MATHEMATICAL FICTION:

a list compiled by Alex Kasman (College of Charleston)

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Medium=Novels

512 matches found out of 1141 entries

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

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)
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)
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)
The Accidental Time Machine (2007)
Joe Haldeman
A few mathematical ideas are tossed around casually in this light and entertaining science fiction story about a lab assistant who realizes before his boss that the device they are working on can be used... (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)
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)
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)
After Math (1997)
Highly Rated!
Miriam Webster
The ghost of math professor Ray Bellwether tries to solve the mystery of his own murder in this `first novel' by Amy Babich (Webster is just a pseudonym). Babich has a Ph.D. in mathematics (and a Master's... (more)
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)
After the Fall, Before the Fall, During the Fall (2012)
Nancy Kress
The last 26 humans alive resort to kidnapping children from the past in order to save themselves from the oppressive aliens who keep them in "The Shell". Mathematics enters in the form of Julie Kahn,... (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)
Alex Detail's Revolution (2009)
Darren Campo
A teenage genius uses (among other things) knowledge of the Golden Ratio to defeat an alien invasion. Campo handles the description of the math a bit better than some other authors ([cough]...Dan Brown...[cough]) but in the end it is nothing other than a bit of unbelievable mumbo jumbo in an otherwise math-free Sci-Fi adventure. (more)
The Algebraist (2005)
Iain M. Banks
Fassin Taak is a human in the year 4034 who has the job of communicating with the alien species known as "the dwellers". Since the dweller culture is billions of years old, they have accumulated tremendous... (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)
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)
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)
Anathem (2008)
Highly Rated!
Neal Stephenson
This ambitious novel takes place on a world in which it is the theoretical scientists and mathematicians (rather than the theologians as on our planet) who have cloistered themselves in ascetic communes,... (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)
An Angel of Obedience (2010)
John Giessmann
Due to his new obsession with fractal geometry, thirteen year-old prodigy Jackson Carter has just ended an illustrious career as a classical musician and enrolled as a math major at Harvard. There he... (more)
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)
Artifact (1985)
Gregory Benford
In this novel a team of scientists investigates a mysterious archaeological find. It soon becomes apparent that more than just archaelogy will be needed to understand it, and so a pair of physicists... (more)
The Atrocity Archives (2004)
Highly Rated!
Charles Stross
"The Laundry" is a British spy organization which is responsible for suppressing certain dangerous math research. The occult implications of mathematics became clear with Alan Turing's paper "Phase Conjugate... (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)
Barking (2007)
Tom Holt
Duncan Hughes has had a rather monotonous and trite career as an estate and tax lawyer when suddenly werewolves, vampires, zombies, and one impossibly alluring unicorn, along with his ex-wife and his old... (more)
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)
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)
The Better Mousetrap (2008)
Tom Holt
The Better Mousetrap is the fifth book in Tom Holt's series that began with The Portable Door. The first four books told the adventures of Paul Carpenter, a fairly boring nobody who joined the... (more)
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)
Bill, the Galactic Hero (1965)
Harry Harrison
The famed parody of Asimov and Heinlein. Amongst other issues, the book asks what happens to all the garbage from a one city planet (a la Trantor from FOUNDATION)? It seems to be a losing ... (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)
Black Numbers (2011)
Dean Frank Lappi
In a fantasy world where math is magic, a young boy's life is endangered as it becomes clear that he is the long awaited Aleph Null. I really do like the way the characters utilize equations and mentally... (more)
Blasphemy (2008)
Douglas Preston
Douglas Preston’s novel, “Blasphemy”, contains a few mathematical references that come up when scientists encounter “God” at the (hypothetical) world’s largest particle collider, SSC II.... (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)
Bloom (1998)
Wil McCarthy
In between blooms of a deadly manmade fungus, the humans discuss cellular automata (especially Conway's Game of Life) and complexity theory. Thanks to Rob Milson for suggesting this book. (more)
The Bones of Time (1996)
Kathleen Ann Goonan
A young 21st century mathematician named Cen (short for Century) Kalakaua falls in love with a 19th century Hawaiian princess when they meet through an unusual temporal phenomenon. He becomes obsessed... (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)
The Boy Who Reversed Himself (1986)
William Sleator
[William Sleator's The Boy Who Reversed Himself is] a book catering to a preteen or early teen audience about three high school students' adventures in 4-dimensional (and higher) space. It includes... (more)
Brain Wave (1954)
Poul Anderson
This debut novel from SF superstar Anderson explains that the human intelligence is far more powerful than we have thus far seen. In fact, once we escape from the effects of a force field that is limiting... (more)
Brave New World (1932)
Aldous Huxley
"Best known for its horrifying utopian vision of a future where children are manufactured for their role in society, the masses are kept happy with their feelies and drugs, ... (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)
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)
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)
Calculated Magic (1995)
Robert Weinberg
In this sequel to A Logical Magician, the mathematically trained wizard's assistant returns to fight evil monsters in Vegas and save his fiance (Merlin's daughter) from Hell. I do like the idea that... (more)
Calculating God (2000)
Robert J. Sawyer
Though it is considerably less mathematical than Factoring Humanity, it holds together a bit better as a novel. Here, we encounter aliens who view the existence of god (a creator of the universe) as a... (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 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)
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)
Cascade Point (1983)
Timothy Zahn
"Cascade Point" by Timothy Zahn (1983, won the 1984 Hugo award) contains fictionalized mathematical analysis of higher-order dimensions of space/time. The novel concerns future space travel whereby... (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 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)
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)
Chaos in Wonderland: Visual Adventures in a Fractal World (1995)
Clifford Pickover
Devoted to a society of mathematicians living in a subterranean chamber of Ganymede, a moon of Jupiter. Status in their societies is determined by the beauty of their fractal dreams. Fractal weapons, chaos theory, the Lyapunov exponent, and strange attractors are featured. (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)
Children of Dune (1976)
Frank Herbert
This third novel in the "Dune" series (which was also made into a TV miniseries) contains a wonderful (but rather brief and not very significant) bit of fictional mathematics. The following quotation... (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)
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)
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 Clockwork Rocket (2011)
Highly Rated!
