MATHEMATICAL FICTION:

a list compiled by Alex Kasman (College of Charleston)

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Genre Not Science-Fiction, Fantasy or Horror

599 matches found out of 1149 entries

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

1 to 999 (1981)
Isaac Asimov
When cryptologists try to break a simple code, one of the key clues is the frequency with which letters appear. In English, the letter "a" is one of the most frequently used letters. It is therefore... (more)
21 (2008)
Robert Luketic (Director)
As I understand it, the book by Ben Mezrich which inspired this film is non-fiction. It told the true story (though using pseudonyms) of a team comprised of an MIT math professor and six MIT students... (more)
The 351 Books of Irma Arcuri (2008)
David Bajo
Philip is a mathematician who works in the financial industry, a quant. We also meet his ex-wife, Rebecca, who is a math professor. But, the main character in this novel is a woman who we only meet in... (more)
36 Arguments for the Existence of God (2010)
Rebecca Goldstein
This new novel by Rebecca Goldstein, whose Strange Attractors is one of my favorite works of mathematical fiction, features as two main characters a woman known as "the goddess of game theory" and a Hasidic... (more)
The 39 Steps (1935)
Alfred Hitchcock (director)
Alfred Hitchcock’s 1935 thriller follows the getaway of Richard Hannay (Robert Donat), a man accused of murder. While Hannay must outsmart the police in his escape, he also finds himself sought... (more)
7 Steps to Midnight (1993)
Richard Matheson
In this unnerving, `Kafka-esque' suspense novel by well known horror author Richard Matheson, a government mathematician sees reality collapse around him as his life is turned into a surrealistic version... (more)
A. Botts and the Moebius Strip (1945)
William Hazlett Upson
William Hazlett Upson wrote a series of pieces for the Saturday Evening Post about a salesman for The Earthworm Tractor Company, written as a dialog of letters and memos between Alexander Botts and his... (more)
Abendland (Occident) (2007)
Michael Köhlmeier
The protagonist is an Austrian mathematician who, according to the fictional invention of the author, worked with Emmy Noether in Göttingen during the 'Golden Age' of German Mathematics, i.e. before Hitler came to power. In chapter 6 we learn a lot about Noether's life in Göttingen, Moscow, and the US. (more)
An Abundance of Katherines (2006)
Highly Rated!
John Green
Colin Singleton is a semi-burnt-out child prodigy who spends a summer coming of age as he develops a theorem to account for the fact that he's been dumped by nineteen girls, all named Katherine. Includes... (more)
According to the Law (1996)
Solvej Balle
Four interconnected stories are told which wrap around onto themselves like a M¨bius strip. But, it is not only the structure of the story that is mathematical. In the first we meet a biochemist... (more)
Actuarial / The Paradox Paradox (2010)
Buzz Mauro
These two extremely short stories by Mauro, part of his thesis project which consisted entirely of original works of mathematical fiction, appeared in the December 2010 issue of Prime Number Magazine. Actuarial... (more)
The Adding Machine (1923)
Elmer Rice
This highly symbolic play tells the life, death, afterlife, and rebirth of Zero, a mild-mannered nobody who is hoping to get a raise for twenty five years of loyal service as a clerk doing addition... (more)
Advanced Calculus of Murder (1988)
Erik Rosenthal
In the second book in the Dan Brodsky series (following Calculus of Murder by the same author), Brodsky is invited to COTCA (the Conference on Operator Theory and C*-Algebras at Oxford University). While... (more)
Adventure of the Final Problem (1893)
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
This first Sherlock Holmes story about Professor Moriarty (later to be viewed as Holmes' arch enemy) introduces him as a professor of mathematics who won fame as a young man for his extension of the binomial... (more)
The Adventures of a University Math Professor (2001)
Donald A. Buckeye
This slim book is a very easy, unassuming, pleasant read which adults and sixth graders can both read with joy. It is an autobiographical fictionalization of some parts of a mathematics teacher’s life.... (more)
The Adventures of the Parrot (2008)
Gary Brown
Gary I. Brown, chair of the math department at CSBSJU in St. Joseph MN, has written two detective stories in which "The Parrot" uses mathematics (specifically, non-zero sum games and fair division problems) to solve the mysteries. The stories appear together in a new book from North Star Press which is available from Amazon.com . (more)
After Math (2013)
Denise Grover Swank
This is a young adult novel about a college math major, a typical nerd with some apparent neuroses, who learns to be much more "normal" when she is forced to tutor a popular male soccer player. Thanks to my student, Madeline Goodman, for bringing this book to my attention. (more)
Against the Day (2006)
Highly Rated!
Thomas Pynchon
This novel, set in the time frame 1890s to 1920s interleaves several plots and styles, from boys' adventures to peacetime spies to gunslingers' revenges. The forces of progress stomp over all the... (more)
Against the Odds (2001)
Martin Gardner
Luther Washington, a young, African-American boy in Butterfield, KS must overcome several kinds of prejudice to become a mathematician. First, he must face the prejudices of his father that his interest... (more)
Agora (2009)
Alejandro Amenábar (writer and director) / Mateo Gil (writer)
A film based on the life of Hypatia of Alexandria. What little we know of the real Hypatia suggests that she was a talented mathematician and teacher (neither of them easy professions for a woman to enter... (more)
Albert's Bridge (1967)
Tom Stoppard
A radio play about a philosophy graduate student who gets a job painting the Clufton Bay Bridge. It takes him and three other workers exactly two years to paint the entire bridge, at which time they must... (more)
All Cry Chaos (2011)
Leonard Rosen
When a mathematician is killed in an explosion immediately before presenting his paper on the inevitability of a one-world economy to the World Trade Organization, the case falls to Interpol agent Henri... (more)
The Almond Tree (2012)
Michelle Cohen Corasanti
A poor Palestinian boy growing up in Israel during the 1950s and 1960s endures persecution but eventually becomes a successful scientific researcher because of his mathematical skills. The author, who... (more)
Alphabet (2002)
Chelsea Spear
A silent, short film which shows intertwined clips of a young girl playing the french horn and answering a question at the board in her algebra class. Reviews of the film that I've read suggest that she... (more)
Amy and Isabelle (1998)
Elizabeth Stout
A highly praised mother-daughter novel, selected by Oprah, and recently produced by Oprah as a made-for-TV movie. Set in 1971 Maine, a 16-year-old girl has an affair with her high school math... (more)
And Be a Villain (1948)
Rex Stout
Rex Stout and his seventy some Nero Wolfe novels are generally regarded as amongst the greatest mystery novels ever written. They read as fresh today as when the series started in 1934, and they... (more)
Antonia's Line (1995)
Marleen Gorris
About three or more generations of strong and self-sufficient women who live on a farm and the people around them. Antonia's granddaughter is a genius, namely a mathematician and a musician. But she... (more)
Apartheid, Superstrings and Mordecai Thubana (1991)
Michael Bishop
I don't want to get into a debate here about whether superstrings are math or physics. I know mathematicians and physicists who would argue (with some good points on each side) that it is in their area... (more)
Arcadia (1993)
Highly Rated!
Tom Stoppard
Stoppard's critically successful play includes long discussions of topics of mathematical interest including: Fermat's Last Theorem and Newtonian determinism, iterated algorithms, the second law of thermodynamics, Fourier's... (more)
Archimedes, a planetarium opera (2007)
James Dashow
Opera, as in people singing and music playing, and not the usual Latin for "works". James Dashow has been scripting, composing, and recording Archimedes, a "planetarium opera" for the past ten years. It's... (more)
The Arnold Proof (2002)
Jessica Francis Kane
This short story begins with a quote from Philip E.B. Jourdain's essay "The Nature of Mathematics". In the quote, he explains how in the process of carrying out a complicated computation, one may want... (more)
The Art Student's War (2009)
Brad Leithauser
In this novel, Bea Paradiso is an art student during World War II who makes portraits of wounded soldiers. (Not coincidentally, the author's mother-in-law did the same, and the book is enhanced by the... (more)
The Axiom of Choice (2009)
David Corbett
An extremely well-crafted short story in which math professor coldly recounts for a detective how the bloody bodies of his wife and his student came to be in his house. It is not really a murder mystery,... (more)
Émilie (2010)
Kaija Saariaho (composer)/Amin Maalouf (libretto)
In this opera, a single performer portrays the final days in the life of Émilie du Châtelet, whose promising career as a mathematical physicist in the 18th century was tragically cut short at the age of 42. Émilie du Châtelet's story is also told in two recent plays: see Emilie: La Marquise Du Châtelet Defends Her Life Tonight and Legacy of Light . (more)
Bad Boy Brawley Brown (2002)
Walter Mosley
This is the sixth book in the highly praised Easy Rawlins mysteries that began with DEVIL IN A BLUE DRESS. They are set in post-WWII black Los Angeles, and unfold over the years. (The... (more)
The Bank (2001)
Robert Connolly
A brilliant young mathematician (aren't they all!) uses chaos theory to develop a mathematical model that predicts the stock market in this Australian thriller (co-produced by Axiom Films) . I love... (more)
The Barking Clock (1947)
Harry Stephen Keeler / Hazel Goodwin Keeler
Tuddleton T. Trotter, author of a book which claims that all criminal mysteries can be solved mathematically, has only hours to save Joe Czeszczicki, a death row inmate soon to be electrocuted for the... (more)
Batorsag and Szerelem [a.k.a. Beautiful Ohio] (2006)
Ethan Canin
A very sensitively written story about a child, William, who grows up in the shadow of his brother, Clive, who is a math prodigy. Clive, in addition to his strong mathematical skills, is also a very... (more)
Battle of the Frog and the Mouse (1984)
John Barrow
This succinct, well-writtten fable captures the polemics between Hilbert and Brouwer related to Hilbert's Formalist position and Brouwer's Constructivist position vis a vis the foundations of mathematics... (more)
A Beautiful Mind (2001)
Sylvia Nasar / Akiva Goldsman
Although the book A Beautiful Mind: A Biography of John Forbes Nash, Jr. is not fictional, Ron Howard's film (released December 2001) most certainly is. (I say this not as a complaint, but just to justify... (more)
The Bed and the Bachelor (2011)
Tracy Anne Warren
Although it involves cryptography and the Napoleonic wars, this novel is really more of a romance than it is historical fiction or espionage. Sebastianne Dumont is the daughter of a French mathematician... (more)
The Beekeeper's Apprentice: Or the Segregation of the Queen (1994)
Laurie R. King
A retired Sherlock Holmes, now tending bees in Sussex Downs, develops a friendship with a 15 year old orphan named Mary Russell. By all accounts, Mary proves to be a great partner for Holmes as they attempt... (more)
Belonging to Karovsky (2002)
Kathryn Schwille
This short story, published in the literary magazine Crazyhorse concerns the boring and lonely Mr. Digby who was the downstairs neighbor of Karovsky, the brilliant (but of course, seriously insane) mathematician... (more)
Beyond the Limit: The Dream of Sofya Kovalevskaya (2002)
Joan Spicci
This book is a novelized account of the life of Sofia Kovalevskaya (aka Sonia Kovalevskey and infinitely1 many alternative spellings), famous today as the first woman to receive a Ph.D. in mathematics.... (more)
Bianca (1984)
Nanni Moretti (director and screenplay)
A math teacher (played by Nanni Moretti himself) has odd obsessions and compulsions in this film, including his crush on colleague Bianca. Although his anti-social behavior seems to be destroying his... (more)
The Bird with the Broken Wing (1930)
Agatha Christie
The Harley Quin stories (this collection, plus two later stories) are amongst the most peculiar mysteries ever written. (They certainly are Dame Agatha's most peculiar. They were also her personal... (more)
The Birds (BC414)
Aristophanes
In one scene of this classic Greek play, the geometer Meton appears and...well, it's pretty short. So why should I summarize it when I can simply reproduce it here! (Enter METON, With surveying... (more)
The Bishop Murder Case (1929)
Highly Rated!
S.S. van Dine (pseudonym of Willard Huntington Wright)
Our hero, Vance, says at the end of this mystery novel: "At the outset I was able to postulate a mathematician as the criminal agent. The difficulty of naming the murderer lay in the fact that nearly... (more)
The Book of Getting Even (2009)
Benjamin Taylor
A brilliant homosexual teenager uses mathematics as an escape from the pressures of everyday life, including his father, a rabbi in 1970's New Orleans. Along the way, he gets to know (and love, in a variety of ways) the family of a Nobel prize winning physicist and he himself becomes a cosmologist. (more)
Book of Knut: a novel by Knut Knudson (2012)
Halvor Aakhus
Halvor Aakhus, who has an undergraduate degree in math and an MFA in writing, wrote this unusual work of fiction that takes the form of a novel by an apparently dead author named Knut Knudson which has... (more)
Brazzaville Beach (1990)
William Boyd
Main character is a women studying chimpanzees in Africa, but her ex-husband is a set theorist who goes mad because he fails to prove a theorem. One of my favourite authors, and one of his best... (more)
Bread & Kisses (2010)
Katherine Fitzgerald (writer and director)
In this wonderful short film, a mathematician desperately trying to correct a hole in a proof falls in love with a baker. He uncharacteristically begins taking baking lessons from her but returns to... (more)
Breaking the Code (1986)
Highly Rated!
Hugh Whitemore (playwright)
This biography of Alan Turing is a "character study" of this fascinating mathematician. Although we do see some mathematics (including an especially nice description of Gödel's Theorem and its mathematical significance)... (more)
The Brink of Infinity (1936)
Highly Rated!
Stanley G. Weinbaum
A mathematics professor is kidnapped by a madman with a grudge against mathematicians, who threatens dire consequences unless the prof can solve a math riddle he has concocted: by asking ten questions,... (more)
The Brothers Karamazov (1880)
Fyodor Dostoevsky
In this classic final masterwork by Dostoevsky, the existence of non-Euclidean geometry is mentioned at one point. Although the theme is not explicitly carried throughout the rest of the novel, it plays... (more)
Buried Alive at the End of the World (2011)
Blair Bourrassa
A completely paralyzed mathematician receives congratulations from colleagues and other hospital visitors on the culmination of his research in a large scale physics experiment that is about to be conducted..but... (more)
The Butterfly Effect (2001)
D.F. Roberts
Only available for Kindle download as far as I can tell, this sexually explicit novel follows Dr. Martin Crowe as he ``uses chaos math'' (sounds unlikely!) to solve unusual problems for people, such as his ex-lover who is now being blackmailed by her ex-husband. --Suggested for inclusion by Vijay Fafat. (more)
A Calculated Demise (2007)
Robert Spiller
A high school math teacher, Bonnie Pinkwater, solves the mystery surrounding the murder of a PE teacher, a student, and the family of the boy suspected in the killing. This sequel to The Witch of Agnesi... (more)
Calculus (Newton's Whores) (2004)
Carl Djerassi
The credit for the invention of calculus has long been contested, being claimed by both Isaac Newton and Gottfried Leibniz. A committee established by the Royal Society in 1712 concluded that Newton was... (more)
Calculus and Pizza (2003)
Clifford Pickover
A pizza chef teaches calculus to his restaurant patrons. Romance and hilarity ensue. (more)
Calculus of Murder (1986)
Erik Rosenthal
"The hero is a part-time instructor and researcher at Berkeley and moonlights as a PI. He solves his cases using calculus. The narrative is excellent, humorous, and believable." Actually, I just... (more)
The Cambist and Lord Iron (2007)
Daniel Abraham
The story is set in a no-name kingdom, seemingly medieval but with certain modernisms. The cambist of the title is a minor worker, whose daily routine is interrupted by Lord Iron, who has come to... (more)
The Cambridge Quintet (1999)
John L. Casti
A group of famous historical figures, including Wittegenstein, Schrödinger, J.B.S. Haldane, and Alan Turing meet at the home of C.P. Snow to discuss the question of whether machines can think. John... (more)
The Cambridge Theorem (1990)
Tony Cape
It is a British-Russian spy novel in the style of Le Carre that is set in Cambridge, UK. If you like that sort of thing, fine. It is true that the murdered genius is a math graduate student, and he leaves... (more)
The Capsule (2010)
Miceal Og O'Donnell (writer and director)
A former mathematician who has tape on his glasses, a sleeping bag on his back and talks just like Dustin Hoffman in Rain Main is ordered by his doctor to be more social (to get out of his "capsule").... (more)
Cardano and the Case of the Cubic (2005)
Jeff Adams
This parody of early 20th century "Hard Boiled Private Detective" novels is instead a short story about 16th century mathematician Gerolamo Cardano. Its opening paragraphs clearly set the tone: It... (more)
Carry On, Mr. Bowditch (1955)
Highly Rated!
