MATHEMATICAL FICTION:

a list compiled by Alex Kasman (College of Charleston)

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Genre=Adventure/Espionage

81 matches found out of 1148 entries

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

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 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)
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)
Altar of Eden (2009)
James Rollins
"Fractals" is the buzz word in this adventure novel in which a veterinarian discovers seemingly mutated animals who were unwittingly brought back to the US by Black Market traders. Including vague references... (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 Blind Geometer (1987)
Kim Stanley Robinson
This short novel lives up to its name: it really is about a blind geometer! Carlos Oleg Nevsky was born blind and ``since 2043'' has been a professor of mathematics at GWU. We get some interesting discussion... (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 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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
Cryptonomicon (1998)
Highly Rated!
Neal Stephenson
This "cult" novel of mathematics, computer science, espionage and warfare follows a mathematician through World War II and his grandson through the creation of a (less than ordinary) silicon valley start-up company.... (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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
The Fringe (Episode: The Equation) (2008)
J.R. Orci (Screenplay) / David H. Goodman (Screenplay)
The ``Fringe Team'' (an FBI agent, a mad scientist and his son) investigate a series of kidnappings in which the victim is hypnotized with red and green lights. In each case, the victim was about to... (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)
Gödel Numbers (1969)
J.W. Swanson
The story revolves around an ancient stone artifact found near Cairo which has engraved markings of slanted lines. In an incredible non-sequitor, one of the characters in the story guesses that the numbers... (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)
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)
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)
Ground Zero Man (The Peace Machine) (1971)
Bob Shaw
A self-described `unimportant mathematician' who works on guidance systems for a British weapons manufacturer discovers, just by playing around with the formulas, a way to cause the explosion of every... (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)
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)
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)
Improbable (2005)
Highly Rated!
Adam Fawer
A probability expert suffering from epilepsy (with hints of schizophrenia) is in over his head with gambling debts to the Russian mob and a beautiful, renegade CIA agent before discovering that he has the ability to predict the future. A running subplot is the mathematical aspects of determinism (i.e. (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)
The Kingdom of Ohio (2009)
Matthew Flaming
Cheri-Anne Toledo, the daughter of the King of Ohio, uses her mathematical skills (and the assistance of Nikola Tesla) to build a device that is supposed to be able transport people instantaneously from... (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)
Arthur C. Clarke / Frederik Pohl
Ranjit Subramanian, the protagonist in this science fiction novel, is a young Sri Lankan man who (re)discovers a short and elementary proof of Fermat's Last Theorem while enduring torture during an unjust... (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)
The Lure (2007)
Bill Napier
Irish mathematician Tom Petrie is called in as an expert to analyze a mysterious stream of particles that appears to be a message from aliens. The math never gets very deep. Petrie is supposed to be... (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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
Stamping Butterflies (2004)
Jon Courtenay Grimwood
A "going back to change the timelines" SF story involving a reclusive rock star, a suspected terrorist being subjected to harsh tactics by US intelligence, and the young Chinese emperor who rules thousands... (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)
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 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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)

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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)