Greg Egan
"The Clockwork Rocket" by Greg Egan is the first in his Orthogonal trilogy. As usual the author is very committed with the writing and goes the extra mile (or miles in this case) in order to achieve... (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)
Cocoon of Terror (2008)
Jason Earls
The protagonist in the latest novel by Jason Earls spends his time hunting down the evil and semi-mystical artist Zelian, and much of his spare time finding integers with interesting aesthetic and number... (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 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". (I have not yet had... (more)
The Coincidence Engine (2011)
Sam Leith
A tongue-in-cheek, easy-read, quite enjoyable romp of a story about a reclusive mathematician named “Bancharski”, a play on the names of mathematicians Banach and Tarski (unfortunately, Banach-Tarski... (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)
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)
Contact (1985)
Highly Rated!
Carl Sagan
This is a fantastic novel; don't skip it just because you saw the movie. Mathematics plays an important role in the book, much more so than in the film. In both, Ellie Arroway detects a message from... (more)
Context (2005)
John Meaney
This is the second book in the Nulapeiron Sequence by John Meaney. The protagonist is still Tom Corcorigan, who in the first novel rose from slavery to royalty in part because of his "logosophical" (read... (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)
Count to a Trillion (2011)
John C. Wright
A team of the world's top mathematicians is sent to examine an alien artifact which seems to have a tremendous amount of knowledge "written" on it. (I've put "written" in quotes because not only is the... (more)
Coyote Moon (2003)
John A. Miller
Well, this book is hard to describe! It's certainly different and not easily categorizable. It is a novel that addresses the question "What if a young, nerdy, MIT mathematics professor died of cancer... (more)
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 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 Curve of the Snowflake (1956)
William Grey Walter
A beautiful and brilliant woman organizes a team of scientists (and a mathematician) who together make fusion energy efficient and invent a flying submarine...and perhaps a time-machine as well. When... (more)
The Cyberiad (1967)
Stanislaw Lem
I was perusing your site and I happened to think of a great addition to your list. It's by Polish philosopher Stanislaw Lem and called "The Cyberiad". It's about the adventures of two super "inventors"... (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 as Day (2002)
Charles Sheffield
Alex Ligon, though unbelievably rich, chooses to work voluntarily at a government agency where his predictive models for the future of the human race (based, he claims, on the principles of statistical... (more)
The Dark Lord (2005)
Patricia Simpson
This fantasy/horror/romance novel features as its protagonist a young, female math professor at UC-Berkeley who gets caught up in a battle with a demon when she finds an unusual deck of tarot cards in... (more)
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)
The Dark Side of the Sun (1976)
Terry Pratchett
This humorous science fiction novel tells the tale of Dom Salabos, who believes he is destined to become "Chairman of the Board of Widdershins and heir to riches untold", but his allies familiar with p-math... (more)
Dear Abbey (2003)
Terry Bisson
This novel, which has not received many good reviews and appears only to have been published in Britain, involves a math professor who is a terrorist for environmentalist causes. (That the author chose... (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 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)
Death Qualified: A Mystery of Chaos (1992)
Kate Willhelm
The book only becomes science fiction towards the end. For most of it, it follows the format of a mystery in which there are several murders (which remain mysterious to the reader until near to the end)... (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)
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)
Diamond Dogs (2001)
Alistair Reynolds
This novella by a trained astrophysicist who has worked for the European Space Agency features an alien designed "death trap" that challenges people with difficult mathematical puzzles. In an interview,... (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)
Diaspora (1998)
Highly Rated!
Greg Egan
"This is the only science-fiction book I have ever read to define the term fiber bundle." said contributor David Moews of this book. The same for me, though I was disappointed to see that it was... (more)
The Difference Engine (1991)
William Gibson / Bruce Sterling
Two of the innovators of the cyberpunk novel -- famous for showing how messed up the future will be because of technology -- turn everything around and show us instead how great the past would have been... (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)
Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency (1987)
Douglas Adams
Douglas Adams is best known for his wacky Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy series. But his two Dirk Gently novels, while maintaining Adams' characteristic high wackiness, also carry ... (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)
The Disposessed (1974)
Ursula K. Le Guin
A utopian novel in which theories of time in mathematical physics ("chronotopology", "sequency and simultaneity", "general temporal theories") play an important role. I have not yet read this book,... (more)
Distances (2008)
Vandana Singh
Most members of Anasunya's species have "a gift". Since she has a gift of mathematics, she leaves her aquatic home and begins working at the Temple of Mathematical Arts. She has a gift that allows... (more)
Distress (1995)
Highly Rated!
