fable about Numberland. Peace, harmony,... (more)
Old Fillikin (1982)
Joan Aiken
A farm boy who hates his math class seemingly calls upon his grandmother's "familiar" to get revenge on his teacher. This reads like an old fashioned ghost story, but it is the kind where you can imagine... (more)
On the marriage of Hermes and Philology (410)
Marianus Capella
"A must in your data base is Martianus Capella (c. 410 A.D.), On the marriage of Hermes and Philology (translated in english by W.H. Stahl, Columbia University Press): Hermes is marrying a minor godess Philology. The Seven Liberal Arts (including Arithmetic, Geometry, Astronomy and Harmony) come to greet the couple and present themselves." (more)
Operation Chaos / Operation Changeling (1969)
Poul Anderson
Part of a series of stories about detectives who use magic and religion published in Fantasy and Science Fiction magazine in the 1960s, Operation Changeling (later published in novelized form in Operation... (more)
The Parrot's Theorem (2000)
Highly Rated!
Denis Guedj
This is an ambitious novel, a magical fantasy about a talking parrot bought at a flea market in France who, with the help of the personal library of a reclusive mathematical genius, teaches some children... (more)
Partition (2003)
Ira Hauptman
According to Ken Ribet's review of the San Francisco production in the Notices of the AMS, this play about the interaction between the mathematicians Hardy and Ramanujan explores the "partitions" that... (more)
Perelman's Song (2008)
Highly Rated!
Tina Chang
This story by Tina Chang appears in the February 2008 issue of Math Horizons magazine (see also JSTOR). It uses a conversation between gods manipulating universes in their hands to poetically inform... (more)
Phantom (2006)
Terry Goodkind
Richard Rahl, the protagonist of the best-selling Sword of Truth series, seeks to protect the world from an evil spell which (among other things) has removed his wife from existence. As Kati Voigt points... (more)
The Phantom Tollbooth (1961)
Norton Juster / Jules Feiffer (Illustrator)
This "Alice in Wonderland"-esque children's book follows our hero, Milo, to the fantasy world through his toy tollbooth. One of the lands he visits is very "mathematical". We meet the dodecahedron,... (more)
The Poison Master (2003)
Liz Williams
This is one of those fantasy novels in which mathematics and magic are intertwined. As usual, it is nice to see mathematics portrayed as being simultaneously powerful and beautiful...but there isn't much... (more)
The Power of Words (1845)
Edgar Allan Poe
A very short work (two-pages long!) in which two angels discuss the divine implications of our ability to mathematically determine the future consequences of an action, especially wave propagation.... (more)
The Princess Hoppy or the Tale of Labrador (1993)
Jacques Roubaud
French mathematician Jacques Roubaud, member of the Oulipo group, wrote this bizarre, postmodern, fairy tale which is decidedly for adults rather than for children. According to the cover, The tale... (more)
Probability Storm (1977)
Julian Reid
Julian Reid takes the concept of statistical anomalies to a fantastic extreme in a slapstick fantasy comedy written in a very witty and conversational style, replete with puns and smart-cracks. A tavern... (more)
Pyramids (2001)
Terry Pratchett
Thanks to Aaron Gullison for pointing out that in this Discworld novel, "the camels are all mathematicians, and think in math." For instance, The greatest mathematician alive on the Disc, and in fact... (more)
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)
The Rithmatist (2013)
Brandon Sanderson
Geometric chalk drawings have magical power in this Harry Potter-like book for teens. In fact, it takes place in an "alternate universe" where Earth's history is different. Since "Rithmatics" was discovered... (more)
The Rose Acacia (1995)
Ralph P. Boas, Jr.