Jean Lee Latham
The life of early American mathematician Nathaniel Bowditch, famous for his work on techniques of navigation, is fictionalized in this novel for young adults. Although the mathematical details are not... (more)
Case of Lies (2005)
Perri O'Shaughnessy
An old, unsolved casino murder becomes mathematical when three of the witnesses turn out to have been math students using their skills to win at gambling. Quite a bit of detailed discussion of number... (more)
The Case of the Flying Hands (2001)
Harry Stephen Keeler / Hazel Goodwin Keeler
Quiribus Brown, a 7 1/2 foot tall man raised on a farm by a retired mathematician who taught him nothing but math, must solve four crimes using mathematics or be imprisoned on charges of perjury by his... (more)
The Case of the Murdered Mathematician (2001)
Julia Barnes / Kathy Ivey
This story is actually a fictionalized account of the "Murder Mystery" game played by the MAA Student Mathematics Club at Western Carolina University. Clues provide insight into possible motivations... (more)
Casebook (2014)
Mona Simpson
A novel written from the point of view of Miles Adler-Hart, a boy who is spying on his mother. He learns of his parents' divorce, his mother's sex life, and her lover's dark secret. Like the superheroes... (more)
The Cat in Numberland (2006)
Ivar Ekeland (author) / John O'Brien (illustrator)
This picture book uses the idea of a hotel with infintely many rooms for introducing some advanced concepts about numbers and infinity to children. The hotel, run in the book by "Mr. and Mrs. Hilbert",... (more)
The Catalyst (1991)
Desmond Cory
Mathematics professor John Dobie gets caught up in a truly mind-boggling mystery when one of his former students, his wife's best friend, and then his own wife wind up dead, and the police consider him to be a prime suspect. This is the first, my personal favorite, of the three "Professor Dobie Mysteries" written by British author Desmond Cory. (See also "The Mask of Zeus" and " (more)
Catching Genius (2007)
Kristy Kiernan
A novel about a pair of sisters, one of whom is a "math genius". The title refers to the fact that she thinks "eyecue" is a disease when she first hears as a child that she has a high one and warns her... (more)
Cálculo Infinitesimal de una variable (1994)
Juan de Burgos Román
Apparently, this Spanish calculus textbook begins each chapter with a "tale". I have not yet had a chance to see the book myself, and so I cannot say for certain whether these really are "fiction" or... (more)
Cálculo Infinitesimal de varias variables (1995)
Juan de Burgos Román
Apparently, this Spanish calculus textbook begins each chapter with a "tale". I have not yet had a chance to see the book myself, and so I cannot say for certain whether these really are "fiction" or... (more)
The Center of the Universe (2005)
Alex Kasman
This short story was intended to serve two different purposes. On the one hand it is a glimpse into the lives and interactions of mathematics graduate students. And, on the other, it addresses the philosophical... (more)
The Central Tendency (2003)
Daniel Kaysen
In the first portion of this short story, a teenager and the aunt who took her in when her parents died enjoy doing math together. However, when the girl begins to get advanced training from Cambridge... (more)
A Certain Ambiguity: A Mathematical Novel (2007)
Highly Rated!
Gaurav Suri / Hartosh Singh Bal
The intertwined stories of Ravi, a Stanford student taking a course on "Infinity" in the 1980's, and his grandfather who was jailed for blasphemy in New Jersey in 1919 constitute a philosophical investigation... (more)
The Chair of Philanthromathematics (1908)
O. Henry (William Sydney Porter)
Jeff Peters and Andy Tucker, con men in the O. Henry stories collected in this volume, are a bit uncomfortable after scoring a really big scam. So they ... (more)
Chasing Vermeer (2004)
Blue Balliet
A mystery novel for 6th graders. The first of a set of 3 separate “mystery” books in the “Hardy Boys / Nancy Drew“ genre. Two children, Calder and Petra, are neighbors and classmates at a school... (more)
Child's Play (1986)
Isaac Asimov
Young Griswold uses something he just learned in elementary school math class to solve a minor stumper. (Be warned: the problem has a minor bug. Change "mix" to "nix".) Published in the... (more)
The Chimera Prophesies (2007)
Highly Rated!
Elliott Ostler
A mathematician known only as ``#6'', while trying to come up with a model that would predict probabilities for different human behaviors, finds that in fact he can very nearly predict the future with... (more)
The Chosen (1967)
Chaim Potok
In Chaim Potok's classic novel about two Jewish teenagers growing up in New York City at the end of World War II, one of the two boys expresses an interest in symbolic logic: 'What kind of mathematics... (more)
Christmas at Cardwell Ranch (2013)
B.J. Daniels
In keeping with my expectations of a Harlequin Romance novel, Christmas at Cardwell Ranch does have an improbable love affair, between a modern-day cowboy and a female mathematician. However, this one... (more)
Chronicles of a Comer (1972)
K.M O'Donnell (aka Barry N. Malzberg)
A short story about a statistician who believes in the second coming of Christ and looks for it in the statistical correlations between the events and people's reactions to those events (e.g. "14%... (more)
The City of Devi (2013)
Manil Suri
Manil Suri, the author of this erotic, dystopian, Indian adventure, is a professional mathematician. And so, it is not surprising that there is some mathematics in it. However, there really is not much... (more)
City of Infinite Bridges (2007)
Alex Rose
A very short, definitely fictional but delightful little tale about Katharina Gsell, Euler’s wife. In this fictional account, Katharina is supposed to have displayed a graph of the 7 Konigsberg bridges... (more)
Claudia and the Middle School Mystery (Baby-sitters Club) (1995)
Ann Martin
A 100-page novel for 2nd graders about Claudia, a girl who is weak in mathematics but who studies hard to pass a class test with flying colors, only to get accused of cheating by the substitute math teacher... (more)
Cliff Walk (1987)
Margaret Dickson
This novel which alternates between being a melancholy character study and thriller, tells the story of a woman named Crelly, from her childhood in a family torn apart by abuse and tragedy, to the separation... (more)
The Clueless Girl's Guide to Being a Genius (2011)
Janice Repka
An excellent book for 4th – 5th graders but one I would recommend for all teachers and students. Written as an interlaced, first-person account of two young girls – Aphrodite, who is a math prodigy... (more)
Coconuts (1926)
Ben Ames Williams
The story is a very nicely written tale of one man, Wadlin, whose only passion in life is mathematics - numbers, puzzles, Diophantine equations ("indeterminates"), statistics. As the author describes... (more)
Code to Zero (2000)
Ken Follett
This thriller is set in 1958, with backdrop the first successful launching of a US satellite. Several of the characters are mathematicians turned rocket scientists. They frequently muse rather explicitly... (more)
Coincidence (A novel) [AKA The Coincidence Authority] (2013)
J.W. Ironmoger
A woman who feels her life was guided by a sequence of inexplicable coincidences seeks the advice of Thomas Post, an expert on mathematics and philosophy of "coincidence science". Apparently, Post is... (more)
The Company of Strangers (2001)
Robert Wilson
A bittersweet romance/thriller about a young woman mathematician in Portugal spying for the British during World War II. There is a lot of interesting stuff in this novel if you're looking at the romance... (more)
Completeness (2011)
Itamar Moses
This play, currently in production at New York's Playwrights Horizons Mainstage Theater, tells the story of a romance between a biology graduate student and a computer science graduate student. Having... (more)
Comrades in Miami (2005)
Jose Latour
Colonel Victoria Valiente is an important figure in the Communist party of Cuba. However, her husband is a famous mathematician, Manuel Pardo. Manuel's job allows him to travel widely and he becomes... (more)
Confusions of Young Torless (1906)
Robert Musil
A semi-autobiographical novel set in a military academy in a desolate corner of the Austro-Hungarian empire, is the story of the intellectual awakening of an intelligent adolescent, and contains several... (more)
Conned Again, Watson! Cautionary Tales of Logic, Math and Probability (2000)
Highly Rated!
Colin Bruce
To follow-up on his clever popular physics book that explains modern physics using Sherlock Holmes as a guide, Oxford based writer Colin Bruce has written a book that teaches some important mathematical... (more)
Constans (The Constant Factor) (1980)
Krzysztof Zanussi
In this film Witold, a Polish man who believes that he can explain all of life's mysteries and solve all of life's problems with mathematics, learns otherwise. (more)
Conte d'ete (1996)
Eric Rohmer
With a title that can be translated as "A Summer's Tale", this is the third film in Rohmer's "seasons" series, preceeded by tales of spring and winter and followed by a tale of autumn in 1998. In this... (more)
Continuity (1999)
Buzz Mauro
This short story cleverly uses the δ-ε definition of continuity of a function to discuss the changing self-esteem of a character over time. After briefly recalling the rigorous definition, it introduces... (more)
Continuums (2008)
Highly Rated!
Robert Carr
The decisions we make and the difficulty in accepting the consequences is the main focus of this book about a Romanian mathematician who leaves her country and her daughter to be in a place that she could... (more)
The Countable (2011)
Ken Liu
An autistic boy finds comfort in Cantor's discovery that the set of fractions is greatly outnumbered by the set of irrationals. (See, for example, Cantor's Diagonal Argument.) I did not much enjoy... (more)
Counting on Frank (1990)
Highly Rated!
Rod Clement
Lots of people seem to really like this children's picture book about a boy who likes to ask (and answer) questions like: "How long would it take to fill up the room with water if I left the bathtub... (more)
The Crime of the Mathematics Professor (1960)
Clarice Lispector
There is very little mathematical content to this story of a math professor attempting to atone for having abandoned a pet dog. He is described (in the English translation) as having a "cold, mathematical... (more)
Crimes and Math Demeanors (2007)
Leith Hathout
The short mysteries in this book remind me of "Encyclopedia Brown". After a brief description of a sometimes contrived dilemma facing our young detective -- 14 year old Ravi -- you are given an opportunity... (more)
The Crimson Cipher (2010)
Susan Page Davis
A code breaker seeks to solve the mystery of the murder of her father, a math professor who had been working on an encryption device at the beginning of World War I in this "Christian adventure/romance". (more)
Crunch (2003)
John Gould
A short story in which a man tries to explain to his son, Barry, the relative sizes of things when the child happens to ask, “How small is in-fin-ite-ly small?”. So father and son start exploring... (more)
Cryptology (2003)
Leonard Michaels
You know how The New Yorker likes to publish vaguely bizarre short stories that happen to take place in New York City? You know how lots of authors who want to show a character who is afraid of "real... (more)
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time (2003)
Highly Rated!
Mark Haddon
This book is a delightful read. You won't want to put it down. It is like nothing you have ever read. A murder mystery where the victim is a dog. A lead character with autism that is passionate... (more)
The Da Vinci Code (2003)
Dan Brown
The last act of a dying curator at the Louvre is an attempt to pass on, in code, a secret that he did not want to take to the grave. Among the things needed to "decode" this secret message is a recognition... (more)
Dark Matter: The Private Life of Sir Isaac Newton (2002)
Philip Kerr
A multiple-murder mystery which outlandishly casts Newton in the role of Sherlock Holmes during his tenure as Warden at the British Royal Mint (Watson is played Christopher Ellis, nephew of mathematician... (more)
De Impossibilitate Vitae and Prognoscendi (1971)
Highly Rated!
Stanislaw Lem
This is a philosophical discourse (intended as a parody, but I swear I've read serious papers that were very much like it) in which the author argues that probablity theory makes no sense since it is... (more)
Dead Ancients Trilogy (2008)
Peter Hobbs
Pythagoras explains in first person his celebrated theorem, complete with diagrams and shaded triangles. It is a source of substantial chagrin to him because it naturally leads to the irrational numbers.... (more)
Dear Dumb Diary Year Two #1: School. Hasn't This Gone on Long Enough? (2012)
Jim Benton
An extremely witty, funny look at the psychology of a second-grader who hates mathematics. As she records her thoughts in her diary, you see glimpses of daily issues which irk and stagger a young child.... (more)
Death and the Compass (La Muerte y La Brujula) (1968)
Highly Rated!
Jorge Luis Borges
This is considered one of Borges' greatest short stories, and was even made into a film by "RepoMan" director Alex Cox. The following review from Alejandro Satz explains the mathematical content, but... (more)
Death of a Doxy (1966)
Rex Stout
The murder victim's brother-in-law is a high school math teacher. Nero Wolfe believes this to be relevant at one point, even quoting some mathematical history from an encyclopedia. I... (more)
The Death of Archimedes (1923)
Karel Čapek
As history usually tells the story, Archimedes is killed by a Roman soldier who did not realize who he was. In this version, however, the centurion is well aware of who he is speaking with. While he... (more)
Deception (2003)
Eric Altman
The differential geometer who has discovered a formula for the lifetime of tiny black holes is the only decent character in this book. That is not to say that the others are poorly written, just that... (more)
Decoded (2002)
Mai Jia
This novel tells the story of Rong Jinzhen, a mathematical genius who becomes a cryptographer in Mao's secret intelligence agency. The author, who is a well-known award-winning author in China, supposedly... (more)
Deep Lay the Dead (1942)
Frederick C. Davis
This is a decent but familiar and unremarkable murder mystery, the kind in which an odd assortment of people are trapped together in a house, not knowing which of them is the killer. In this case, they... (more)
Delicious Rivers (2006)
Ellen Maddow
This collage of absurd and entertaining scenes at a NYC post office (and the music and choreography to which they are performed) were all inspired by the mathematics of Penrose Tilings. In particular,... (more)
A Deprogrammer's Tale (2000)
Colin Adams
This spoof presents the attempts of math professors to convince students to become math majors and the subsequent interest of those students in math as if it were a religious cult. Told from the point... (more)
Der Tag ohne Abend (The Day without Evening) (1925)
Leo Perutz
Der Tag ohne Abend/The Day without Evening is a short story which alludes to the life of Evariste Galois and to Augustine's theology. Perutz' protagonist is called Georges Durval, he lives at the beginning... (more)
The Devotion of Suspect X [Yôgisha X no kenshin] (2005)
Keigo Higashino
Reclusive high school math teacher Tetsuya Ishigami is "devoted" to two things: his math research and his neighbor, Yasuko Hanaoka. When Hanaoka and her daughter kill her abusive ex-husband, they are... (more)
Diary of a Bad Year (2007)
John Maxwell Coetzee
J.M. Coetzee has a Nobel Prize in literature (2003) and an undergraduate degree in mathematics (University of Cape Town, 1961). It is therefore not too surprising to find him included in my list of mathematical... (more)
Digital Fortress (1996)
Dan Brown
In a final act of defiance, a young Japanese genius threatens to make public his "unbreakable code" if the NSA does not confess that it has been reading even encrypted e-mails. The heroine of the story... (more)
Dirac (2006)
Dietmar Dath
The protagonist tries to write a novel about the mathematician and physicist Paul Dirac. Excerpts from Dirac's works and Geoffrey A. Landis' novel "Ripples in the Dirac Sea" are implemented in the plot, so you can learn a lot about mathematics and quantum physics. (As far as I know, this novel is currently only available in the original German. Please correct me if I'm wrong.) (more)
A Disappearing Number (2007)
Highly Rated!
Simon McBurney
Scenes of Srinivasa Ramanujan's collaboration with G.H. Hardy around the time of World War I are mixed in with modern storylines including an Indian physicist who has applied Ramanujan's work to String... (more)
Disciple of the Masses (2008)
Xujun Eberlein
A pathos-filled short story set in rural China toward the end of Mao’s Cultural Revolution. It captures beautifully the sense of loss inherent in a centrally-directed and enforced revolution, with... (more)
The Discovery of Heaven (1992)
Harry Mulisch
This novel is considered to be the magnum opus of one of the greats of Dutch postwar literature. (Original Dutch title _De Ontdekking van de Hemel_, English translation 1996, film version in 2001) _The... (more)
Division by Zero (1991)
Highly Rated!