Greg Egan
My friends and I are all in agreement on this one: this book starts out great (at a mathematical physics conference where people are talking about the latest theories of quantum gravity) but then it degenerates... (more)
Divergence (2007)
Tony Ballantyne
This is the third novel of a trilogy that began with RECURSION and CAPACITY. Set in the 23rd century, the nannying of humanity by government and computers is the cause of some discomfort and rebellion. Along... (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)
Doctor Who: The Algebra of Ice (2004)
Lloyd Rose (pseudonym of Sarah Tonyn)
Lloyd Rose (pen name for Sarah Tonyn) has a “Doctor Who” book called “The Algebra of Ice”. It describes the attempted invasion of our universe by mathematical beings from another dimension. These... (more)
Doing our Babbage (1992)
Ira Slobodien
The mind of 19th century mathematician Charles Babbage is brought back to life in electronic/mechanical form, becomes involved in a kinky "love rectangle" with the three scientists responsible (two women... (more)
Dragon's Egg (1980)
Robert L. Forward
[In this science fiction novel], the crew of the first spaceship to ever visit a neutron star discover that the star is inhabited by a race - the Cheela - whose metabolism is based on nuclear reactions... (more)
Drop (2008)
Lisa Papademitriou
A mathematically talented high school student uses what appears to be psychic powers to beat the casinos in this novel for young adults. However, with the help of a math professor she begins to realize... (more)
Drunkard's Walk (1960)
Frederik Pohl
A number theorist is suffering from frequent and inexplicable suicide attempts, the latest victim of a small epidemic among academia. In between lectures on Pascal's triangle and the binomial theorem... (more)
Dude, can you count? (2010)
Christian Constanda
Utilizing the entertaining contrivance of an extraterrestrial who visits human math conferences to evaluate our intelligence, Constanda tells us what he thinks is wrong with math education today. Following... (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)
Eifelheim (2006)
Michael Flynn
In this award winning science fiction novel, Tom and Sharon have a lot in common. They share an apartment, both use sophisticated mathematics in their research, and both become completely obsessed with... (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 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
One of the three principle characters in this book is a mathematician who works on quasicrystals (and, like the other two main characters, she is also a dwarf). Aside from that, I'm afraid I know very... (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)
Empire of the Ants (1991)
Bernard Werber
This is a fascinating first novel. Published in France under the title "Les Fourmis" in 1991 and translated into English as "Empire of the Ants" (not to be confused with the H G Wells story or movie... (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)
The End of Mr. Y (2006)
Scarlett Thomas
After her thesis advisor disappears, a graduate students studying "thought experiments" in science and in fiction discovers a copy of the rare (and supposedly cursed) book "The End of Mr. Y". Following... (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)
Eon (1985)
Greg Bear
Its been quite a while since I read this, but some info is better than none! Its rather like "Rama" - a big asteroid appears over the earth in the near future. It was obviously made to be inhabited... (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)
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 Face of the Waters (1991)
Robert Silverberg
The novel is set on a water-logged planet called “Hydros”, populated by artificial islands floating on a planet-spanning ocean. A few humans on one of the islands end up offending the local “Dwellers”... (more)
Factoring Humanity (1998)
Highly Rated!
Robert J. Sawyer
There is certainly a lot of deep mathematics discussed in this `first contact' novel, as well as a good deal of controversial physics and psychology. Still, in the end, I did not find it especially satisfying.... (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 Fairy Chessmen (1951)
Henry Kuttner
A mathematician whose research involves a type of chess played with variable rules ("fairy chess") is the only one able to solve an "equation from the future" in which the constants are treated as variables... (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)
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)
Fatous Staub (1991)
Christian Mähr
This surrealistic science fiction novel about parallel worlds, computers, and the mathematics of Pierre Fatou (who laid the foundations for the theory of fractals) has appeared only in German. Since I... (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)
The Fermata (1994)
Nicholson Baker
This book is certainly more about sex than it is about mathematics. However, I find the one mathematical passage in it so hilarious that I have to include it here. The premise of the book is that the... (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 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)
Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions (1884)
Highly Rated!
Edwin Abbott Abbott
This is the classic example of mathematical fiction in which the author helps us to think about the meaning of "dimension" through fictional example: a visit to a world with only two spatial dimensions.... (more)
Flatterland: like Flatland, only more so (2001)
Highly Rated!