"A computer makes a deal with the devil, with the usual escape clause: if it can ask a question the devil cannot answer, the computer gets the information for free. As the devil puts it, no logical paradoxes,... (more)
The Shadow Guests (1980)
Joan Aiken
After his mother's death, a boy goes to live with his aunt, a mathematician, in her haunted English house where he meets the ghosts of his ancestors and learns about his family's curse. The mathematician... (more)
Sine of the Magus [aka The Magicians] (1954)
James Gunn
A private detective is hired to track a magician who turns out not to be an expert at "tricks", but a real and powerful wizard. This is one of those works (see the "similars" list below) in which magic... (more)
Somnium (1634)
Johannes Kepler
"Published posthumously, it is a short story about a dream of life on the moon. There is no mathematical content in the actual story, but Kepler included voluminous notes, plus ... (more)
The Spacetime Pool (2008)
Catherine Asaro
Janelle, recently graduated from MIT with a degree in math, is pulled through the "branch cut" between two universes to an alternate Earth where two sword wielding brothers rule half the world. There,... (more)
The Square Root of Pythagoras (1999)
Paul Di Filippo/Rudy Rucker
Pythagoras has been granted the magical power of five numbers. Along the way he discusses his theorem, the five Platonic solids, and his general philosophy about numbers and the universe. But he... (more)
Stranger than Fiction (2006)
Marc Forster (Director) / Zach Helm (Screenplay)
An employee of the IRS who is obsessed with counting and performing mental computations begins to hear the voice of a woman narrating his life. He soon learns that he is a character in a novel and that... (more)
The Thesis of the Absent-Minded Master (1971)
Vladimir Levshin
[This is the first book in the] trilogy called "The Master of the Absent-Minded Sciences". The heroes of the other books (and the author) establish a club, where they analyze the notes (and, later,letters)... (more)
Three Days in Karlikania (1964)
Vladimir Levshin
A children's fantasy novel written in Russian. I have not been able to find much about it but Rob Milson says: Three children travel to Karlikania, an enchanted land populated by numerals. Here they... (more)
Three times table (1990)
Sara Maitland
The story of three generations of women in a British family, with fantasy overtones introduced through the existence of "dragons". I have not read it, and so do not know how significant the mathematical... (more)
Threshold (1997)
Sara Douglass
This is another fantasy book in which mathematics is seen as a sort of magic, but in this one it is specifically a particularly evil, cold and inhuman form of magic, in contrast to other less formulaic... (more)
Through the Gates of the Silver Key (1934)
H.P. Lovecraft / E. Hoffmann Price
"We read of the fantastic travels of the dreamer and mystic Randolph Carter as he arrives at the Ultimate Gate separating the parallel dimensions and alternate realities of the Universe. The Gate... (more)
Thursday Next: First Among Sequels (2007)
Jasper Fforde
As Vijay Fafat points out, the eponymous heroine of this series of humorous, fantasy mysteries has a daughter who is a math prodigy. Among other things, in this novel she finds a counter-example to Fermat's... (more)
Touch the Water, Touch the Wind (1972)
Amos Oz
Amos Oz, the famous Israeli author and political activist, wrote this mathematical, musical and mystical novel about a Holocaust survivor who proves a terribly important theorem about "infinity" while... (more)
The Tower of Babylon (2002)
Ted Chiang
There really is almost no mathematics in this bizarre story that hauntingly combines religion with science fiction. However, the "punchline" is entirely topological in nature. This story can be... (more)
The Translated Man (2009)
Chris Braak
Since the horrific Excelsior disaster, the subject of aetheric geometry has been banned. The ethical dilema for a young psychic is whether he should reveal to the detective he is assisting the tremendous... (more)
The Travel Notes of the Absent-Minded Master (1971)
Vladimir Levshin
This is the second in the Master of the Absent-Minded Sciences trilogy. The second book is the Master sending letters about his and Little One's adventures to the Club for continuing analysis. Levshin's beloved children's books have never been translated into English, but can be read in Russian at (more)
Turjan of Miir (The Dying Earth) (1950)
Jack Vance
The classic fantasy novel "The Dying Earth" is actually more like a collection of short stories, separate vignettes that share some common features but stand entirely alone. The first of these stories... (more)
Vampire World (Trilogy) (1993)
Brian Lumley
In these sequels to Necroscope, the twin sons of Harry Keogh living in the remains of a black hole continue to fight vampires. One of the sons has visions of a "vortex of numbers". He seeks the assistance... (more)
A Very Good Year (1984)
Jack C. Haldeman (II)
A very short fantasy-like story about Statistics. A senior statistician for Dept of Acccident Prevention describes how the law of averages appears to have failed when applied to mortality rates. In particular,... (more)
Visitors from Oz : The Wild Adventures of Dorothy, the Scarecrow, and the Tin Woodsman (1999)
Martin Gardner
You wouldn't believe it, but the famous popular math writer produced a sequel to the Oz books in which Dorothy travels to New York City through a Klein bottle (built out of two Mobius strips by the same fellow who built the Tin Man). I have not read the book, but it apparently involves a mathematical puzzle of some sort. (more)
Voyage of the Shadowmoon (2002)
Sean McMullen
Emperor Warsovran plans to take over the world with Silverdeath, a magical weapon buried centuries ago for fear that its power would be misused. Silverdeath unleashes circles of fiery destruction obeying... (more)
The Wonderful Visit (1895)
Herbert George Wells
"An angel, who normally inhabits a fourth dimensional world (with curvature instead of gravitation!) falls into our three dimensional world." (more)
Yesternight (2016)
Cat Winters
In this eerie thriller, a school psychologist tries to help parents of a young girl they believe is the reincarnated soul of a mathematical genius who died at the age of 19. A psychologist fresh out... (more)
Your Magic or Mine (2008)
Ann Macela
A math professor and botany professor, who happen to be a wizard and a witch, have an academic disagreement regarding the nature of magic. They also happen to be soulmates, though neither of them likes... (more)

Home All New Browse Search About

(Maintained by Alex Kasman, College of Charleston)