Ted Chiang
Answers the question: what would happen if we found out that mathematics is inconsistent? This is a great piece of mathematical fiction. (Thanks to Frank Chess who pointed it out to me.) Renee... (more)
Do the Math #2: The Writing on the Wall (2008)
Wendy Lichtman
In this sequel to Do the Math: Secrets, Lies and Algebra, a middle school student who likes to think of things in terms of mathematical notation (for example, calling her friend Miranda "|m|" because she... (more)
Do the Math: A Novel of the Inevitable (2008)
Philip Persinger
A math graduate student becomes an intern for a math professor famous for his `theory of inevitability' but ends up also helping his wife (an even more famous author of romance novels) write a book using... (more)
Do the Math: Secrets, Lies, and Algebra (2007)
Wendy Lichtman
A math-loving eighth grader applies mathematical concepts to problems in her social life. According to the book jacket, the author has a degree in mathematics and writes pieces for many periodicals.... (more)
The Dobie Paradox (1993)
Desmond Cory
Another Professor Dobie mystery (see also The Catalyst and The Mask of Zeus) in which the so-called "Columbo with a chair in mathematics" solves the mystery of the murder of a young girl. There is less... (more)
Domaine (2009)
Patric Chiha (screenplay and director)
This subtle, slow and depressing French film concerns the relationship between a homosexual teenager and his alcoholic aunt. She is a math professor whose research is connected to Gödel's Theorem, and... (more)
D'Alembert's Principle: A Novel in Three Panels (2000)
Andrew Crumey
A fictionalized presentation of the life (and love) of Jean le Rond D'Alembert (1717-1783), best known -- to me at least -- as the first to study and solve the famous linear wave equation u_xx + c u_tt = 0. See the online bookreview at at MAA Online. (more)
Echoes from the Past (2006)
Edward Michel-Bird
A young mathematics professor becomes involved in a mystery and a love affair when the identity of his true biological father is called into question. No mathematical ideas or results are discussed in... (more)
The Eight (1989)
Katherine Neville
This book really is AMAZING. I have read it numerous times and it always gets better. Math plays an important part in this story and the connections made in the plot are fascinating. This book is an... (more)
The Einstein Enigma (2010)
José Rodrigues Dos Santos
An adventure novel whose MacGuffin is a proof of the existence of God, formulated and hidden by Albert Einstein. There is more talk than action, which may disappoint some readers. For those interested... (more)
El matemático (1988)
Arturo Azuela
It is a kind of bildungsroman narrated by a sexagenarian mathematician who makes a mathematical discovery in the verge of the year 2000. Of course, there is the detail of considering the year 2000 the... (more)
Electric (2004)
Chad Taylor
Three of the characters in this novel are mathematicians. Sam is a former statistician who now works at a successful Auckland data retrieval company. Because he is attracted to the hydrodynamic equations... (more)
An Elegant Solution (2013)
Paul Robertson
A fictionalized account of the life of Leonhard Euler, focusing on his relationship with the Bernoullis and told from the perspective of Christian theology. The novel also takes on aspects of a murder... (more)
The Elusive Bullet (1931)
John Rhode (aka Cecil John Charles Street)
Dr. Priestly is a professor whose hobby is "the mathematical detection of crime". In this story, he must convince the police inspector that the man he plans to accuse of murder is, in fact, innocent. The... (more)
The Elusive Chauffeur (2008)
David H. Brown
This mystery novel appears to have been conceived as a means for the author to "spread the word" about two things that are important to him: mathematics and his Christian faith. In it, a private detective... (more)
The Embalmer's Book of Recipes (2009)
Ann Lingard
An unusual and intimate novel that follows three women: a widowed sheep-farmer, a mathematician who studies quasicrystals, and a taxidermist (whose included blog entries explain the title of the book).... (more)
Emilie: La Marquise Du Châtelet Defends Her Life Tonight (2010)
Lauren Gunderson
This play allows Gabrielle Émilie Le Tonnelier de Breteuil, marquise du Châtelet, who was a successful mathematical physicist until her tragic death at age 42 in the year 1749, to analyze her own life... (more)
Emmy Noether: The Mother of Modern Algebra (2008)
Margaret B.W. Tent
A semi-fictional biography of Emmy Noether written for young adults. The book has received positive reviews from many mathematicians who hope (as, one supposes, does the author) that young readers will... (more)
En busca de Klingsor (In Search of Klingsor) (1999)
Jorge Volpi
The story is highly mathematical, involving a German Character called Gustav Links, though the main character is a young American physicist called Francis Bacon (sounds good). The idea is that this... (more)
Enigma (1995)
Robert Harris / Tom Stoppard
In this this espionage story set in England's Bletchley Park at the height of the Second World War, Tom Jericho is a clever mathematician at the famous code breaking facility who -- either despite or because... (more)
Erasmus with Freckles [aka Dear Brigitte] (1963)
John Haase
The novel Erasmus with Freckles (1963) about a college English professor who hates math and science whose son is a math prodigy, was adapted into the film Dear Brigitte (1965) and re-released as a novel... (more)
The Escher Twist (2002)
Jane Langton
Part of the author's Homer/Mary Kelly series of mysteries based in Concord MA. The plot centers on a crystallographer falling in love with a stranger at an exhibit of Escher work, and... (more)
The Estimator (Georges) (2007)
Lynn Margulis
Georges Standon computes the probabilities of unlikely events for a living, especially those relating to outer space, but this does not prepare him for the complications in his personal life when an old... (more)
Euclid Alone (1975)
William F. Orr
An administrator in the math department of a major research institute has to decide how to handle a paper which proves the inconsistency of Euclidean geometry. Math is definitely central to this... (more)
Euclid and His Modern Rivals (1879)
Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (aka Lewis Carroll)
I have long known that mathematician Charles Dodgson, who wrote the famous Alice stories under the pseudonym "Lewis Carroll", also wrote a book defending Euclid's ancient text as the best for teaching... (more)
Evariste Galois (1965)
Alexadre Astruc (writer and director)
Short film about the romantic and tragic death of Galois, the young mathematician whose research laid the foundation for Group Theory. I haven't actually seen the film, but the following quote (stolen... (more)
Evil Genius (2005)
Catherine Jinks
I am pleased to report that the titular "evil genius" in this children's novel is not the stereotypical cold mathematician in so many other works of mathematical fiction. In fact, the title character... (more)
The Expert (1999)
Lee Gruenfeld
A techno-legal thriller centered on a trial over cryptographic exportation. The chip in question uses properties of large Mersenne primes to provide an unbreakable code. This explanation seems to... (more)
A Fable for Moderns (1955)
Lord Dunsany
A bank employee becomes bored with the restrictions of arithmetic and decides to let his mathematical computations enjoy the freedom of "modern" poets and artists. Although he loses his job at the bank,... (more)
The Facts of Death (1998)
Raymond Benson
Would you believe...James Bond battling a mathematical cult bent on world destruction? (It could happen.) In this latter day Bond novel, the villian is a dynamic leader of a cult who bases his teachings... (more)
The Fall of a Sparrow (1998)
Robert Hellenga
In this novel, a man travels to Italy to testify at the trial of the terrorists who murdered his daughter in a 1980 train bombing. Florin Diacu, a mathematician who has written about chaos theory and... (more)
Falling Umbrella (2002)
Julia Whitty
In this short story, an aging mathematician witnesses a woman with an umbrella jumping (falling?) off of the Golden Gate bridge. Mathematical terminology is tossed around reasonably well ("proofs by contradiction",... (more)
False Witness (2007)
Randy D. Singer
An espionage novel (with an embedded Christian religious message) about a mathematician's decryption algorithm with the potential to disrupt internet security. (more)
Family Ties (Episode: My Tutor) (1985)
Jace Richdale (Screenplay) / Sam Weisman (Director)
I'm writing to bring your attention to a television episode for possible addition to your mathematical fiction website. The television show is "Family Ties" and the episode is entitled, "My Tutor".... (more)
Fantasia Mathematica : Being a Set of Stories, Together With a Group of Oddments and Diversions, All Drawn from ... (1958)
Highly Rated!
Clifton Fadiman (editor)
This is the first of the two wonderful, classic collections of mathematically flavored literature and such by Clifton Fadiman. (The second is "Mathematical Magpie".) Fortunately, it is now available... (more)
The Favor (1994)
Donald Petrie (Director) / Sara Parriott (Writer) / Josann McGibbon (Writer)
A romantic comedy in which a woman married to a math professor wonders what it would have been like to have been with her old boyfriend and so convinces her girlfriend to sleep with him and report back.... (more)
Für immer in Honig (Forever in Honey) (2005)
Dietmar Dath
Site visitor Hauke Reddmann writes from Germany to tell me about this experimental German novel which includes diagrams from category theory. (For those who might not know, category theory is an abstract... (more)
Fear of Math (1985)
Peter Cameron
A feather-touch story about a young woman who comes to New York to do an MBA - and has to pass a Calculus course, a pre-requisite for an MBA. A brief description of how utterly lost she is after her... (more)
Fermat's Best Theorem (1995)
Janet Kagan
A student comes up with what appears to be a proof of Fermat's Last Theorem. So, she gives it to her professor hoping that he will find a mistake in it (see below). It turns out that the professor is... (more)
Fermat's Room (La Habitacion de Fermat) (2007)
Luis Piedrahita / Rodrigo Sopeña
In this Spanish thriller, four mathematicians are invited to a booby trapped room where they must solve mathematical puzzles to prevent the walls from closing in and crushing them. This leaves them little... (more)
The Fibonacci Confessions (2010)
Graham Wade
A historical novel telling the life story of Leonardo Pisano, perhaps the most famous European mathematician of the Middle Ages, better known today as Fibonacci. We know very little of the historical... (more)
The Finan-seer (1949)
Edward L. Locke
This is a story about a Mathematics and an Economics professor who use game theory to beat the stock market. The university's endowment fund, having lost significant amounts in the market, is desperate... (more)
The First Circle (1968)
Alexandr Solzhenitsyn
Solzhenitsyn had been a math major until Hitler and Stalin came up with a different career path for him, and TFC is based on his own brief stay in the luxury side of the Gulag, which he claims saved his... (more)
The Five Hysterical Girls Theorem (2000)
Rinne Groff
I think this play about a number theory conference at the British seaside at the turn of the 20th century may be misunderstood. The plot revolves around the neuroses of the senior researcher, Moses Vazsonyi,... (more)
Flame War: A Cyberthriller (1997)
Joshua Quittner / Michelle Slatalla
A brilliant math professor invents a code that even the government will not be able to break. When he dies in an explosion, his daughter and the law student who (unknowingly) delivered the bomb that killed him work together to bring the killers to justice. (more)
Flea Circus: A Brief Bestiary of Grief (2012)
Mandy Keifetz
A mathematically inclined woman deals with her grief over the suicide of her lover, an entomologist who runs a flea circus, in this award winning novel. Although the cover summary describes her as a... (more)
Flow Down Like Silver: Hypatia of Alexandria (2009)
Ki Longfellow
Another novel about the historical figure Hypatia of Alexandria whose murder by Christian zealots as the Ancient Greek culture faded away makes her a good subject for authors with certain political and... (more)
Flowers Stained with Moonlight (2005)
Catherine Shaw
In this sequel to The Three-Body Problem, Vanessa Duncan is called upon to save an innocent young woman, falsely suspected of murdering her older and unlikable husband. Although there is no mathematics... (more)
Forever Changes (2008)
Brendan Halpin
A very somber novel written for young adults about a mathematically talented teenager with cystic fibrosis. Her math teacher helps comfort her by making an analogy between the important role of the infinitesimals in calculus and the importance of even a short life. (more)
The Forever Marriage (2012)
Ann Bauer
The unlikeable and unfaithful wife of a math professor only learns to appreciate the husband she never loved after his untimely death. The mathematician is humble but otherwise stereotypically brilliant (offered full professorships immediately upon receiving his PhD), unemotional and unromantic. (more)
Forgotten Milestones in Computing No. 7: The Quenderghast Bullian Algebraic Calculator (1990)
Alex Stewart
A very creative story about a mathematician which History has entirely forgotten - one "Thaddeus Q. Quenderghast III, of Nettlebend, Wyoming". Born around 1821, a contemporary of Charles Babbage and... (more)
The Four-Color Puzzle: Falling Off the Map (2013)
Lior Samson
A math professor becomes intrigued with a high school student he meets at an online tutoring site when she presents him with what appears to be a short and very clever proof of the four-color theorem.... (more)
The Fractal Murders (2001)
Highly Rated!
Mark Cohen
In this award winning (Top Ten Mysteries on the Book Sense 76 Fall List for 2002) mystery novel "Hard-Boiled" Detective Pepper Keane is hired by a tall and attractive math professor (with whom he of course... (more)
Fractions (2011)
Buzz Mauro
A math teacher realizes that the father of one of his students is a man with whom he has had an anonymous sexual relationship. There is some discussion of math education in general, and about hypothetical... (more)
The Franklin's Tale (in The Canterbury Tales) (1390)
Geoffrey Chaucer
Aurelius of Brittany greatly desires Dorigen, a married woman who has not seen her husband, the knight, for some years. Dorigen puts off Aurelius's advances by promising that she will yield when he... (more)
A Frayed Knot (2009)
Felix Culp
Culp takes a classic mystery by Poe and retells it with knotted ropes taking the place of people. For example: Tyler Trefoil was a Bowline knot....Salty-fibered seafaring knots such as Trefoil - as... (more)
The French Mathematician (1998)
Highly Rated!
Tom Petsinis
A fictionalized account (in first person) of the life and untimely death of Evariste Galois, originator of the mathematical subject now known as group theory. This is a story about a mathematician,... (more)
Freud's Megalomania: A Novel (2001)
Israel Rosenfield
This is an intriguing piece of work, mixing fact with fiction and different styles (from the scientific essay to the diary), probably best understood as an ironic look upon the "Freud wars".... (more)
Frobenius: A Sesquilogue (1996)
Lee Rudolph
A fictionalized account of the life of Hamilton as remembered by Frobenius (in verse). (A slightly different version was published in the Mathematical Intelligencer.) (more)
Furuhata Ninzaburô (Episode 13) (1995)
Kôki Mitani
In the last episode of the first season of this popular Japanese detective show, the inspector must solve the mystery of the murder of an award-winning mathematician. It turns out that the murderer was... (more)
Gödel, Escher Bach: an eternal golden braid (1979)
Highly Rated!
Douglas Hofstadter
Pulitzer Prize wining book whose chapters alternate between fictional "dialogues" and more standard non-fiction format to present ideas from philosophy, art, music and psychology as well as mathematical... (more)
G103 (2006)
Highly Rated!
Oliver Tearne (director)
This short film "shows a surreal day in the life of a mathematics undergraduate" taking the math course G103 at the University of Warwick. In fact, the Website makes it sound as if it is an informational... (more)
Galileo (1938)
Bertolt Brecht
Of course, Brecht's biographical play takes more of a political than a mathematical view of the life of the famous astronomer/mathematician. Note that Joseph Losey, who directed the first American production... (more)
Gambler's Rose (2000)
G.W. Hawkes
A picaresque novel about the Halloran family who live by grifting. Charging lunch to their room in a hotel where they aren’t staying and winning a fabulous yacht in a game of poker are the high points,... (more)
Gaming Instinct (Spieltrieb) (2004)
Juli Zeh
[The math in this novel which was a best seller in Germany in 2004 is] recognizable not only for experts, so it is mentioned in almost every review. Zeh learned about game theory and the prisoner's... (more)
The Gangs of New Math (2005)
Robert W. Vallin
This humorous short story about a brawl in a pub of mathematicians appeared in the November 2005 issue of Math Horizons magazine. There is quite a bit of "mathematical name-dropping" in the form of quick... (more)
Gauß, Eisenstein, and the ``third'' proof of the Quadratic Reciprocity Theorem: Ein kleines Schauspiel (1994)
Reinhard C. Laubenbacher / David J. Pengelley
It is presented as a dialogue/drama between Gauss and Eisenstein, talking about the third proof of Gauss's reciprocity theorem (perhaps the actors are supposed to draw symbols in the air to make the... (more)
Gauntlet (2009)
Richard Aaron
Autistic mathematician, Hamilton Turbee, helps stop a terrorist plot. The book has received praise for its portrayal of an autism and as a thriller. Of course, I like to see mathematicians portrayed... (more)
Geek Abroad (2008)
Piper Banks
Miranda Bloom, the mathematical prodigy first introduced in Geek High returns in another novel for teenagers, this time emphasizing her participation in mathematical competitions. For instance, we see... (more)
Geek High (2007)
Piper Banks
Miranda Bloom is a mathematically talented girl trying to deal with normal teenage problems (family, boys, etc.) Although mental calculations have always come easy to Miranda, she does not appear to be... (more)
The Genius (1901)
Nikolai Georgievich Garin-Mikhailovskii
The Russian Engineer N.G. Mikhailovskii (1852-1906) was also an accomplished author using the pseudonym "N.G. Garin". His short story, "The Genius", tells about an Jewish man who fills his notebooks with... (more)
Geometria dell'apocalisse (1999)
Marco Abate (writer) / R. Bogagni (artist)
Italian comic book whose title translates as "Geometry of the Apocalypse". A (definitely not successful, if I may say so myself) attempt of mixing fractals, impossible murders, racial issues, voodoo gods and the wonderful city of Venice. Remember the city, and forget this story. Published in Lazarus Ledd 68, Star Comics, Perugia, 1999, 95 pp (more)
The Geometrics of Johnny Day (1941)
Nelson Bond
Old MacDonald had a firm, and in that firm he had a young mathematician who wanted to win his daughter's hand in marriage. MacDonald was skeptical: ""Ye want a job, eh? And just what is it that ye... (more)
Geometry in the South Pacific (1927)
Sylvia Warner
A chapter from Warner's novel (more)
The Geometry of Love (1966)
John Cheever
An engineer is inspired by a passing truck from "Euclid's Dry Cleaning" to apply geometric principles to his own marital problems. He finds that interpreting his family as a triangle has the advantage... (more)
The Geometry of Narrative (1983)
Hilbert Schenck
This story begins with a character who is a graduate student of English proposing to his professor a new geometric approach to literary analysis. As he points out, this has been used to some limited degree... (more)
The Geometry of Sisters (2009)
Luanne Rice
Young Beck hopes her mathematical skills will somehow bring back her dead father. Other reviewers have mostly complained that this novel does not work as the serious family drama it intends to be. From... (more)
Getting Rid of Fluff (1908)
Ellis Parker Butler
A humorous story in which two men formulate a mathematical "law of scared dogs" to help in frightening away an annoying dog named Fluff. "I bet if Sir Isaac Newon had had Fluff as long as you have had... (more)
Getting Somewhere (1995)
Jenny Pausacker
In this Australian novel for teenagers, a student who lives in the shadow of her twin is able to find her own identity and some self-respect with the help of a maths teacher. The teacher challenges her... (more)
Getting the Combination (1982)
Isaac Asimov
Griswold figures out a combination by correctly guessing the next number in a sequence. AKA "Playing the Numbers". Published originally in the June 1982 issue of Gallery. (more)
Ghost Dancer (2006)
John Case
The blurb on the cover describes anti-hero Jack Wilson as a "brilliant mathematician" and also a "diabolical madman" in this thriller based on the popular conspiracy theory claiming that Nikola Tesla is... (more)
Gifted: A Novel (2007)
Nikita Lalwani
This novel tells the coming-of-age story of a girl whose Indian father is a professor of mathematics in Wales. She is talented at mathematics and even uses sophisticated math in her everyday life (e.g.... (more)
The Gigantic Fluctuation (1973)
Arkady Strugatsky / Boris Strugatsky
This is an oddly funny story about a man who becomes the "focus point of all miracles in the world", a "gigantic fluctuation". He somehow appears to attract extremely improbably but possible statistical... (more)
A Girl Named Digit (2012)
Annabel Monaghan
A girl nicknamed "Digit" by her classmates because of her mathematical abilities and interests discovers a terrorist plot and begins working with the FBI to catch a double agent in this adventure aimed... (more)
The Girl Who Played with Fire (2009)
Stieg Larsson
In this sequel to the stunningly popular The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, the self-taught, nearly autistic, young genius, Lisbeth Salander, once again becomes involved in a thrilling mystery allied with... (more)
The Givenchy Code (2005)
Julie Kenner
You've got to love the tag lines for this book: "A heel-breaking adventure in code-breaking that will bring out the math geek and the fashionista in you". "Cryptography is the new black". A woman with... (more)
Go, Little Book (1972)
Isaac Asimov
Combinatorics is used to break a "matchbook code". One of the "Black Widower" mysteries written for Ellery Queen magazine. See also these [2, 3] other BW stories. (more)
God and Stephen Hawking (2000)
Robin Hawdon
Although most people know him as a "scientist", Stephen Hawking is probably the best known living mathematician. (Technically, he is the Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at Cambridge University.) This play examines his life and work. (more)
God Doesn't Shoot Craps (2006)
Richard Armstrong
Danny Pellegrino is a con artist who joins up with inventor/genius Virgil Kirk to market a mathematical get-rich-quick scheme which, amazingly, actually works. The gambling scheme which Kirk calls "Win by Losing" is based on (more)
The Gold Cup (2000)
Lucas Reiner
A character study of the patrons in a Los Angeles coffee shop, including Jack, a mathematician. Jack is widowed, anti-social, and spends his time trying to "penetrate zero". (more)
The Gold-Bug (1843)
Edgar Allan Poe
Not only does this very famous Poe story contain a (very little) bit of mathematics in the form of a probabilistic approach to cryptography and a geometric description of the treasure hunt on the ground... (more)
Goldman's Theorem (2009)
R.J. Stern
Hired by the little-known "University of Northern Vermont", Professor Goldman does not seem to be living up to his promise as a great math researcher. Under pressure from his superiors, he claims to have... (more)
Good Benito (1994)
Highly Rated!