Ian Stewart
In this "sequel" to Flatland, popular mathematics writer Ian Stewart lets us accompany the granddaugther of the original "A. Square" who starred in original classic, as she learns about fractal dimensions,... (more)
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)
The Flight of the Dragonfly (aka Rocheworld) (1984)
Robert L. Forward
A crew of humans travel to a distant planet to meet the intelligent lifeform we have discovered there. They turn out to be a race largely interested in mathematical problems (sounds very reasonable... (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)
Foundation (1951)
Isaac Asimov
In this book and its prequels/sequels, we see humanity guided by the work of fictional "mathematician, Hari Seldon, who works out the rules of psychohistory and makes a secret chart that the humankind... (more)
A Foundation in Wisdom (2012)
Robert Loyd Watson
A hitchhiker named Sheridan captivates the man kind enough to offer him a ride with fantastic tales of the Roman village of Ebon and the hero named Marcus who saved it from a giant dachshund named Dachy. Both... (more)
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)
Fractal Mode (1992)
Piers Anthony
Here, Anthony's usual blend of fantasy and science fiction takes us to an alternate universe where the geometry of worlds themselves take on the form of the Mandelbrot set. Unfortunately, he spends a... (more)
The 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)
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)
Galactic Rapture (2000)
Tom Flynn
On a future Earth whose major export to other planets is the Christian religion, mathematician Fram Galbior is a hero for his formula which allows the prediction of the appearance of ``Tuezi''. These... (more)
Gallactic Alliance - Translight! (2009)
Doug Farren
A human scientist invents a new branch of mathematics, "continuum calculus", as the basis for a stardrive. At one point, he compares his mathematical constructions with those of an alien species who have... (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 Ganymede Club (1995)
Charles Sheffield
A group of space explorers attempt to protect the secret that they are no longer aging in this well written SF novel. Although these (essentially) immortal characters are not especially mathematical,... (more)
The Gates of Heaven (1984)
Paul Preuss
The plot concerns a mathematician whose career has been monotone decreasing. But he comes alive again when a SETI project finds a human message coming from 12 light years away. It seems somebody must have fallen into something like a black hole and our hero tries to understand what happened. (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)
A Gebra Named Al (1993)
Wendy Isdell
In this story, Julie falls asleep on her algebra book after spending a few frustrating minutes trying to finish her homework. An imaginary number comes to visit her in her room, and transports her to... (more)
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)
Geometry in the South Pacific (1927)
Sylvia Warner
A chapter from Warner's novel (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 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)
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)
The Ghost from the Grand Banks (1990)
Arthur C. Clarke
The topics change from the Titanic to a giant octopus but a central one is the Mandelbrot set. We are introduced to mathematician-cum-computer wizard Edith Craig who invents software to fix the Y2K... (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)
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)
Global Dawn (2007)
Deborah Gelbard
Geometry, especially the notion of the "tilted square", plays a mathematical as well as a spiritual role in the ambitious project undertaken in this novel. According to the author, "The protagonist aims... (more)
Globión's Whimsical Shape (La Caprichosa Forma de Globión) (1999)
Alejandro Illanes Mejía
It is a tale about the quest of the inhabitants of Globión to find the true shape of their home planet. It also explains in a crystal-clear way some very abstract notions of topology of surfaces, and... (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 God Patent (2009)
Ransom Stephens
After his life falls apart, an engineer tries to revive a collaboration with the fundamentalist Christian with whom he once wrote two patents based on the Bible. While he viewed these patents for what... (more)
The Gold at Starbow's End (aka Starburst / aka Alpha Aleph) (1972)
Frederik Pohl
A short story based on an interesting premise that at some point in the (near) future, mankind will stop making interesting, fundamental discoveries because we have too much knowledge and too much apparatus... (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)
The Grand Wheel (1977)
Barrington J. Bayley
This is primarily space opera, but with a mathematical element in the fictional discovery of randomatics: a science which shows that the Gambler's Fallacy is true under certain conditions, enabling random... (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)
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)
Gulliver's Travels (1726)
Jonathan Swift
If you are lucky enough to find an unabridged version of Swift's classic book, you will be able to read (among descriptions of the people of many other unbelievable countries) about the people of Laputa.... (more)
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)
Habitus (1998)
James Flint
There is no doubt that this novel is a work of mathematical fiction, but I'm not sure how to describe it. I think the best word for it may be "uneven". It does some great things, both presenting some... (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)
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)
Heavy Weather (1994)
Bruce Sterling
Tornado weather in Texas gets worse over the coming decades, and a team headed by a supergenius mathematician confronts the ultimate tornado. Includes explicit summaries of his mathematical prowess (surprisingly, not chaos theory) and of his complete social incompetence (not a surprise, I suppose). (more)
The Heroic Adventures of Hercules Amsterdam (2003)
Melissa Glenn Haber
The plot focuses on a three inch tall boy who runs away from humans to live with mice, only to discover that the mice are regularly massacred by rats every seven years. The mice, however, cannot anticipate... (more)
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)
His Master's Voice (1968)
Stanislaw Lem
In this book, we follow the investigations of a team of scientists and mathematicians trying to figure out the meaning of an apparent "message" being sent through space. The novel is written with "tongue... (more)
Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (1979)
Douglas Adams
Everyone ought to read this trilogy of four (or is it five now?) books that brilliantly combine science fiction with the drollest of British humor. Despite my high regard for it, I've not added it to... (more)
The Hollow Man (1993)
Dan Simmons
A psychic mathematician is driven to the edge of insanity as his life partner approaches death. The mathematician's research is described explicitly -- as are some of the horrific events that befall... (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)
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)
How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe (2010)
Charles Yu
Fans of mathematical fiction are likely to love the self-referential nature of this novel about a time-machine repairman whose future self travels back in time to give him a novel about a time-machine... (more)
The Humans: A Novel (2013)
Matt Haig
After Cambridge mathematician Andrew Martin proves the Riemann Hypothesis, he is replaced by an alien whose job it is to prevent news of the discovery from spreading as it is their belief that humans are... (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)
The Hyperboloid of Engineer Garin (1927)
Aleksei Nikolaevich Tolstoi
Written by a distant relative of the more famous author Count Tolstoy, by one of the first Russian science fiction writers, this tells the story of a mad scientist who tries to take over the world,... (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 Sin Every Number (2007)
Jason Earls
This is another work of experimental fiction from Jason Earls that combines some real computational number theory, some mathematical terminology used within nonsense for poetic effect, and a science fiction... (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)
In The Country of the Blind (1990)
Michael Flynn
Sarah Beaumont escaped from the modern American ghetto to become a successful journalist, programmer and real estate investor. However, while investigating an idea for developing her latest real estate... (more)
In the Courts of the Sun (2009)
Brian D'Amato
A modern descendant of the Mayans and his former mentor (a game theorist) realize that the famous Mayan prediction that the world will end in the year 2012 is based on some seemingly reasonable math, and... (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)
Incandescence (2008)
Greg Egan
This "hard SF" novel focuses on the scientific progress of aliens living on a planet near the galactic center. Presumably because the curvature of space was obvious to them from the start (while it took... (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)
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)
The Infinitive of Go (1980)
John Brunner
John Brunner's novel, "The Infinitive of Go" is a story about teleporting devices based on a "posting" principle affecting living objects in the process of "posting" - the author describes it in terms... (more)
Inherit the Stars (1977)
James P. Hogan
50,000 old human remains are found on the moon, along with lots of documentation. The entry point to deciphering the totally unknown language is mathematical tables and formulae." (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)
The Inverted World (1974)
Christopher Priest
About a mobile city that must tap its power from a mysterious `optimum point', which is less effective for their engines as it gets more distant. Weird distortion of the surrounding world is based... (more)
The Investigation (1959)
Highly Rated!
Stanislaw Lem
In investigating a bizarre case of missing -- and apparently resurrected bodies -- an investigator at Scotland Yard consults mystics, philosophers, and (most significantly to the book as well as to this... (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)
Jack of Eagles (1952)
James Blish
Blish bases this novel on a quasi-mathematical explanation of ESP and psycho-kinesis which was really not necessary and doesn’t hold together at all (“the activity of the psi mechanism as a whole... (more)
The Janus Equation (1980)
Steven G. Spruill
In an alternate reality where John Kennedy survived the assassination attempt and replaced all national governments with five all-powerful corporations, an award-winning mathematician tries to invent a... (more)
Jayden's Rescue (2002)
Highly Rated!
Vladimir Tumanov
I am the author of a children's math mystery novel entitled Jayden's Rescue and Published by Scholastic Canada. This novel's plot revolves around mathematical puzzles for the grades 4-6 level. The... (more)
Journey into Geometries (1997)
Marta Sved
It is styled after a frequently-used device: "Alice in X", where X can be any kind of space which you wish to explain to the gentle reader. In this instance, Alice, along with Lewis Carroll and a Doctor... (more)
Jurassic Park (1990)
Michael Crichton
Although there is really not much mathematics in this SF thriller at all, the mathematician (played in the film by Jeff Goldbloom) has an important role as the only person smart enough to recognize... (more)
Kandelman's Krim: A Realistic Fantasy (1957)
John Lighton Synge
Thanks for Tony Vance for pointing out to me that this novel by mathematical physicist J.L. Synge should be included in my database. It is difficult to find now, but it is clear that at the time of its... (more)
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)
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)
Killing Time (2000)
Frank Tallis
In this noir thriller, a British math grad student discovers antique lab equipment which allows him to see into the past and winds up murdering his girlfriend. Sex (explicitly described) and interpersonal... (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 Labyrinth Key (2004)
Howard V. Hendrix
In the near future, the US and China engage in a race involving the ultimate quantum computer and quantum cryptography. Along the way, numerous mathematical concepts are cited and sometimes discussed,... (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)
The Land of No Shadow (1931)
Carl H Claudy
Claudy's regular characters, the brilliant Alan Kane and the brawny Ted Dolliver, journey into the fourth dimension in this pulpy SciFi story. The tennis balls that journey into this trans-dimensional... (more)
The Last Page (2010)
Anthony Huso
A fantasy novel set in a world where the magic known as "holomorphy" is achieved through mathematical formulas written in blood: Caliph could still remember the banal demonstration Morgan had put on... (more)
The Last Starship from Earth (1968)
Highly Rated!
John Boyd
A mathematician named Haldane IV and a poet named Helix fall in love and try to learn the truth about the famous 19th century mathematician Fairweather I. Unfortunately, both of these things are against... (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)
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)
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)
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)
The Light of Other Days (2000)
Arthur C. Clarke / Stephen Baxter
Using the WormCam (a camera sent through a wormhole in space-time), it is possible to witness any event that is taking or has taken place in the universe. This makes privacy essentially an obsolete... (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)
Little People (2002)
Tom Holt
Tom Holt is generally considered one of the masters of comic fantasy. His humour is apparently too British, though, since he hasn't had an American publisher for quite some time. The British-only... (more)
Little Zero the Seafarer [Captain One's frigate] (1968)
Vladimir Levshin
[This Russian children's novel] is about the titular character (who appears in the other books [by Levshin]), sailing from the A bay through arithmetical, algebraical and geometrical seas, learning... (more)
A Logical Magician (1994)
Robert Weinberg
A very creative romp through the lore of creatures of mythology and their return in modern times. A computer programmer creates a program to decode ancient texts and find the incantations to invoke powerful... (more)
The Loom of God: Mathematical Tapestries at the Edge of Time (1997)
Clifford Pickover
A group of time travelers journey back to the time of Pythagoras in an effort to see the origins of mystical mathematics. The journey continues as they explore numerous links between mathematics, nature and mysticism. Concepts featured: pentagonal numbers, perfect numbers, oblong numbers, the golden ratio, and fractals. Religious implications are also discussed. (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 Lexicon: An Adventure in Words and Numbers (2010)
Pendred Noyce
This novel for middle school aged children seems at first rather similar to the Phantom Tollbooth, which was apparently a source of inspiration for its author. The plot is familiar: a boy and girl travel... (more)
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)
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)
The Lure (2007)
Bill Napier
Once again, a team seeking to decode Earth's first message from an alien species requires a mathematician. In this case, it is Tom Petrie, who has a reputation for being able to spot patterns: "I'm... (more)
Macroscope (1969)
Piers Anthony
A "hard SF" novel by Piers Anthony, who usually writes fantasy, in which mathematics forms a basis of communication between humans and intelligent aliens. In addition, the topological game "sprouts" is... (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 or Madness (2005)
Justine Larbalestier