Alan P. Lightman
This novel presents many instances in the life of mathematical physicist Bennett Lang, the "Benito" of the title. The different scenes, presented non-chronologically, cover most of his life from early... (more)
Good Will (1989)
Jane Smiley
A poor couple living on a rural farm deal with the intrusions of the "outside world", including an affluent and worldly African-American math professor and her young daughter. I don't think there... (more)
Good Will Hunting (1997)
Gus Van Sant (director) / Matt Damon (Screenplay)
A young janitor at MIT solves a (supposedly) difficult problem left on a black board by a Fields medalist. This successful film did make many more people aware of the existence of the Fields medal.... (more)
Gospel Truths (2007)
J.G. Sandom
Another novel in the same genre as The Da Vinci Code – an Earth-shaking secret which can destroy the Roman Catholic Church (as a character says, “Can you imagine the headline? ‘Christ found to... (more)
Gravity's Rainbow (1973)
Highly Rated!
Thomas Pynchon
In this novel "there's "mathematicians' graffiti" and a lot of musing on the Poisson-curve. See, for ex. page 140 in the Pengiun 20th century classics edition. I was impressed with Pynchon's... (more)
Gulliver's Posthumous Travels to Riemann's Land and Lobachevskia (1947)
William Pepperell Montague
In this sequel to Swift's classic Gulliver's Travels (which is also mathematical), Barnard College philosopher Montague tells us of his dreams in which Gulliver shares with him the non-Euclidean geometry... (more)
Gut Symmetries (1997)
Jeanette Winterson
Two love affairs: one between a pair of physicists and the other between the female physicist and her lovers wife. (The author presents this analogy: A love triangle reduced to a line.) It is often... (more)
Hannah, Divided (2002)
Highly Rated!
Adele Griffin
The story of a 13 year old girl living in rural Pennsylvania in 1934, "Hannah" presents us with yet another fictional account of someone who is not only talented in mathematics but also psychologically... (more)
Hapgood (1988)
Tom Stoppard
A brief discussion of Euler's solution to the Königsburg Bridge Problem appears in Stoppard's play about espionage and quantum physics. When a British physicist double-agent is accused of giving... (more)
The Happy Numbers of Julius Miles (2013)
Jim Keeble
The characters in this twisted tale include a transexual "Cupid" with a drug problem, a crooked businessman, a Somali babysitter, a four-year old boy of unknown paternity, a London police officer, the... (more)
Hard Times (1853)
Charles Dickens
A suggestion for a novel to be added to your website Mathematical Fiction: In Charles Dickens's "Hard Times", poor schoolgirl Sissy Jupe is struggling in an educational system that is obsessed... (more)
Herr Doctor's Wondrous Smile (1998)
Highly Rated!
Vladimir Tasic
In this short story, a logician who really does not take the superstitions of numerology seriously is invited to a "fringe" conference where he delivers a talk on the mystical implications of Gregory... (more)
Het gemillimeterde hoofd (The Cropped Head) (1967)
Highly Rated!
Gerrit Krol
It was published in 1967 by Querido, Amsterdam, and seems to have been translated into Italian (La testa millimetrata). There is a lot of mathematics in this experimental novel (Hans Freudenthal judged:... (more)
Hickory Dickory Shock! The Tale of Techies (2010)
Sundip Gorai
This novel, which the author tells me is a best-seller in India, is a mystery thriller whose protagonist is a young man named "210". In the first chapter, which is available for free at the book's official... (more)
A Higher Geometry (2006)
Highly Rated!
Sharelle Byars Moranville
A teenage girl in the 1950's pursues her dream of becoming a mathematician in the American midwest over a background of sexism, romance and Cold War politics. This fictional account mirrors some of the... (more)
A Hill on the Dark Side of the Moon (1983)
Lennart Hjulström
A Swedish film about the life of Sonia Kovalevsky. The title refers, apparently, to a site on the moon which was actually named in her honor. The film tends to avoid the mathematics (for example, melodramatic... (more)
Hole in the Paper Sky (2008)
Howard Kingkade (Screenplay) / Bill Purple (Director)
An anti-social mathematics graduate student is forced to take a job in his university's psychology department where he gets to know a dog used for laboratory experiments. In risking all to save the dog,... (more)
Holy Disorders (1945)
Edmund Crispin
Edmund Crispin, pseudonym of Bruce Montgomery is generally considered the last of the British high literate mystery writers. He wrote a series of mysteries starring Gervase Fen, Oxford don, highly... (more)
Homage (1995)
Ross Kagan Marks (director) / Mark Medoff (screenplay)
This film (and the 1994 play "The Homage that Follows" on which it was based) explores the mind of a murderer, who in this case happens to be a man with a Ph.D. in mathematics. He turns down a position... (more)
The Housekeeper and the Professor (Hakase No Aishita Sushiki) (2004)
Highly Rated!
Yoko Ogawa
In the Japanese novel Hakase No Aishita Sushiki, a young single mother is hired to care for an older mathematician who is suffering from anterograde amnesia caused by a car accident. The professor, who... (more)
Hypatia (2000)
Mac Wellman
Artistically produced off-Broadway play about the famous female mathematician who was tortured to death by Christian monks in the 5th Century. (more)
Hypatia: New Foes with an Old Face (1852)
Charles Kingsley
A fictionalized account of the life and murder of Hypatia, once recognized as the greatest living mathematician in the Greco-Roman world. This book, written in 1852 by Reverend Kingsley, focuses more... (more)
I Married You for Happiness (2011)
Highly Rated!
Lily Tuck
A bittersweet and beautiful work of literature in which an artist sitting beside the corpse of her recently deceased mathematician husband recalls snippets of their lives: how they met, conceiving and... (more)
I padroni del caos (2003)
A. Russo (writer) / Esposito Brothers (artists)
An Italian comic book whose title translates as "Masters of Chaos". Not much mathematics in here, but several of the characters are mathematicians. They've better not talk about mathematics (the writer... (more)
Ibn Hakkan al-Bokhari, Dead in his Labyrinth (1951)
Jorge Luis Borges
Two friends, a poet and a mathematician (who is described as the author of a study on "the theorem which Fermat did not write in the margin of a page of Diophantus") arrive at an abandoned house in the... (more)
L' idée fixe du Savant Cosinus (1899)
Christophe -- Georges Colomb
This humorous and profusely illustrated French book is considered to be an early example of what we might today call a "comic book". Cosinus is a mathematician who desperately wants to travel around... (more)
The Imaginary Number (1956)
Yizhak Oren
In this peculiar and humorous story, a complete stranger shows up at physicist Benjamin's door, with an imaginary tale of their childhood friendship, marriage to twin sisters, and his deed to certain... (more)
The Imitation Game (2014)
Morten Tyldum (director) / Graham Moore (screenplay)
I do not yet know much about this film other than that Benedict Cumberbatch stars as Alan Turing, Keira Knightley is Joan Clark and Allen Leech (Downton Abbey) is a spy. The title, presumably, is a reference to the Turing Test. (more)
Imperativ (1982)
Krzysztof Zanussi
It is about a mathematician (a probability professor) in existential crisis about the nature of necessity and chance. (more)
In Good King Charles's Golden Days (1939)
George Bernard Shaw
Considered by many to be Shaw's worst play, this late example of his witty writing may be of special interest to visitors to this site. It takes place at the home of Sir Isaac Newton where he is joined... (more)
In the Light of What We Know (2014)
Zia Haider Rahman
The plot of this novel involves the financial industry around the time of the 2008 crash, Afghanistan after the American invasion, and the romance between a very clever man who grew up poor in Bangladesh... (more)
In the Shadow of Gotham (2009)
Stefanie Pintoff
A murder mystery in which the victim is a female math grad student at Columbia University working on the Riemann Hypothesis. Gifted in math, Sarah had just begun her fourth year in Columbia's graduate... (more)
Incompleteness (2004)
Apostolos Doxiadis
A play by the author of Uncle Petros and Goldbach's Conjecture on the last, sad days in the life of Kurt Gödel. After a "workshop production" in Athens, Greece (June 24-28, 2003) the show's official... (more)
The Indian Clerk (2007)
David Leavitt
Acclaimed author, Leavitt, presents a fictionalized version of one of the most famous "human interest stories" in mathematical history: the short life and career of Srinivasa Ramanujan. Focusing largely... (more)
Infinite Jest (1996)
David Foster Wallace
The twenty page passage on Eschaton, with the Mean Value Theorem footnote, is possibly the best use of mathematics in fiction I've ever seen. this book has some of the most interesting and complete... (more)
The Infinite Tides (2012)
Christian Kiefer
A somber novel about an astronaut whose daughter dies tragically and wife leaves him while he is in space. Since he and his daughter were both mathematical prodigies, for whom math was not only a beloved... (more)
Infinitely Near (1999)
Anthony Cristiano
An 8 minute long, black and white film with no dialogue showing intertwined scenes of a student having trouble with the concept of a limit in his calculus class and other scenes from his life. The director... (more)
The Infinities (2010)
John Banville
As mathematician Adam Godley lies seemingly unconscious and dying in bed, his family and professional rival wander through his home. The title is a reference to the computational anomalies in quantum... (more)
Infinity (1996)
Patricia Broderick
It's about the early years of Richard Feynman, up to the completion of the Manhattan Project, and the death of his wife. What I like particularily is a scene in NY's Chinatown where [Feynman] races... (more)
The Ingenious Mr. Spinola (1924)
Ernest Bramah
Max Carrados is a blind amateur detective genius, quite popular in the early 20th century, but mostly forgotten since then. (Such is also the fate of E.B.'s Kai Lung fantasy stories.) ... (more)
Inquirendo Island (1886)
Hudor Genone
A very long, thinly disguised satire on sectarian splits in Religion, fairly nicely written. A man lost at sea is ship-wrecked on an island called “Inquirendo Island”, probably a sarcastic aside... (more)
Inspector Morimoto and the Sushi Chef: A Detective Story set in Japan (2005)
Timothy Hemion (aka Anthony Hayter)
In this installment of the Inspector Morimoto series of novels, a man the detectives believe to be innocent seems likely to be convicted of robbing ATMs. A key component of the evidence against him is... (more)
An Instance of the Fingerpost (1999)
Iain Pears
A murder mystery set in Oxford in the 1660's. Mathematician John Wallis plays a major role as a character in the book (and Newton a small role). See the review at MAA online. A very fine piece... (more)
Into Thin Air (2000)
Colin Adams
This was the first of Colin Adams' ``Mathematically Bent'' columns for the Mathematical Intelligencer, published back in Vol.22, No. 1, 2000. It combines many of the analogies between mountain climbing... (more)
Intoxicating Heights (Höhenrausch. Die Mathematik des XX. Jahrhunderts in zwanzig Gehirnen) (2003)
Dietmar Dath
Word by word I would translate Dath's "Höhenrausch" as "High-altitude Euphoria. Mathematics of the 20th century in 20 brains". It is a collection of short stories and fictional portraits of (I copy... (more)
An Invisible Sign of My Own (2000)
Aimee Bender
Mona Gray is a second grade math teacher for whom math is not only a job, but a beloved friend, an obsession and a security blanket. In this first novel we learn about the events that have shaped her... (more)
Irrational Numbers (2008)
Robert Spiller
Another mystery about high school math teacher Bonnie Pinkwater by the author of Witch of Agnesi. Like the others in this series, this is a murder mystery with adult themes (violence, homosexuality, etc.)... (more)
The Ishango Bone (2012)
Paul Hastings Wilson
Amiele becomes the first female student at Trinity College and goes on to disprove the Riemann Hypothesis at the age of 26, but is denied the Fields Medal. Written as if it were her life story recorded... (more)
It's My Turn (1980)
Claudia Weill (director)
About a mathematician who writes a proof of the Snake Lemma at the speed of light. Her love interest was Michael Douglas, some sort of athlete. One mathematician I know claims he wrote a paper just... (more)
The Jester and the Mathematician (2000)
Alan R. Gordon
A short historical fiction piece involving Leonardo of Pisa ("Fibonacci"). Interesting story which features Fibonacci talking briefly about his rabbit-series/sequence, his abacus-duel with Pisa's foremost... (more)
Journey into a Dark Heart (1998)
Peter Hoeg
This story appears in the collection Tales of the Night made up of stories by Hoeg that are all set on the evening of March 19, 1929. In this one, a depressed young Danish mathematician takes a train... (more)
Jumpers (1989)
Tom Stoppard
In a philosophical monologue on the nature of morality, a main character considers Zeno's paradox and infinitesimals and imagines a circle as a limit of polygons. (more)
Kapitoil (2010)
Teddy Wayne
It is 1999 and Karim Issar is a Qatari programmer who has just moved to NYC to work on Wall Street. Karim understands the world through mathematics and equations, and wishes others did as well. He does... (more)
Kavanagh (1849)
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
In the fourth chapter of this novel by the famous poet, the school teacher of the title tries to convince his skeptical wife that mathematics can be poetic by reading to her from Lilavati. (This one chapter was published separately as Englishwoman's Domestic Magazine, 3 (1855), pages 257–62, and so I will consider it both as a short story and as an excerpt from a novel.) (more)
Kavita Through Glass (2002)
Emily Ishem Raboteau
A loosely practicing Muslim graduate student in mathematics has great difficulty understanding his Hindu wife. He tries to understand her, love, and life in general via mathematics, regarding which... (more)
Kepler: A Novel (1981)
John Banville
Johannes Kepler, the most famous Rennaissance court mathematician, is remembered today for his successes, especially his explicit description of planetary orbits. However, he also had some rather strange... (more)
A Killer Theorem (2007)
Colin Adams
Mangum, P.I. returns in this mystery in which the unproven Gauss' Last Lemma is wielded as a murder weapon. Apparently, a certain approach to proving it is so enticing that merely showing it to mathematicians... (more)
The Killion (1982)
Ian Frazier
Fans of Monty Python will recall the joke so funny that anyone who reads it dies laughing. Frazier brings us the mathematical analogue: a number so big that it kills anyone who tries to think about it.... (more)
Kim Possible (Episode: Mathter and Fervent) (2007)
Jim Peronto (script)
This episode of the Disney animated TV series "Kim Possible" is a comic book parody featuring a mathematical villain. As an English assignment, Kim Possible and Ron Stoppable have to write a paper... (more)
La fiamma sul ghiaccio (The Flame on the Ice) (2006)
Umberto Marino (director)
An Italian movie about a mathematician with Asperger's syndrome. The role of the protagonist is played by Raoul Bova. According to Bova, It's the story of a young mathematics professor afflicted with... (more)
La formula di Ramanujan (2001)
Marco Abate (writer) / P. Ongaro (artist)
A trip from Berkeley to India via Oxford to recover the lost Ramanujan's notebooks, pursued independently by two (again, realistic) mathematicians, both driven by revenge, though of different kind. Along... (more)
The Lady's Code (2006)
Samantha Saxon
The third in a series of romance novels about intelligent, confident women, The Lady's Code features Lady Juliet Pervell, who has ruined her reputation in social circles but earned an honorary degree in... (more)
Lambada (1990)
Joel Silbert (Director and Writer) / Sheldon Renan (Screenplay)
A blend of "Stand and Deliver" with "Dirty Dancing" with a high school math teacher who spends his evenings doing lambada dance moves in night clubs. He appears to be a very dedicated teacher, and in... (more)
The Last Casino (2004)
Pierre Gill (director) / Steven Westren (screenplay)
A fairly amateurish movie about a Math professor who is an expert card-counter and ipso facto, banned from most casinos. So he trains 3 math graduates to count cards and work as a team to fleece casinos... (more)
The Last Enemy (2008)
Peter Berry (Screenplay) / Iain B. MacDonald (Director)
In this BBC TV series, mathematician Stephen Ezard returns home from China for his brother's funeral but finds himself caught up in two simultaneous stories of high level espionage. In one subplot, he... (more)
The Last Theorem (2008)
Buzz Mauro
A depressed music professor ponders Fermat's Last Theorem and the implications of its proof by Andrew Wiles. Like many of Mauro's other stories, this one is very well written, focusing not so much on... (more)
Le théorème de Travolta (2002)
Olivier Courcelle
The adventures of a young mathematician trapped in the curious and delirious world of a mathematical congress. A cross between David Lodge and Groucho Marx. I believe it has not been translated into english (but should) Very funny description of the mathematical world. Excellently written. Delirious. (more)
Leaning Towards Infinity (1996)
Sue Woolfe
Tells the story of an Australian woman who wins a contest for the best mathematical theory from an amateur mathematician. The prize is a trip to a math conference in Athens. The theory proposed by... (more)
Leap (2004)
Lauren Gunderson
This play explores the inspiration for Isaac Newton's amazing discoveries in 1664, personifying it in the form of two young girls whose playful interaction leads to the results we remember Newton for today.... (more)
Lee a Julio Verne: El Amore En Tiempos de Criptografia (2002)
Susana Mataix
A Spanish novel in which three characters must relearn some mathematics and read Jules Verne to solve the puzzle left to them by a parent. Thanks to Elena Kaczorowski for pointing it out to me. (more)
Leeches (2011)
David Albahari
Serb author David Albahari's avant-garde novel about a newspaper columnist caught up in a Kabbalistic plot is notable in that it is written as a single, unbroken paragraph. It is also sort of interesting,... (more)
Legacy of Light (2009)
Karen Zacarías
Two tales of discovery and pregnancy are told in this play. An astrophysicist at the Newton Institute whose team has discovered evidence of a planet in formation feels that she is too old to be pregnant... (more)
The Legend of Howard Thrush (2005)
Alex Kasman
I always have enjoyed the American folk tale, a medium in which one pretends to be speaking earnestly and in all sincerity about a history so ridiculous that it it simply cannot be taken seriously. There... (more)
Il Lemma di Levemberg (1996)
Marco Abate (writer) / S. Natali (artist)
Published in an Italian comic book, this story (whose title translates as "Levemberg's Lemma") was written by Abate and illustrated by Natali. The author describes it for us as follows: A (possibly... (more)
Lepel (2005)
Willem van de Sande Bakhuyzen (director) / Mieke de Jong (screenplay)
In this charming family film from the Netherlands, a boy who believes his name is "Lepel" runs away from the mean button thief who has watched over him since his parents disappeared. If you have come... (more)
Let Newton Be! (2011)
Craig Baxter
The three actors in this play portray Isaac Newton at three different stages of his life, as well as occasionally representing other people. Interestingly, the three Newton's interact with each other,... (more)
Letters to a Young Mathematician (2006)
Highly Rated!