Fibonacci sequences and prime numbers have magical significance in the trilogy of young adult fantasy novels by Australian author Justine Larbalestier. Magic or Madness was the first book in the series, followed by Magic Lessons and Magic's Child. (more)
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)
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)
Manifold: Time (2000)
Stephen Baxter
After hearing a (rather bogus sounding) mathematical proof that civilization is headed for disaster, mathematician Cornelius Taine "sets in motion" this unusual science fiction novel that takes us through... (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)
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)
Mathemagics (1996)
Margaret Ball
This novel continues the adventures of characters developed in the "chicks in chainmail" series of anthologies. As the title implies, in these fantasy stories about a suburban mom who lives the life of a warrior in an alternate reality, mathematics is magic. Specifically, magical incantations take the form of mathematical equations! (more)
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 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)
Mathematicians in Love (2006)
Rudy Rucker
Together, two math grad students who are both in love with the same girl prove a theorem which characterizes all dynamical systems (from the stock market to the motion of particles) in terms of objects... (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)
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)
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)
The Memory of Whiteness (1985)
Kim Stanley Robinson
Far in the future of the human race, the brilliant mathematician Holywelkin discovers a new physical theory that allows us to understand particle physics and build the amazing "whitsuns" which in turn... (more)
The Midnighters (Series) (2004)
Highly Rated!
Scott Westerfield
Teenagers discover an extra hour to the day during which they can do things while everyone else is frozen. Unfortunately, they also have to worry about the Darklings! One of the teens, Dess, is interested... (more)
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)
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)
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)
Monday Begins on Saturday (1966)
Arkady Strugatsky / Boris Strugatsky
In this parody of the activity at Soviet research thinktanks, mathematics underlies the "science" of magic. Math is rarely discussed in depth and a knowledge of Russian fairy tales helps the reader to... (more)
Monster's Proof (2009)
Richard Lewis
With parents and a younger brother who are all "mathematical geniuses", Livey Ell (who is in danger of getting kicked out of cheerleading unless she improves her algebra grades) is a bit too normal. Things... (more)
Mother's Milk (2005)
Highly Rated!
Andrew Thomas Breslin
Lawyer Cindy Kichlklug takes on the dairy industry (with the aid of a quirky mathematician) in this witty SF satire. The "conspiracy theory" in the book is well put together. It tightly combines so... (more)
The Mouse and his Child (1967)
Russell Hoban
Not really a kids book (too violent and depressing) nor an adult book (about a toy mouse that goes on an adventure, with illustrations) this is nonetheless an interesting allegory for those so inclined.... (more)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
Napier's Bones (2011)
Derryl Murphy
In the fantasy/SF world of this novel, numerates are special people who are aware of the fact that numbers themselves are alive and can be coaxed or controlled into doing seemingly magical things for them.... (more)
The Nature of Smoke (1996)
Anne Harris
Science fiction thriller combining genetic engineering and chaos theory. The math is not presented in a way that conveys any real meaning to the reader, but perhaps some feeling for the beauty of math... (more)
Necroscope (Series) (1992)
Brian Lumley
Harry Keogh is a "necroscope" who can communicate with the dead. So, when omens suggest that the Möbius strip and space-time are going to be relevant to his plans in the near future, he goes straight... (more)
Neverness (1988)
Highly Rated!
David Zindell
"[In this book], the Order of Pilots tries to tackle the Continuum Hypothesis. It's a long, strange, complex story, but it seems pretty certain that the author had some mathematical training. He tries... (more)
The New Tales of the Absent-Minded Master (1971)
Vladimir Levshin
This is the third in the Master of the Absent-Minded Sciences trilogy. The third book is about the two investigating the stealing of a very valuable stamp. It ends with the promise of further adventures, but the author never wrote them. Levshin's beloved children's books have never been translated into English, but can be read in Russian at lib.rus.ec. (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)
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)
The Number Devil (Der Zahlenteufel) (1997)
Highly Rated!
Hans Magnus Enzensberger
"The title may be translated as The Counting Devil, or maybe The Number Devil, and it has a subtitle that translates to 'a pillowbook for everyone who is afraid of math'. Enzensberger is a respected... (more)
The Number of the Beast (1979)
Robert A. Heinlein
Engineer and physicist Jacob Burroughs invents a time machine which lets him travel to what we might consider "alternate universes". The underlying mathematics involves the notion that there are in... (more)
Numberland (1987)
George Weinberg
The co-author (with John Schumaker) of STATISTICS: AN INTUITIVE APPROACH, and practicing psychotherapist, tells a charming little fable about Numberland. Peace, harmony,... (more)
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 Don't Lie (2005)
Terry Bisson
This novel is actually just a compilation of three Wilson Wu short stories ("The Hole in the Hole", "The Edge of the Universe" and "Get Me to the Church on Time") which were previously published in Asimov's... (more)
Nymphomation (2000)
Highly Rated!
Jeff Noon
A math professor's theory of ``nymphomation'' (described in the book as a way for numbers to mate) is used to develop a lottery game called "Domino Bones" that entirely takes over the city of Manchester,... (more)
Occam's Razor (1956)
David Duncan
This story involves the concept of discontinuous time embedded in a sort of “Meta-Time”. Essentially, Duncan proposes the idea that True Reality evolves along Meta-Time which is broken up into smaller... (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)
Old Faithful (1934)
Raymond Z. Gallun
An extended discussion of the use of arithmetic in setting up a two-way communication code comprises the mathematical content of this forgotten classic SF short story. Gallun (rhymes with balloon)... (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)
Operation Chaos / Operation Changeling (1969)
Poul Anderson
Part of a series of stories about detectives who use magic and religion published in Fantasy and Science Fiction magazine in the 1960s, Operation Changeling (later published in novelized form in Operation... (more)
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)
Panda Ray (1996)
Michael Kandel
This science fiction novel is about a dysfunctional family of superbeings (aliens? mutants? humans from the future?) in modern America. It reminds me a bit of the writings of Stanislaw Lem, which is not... (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)
Paradox (2000)
Highly Rated!
John Meaney
Young Tom Corcorigan seems to represent the lowest "caste" in the extremely hierarchical human society of the year 3404. However, his mathematical abilities (he is able to figure out a way around Gödel's... (more)
The Parrot's Theorem (2000)
Highly Rated!
Denis Guedj
This is an ambitious novel, a magical fantasy about a talking parrot bought at a flea market in France who, with the help of the personal library of a reclusive mathematical genius, teaches some children... (more)
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)
The Perfect Spiral (2001)
Jason Hornsby
This first novel by controversial young author Jason Hornsby was written when he was 18 years old. It combines elements of genres in an avant garde sort of way, and focuses on the lives of teenagers in... (more)
Perry Rhodan 2638: Zielpunkt Morpheus-System (2012)
Marc A. Herren
The long-running German science fiction series Perry Rhodan recently ran a contest whose winner, a certain Martin Felten, was included in issue number 2638 as a space actuary and inventor of a five-dimensional... (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)
Phantom (2006)
Terry Goodkind
Richard Rahl, the protagonist of the best-selling Sword of Truth series, seeks to protect the world from an evil spell which (among other things) has removed his wife from existence. As Kati Voigt points... (more)
The Phantom Tollbooth (1961)
Norton Juster / Jules Feiffer (Illustrator)
This "Alice in Wonderland"-esque children's book follows our hero, Milo, to the fantasy world through his toy tollbooth. One of the lands he visits is very "mathematical". We meet the dodecahedron,... (more)
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)
The Planiverse: computer contact with a two-dimensional world (1984)
A.K. Dewdney
In this modern take on the "Flatland" theme, some academics investigate the virtual two-dimensional world they have created inside a computer. The sophisticated simulation includes sentient beings, one... (more)
The Poison Master (2003)
Liz Williams
This is one of those fantasy novels in which mathematics and magic are intertwined. As usual, it is nice to see mathematics portrayed as being simultaneously powerful and beautiful...but there isn't much... (more)
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)
Primary Inversion (1996)
Catherine Asaro
In this first book in her "Skolian Saga" series, Asaro explains how faster-than-light speeds are attainable by using imaginary numbers, and hence frequent mentions of "imaginary space" occur throughout... (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)
The Princess Hoppy or the Tale of Labrador (1993)
Jacques Roubaud
French mathematician Jacques Roubaud, member of the Oulipo group, wrote this bizarre, postmodern, fairy tale which is decidedly for adults rather than for children. According to the cover, The tale... (more)
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)
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)
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)
Psychohistorical Crisis (2001)
Donald Kingsbury
In the far future, a group of "psychohistorians" controls the fate of humanity using the mathematical theory of "the founder" in this unauthorized "sequel" to Asimov's Foundation series. Kingsbury's lengthy... (more)
Pyramids (2001)
Terry Pratchett
Thanks to Aaron Gullison for pointing out that in this Discworld novel, "the camels are all mathematicians, and think in math." For instance, The greatest mathematician alive on the Disc, and in fact... (more)
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)
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)
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)
The Ragged Astronauts (1987)
Bob Shaw
The novel is set in an alternate universe where two planets orbit each other in close proximity, with a common atmosphere. The civilization on one of the planets is shown to be similar to the western... (more)
Rama II (1989)
Arthur C. Clarke /Gentry Lee
This is the sequel to the novel Rendezvous With Rama by Arthur C. Clarke. Short Summary: The huge cylindrical Rama spaceship has returned 70 years after it arrived near Earth for the first time.... (more)
Ratner's Star (1976)
Highly Rated!