Ian Stewart
I listed this one here before I had a chance to read it and am now wondering whether it should be counted as fiction at all. This is an excellent book which provides a lot of useful information about... (more)
Lewis (Episode: Whom the Gods Would Destroy) (2006)
Daniel Boyle (Screenwriter)
[I may need assistance from some British site visitors on this one!] An e-mail from Charles Freudenthal has suggested to me that the pilot episode of the TV Series "Lewis" (a spin-off of the popular Inspector... (more)
The Library Paradox (2006)
Catherine Shaw
Vanessa Duncan returns as the skilled amateur detective of Victorian England in this third mystery novel by "Catherine Shaw". (See The Three-Body Problem and Flowers Stained with Moonlight for the earlier... (more)
Life After Genius (2008)
M. Ann Jacoby
Although his family would normally expect him to stay in their small town and take over the family business (a combination of a furniture store and funeral home), Mead Fegley's "genius" gives him the unprecedented... (more)
Life and Fate (1959)
Vasily Grossman
A Russian nuclear physicist flirts with the wife of his mathematician colleague and makes an important mathematical discovery, all during the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union. I had not heard of this... (more)
The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman (1759)
Laurence Sterne
Michele Benzi wrote to recommend that I add this classic novel, which was critically praised when it first appeared and then fell in esteem due to accusations of plagiarism. Benzi writes: I was surprised... (more)
Life in a Mirror (2003)
Daniel Ryan
This e-book not only contains many explicit references to mathematics, but it also claims to follow the outline of a mathematical text! Set in 18th century Brittany, the story is ostensibly about royalty... (more)
Life of Pi (2001)
Yann Martel
I read this novel when it first came out both because it (deservedly) received a lot of praise and awards, and also because the title suggested there might be some connection to math. When I realized... (more)
The Limit of Delta Y Over Delta X (1994)
Richard Cumyn
Here is a calculus example from a book with a title that can not be more mathematical. I printed this one in a calculus book that I wrote for my business/economics calculus class. I also read it out... (more)
A Little Mathematician - Katie (2002)
Tadashi Miura
A sweet little book by an author who wanted to be a math teacher and hopes he can "introduce the joy of learning mathematics to every student in this world through this story". A little girl named Katie... (more)
Logicomix (2008)
Highly Rated!
Apostolos Doxiadis / Christos Papadimitriou
A graphic novel on the history of mathematical logic by the authors of Uncle Petros and Goldbach's Conjecture and Turing. In an interview (available online here) Papadimitriou says: It is really... (more)
The Long Chalkboard (2006)
Jenny Allen / Jules Feiffer (Illustrator)
Allen's book is a collection of three short-short stories spread out over book length with illustrations on every page, in the usual style of children's literature, complete with charmingly simple... (more)
Long Division (2003)
Michael Redhill
The title of this short story refers both to arithmetic, a beloved subject of the school age child at its center, and the separation that his mother feels from him and his father due to the child's extraordinary... (more)
Long Division (2010)
Buzz Mauro
A very short story in which a hypochondriacal boy confuses the long division which he is learning in school with the cell division in the cancer that killed his grandmother. The boy's mother responds... (more)
Lord Byron's Novel: The Evening Land (2005)
John Crowley
This book is made up of notes and e-mail messages from a feminist historian interspersed with chapters from a previously unknown novel by Lord Byron which she has discovered while researching his daughter,... (more)
The Lost Books of the Odyssey (2008)
Zachary Mason
The introduction to this novel is a work of pseudo-scholarship, explaining how the chapters to follow were decoded by an NSA cryptographer with the help of the author. The intro contains references to... (more)
Lost in the Funhouse (1968)
John Barth
According to the "foreward to the Anchor Books Edition", this collection of short stories is "strung together on a few echoed and developed themes and [circles] back upon itself; not to close a simple... (more)
Love Counts (2005)
Michael Hastings (libretto) / Michael Nyman (score)
This opera tells the tale of the surprising friendship between a boxer whose career and life are in decline and a mathematics professor who uses arithmetic as a tool to help him out. It premiered in March 2005 at Germany's Badisches Staatstheater Karlsruhe. Thanks to Peter Freyd for pointing it out to me. (more)
Lucy and David and the God Equation (2011)
Alan McKenzie
Lucy, a freshman at a Scottish University, and David, the graduate student who leads the problem sessions for her physics class, discuss the mathematical and philosophical implications of Gödel's First... (more)
A Madman Dreams of Turing Machines (2006)
Janna Levin
This novel about Alan Turing and Kurt Gödel contains much that has already been said many times before, and occasionally "tries too hard" artistically. Still I very much enjoyed reading it, and even... (more)
Magic Squares (1977)
Paul Calter
A very unconventionally written mystery story full of well placed and well-integrated problems in mathematics, which makes this a great book to be included in a course on ‘mathematics in literature’.... (more)
Maid of Murder (2010)
Amanda Flower
Like the author of this murder mystery, protagonist India Hayes is a librarian at a small midwestern college. Presumably unlike the author, Hayes must prove the innocence of her mathematician brother... (more)
Mailman (2000)
J. Robert Lennon
The title character, called Mailman, is a mentally ill mailman with criminal and deviant behavior with respect to the mail that he handles. It turns out that Mailman had once been a mathematics graduate... (more)
The Man Who Counted : A Collection of Mathematical Adventures (1949)
Highly Rated!
Malba Tahan
The Man who counted: delightful adventures of a medieval arabic mathematician. It is aimed at young readers (10+) but can be enjoyed by all. The mathematics is elementary but is all correct and nicely... (more)
The Man Who Dammed the Yangtze: A Mathematical Novel (2011)
Alex Kuo
A story of two number theorists at the opposite ends of the world having similar experiences of strife and disillusionment at times of great turmoil. Ge is a female mathematician teaching in schools in... (more)
The Man Without Qualities Vol. 1: A Sort of Introduction and Pseudo Reality Prevails (1930)
Highly Rated!
Robert Musil
The hero of this landmark of Modernism is a mathematician. The author, Austrian Robert Musil, studied mathematics and philosophy in college. "Life-changing view of how to live. The finest work... (more)
Mangum, P.I. (2004)
Colin Adams
A parody of the hard-boiled private detective genre in which ``P.I.'' stands for ``Principal Investigator'', a phrase familiar to anyone who has applied for a research grant. In this hilarious story,... (more)
Many Moons (1943)
James Thurber
In this famous children's tale about a princess who wants the moon, "the mathematician" is one of three wisemen who shows himself not to be so wise. (The jester, on the other hand,...) It was... (more)
The Mask of Zeus (1992)
Desmond Cory
Math is discussed a lot in this "Professor Dobie Mystery" novel because both the `detective' (Dobie) and the victim (his former Ph.D. student) are mathematicians. Of course, the math doesn't have much... (more)
El matemático del Rey (2002)
Juan Carlos Arce
It is a novel about a period in the lives of Juan Lezuza and his friend Luis Obelar during the first years of the rule of Phillip IV of Spain. Juan Lezuza is appointed teacher of the King, but it is... (more)
The Math Code (2005)
Highly Rated!
Alex Kasman
A friend of mine once told me that he believes that mathematicians invented intentionally confusing notations to keep others from understanding what they were saying. I'm sure this is not true. We mathematicians... (more)
Math Curse (1995)
Highly Rated!
Jon Scieszka / Lane Smith (illustrator)
In this children's picture book, the main character finds that "anything can be a math problem" when her elementary school teacher puts a math curse on her. For example: Unfortunately for me, LUNCH... (more)
Math Girls (2007)
Highly Rated!
Hiroshi Yuki
Three high school friends work through some difficult mathematical ideas in this book, recently translated into English from the Japanese original. The author is apparently well known in Japan for his... (more)
Math is Murder (2012)
Robert C. Brigham / James B. Reed
This is a murder mystery co-written by an emeritus math professor and a retired crime scene investigator. The victim was an egotistical and (almost unbelievably) unpleasant mathematics department chair... (more)
Math Patrol (1977)
Highly Rated!
TV Ontario
"Math Patrol was a 15-minute long educational TV series produced in the late 1970s by TV Ontario about the adventures of a secret agent named "Sydney" who dressed up as a kangaroo with a blue trenchcoat.... (more)
Mathematical Goodbye (1999)
Hiroshi Mori
Mori is a popular author of mystery novels in Japan and a former professor of engineering at Nagoya University. Li-Chang Hung, who has read the books translated into Chinese, has suggested that I add... (more)
The Mathematical Magpie: Being more stories, mainly transcendental, plus subjects of essays, rhymes, music, anecdotes, ... (1962)
Highly Rated!
Clifton Fadiman (editor)
This is the second of the two wonderful, classic collections of mathematically flavored literature and such by Clifton Fadiman. (The first was "Fantasia Mathematica".) Here is a partial listing of... (more)
The Mathematical Man (1913)
Robert Musil
Robert Musil's "The mathematical Man" is an essay, but it is fiction! Musil uses the foundational crisis of mathematics to draft a new kind of fiction, modern fiction, later realized in "The Man without Qualities".... (more)
A Mathematical Mystery Tour: Discovering the Truth and Beauty of the Cosmos (1999)
Highly Rated!
A.K. Dewdney
A "chicken and the egg"-type question of interest to fans of mathematics is this: "Are mathematical results discovered or invented?" To answer this question, A.K. Dewdney takes a "mathematical" tour... (more)
Mathematical R & D (1979)
Paul J. Nahin
This short short story, published in the professional journal IEEE Transactions on Aerospace and Electronic Systems describes a talk by the (fictional) famous mathematician Professor Osgood. Greatly limited... (more)
Mathematically Bent (2000)
Colin Adams
Geometer and knot-theorist Colin Adams (Williams College, MA) has been writing this short, mathematically-wise and bitingly funny column in the quarterly issues of The Mathematical Intelligencer since... (more)
The Mathematician (1997)
George Weinberg
“Peter K was the first person on earth ever to invert a skew symmetric matrix by pressing a button”. So begins the story, set in the years where computers had just started making a foray into the... (more)
The Mathematician (1967)
Will Manson
Despite the title, there is almost no math in this pulpy spy story. Its Cold War nationalism and sexism date it somewhat, but it is fine as light entertainment, with danger, romance, and a "twist ending". The... (more)
Mathematician Proof (1920)
Ralph Ellison de Castro
An utterly trite story about a genius of a mathematician (aren’t they all? To wit, “he had the binomial theorem for breakfast, lunched on integral calculus and for his evening meal considered attempts... (more)
The Mathematician Repents (2004)
Estep Nagy
A short story (?) in which Paul Erdős wakes up in the home of a Parisian mathematician, seems a bit confused, wanders around, and says some strange things. No real math is discussed in the story, but... (more)
The Mathematicians of Grizzly Drive (1988)
Josef Skvorecky
A detective story, in the "hard boiled" genre, featuring Eve Adam, a sexy nightclub performer who solves crimes in her free time. In this story, she visits a house where mathematicians gather to entertain... (more)
The Mathematics of Nina Gluckstein (1985)
Esther Vilar
When Argentina's most famous singer dies in an accident during a concert, his unpopular wife, Nina Gluckstein, commits suicide. Yet, since public opinion of her was so low (and perhaps because she was... (more)
Mathematics of the Heart (2011)
Kefi Chadwick (playwright) / Donnacadh O’Briain (director)
An expert on the mathematics of chaos theory deals with chaos in his own life in the form of a girlfriend seeking commitment, a brother crashing in his apartment, and a new graduate student. I have not seen this play, but have only run across notices announcing its production at the Brighton Fringe festival in 2011. Additional information about the play would be most appreciated. (more)
Mathmakers (1978)
TV Ontario
Canadian television show (circa 1978) about making a television show. Humorous story lines illustrate mathematical concepts. "The program was developed and produced by TVOntario in 1978. Each episode... (more)
MathNet (1987)
Highly Rated!
Childrens Television Workshop
A children's TV show in which mysteries are solved using mathematics. The suspects and victims always ask the investigators "Are you the police?" To which they reply "No, we're mathematicians!"... (more)
Maths à mort (1990)
Margot Bruyère
This murder mystery which takes place at the IHES in Paris was originally entitled "Dis-moi qui tu aimes (je te dirai qui tu hais)". However, it has just been be republished (Fall of 2002) with a change... (more)
Maths on a Plane (2008)
Phil Trinh
This story, about a student flirting with the attractive woman in the seat next to him on a plane, won the student category of the 2008 New Writers Award from Cambridge University's ``Plus+ Magazine''.... (more)
Maxwell's Equations (2005)
Alex Kasman
James Clerk Maxwell was the 19th century theoretician who discovered electro-magnetic waves. He is often described as a "physicist", but I would argue that he was a mathematician. Certainly some of his... (more)
Mean Girls (2004)
Tina Fey (screenplay) /Mark S. Waters (director)
In this movie about teenage girls -- written by Tina Fey (Saturday Night Live, 30 Rock) and inspired by the non-fiction book Queen Bees and Wannabes -- a previously home schooled student (played by Lindsay... (more)
The Measure of Eternity (2006)
Sean McMullen
The beautiful servant of an even more beautiful courtesan leaves the palace in an ancient city and finds a beggar proudly shouting "I have nothing" in many different languages. Yet, this beggar seems... (more)
Measuring the World (2006)
Daniel Kehlmann
Two famous Germans of the 19th Century, mathematician Carl Friedrich Gauss and explorer/geologist Alexander von Humboldt, are irreverently presented in this novel which topped the sales charts in Germany... (more)
Mefisto: A Novel (1986)
John Banville
Although the mathematics is only discussed in this novel in the vaguest terms, it is of the greatest importance to the book. Gabriel Swan, the main character/narrator is so focused on numbers and equations... (more)
Mercury Rising (1998)
Harold Becker (director)
Bruce Willis is an FBI agent trying to protect an autistic child whose mathematical abilities allow him to break the government's top secret codes. Now, it is true that some of the most frequently used... (more)
Midtown Pythagoras (2007)
Michael Brodsky
Michael Brodsky is a deconstructionist's dream writer, which for most people, simply means utterly unreadable. His many novels, stories, and plays inhabit a world where meaning is just past the reader's... (more)
The Mind-Body Problem (1983)
Rebecca Goldstein
A philosophy graduate student seduces and marries a famous mathematician. They do not have a great marriage, but we are presented with some thought provoking passages concerning Princeton University,... (more)
The Mirror Has Two Faces (1996)
Barbra Streisand (director)
Love story with Jeff Bridges and Barbra Streisand as math and English professors (respectively) at Columbia University. We get a detailed description of the Twin Prime Conjecture (concerning the number... (more)
Miscalculations (2000)
Elizabeth Mansfield
This romance novel features female "math whiz", hired to help an attractive millionaire handle his wealth. Of course, they fall in love. If you have read this book and can correct/add to the description above, please write to me at kasmana@cofc.edu. (more)
Mister God, This is Anna (1985)
Fynn
Though it is presented as if it were non-fiction, it is generally believed that this account concerning a very thoughtful six year old girl is a work of fiction. It is primarily about the girl's philosophy... (more)
Mobius Strip (1978)
Cho-Se Hui
A very short Korean tale, where the author has tried to give a parallel between a situation in real life and the Möbius strip. The story begins with a Math professor’s lecture, where he explains... (more)
Moment of Madness (2002)
Una-Mary Parker
When her father, a brilliant but somewhat twisted mathematical statistician, dies unexpectedly, a woman is forced by his will to distribute valuable jewels to all of the women with whom he has cheated... (more)
Morte di un matematico napoletano (1992)
Mario Martone (director)
"This movie describes the last day in [the] life of a famous Italian mathematician: Renato Caccioppoli. He was a fascinating and discussed person in Naples' political and cultural life. [A] member... (more)
Mozart and the Whale (2005)
Petter Næss (Director)
A romance about two people with Asperger's Syndrome based on a true story. I have not seen the film, but understand that the male character is obsessed with numbers and statistics but works as a cab driver.... (more)
Mr. Churchill's Secretary (2012)
Susan Elia MacNeal
A woman who has just earned a degree in mathematics from Wellesley turns down a graduate school offer from MIT to go work under Winston Churchill. However, due to the usual prejudices (see quote below)... (more)
Mr. Churchill's Secretary (2012)
Susan Elia MacNeal
After graduating with a degree in mathematics from Wellesley, Maggie Hope plans to go on to graduate studies at MIT, but her plans change unexpectedly when a letter from England gets her instead looking... (more)
Mrs. Einstein (1998)
Anna McGrail
It's a wonderful novel that invents a history for Einstein's illegitimate daughter, about whom little is known. In the novel, she's a mathematician who becomes obsessed with her father's refusal to acknowledge... (more)
Mrs. Warren's Profession (1894)
George Bernard Shaw
This is Shaw's notorious play about poverty and prostitution, the "profession" of the title. (The play itself was not performed in public in the UK until 1925.) Mrs. Warren has made her fortune... (more)
Mulligan Stew (1979)
Gilbert Sorrentino
An avant garde novel, or a parody of one, presented in the form of a collection of letters, notes, papers and other writings. Includes Cardano's formula, plus a full length parody of a mathematics research... (more)
Multi-Colored Dome (1987)
Martin Gardner
A light-hearted, short story about a shy but precocious Math student working on symbolic logic (“he had read “Principia Mathematica” when he was in high school, and understood it, too”). Thesis... (more)
Murder and Mendelssohn (Phryne Fisher Mystery) (2014)
Kerry Greenwood
As a fan of the Miss Fisher Murder Mysteries TV Series, I was pleased to see that the 20th novel in the series that inspired it features a mathematician, giving me an excuse to read it. Phryne Fisher... (more)
Murder at the Margin (1978)
Marshall Jevons
This is the first of the Henry Spearman murder mysteries (the others being THE FATAL EQUILIBRIUM and A DEADLY INDIFFERENCE--they can be read in any order). These unusual murder mysteries star Harvard... (more)
Murder, She Conjectured (2005)
Alex Kasman
A police psychologist attending a conference in Cambridge, England is pulled into an unsolved murder mystery by her mathematician boyfriend. An important theme of the story is the oppresive sexism that... (more)
The Murdered Mathematician (1949)
Harry Stephen Keeler
This book is probably the least believable thing I've ever read, but lots of fun! Quiribus Brown is a 7 1/2 foot tall man who was raised by his father on a farm in Indiana. His father was a math professor... (more)
Musgrave Ritual (1893)
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
A tiny bit of mathematics is used by Sherlock Holmes to solve this mystery. In it, he ties together the disappearance of a housemaid, the discovery of the dead body of the chief butler and a strange poem... (more)
The Music of the Spheres (2001)
Elizabeth Redfern
A highly praised (a la Caleb Carr) historical thriller set in Europe in 1795, involving lots of astronomy. This includes Laplace musing over his theorem that gravitational perturbations are bounded, and his wondering if a similar theorem applies to history. (more)
The Mystery of Khufu's Tomb (1935)
Mundy Talbot
A rapid-read, reasonably entertaining novel about the real location of the Pharaoh Khufu’s (Cheops) tomb and the fabulous treasury buried therein. An old, Chinese mathematician spends decades decoding... (more)
The Mystic Cipher (2009)
Dennis Mangrum
When an ex-Army Ranger finds a mysterious coded document on his farm purporting to be the key to the location of a hidden treasure, he enlists the aid of his daughter, a math student. There is stereotypical... (more)
The N-Plus-1th-Degree (1968)
Stephen Barr
A mathematician is accused of murdering a man who flirted with his wife. Her faith in him (which is so strong, she describes it as being to the n-plus-1th degree) allows her to figure out how and by... (more)
Nachman (1998)
Leonard Michaels
An American mathematician attends a conference in Poland, the country in which his grandparents were killed in a Nazi concentration camp. This is during the Cold War, and the American consul warns him... (more)
Nachman at the Races (1999)
Leonard Michaels
In Michaels' third Nachman story, we learn that the UCLA mathematician enjoys attending horse races -- apparently his only emotional outlet besides his mathematics research. There is discussion of the... (more)
Nachman Burning (1998)
Leonard Michaels
In this story, the reclusive UCLA mathematician Nachman, a recurring character in stories by Leonard Michaels, gets a haircut. He chooses a barber he knows to be terrible at cutting hair, but he goes... (more)
Nachman from Los Angeles (2002)
Leonard Michaels
This second "Nachman" story by Leonard Michaels is a flashback to a time when the UCLA mathematician was a graduate student and hired by a rich Arabian prince to ghostwrite a philosophy paper for him.... (more)
Naked Came the Post-modernist (2013)
Sarah Lawrence College Writing Class WRIT-3303-R / Melvin Jules Bukiet
Written as a group project by the students in a creative writing class at Sarah Lawrence College, this wacky academic farce takes the form of a whodunit, trying to identify the murderer of a math professor. (more)
The Name of the Rose (1980)
Umberto Eco
A mystery novel which takes place in a 14th Century monastery by the brilliant Italian author, Umberto Eco. This book only has a small amount of math in it, but I frequently receive recommendations to... (more)
The Needle in a Haystack (2002)
Tom DeMarco
A pretty funny, silly story about a tailor with a mathematical bent who loses a needle in a haystack. Quite despondent about his chances of finding it, he decides to be mathematically rigorous in his... (more)
Newton's Hooke (2004)
David Pinner
A play about Isaac Newton and Robert Hooke which presents "the dark side" of Newton. Emphasis is put on his egotism (not only does he think that he is incomparably brilliant, but he also seems to think... (more)
The Nine Tailors (1934)
Dorothy Leigh Sayers
This Lord Peter Wimsey novel is often considered Sayers' best. The plot revolves around the art of change ringing, often called "campanology" by non-campanologists. As usual with Sayers, she makes... (more)
No One You Know (2008)
Michelle Richmond
Having felt overshadowed by her mathematician older sister when she was alive, the main character becomes obsessed with her murder after the sister is killed. Using her sister's notebook describing her... (more)
No Regrets (2007)
Shannon Butcher
This is an espionage thriller in which a cryptographer reluctantly helps the military break a mathematical code. It gets high ratings from those who enjoy this sort of cloak-and-dagger stuff. Moreover,... (more)
Not a Penny More, Not a Penny Less (1976)
Jeffrey Archer
A mathematics professor who lectures at Oxford on group theory is among four clever people who plot to get revenge on the con artist who duped them in this, the first novel by politician and now best-selling... (more)
Notes from the Underground (1864)
Fyodor Dostoevsky
Part I involves an unnamed rather crazed and unreliable narrator (generally known as "the Underground Man") raving and rambling against life, the universe, and everything. A few... (more)
Nothing but the Truth (and a few white lies) (2006)
Justina Chen Headley
This is a novel for young adults about a half Asian teenager who is sent to a summer Math Camp at Stanford by her overprotective mother. She enjoys the camp more than she expected to, until her mother... (more)
NUMB3RS (2005)
Highly Rated!
Nick Falacci / Cheryl Heuton
This TV crime drama (premiered January 2005) follows the adventures of a pair of brothers, one a mathematics professor and the other an FBI agent, as they combine forces to solve mysteries. Cool effects... (more)
Number 9: The Search for the Sigma Code (1998)
Cecil Balmond
A young boy learns about mathematics while trying to solve a mathematical puzzle. "As a teacher and Education Inspector in England I would rate this book very highly. It is extremely well written... (more)
Numbers (2009)
Dana Dane
Hip Hop artist Dana Dane wrote this novel about a NYC youth with mathematical talent who gets caught up in a life of crime. There is no actual mathematics discussed. Rather, it appears in a few brief comments only to justify the protagonist's nickname of "Numbers" and presumably to convince us that he had the potential for a bright future under the right circumstances. (more)
Numbers in the Dark (La notte dei numeri) (1990)
Italo Calvino
A boy looking around the huge office building where his mother works meets an old accountant who now works with computers but reveals to him an undiscovered arithmetic error made back in one of the company's... (more)
The Odd Women (1893)
George Gissing
This is one of many Victorian novels about romance, gender and class, but it has aged well. Among the several relationships it considers is one between a mathematician, the author of "A Treatise on Trilinear... (more)
Odds Against Tomorrow (2013)
Nathaniel Rich
Mitchell Zukor is a statistician and probabilist whose area of expertise is the prediction of disasters. To many people, including the reporter/narrator, this makes him a humorous and pathetic number... (more)
Odile (1937)
Raymond Queneau
A humorous semi-autobiographical novel by this famous, French, surrealistic author. Queneau seems to have had some training as a mathematician and was friends with several leading French mathematicians.... (more)
Of Mystery There Is No End (2002)
Leonard Michaels
Leonard Michaels' recurring character of UCLA mathematician Nachman faces questions of infidelity when he learns of the extra-marital affairs of his friend Norbert and Norbert's wife. It is somewhat... (more)
Off Day! (1953)
Al Feldstein (writer)/ Jack Kamen (artist)
Believe it or not, this Weird Science story is essentially a lecture on the law of large numbers. A very worried college professor tells his class he's just witnessed the failure of one of the most... (more)
Oh, Brother (2007)
Stanley Hart
A serious mystery/adventure novella from an author better known as a script writer for the old Carol Burnett show. A professor solicits the help of his brother, a retired police detective, in order to... (more)
An Old Arithmetician (1885)
Mary Eleanor Wilkins Freeman
The title character of this short story, which appeared in the September 1885 issue of Harper's Weekly, is an old, uneducated woman who loves computing (with chalk and slate): You have always been very... (more)
On the Nature of Human Romantic Interaction (2003)
Karl Iagnemma
The title of the story was the title of a chapter in the Ph.D. thesis that Joseph, the main character, was working on...but never finished. Instead, he wound up living with his advisor's daughter, working... (more)
The One Best Bet (1911)
Samuel Hopkins Adams
The story is about an amateur detective who uses some elementary geometric triangulation to foil an assassination. The last paragraph is a great touch, “Why, Governor, you’re giving me too much credit.... (more)
The One Plus One (2014)
Jojo Moyes
The title presumably primarily refers to the couple in the romance: Jess (a single mom struggling to make ends meet by working as a cleaning woman) and Ed (a well-off client of hers, facing charges for... (more)
One, True Platonic Heaven: A Scientific Fiction of the Limits of Knowledge (2003)
John L. Casti
A novel about the limits of scientific knowledge set at the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton. Mathematicians Kurt Gödel and John von Neumann are among the principle characters (along with... (more)
Only Say the Word (2005)
Niall Williams
This novel about loss and grief includes a minor character (the protagonist's brother) who has mathematical talent and "retreats" into numbers. He believes that "for every problem there is a true and perfect solution" and eventually applies his skills to gambling (apparently providing the perfect solution to the problems of his life.) (more)
The Ore Miner's Wife (2003)
Karl Iagnemma
A miner who spends his spare time secretly working on geometry problems arouses the suspicions of his God fearing wife when she comes upon his cryptic writings and follows him to a meeting with a visiting... (more)
Orpheus Lost: A Novel (2007)
Janette Turner Hospital
This book is simultaneously a beautiful love story with frequent allusions to the myth of Orpheus, a political thriller, and a gut wrenching tear jerker about people whose lives are destroyed by war. ... (more)
Out of the Sun: A Novel (1996)
Robert Goddard
Harry Barnett (first introduced in the novel Into the Blue) investigates the circumstances that lead to his son's accident. The son, 33 year old math genius, lies in a coma and the accident is somehow... (more)
The Oxford Murders (2004)
Guillermo Martinez
A young, Argentinian mathematician visiting the UK is drawn into a murder mystery when his landlord (a woman who had worked as a code breaker during World War II) is killed. A clue and the words "The... (more)
The Papers of A.J. Wentworth, B.A. (1949)
Humphry Francis Ellis
This is a humorous book about A J Wentworth, school master at a British school, who teaches Algebra to 11-13 year old children. The entire novel has a touch of Wodehouse to it as it follows the bumbling... (more)
Papos (2007)
Alex Rose
A short piece which mixes up historical facts/pseudo-facts from Greek history with rich imagination to discuss the discovery of irrational numbers (Pythagoras, Hippasus), the vanishing point in perspective... (more)
Les Particules élémentaires [Elementary Particles] (1998)
Michel Houellebecq
The following description is based on material sent to me by Annie-Michel Pajus (IREM PARIS 7) in French. Any error below is likely to be a mistake that I made in attempting to translate it. This novel... (more)
Paul Bunyan versus the Conveyor Belt (1949)
William Hazlett Upson
A clever "twist" on the usual Mobius band story. Answers the age old question: How can you win lots of money betting against poor saps who don't understand topology? I use this story with children... (more)
The Penultimate Conjecture (1999)
Leonard Michaels
This is the most mathematical of Leonard Michaels' seven stories about the brilliant but anti-social UCLA mathematician, Nachman. In it, Nachman attends a conference in San Francisco at which a Swedish... (more)
A Person of Interest (2008)
Susan Choi
Professor Lee, an older math professor at a small mid-western university becomes a suspect when a package bomb kills the young and popular professor in the office next to his. More of a serious psychological... (more)
A Piece of Justice (1995)
Jill Paton Walsh
The mathematics of tilings and quilting play background roles in this mystery in which a graduate student attempts to write a biography of the (fictitious) mathematician Gideon Summerfield. Summerfield... (more)
Pieces of Pi (2006)
David Bartell
A socially inept cubicle worker becomes obsessed with making sense of the controversial Biblical passage (I Kings 7:23-26) which many interpret as claiming that the value of π is exactly three (therefore... (more)
PopCo (2004)
Highly Rated!
Scarlett Thomas
Alice was raised by her grandparents, a mathematician and a cryptographer, and now uses what she learned from them to make mathematical puzzles for children. Her employer, the giant toy company "PopCo",... (more)
Powerball 310 (2007)
K.T. Reid
The premise of this amusing crime caper is a gang of experts who pull of a successful theft of a $310 million Powerball lottery jackpot by generating a winning ticket just after the numbers have been... (more)
Prince of Mathematics: Carl Friedrich Gauss (2006)
Margaret B.W. Tent
A fictionalized account of the life and achievements of one of history's greatest mathematicians, told in a style which is appropriate for children but also maintains the interest of adult readers. (I'm... (more)
Princess Elizabeth's Spy: A Maggie Hope Mystery (2012)
Susan Elia MacNeal
Maggie Hope is assigned to stay with the royal family. As we know from her first appearance in Mr. Churchill's Secretary, Maggie has an undergraduate degree in mathematics from Wellesley and was about... (more)
Probabilities (1995)
Michael Stein
Sixteen year old Will Sterling is the protagonist of this "coming of age story" that throws just a little math in with the usual teen-angst and sexual exploration. The author is very good at letting you... (more)
The Problem of Cell 13 (1907)
Jacques Futrelle
"The story which introduces Professor S. F. X. van Dusen, professional scientific supergenius, who lends his talents to solving baffling mysteries. He is described as primarily ... (more)
Problems (1979)
John Updike
What might otherwise be a standard short story about a man who regrets leaving his wife for his lover is recast by this famous author as a list of math homework problems. In one problem, where the man... (more)
Problems for Self-Study (2002)
Charles Yu
The life of a mathematical physicist -- from earning his PhD, through marriage, fatherhood and into a midlife crisis -- presented in the form of homework exercises from a math book. We first meet... (more)
Professor and Colonel (1987)
Ruth Berman
In this unusual story, we get to see another side to Sherlock Holmes' arch enemy, the brilliant but evil mathematician Professor Moriarty. Here, rather than perpetrating a crime, Moriarty is merely visiting with his brother, discussing the significance of his research into asteroid dynamics. (See also Asimov's take on this same subject.) (more)
Professor Conundrum Mysteries! (2008)
Bill Streifer
My book, Professor Conundrum Mysteries!...combines math education (non-fiction) and historical fiction. The book consists of five stories that take place during important events in 20th century U.S.... (more)
Professor Morgan's Moon (1899)
Stanley Waterloo
A young mathematician asks for the hand of a senior mathematician's beautiful (and clever) daughter, but is refused on the grounds that his inability to support her financially was a mathematical certainty.... (more)
Progress (2005)
Alex Kasman
The mathematics of ancient Egypt can look very strange to us today. For example, although they did not have many fractions, they did know about the number 2/3. Strangely, however, it took a page of computation... (more)
Proof (2000)
Highly Rated!
David Auburn (playwright)
This Pulitzer Prize winning play (now also a film) focuses on a daughter who took care of her father after his mental disorder forced him to give up his successful career as a mathematician. After the... (more)
A Proof of God (2004)
Colin Adams
A mathematician is approached by a seemingly crazy old man who claims to have a proof of the existence of God, but later it seems that he might not be so crazy after all in this hilarious spoof from Adams'... (more)
The Proof of Love (2011)
Catherine Hall
A Cambridge maths grad student takes a holiday in England's remote and rural Lake District, hoping to be able to make progress on his research but instead learning more about his own humanity. A major... (more)
Properties of Light (2000)
Rebecca Goldstein
This is a beautifully written novel about a theoretical physicist who hates the daughter of a more senior physicist whose work he admires. The real plot of the novel revolves around why he hates her,... (more)
The Purloined Letter (1845)
Edgar Allan Poe
"This is the third and last C. Auguste Dupin mystery. The Prefect of Paris police explains a very delicate situation to Dupin, involving a royal letter whose possession grants its bearer great... (more)
Pythagoras Eagle & the Music of the Spheres (2003)
Anne Carse Nolting
A very well-written, highly mathematical novel for 5th – 6th graders. Three children – Shawna, Adin and Tavia – are math aficionados and are trying to crack the Beale Ciphers, a set of 3 documents... (more)
Pythagoras' Revenge: A Mathematical Mystery (2009)
Arturo Sangalli
Freelance science journalist Sangalli has written a book which presents some historical information about Pythagoras and his beliefs in the form of a novel of the detail driven conspiracy theory adventure... (more)
Pythagoras's Darkest Hour (2007)
Colin Adams
A humorous short story from the author of Mathematically Bent which tells the true story of the discovery of the Pythagorean Theorem. Well, actually, perhaps it isn't exactly true...but it is so good,... (more)
Pythagorean Crimes (2006)
Highly Rated!
Tefcros Michaelides
This murder mystery takes place amid the exciting developments occurring in the mathematical and artistic communities in Europe between 1900 and 1931. Much of what one will learn by reading this book... (more)
Qui perd gagne! (2003)
Laurent Bénégui (Director)
In this French film, a math teacher claims to have a system for winning the lottery. I tracked this down after seeing the page on your site a couple of days ago. It is a very enjoyable movie, but... (more)
Quicksilver: The Baroque Cycle Volume 1 (2003)
Highly Rated!
Neal Stephenson
This long novel from the author of Cryptonomicon does for 17th Century mathematics what that earlier novel did for the 20th century. Namely, it deifies some great historical mathematicians (this time... (more)
Ramanujan’s Miracles – A Drama To Demystify Mathematics (1997)
R.N. Kapur
A dramatization involving a particular problem which Ramanujan had solved and how two teenagers reason out why the solution works. Scene 1 of the drama has Mahalanobis and Ramanujan in conversation... (more)
Reality Conditions (2005)
Highly Rated!
Alex Kasman
The title story in the collection of the same name, this short story follows a mathematics grad student to a workshop at the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute. Although the story contains no supernatural... (more)
Reality Conditions: short mathematical fiction (2005)
Highly Rated!
Alex Kasman
The stories in this collection of 16 original short works of mathematical fiction are different from each other in many ways: some are serious and some funny, some are realistic and some fantastical,... (more)
Recess (Episode: A Genius Among Us) (2000)
Brian Hamill
This episode of Disney's Saturday Morning cartoon "Recess" is clearly a parody of the film "Good Will Hunting". I hope this doesn't lower anyone's opinion of me...but I personally liked it better than... (more)
Der Rechenmeister [aka The Mathematician] (1999)
Dieter Jörgensen
When I browsed through your list I found one book missing that I have in my library: "Der Rechenmeister" by Dieter Jörgensen is a novel describing the life of Niccolo Tartaglia in Venice and his battle... (more)
Refund (1938)
Fritz Karinthy (original) / Percival Wilde (English Adaptation)
A former student demands that his tuition be refunded because he feels his education was worthless, but loses his bid when he is tricked by the mathematics master. This entry refers to the 1938 adaptation... (more)
Regarding Roderer (1994)
Guillermo Martinez
A short novel about Gustavo Roderer, a brilliant but troubled young man in Argentina. Mathematics is not a central theme, but arises as Roderer's friend (the narrator) talks with him about the philosophical... (more)
The Return of Moriarty (1974)
John Gardner
The British spy thriller novelist, perhaps now best known for his 007 novels, wrote three novels starring Professor Moriarty, THE RETURN OF MORIARTY (UK title MORIARTY), THE REVENGE OF MORIARTY... (more)
Rincorse (1994)
Dario Voltolini
The title means "Run-ups" in Italian. The book tells the story of a young, talented mathematician who travels trough Italy interviewing for jobs at various companies. During one of the interviews... (more)
Riot at the Calc Exam and Other Mathematically Bent Stories (2009)
Colin Adams
Finally, a collection of hilarious mathematical stories by Colin Adams! Most of these stories were previously published in his Mathematically Bent column in the Mathematical Intelligencer. Only one is... (more)
Rites of Love and Math (2010)
Highly Rated!
Edward Frenkel / Reine Graves
UC-Berkeley mathematical physicist Edward Frenkel wrote and stars in this short film about a mathematician who is determined to kill himself after he discovers the formula for love. The film is inspired... (more)
Robbins v. New York (2008)
Colin Adams
The author of the Mathematical Intelligencer's "Mathematically Bent" column has a talent for making me laugh, and this piece which has the US Supreme Court justices debating higher math and modern physics... (more)
The Romance of Mathematics: Being the Original Researches of a Lady Professor of Girtham College... (1886)
Peter Hampson Ditchfield
The Reverend Peter Hampson Ditchfield (1854-1930) was the author of many novels and histories, including this odd piece that claims to be compiled from the lecture notes and diaries of a "lady professor",... (more)
Rooster: An American Tragedy (2000)
Brian Fielding
A gifted artist suffering from leprosy encounters Tamara Browne, a quirky former math grad student who is interested in "humanistic mathematics". "While this book is not based on mathematics, it... (more)
Rosencrantz & Guildenstern are Dead (1967)
Tom Stoppard
This brilliant, weird play, retelling the story of Shakespeare's Hamlet from the point of view of two "throw away" characters, unfortunately has very little mathematics in it. However, every few days... (more)
Rough Strife (1980)
Lynne Sharon Schwartz
This is the story of the courtship, marriage and affairs of Ivan (who works on the business side of the art world) and Caroline (a math professor). Although there are plenty of clues to the knowledgeable... (more)
Royal Highness (Königliche Hoheit) (1909)
Thomas Mann
At the heart of Thomas Mann's novel, “Royal Highness,” is the courtship and eventual marriage of Klaus Heinrich, the heir to a fictional German principality, and Imma Spoelmann, the daughter of an... (more)
Rucker - A Life Fractal by Eli Halberstam (1991)
John Allen Paulos
Like Lem's De Impossibilitate Vitae and Prognoscendi , this is a work of fiction that takes the form of a book review. (As Paulos explains in his introduction, "Reviewing [a] book which hasn't been written... (more)
The Rule of Four (2004)
Ian Caldwell / Dustin Thomason
There is an enigmatic book from the late 15th century called Hypnerotomachia Poliphili, written by an Italian monk, Francesco Colonna (available at gutenberg.org for download). The book chronicles the... (more)
Rumpled Stiltskin (2004)
Colin Adams
Do you remember the old Fractured Fairy Tales segment on Rocky and Bullwinkle in which classic stories were updated with a twist? This is just like those. The old Grimm's Brother tale is retold, but... (more)
Sad Strains of a Gay Waltz (1997)
Irene Dische
Like many other mathematicians in fiction (and in real life too?), the protagonist in this novel is brilliant when it comes to calculations but has difficulty with the most commonplace examples of human... (more)
San (2000)
Lan Samantha Chang
A short story in the collection "Hunger" about a girl who becomes interested in mathematics (especially probability) when her gambler father deserts his family. She does not succeed as a college student and learns in the end that in both math and life, it is the mysteries (and not their solutions) which are of real interest. (more)
The Sand-Reckoner (2000)
Highly Rated!
Gillian Bradshaw
In this historical novel whose title is copied from one Archimedes' own works, the famous Greek mathematician is your typical math nerd, always so wrapped up in his computations that he is barely aware... (more)
Saraswati's Way (1978)
Monika Schroder
This is a novel written for very young adults (age 10 or so). Chronicles a mathematically gifted young boy's search for resources and a tutor from whom he can learn more mathematics than his local teachers... (more)
Satisfactory Proof (2005)
Cynthia Morrison Phoel
A Master's degree student pouts and complains about the people around him as he earns his Master's degree in mathematics at a Bulgarian university. Although the titular phrase "satisfactory proof" appears... (more)
School Scandalle (2004)
Marla Weiss
In 80 short chapters (each of which has the word "First" in its title), this book relates the sordid details in the professional life of a computer science and math teacher at a private school in Florida.... (more)
Sebastian (1968)
David Greene (director)
A film about a British mathematician trying to break the German codes during World War II. (So, add this to the growing list of works of mathematical fiction inspired by Alan Turing!) I must admit that I have not yet seen the film, but you've got to love its tagline: We can't tell you what he does (it's an international secret) but he does it with 100 girls... and does it the best! (more)
The Secret Integration (1964)
Thomas Pynchon
The title is a pun relating the operation from calculus (the definite integral of a function) to the controversial attempt to solve many of the problems of race relations in America (the integration... (more)
The Secret Life of Amanda K. Woods (1998)
Ann Cameron
(A preteen novel, obscurely set in the 50s, only skimmed by me. I was attracted by the Moebius strip on the cover of the Scholastic edition. It was a National Book Award finalist, I presume... (more)
Secrets to the Grave (2011)
Tami Hoag
Mathematician Zander Zahn is suspected of having murdered an artist in this follow-up to the novel "Deeper than the Dead". Almost no mathematics is actually discussed, not even the tiny amount one often... (more)
Sekret Enigmy (1979)
Roman Wionczek
Although Alan Turing tends to get much of the credit for breaking the Nazi "Enigma" codes during World War II, three Polish mathematicians did preliminary work that was equally brilliant and equally important. This film tells their story, featuring some real acts of heroism. (more)
Serial Killer Sudoku (2009)
Shelley Freydont
In this sequel to The Sudoku Murder, the former government mathematician who has taken over the puzzle museum in her old hometown catches a serial killer who leaves a sudoku at each crime scene. There... (more)
The Seven-Per-Cent Solution (1974)
Nicholas Meyer
Meyer presents an alternative view of Sherlock Holmes in this surprising novel: that of a deluded drug addict. In particular, and of interest to those who visit this Website, we learn that Professor Moriarty is only a kindly mathematician who once tutored Holmes in mathematics. The idea that he is a criminal mastermind (as we learn in Conan Doyle's stories) is just part of Holmes' paranoia. (more)
The Shackles of Conviction (2008)
James R. Meyer
This novel intersperses a fictionalized account of the life of Kurt Gödel with the modern tale of an engineer who realizes (and eventually convinces the world) that Gödel's proof was flawed and that his (more)
Shakespeare Predicted it All (2003)
Dietmar Dath
An artistically composed piece about Georg Cantor, inventor of the theory of transfinite cardinals, in the form of a dialogue between the characters "1" and "2", both of whom are either Cantor or Hamlet.... (more)
The Shape of Content: Creative Writing in Mathematics and Science (2008)
Chandler Davis (editor) / Marjorie Senechal (editor) / Jan Zwicky (editor)
This collection of writings associated with the Workshops on Creative Writing in Mathematics and Science at the math institute at Banff contains mathematical fiction along with mathematical poetry, scientific... (more)
She is Not Invisible (2013)
Marcus Sedgwick
In this young adult thriller, a blind teenager and her younger brother search for their missing father, a successful author obsessed with coincidence and the number 354. Although the approach is more supernatural and numerological than mathematical, there is also some flavor of probability and discussion of such things as Benford's Law. (more)
She Wrote the Book (1946)
Oscar Brodney (writer) / Warren Wilson (writer) / Charles Lamont (director)
A modest and shy female math professor develops amnesia and completely changes her behavior when she comes to believe she is the author of steamy romance models. According to Burkard Polster and Marty... (more)
Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (2011)
Guy Ritchie (director)
There is not much actual mathematics in this sequel which, like its predecessor, features a version of Sherlock Holmes portrayed by Robert Downey Jr. as more of an action hero than the one in Sir Arthur... (more)
Shooting the Sun (2004)
Max Byrd
Historical mathematicians Ada Lovelace and Charles Babbage play supporting roles in this novel about an expedition into uncharted Indian territory to capture the first photograph of a solar eclipse at... (more)
Silas P. Cornu's Dry Calculator (1898)
Henry Hering
A very hilarious short story about a man who wants to build a mechanical calculator to evaluate logarithms but has success building a machine that can do only addition and multiplication. On the other... (more)
Silent Cruise (2002)
Timothy Taylor
In an open forum on mathematics at the BIRS Website, Canadian author Taylor does a great job of explaining why I am listing this short story here: [In this story] I introduce [the characters] Dett... (more)
Simple Genius (2007)
David Baldacci
A small child with an inexplicable ability to factor large numbers threatens the security of the Western world in this political thriller from popular author Baldacci. Although it is nice to see mathematics... (more)
The Simpsons: Girls Just Want to Have Sums (2006)
Matt Selman
In this episode from the 17th season of the hit cartoon The Simpsons, the principal of Bart and Lisa's school makes a sexist comment (clearly a reference to the controversial comments from Harvard President... (more)
The Sinister Researches of C.P. Ransom (1951)
Homer C. Nearing Jr.
"[D]escribed on the cover as a science fiction novel, which is two mistakes in three words...it is [mathematical fiction], and it is a collection of short stories that originally appeared in The Magazine of... (more)
Sir Cumference and the... (1997)
Highly Rated!
Cindy Neuschwander
These are pun filled picture books. To be honest, they do not appeal to me at all; I would give them low ratings for both literary quality and mathematical content. However, as you can see from the comments... (more)
The Sirdar's Chess-Board (1885)
Elizabeth Wormeley Latimer
A military bride travelling in Afghanistan is surprised when a mystic is able to cut up a chess board ("with three snips of my scissors") and put it back together so that the number of squares has increased... (more)
Sixty Million Trillion Combinations (1980)
Isaac Asimov
Tom Trumbull, one of Asimov's regular "Black Widower" mystery characters, wants to convince an eccentric mathematician (working on Goldbach's conjecture) that his secret password is not safe. Combinatorics... (more)
Slightly Perfect / Are you with it? (1941)
George Malcolm-Smith (Novel) / Sam Perrin (Script) / George Balzer (Script)
Eggheaded actuary Milton Northey Haskins quits his job upon learning that his company has lost money due to his misplaced decimal point and he joins a carnival in the 1941 novel Slightly Perfect. This... (more)
Smilla's Sense of Snow (1993)
Peter Hoeg
"Smilla Qaavigaaq Jaspersen is a part-Inuit Dane who is an expert on ice and snow, and a mathematician to boot. She is depressed and/or anxious most of the time, and the story is very dark, depressing,... (more)
Sneakers (1992)
Phil Alden Robinson (director)
Complex espionage story, more about computers than mathematics. However, mathematics is clearly an underlying theme and in one scene the mysterious mathematician Gunter Janek lectures on mathematical aspects... (more)
Snow (1998)
Geoffrey A. Landis
An apparently schizophrenic, homeless woman sells her body to get herself and her infant off the street on a cold night. Only at the end of this extremely short story do we realize that the imaginary... (more)
The Solitude of Prime Numbers [La Solitudine dei Numeri Primi] (2008)
Paolo Giordano
The novel "La Solitudine dei Numeri Primi" (2008), written by a physics grad student, sold over a million copies in Italy and appeared in English as ``The Solitude of Prime Numbers'' (2010). It tells... (more)
The Song of the Geometry Instructor (1985)
Ralph M. Berry
While snowed in at his home, a geometer writes to his former lover about his students, his discoveries and how much he misses her. This is one of those literary art pieces by an author for whom mathematics... (more)
Songs My Mother Never Taught Me (2007)
Selçuk Altun
After his mother's death, a young Turkish man seeks his father's killer. His father was a very charismatic, conceited and famous mathematician, but aside from that there is little math in the book. The... (more)
Sophie Simon Solves them All (2010)
Lisa Graff
A 100-page novel for 2nd graders about a math genius, Sophie Simon, whose parents are always worried that their daughter is not “well-adjusted”. Sophie, on the other hand, wants to do math far... (more)
Sophie's Diary (2004)
Highly Rated!
Dora Musielak
Sophie Germain famously studied mathematics at night by candlelight despite her parents' insistence that she give up this unfeminine discipline. She then went on to become one of the great mathematician's... (more)
Sorority House (1956)
Jordan Park (Cyril M. Kornbluth and Frederik Pohl)
Sorority House is a lesbian pulp novel written in 1956 by Cyril M. Kornbluth (1923-1958) and Frederik Pohl (1919- ) under the pen name "Jordan Park". The main character is a mentally unstable young... (more)
Space (1911)
John Buchan
This mystical story, as recounted by a lawyer, is about a brilliant mathematician ("an erratic genius who had written some articles in Mind on that dreary subject, the mathematical conception of infinity",... (more)
Spying on My Dreams (2000)
Laurence Howard
In my second novel, Spying on My Dreams, my protagonist, a mathematician working for a computer game company, uses fuzzy logic to integrate Eastern and Western thought, and hence finds the meaning of... (more)
The Square Root of Murder (2002)
Paul Zindel
A murder mystery written for a middle school aged audience in which a calculus professor is found pinned to a chalk board by a bolt fired from a crossbow. A formula on the board turns out to be an essential clue (though it involves only elementary arithmetic). This novel for young readers should not be confused with the adult mystery novel with the same title by Ada Madison. (more)
The Square Root of Murder (2011)
Ada Madison
Math professor Sophie Knowles turns amateur detective when an unpopular colleague is found dead in his office in this entertaining but light mystery novel. From reading comments at Amazon, I have learned... (more)
Stand and Deliver (1987)
Highly Rated!
Ramon Menendez
Edward James Olmos plays Jaime Escalante, "a real-life math teacher in East L.A.. This is really unique. The hero's heroism consists in teaching mathematics! Obviously, I've gotta love this one. So... (more)
Stand-In (1937)
Tay Garnett
Leslie Howard plays a typical Hollywood mathematical genius: emotionless, conceited, and convinced that everything can be understood through mathematics. (Well, one out of three isn't bad!) It takes a trip to Tinsel Town and a beautiful actress to make him see the errors of his ways. (more)
The Stargazers (1986)
Barbara Susan Lefever
An historical novel based on Mason and Dixon. (Includes references!) It was self-published in a first printing of 700, and a second printing of 200. The author is/was a member of the Pennsylvania Society... (more)
The Steep Approach to Garbadale (2007)
Iain Banks
Alban McGill is a reluctant member of a family whose wealth is derived from the creation of an immensely popular board game. The three main plots of the novel (which are intertwined) concern his childhood... (more)
Sticks (2002)
Joan Bauer
Fifth grader Mickey Vernon gets help from his "math whiz" friend in beating a bully at pool in this novel for children. Some reviewers complained that the plot was slow and that the harping on mathematics... (more)
Still She Haunts Me (2001)
Katie Roiphe
A novel about the life of Charles Dodgson (aka Lewis Carroll). I have not read it, and it most certainly focuses more on his affections for Alice than on his mathematics, but I suppose there must be... (more)
The Story of Yung Chang (1900)
Ernest Bramah (Ernest Bramah Smith)
Before the invention of multiplication tables, a Chinese idol merchant must sell his wares individually, even if someone wishes to purchase a large amount, since he has no way to determine how much money... (more)
Strange Attractors (1993)
Highly Rated!
Rebecca Goldstein
"Strange attractors: Collection of short stories, some of which have mathematical content. Two stories (the geometry of soap bubbles and impossible love and strange attractors) figure the same main... (more)
The Strange Case of Mr. Jean D. (1983)
Joao Filipe Queiro
Published in the Mathematical Intelligencer magazine (Math.Intell. 5, 3 78-90 (1983)) this is the story of a mathematician who has a nightmare: Pi is rational! (Thanks to Nuno Crato for the suggestion.) (more)
The Stranger House (2005)
Reginald Hill
Sam is a young math student from Australia who travels to England seeking information about her grandmother. She finds that her quest becomes intertwined with that of a Spanish historian investigating... (more)
Straw Dogs (1971)
Sam Peckinpah (Director)
Dustin Hoffman stars as an astrophysicist in this violent Peckinpah film. Before the violence starts, Hoffman's wife plays a trick on him by changing some signs (+/-) in an equation he is working with.... (more)
Strip Search (2007)
William Bernhardt
A detective is aided by an autistic child in capturing a serial killer who leaves equations written in the blood of his victims at the scenes of the grisly crimes. In your MathFiction entry for William... (more)
A Study in Seduction (2012)
Nina Rowan
From the back cover: "A heart divided...a passion multiplied...a love unequalled." Although you shouldn't judge a book by its cover, I could guess from the image of a shirtless man with no chest hair... (more)
The Sudoku Murder (2007)
Shelley Freydont
With the current popularity of sudoku puzzles, it is not surprising that a mystery novel with this title would appear. As a mystery, this one is quite decent. A mathematician who works for a government... (more)
A Suitable Boy (1993)
Vikram Seth
Sometimes referred to as the longest published English novel, this book about a mother's search for a husband for her daughter in post-colonial India has enough pages to devote a few to mathematics. And,... (more)
The Sum of All Kisses (2013)
Julia Quinn
Lady Sarah Pleinsworth and a mathematician who was crippled in a duel are forced to spend time together. Since they despise each other at the outset, we know from the typical plot arc of the romance novel... (more)
Summa Mathematica (2002)
Sean Doolittle
Not really a mystery, but more of a "crime drama" in which a former math professor gets two offers he can't refuse: one from a crime boss who wants to hire him as his accountant and another from the police... (more)
Surreal Numbers: How Two Ex-Students Turned on to Pure Mathematics and Found Total Happiness (1974)
Don Knuth
The famous computer scientist (known to many grateful mathematicians as the creator of TeX) presents Conway's "surreal numbers" in the form of a fictionalized dialogue. Includes exercises! It... (more)
Sylvie and Bruno Concluded (1893)
Lewis Carroll
The sequel to his somewhat popular book "Sylvie and Bruno" never achieved the popularity of the original. This lack of success may or may not be related to Chapter VII (entitled "Mein Herr") of the... (more)
The Symbolic Logic of Murder (1960)
John Reese
Through a combination of biblical mnemonics and Boolean algebra, our heroes are able to solve a mysterious murder. Appears in Mathematical Magpie. (more)
Szatan Z Siodmej Klasy (1949)
Kornel Makuszynski
Website visitor David Shay suggested that I add this Polish novel written for young adults in which one of the characters is an amateur mathematician attempting to prove Fermat's Last Theorem. Note... (more)
A Tangled Tale (1886)
Highly Rated!
Lewis Carroll
A collection of ten mathematical puzzles in story form by the famous author/mathematician Charles Dodgson (aka Lewis Carroll). "The reason I answered 3 for "Mathematical Content" is that all the math... (more)
Teen Patti (2010)
Leena Yadav (Director)
This Bollywood film features Ben Kingsley as a math professor whose theory of probability allows him (and a team of student helpers) to win huge sums of money gambling. The plot sounds suspiciously similar... (more)
Ten (1986)
Isaac Asimov
We might argue that the particular words and symbols we use to express mathematical concepts are not as important as the concepts themselves...and mathematically that may well be the case. However,... (more)
Tenet (2012)
Lorne Campbell/ Sandy Grierson
Évariste Galois is one of two characters in this play, whose full title is apparently "Tenet: A True Story About the Revolutionary Politics of Telling the Truth about Truth as Edited by Someone Who is... (more)
The Siege Of The "Lancashire Queen" (1906)
Jack London
Describes how the capture of illegal shrimp-poachers becomes a problem of triangular geometry and relative speeds of chase. In particular, the pirates, trapped on a ship, the chasing posse and the point... (more)
The Sleepwalkers (Schlafwandler) (1931)
Hermann Broch
The third part of this trilogy contains digressions in which Broch talks about logic, mathematical axioms, and projective geometry. According to these digressions, the lack of style of mathematics resembles the style of modernity. (more)
The Theory of Everything (1991)
Lisa Grunwald
Theoretical physicist Alexander Simon is on the verge of making a mathematical discovery of tremendous importance. By collapsing the hidden dimensions in string theory to a 2-dimensional manifold, he... (more)
Thinking of Leaving Your Husband? (2010)
Charlotte Cory
[This] is the book of a series of [BBC] radio comedies from last year, in which the heroine has various unfortunate experiences with internet dating before meeting the perfect partner, who is a mathematician.... (more)
Thirteen Diamonds (2000)
Alan Cook
A murder mystery set in a retirement community in Chapel Hill, NC. During a bridge game at the club, one of the members, a Nobel-laureate in Economics, keels over and dies after receiving a perfect hand... (more)
Thomas Gray: Philosopher Cat (1988)
Philip J. Davis
As the jacket blurb explains, the book is "a philosophical fireside tale wrapped lightly around a mathematical problem, revealing scholarly life and attitudes at a well-known English college. It... (more)
The Thousand (2010)
Kevin Guilfoile
Two competing Pythagorean cults (one "fundamentalist" and the other believing in "further revelations") are behind worldwide disasters such as the 9/11 terrorist attacks and hurricane Katrina in this conspiracy... (more)
The Three Body Problem (2004)
Highly Rated!
Catherine Shaw
A cleverly titled novel that uses a historical mathematical contest and several characters based on real mathematicians as the basis for a murder mystery. Of special interest is the novel's presentation... (more)
Three Days and a Child (1970)
Abraham B. Yehoshua
Dov, an Israeli mathematics graduate student, watches the young child of a woman he knew at a kibbutz. He alternates between loving the child as he still loves the woman and intentionally endangering... (more)
Tigor (aka The Snowflake Constant) (1991)
Peter Stephan Jungk
In this novel, a mathematics professor is emotionally wounded to the point of temporary insanity by the lack of acceptance of his geometric theory of snowflakes and runs away. His journey takes him to... (more)
The Tolman Trick (2006)
Manil Suri
Professor Tolman attends a conference at the Mathematics Institute at Oberwolfach, but a young colleague suspects that the result he is presenting may not be correct. Published in the first issue of Subtropics,... (more)
Too Much Happiness (2009)
Alice Munro
The penultimate collection of short stories from Nobel laureate Alice Munro features a title story about the final days of Sonia Kovalevskaya. The main source of tension in the story is her love affair... (more)
Torn Curtain (1966)
Alfred Hitchcock (Director)
Professor Armstrong (Paul Newman) pretends to defect to the other side of the iron curtain to learn of the secret "star wars"-like defense plan discovered by the brilliant (by his own account) Dr. Lindt. Fiancee... (more)
Touch (2012)
Tim Kring (screenplay/creator)
This TV show combines disparate familiar elements. Like "24", it has Kiefer Sutherland running around trying to save people. Like "Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close" it has the autistic child of a single... (more)
Touch-Me-Not (2010)
Cynthia Riggs
In this installment of a series of mystery novels set on Martha's Vineyard, an electrician accidentally murders an employee who was blackmailing him and then is killed himself. Throughout most of the... (more)
Towel Season (1998)
Highly Rated!
Ron Carlson
A mathematician and his wife try to fit in with their suburban neighbors. Perhaps the best description of the feel of what doing mathematical research is really like. Much of the tension of the... (more)
Tracking the Random Variable (1991)
Highly Rated!
Marcos Donnelly
Ronald Barr is a statistician with a knack for identifying hidden variables. For example, it was he who recognized that by offering chicken soup and hot chocolate in the automatic coffee machine, his... (more)
Train Brains / The Runaway Train (Donald Duck) (1956)
Carl Barks
Donald Duck's nephews -- Huey, Dewey and Louie -- are trying to earn a merit badge in engineering for the Junior Woodchucks by working out a complicated problem involving toy trains. "We'll never be... (more)
Travelling Salesman (2012)
Andy Lanzone (writer) / Timothy Lanzone (director and writer)
This film is a low-budget intellectual thriller about a Fields Medalist who, while working for the NSA, helps to prove that P=NP and takes part in the deliberations to decide what to do with it. "Travelling... (more)
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (1943)
Betty Smith
You may be surprised to see Betty Smith's novel about a girl growing up poor in the early 20th century on this list. In fact, it is a stretch to call this "mathematical fiction". However, the little... (more)
Turbulence (2010)
Giles Foden
A British meteorologist is stationed in Scotland during World War II not to simply run a weather station (which is his cover), but to get to know the brilliant Wallace Ryman and learn to use his mathematical... (more)
Turing's Delirium (2007)
Edmundo Paz Soldan
This is a hacker-counter-hacker story set in Bolivia, where the newly resurrected president hires an NSA official to set up the country's counter-espionage / cyber-security unit ("Black Chamber"). The... (more)
Twenty-seven Uses for Imaginary Numbers (2009)
Buzz Mauro
A teenage boy's discovery of the joys of Euler's formula coincides with the awakening of his homosexual desires. The author's mathematical understanding is very good, and the story reminded me of young... (more)
Twisted (2004)
Jonathan Kellerman
One of the main characters is a graduate student pursing a Ph.D. in biostatistics, who notes to police detectives that coincidences in the circumstances of several murders are statistically significant,... (more)
The Twisted Heart (2009)
Rebecca Gowers
An English graduate student solves a 19th century murder mystery involving Charles Dickens with the help of her boyfriend, a mathematician. This book is not yet available in the US and so I have not... (more)
Twisted Seduction (2010)
Dominique Adams (writer and director)
A man with a PhD in mathematics and a master's degree in psychology kidnaps a woman he has determined mathematically and scientifically to be an ideal match for him, with the intention of forcing her to... (more)
Two Moons (2000)
Thomas Mallon
A historical novel set in Washington DC of the late 19th century in which astronomers and the Naval Observatory (aided by the "computer" Cynthia May) deal with scientific and political matters of the... (more)
Two Trains Running (1990)
August Wilson
This play is set in Pittsburgh, 1969. An economically depressed area of the city is facing urban renewal, and the specter of eminent domain seizure hangs over the main character's future. The other... (more)
Ultima Dea [The Last Goddess] (1994)
Gianni Riotta
Unfortunately this book does not appear to have been translated from the original Italian. One of the central characters in the book, Alfred Diognetus (described as a "saint mathematician") is the... (more)
Uncle Georg's Attic (2002)
Ben Schumacher
This short story appeared in the September 2002 issue of "Math Horizons", published by the Mathematical Association of America. In it, some kids look through an attic containing lots of stuff belonging... (more)
Uncle Petros and Goldbach's Conjecture (1992)
Highly Rated!
Apostolos Doxiadis
This novel, recently (2000) translated from Greek, follows the attempts of fictional mathematician Petros Papachristos to prove Goldbach's Conjecture (that every even number greater than two is the sum... (more)
The Unknown Quantity (1933)
Hermann Broch
"Here the main character is a mathematician who learns, through love and tragedy, that the `unknown quantity' of life resists mathematical formulation." (more)
The Unknowns: A Mystery (2009)
Highly Rated!
Benedict Carey
A novel for middle school children which aims to teach mathematical concepts as the young protagonists try to solve the mystery of the disappearances in their neighborhood. I thoroughly enjoyed the... (more)
Until Tomorrow, Then (2010)
Shaun Hamill (writer and director)
A short film about a young mathematician obsessed with working out the "rate the universe is running down" so that he can determine time that the universe will end. One of the two other characters... (more)
The Valley of Fear (1916)
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Having introduced Sherlock Holmes' most famous enemy, Professor Moriarty, as a mathematician in an earlier story, Doyle provides us with just a small glimpse of his mathematical genius (as opposed to... (more)
Verrechnet (2009)
Carl Djerassi/Isabella Gregor
With the help of playwright/director Isabella Gregor, Djerassi updated his play Calculus (Newton's Whores). The plot still revolves around the question of priority on the invention of calculus, and especially... (more)
A Very Peculiar Practice (1986)
Andrew Davies
In this television series about a medical doctor at a British university, a recurring character during the first season was a mathematician who was the doctor's roommate, Chen. Their "flat" was therefore... (more)
Victoria Martin: Math Team Queen (2007)
Kathryn Walat (playwright)
Victoria Martin is a popular girl at Longwood High -- dating one of the stars of the school basketball team and friends with the "Jens" on the cheerleading squad. So, most of the guys on the math team... (more)
Villages (2004)
John Updike
The protagonist of this novel is Owen Mackenzie, a character who earned a degree in mathematics in the 1950's and went on to work with computers. His first lover, as well, was a mathematician. They... (more)
Vineland (1990)
Thomas Pynchon
This novel is Pynchon's bittersweet look at the idealism of the sixties as seen from the cynicism of the eighties. One key character from the sixties is the mathematician Weed Atman, first seen studying... (more)
The Visiting Professor (1994)
Highly Rated!
Robert Littell
Lemuel Falk, a ``randomnist'' from the Steklov Institute in Russia gets a visiting position at a chaos research institute in Upstate New York in this academic farce. He meets a drunkard who studies... (more)
Waiting for Citizen Gödel (2005)
Howard V. Hendrix
Short story revolving around Godel's application for US citizenship. There is a well-known episode from Godel's life, where Einstein and Oscar Morgenstern took Godel for his citizenship oath. Godel,... (more)
War and Peace (1869)
Lev Tolstoy
Tolstoy's famous novel about...well, about war and peace (!) contains long passages explaining an analogy he makes between history and calculus. In particular, he argues that we should view history as... (more)
Watt (1953)
Samuel Beckett
WATT is generally considered a very strange novel, written in a style best described as "permutational". The narrator and many of the characters frequently find themselves unable ... (more)
The Weight of Numbers (2006)
Simon Ings
This is an ambitious novel which attempts to be as overwhelming as Pynchon, to deconstruct what it means to be human like Vonnegut and to tie together bits of history like Forrest Gump. For a few readers,... (more)
Welcome to Paradise (2005)
Paul David-Goddard /Helen Miller
Not much happens in this play. A young Englishman who has just earned an undergraduate degree in mathematics goes on a trip to Australia to find himself. Co-author Helen Miller based the play on her... (more)
What Are the Odds? (2006)
Justin Spitzer (writer) / Matthew Tritt (director)
Two extremely nerdy strangers who keep running into each other in New York City are surprised to learn that they both "study applied mathematics" and are attending the same conference on "stochastic processes... (more)
What I'm going to do, I think (1969)
Larry Woiwode
A dark, serious novel about a math grad student whose life I do not envy. (more)
Who Killed the Duke of Densmore? (1994)
Highly Rated!
Claude Berge
The murder mystery in the title took place many years ago and the only witnesses are a group of women who each visited the crime scene for a single stretch of time. They each remember whom they met... (more)
Whom the gods love: The story of Evariste Galois (1948)
Leopold Infeld
A fictionalized biography of the ill-fated originator of group theory written by a collaborator of Einstein (better known today for his joint work with Max Born on electrodynamics). “No professor... (more)
The Wild Numbers (1998)
Highly Rated!
Philibert Schogt
Most mathematicians dream of proving a terribly important result. In this novel, mathematician Isaac Swift thinks he has done just that: solved "Beauregard's Wild Number Problem". But is his proof... (more)
The Witch of Agnesi (2006)
Robert Spiller
Solid murder mystery in which a high school math teacher finds the murderer of three of her best students. My favorite thing about this book is the way that Bonnie Pinkwater and her boyfriend -- the... (more)
Without a Trace (Episode: Claus and Effect) (2007)
David Amann (writer) / Alicia Kirk (writer) / Bobby Roth (Director)
In this Christmas special episode of the TV crime drama, a department store Santa turns out to be a mathematical prodigy who has quit his job as a mathematician/programmer due to ethical concerns that his work will cause others to lose their jobs. He becomes involved in a scheme to make money by applying mathematics to gambling. (more)
The Wizard (1989)
C.S. Godshalk
A mathematically talented youth in a bad neighborhood becomes a drug dealer and may not be able to take advantage of his genius by attending the private school which has offered him a scholarship. In... (more)
The World as I Found It (1987)
Bruce Duffy
A fictionalized "biography" of philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein including a portrayal of Bertrand Russell. "Very enjoyable, but barely scratches the surface of Wittgenstein's life, work, and character... (more)
The Wright 3 (2006)
Blue Balliet
This is the second mystery book with Calder, Petra and Tommy, where the events take place after those in “Chasing Vermeer”. The main theme in the book is the impending destruction / tear-down of... (more)
Year of the Rat (2009)
Kristine Kathryn Rusch
A story of two brothers who use mathematics, one to prove, one to disprove God, and fortunately have their big sister to resolve things. One of two mathematical stories in Denise Little's anthology Intelligent Design. (See also Luck be a Lady). (more)
The Year of the Tiger (1996)
Jack Higgins
Cold war spy thriller in which our hero must help an aged Soviet mathematician escape to our side of the Iron Curtain. (I haven't read the book, just some reviews, so if there is more to say about it... (more)
The Years of Rice and Salt (2002)
Kim Stanley Robinson
This alternative history is based on the assumption that the Great Plague of the 1300s that decimated Europe's population was much worse, and that it in fact led to the extinction of almost all of... (more)
Yi ge dou bu neng shao (1999)
Yimou Zhang (director) / Xiangsheng Shi (screenplay)
A 13 year-old-girl is given the job of being the teacher for a remote Chinese village for one month and promised extra pay if she does not lose a single student. When one student's mother becomes ill,... (more)
Young Archimedes (1924)
Aldous Huxley
A couple vacationing in Italy meet a peasant boy with strong mathematical abilities. The most mathematical portion of the text is a discussion of a proof of the Pythagorean theorem which the boy develops.... (more)
Zéro, ou les Cinq vies d'Aemer (2005)
Denis Guedj
This novel traces the history of the number `zero' through the lives of five different women, living in five different eras, but all living in the same place: Mesopotamia/Iraq. Guedj is already known... (more)
Zero (2009)
Buzz Mauro
An awkward, middle-aged math teacher life stumbles (quite literally) into a sexual relationship with an unusual young woman. The character occasionally thinks in mathematical term. Towards the beginning,... (more)
The Zero Clue (1952)
Rex Stout
Nero Wolfe can't stand Leo Heller, a mathematician who uses operations research to solve mysteries and seems to be superseding Wolfe's own reputation. But then Heller is murdered by one of his clients.... (more)
Zilkowski's Theorem (2003)
Highly Rated!
Karl Iagnemma
This is a story of a love triangle with a definite mathematical twist. Henderson's roommate, Czogloz, steals away his girlfriend, Milla, when all three were math graduate students. Years later, seeking... (more)

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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)