Don DeLillo
Billy Terwilliger (aka Twillig) is not your typical 14 year old boy. True, he is beginning to get interested in sex and thinks that the word "fart" is entertaining, but he is also a number theorist and... (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)
Red Zen (2007)
Jason Earls
A man travels to another planet in an attemp to resolve a bizarre memory problem in this absurdist science fiction novel. As in his other works, Earls includes tidbits of computational number theory.... (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)
Resolution (2006)
John Meaney
This is the third and apparently final novel in the Nulapeiron sequence. In the first two we see Tom use his skills at fighting and mathematics (called "logosophy" in the book) as well as knowledge gained... (more)
Return from the Stars (1961)
Stanislaw Lem
This book contains some of the most realistic sounding fictional mathematics I have ever read, as well as some very high praise for mathematics (from a fictional character). In this book, an astronaut... (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)
The Rithmatist (2013)
Brandon Sanderson
Geometric chalk drawings have magical power in this Harry Potter-like book for teens. In fact, it takes place in an "alternate universe" where Earth's history is different. Since "Rithmatics" was discovered... (more)
River of Gods (2006)
Ian McDonald
A science fiction novel about artificial intelligence, politics, cellular automata, climate change and alternate universes that takes place in India of 2047. Math plays only a very small role in this... (more)
The Rock (1996)
Robert Doherty
"Five people--including an Australian Air Force computer operator, a Mexican engineering professor, a New York housewife, a Colombian Special Forces officer, and an English mathematician--are invited to... (more)
The Rolling Stones (1952)
Robert A. Heinlein
The Stone family goes off on a working tour across the solar system. As a condition for going, the father insists the twins keep up with their higher mathematics studies, which gets referred to explicitly several times. The difference between arithmetic and geometric growth is commented on when their pet "flat cat" reproduces 8 at a time, and faster than expected. (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)
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)
Round the Moon (1870)
Highly Rated!
Jules Verne
This early science fiction novel about space travel (published originally in French, of course) contains two chapters with explicit (and very nice) mathematical content. In Chapter 4 (A Little Algebra)... (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)
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)
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)
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)
Schild's Ladder (2002)
Highly Rated!
Greg Egan
Far in the future, the mathematical theory of "quantum graph theory" is the theory of physics. Unlike the current theories of relativity and quantum physics, which are obviously approximations that... (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)
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)
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)
The Shadow Guests (1980)
Joan Aiken
After his mother's death, a boy goes to live with his aunt, a mathematician, in her haunted English house where he meets the ghosts of his ancestors and learns about his family's curse. The mathematician... (more)
The Shiloh Project (1993)
David R. Beaucage
This is a Christian science fiction novel with mathematical undertones written by an author with a doctorate in mathematics. In it, a Jewish math teacher falsely accused of sexually abusing a student... (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)
Signal to Noise (1999)
Highly Rated!
Eric S. Nylund
The protagonist in this science fiction novel, Jack Potter, is a tenure track math professor in a future where San Francisco has sunk under the ocean, all non-academic employment in the United States... (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)
Sine of the Magus [aka The Magicians] (1954)
James Gunn
A private detective is hired to track a magician who turns out not to be an expert at "tricks", but a real and powerful wizard. This is one of those works (see the "similars" list below) in which magic... (more)
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)
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)
Solar Lottery (1955)
Philip K. Dick
In the future, the "Minimax Game" runs society. New mind technologies are used to take randomization stategies to previously unsuspected heights, in order to get an edge in the Game. Explicit mentions... (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)
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)
Souls in the Great Machine (1999)
Sean McMullen
Souls in the Great Machine is apparently a post-ecological-apocalypse SF novel in which a powerful multiprocessing computer is built out of human beings manipulating abaci. Has anyone out there read... (more)
Spaceland (2002)
Rudy Rucker
Yet another Flatland "sequel" in which silicon valley genius Joe Cube (an obvious reference to characters A. Square and A. Cube in Abbott's original) gets caught up in a war between four-dimensional beings... (more)
Spacetime Donuts (1981)
Rudy Rucker
The story is set in a chaotic setting (it's a Rucker novel!) of an all-providing-but-oppressive society. The society is controlled in large parts by a supercomputer, PhizWhiz, and its political masters.... (more)
Sphere (1989)
Michael Crichton
In Sphere the team assembled to confront the unimaganible crisis is made up of specialists in specific fields, among these specialists there is a Mathematical prodigy who uses mathematical deductive... (more)
Sphereland: A Fantasy About Curved Spaces and an Expanding Universe (1965)
Highly Rated!
Dionys Burger
This "sequel" to Flatland deals in a very simplistic sense with the notion of intrinsic curvature (curvature of space itself) in the same way that the original dealt with dimension. (See also the more... (more)
Spherical Harmonic (2001)
Catherine Asaro
As a child, Dyhianna Selei created a transformation, just a mathematical construct, mapping the real world into an abstract space of "thoughts" (whatever that means) spanned by an infinite set of spherical... (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)
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)
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)
Starman Jones (1953)
Robert A. Heinlein
These adventures of Max Jones, a boy who runs away from Ozark home and works his way up the ranks of a starship is a nice example of classical science fiction as well as being a bit mathematical. The... (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 Stochastic Man (1975)
Robert Silverberg
This is a tautly written story of political intrigue involving 3 central figures: a student of statistics, Lew Nichols, who invents the field of predictive stochastics, a seemingly clairvoyant and eccentric... (more)
Strange Attractors (1990)
William Sleator
Time-travel story for young adolescents with a little bit of chaotic dynamical systems thrown in. The plot follows Max, a high school student with an interest in math and science, as he becomes involved... (more)
Strange Attractors (2013)
Charles Soule (author) / Greg Scott (Illustrator)
This is is graphic novel in which a mathematics student seeks the help of a seemingly insane genius who claims he has been using chaos theory to save the city of New York from disaster for decades. Heller... (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)
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)
Surfing through Hyperspace (2001)
Clifford Pickover
FBI agents investigate the disappearance of people abducted into the fourth dimension. Along the way, the agents learn about degrees of freedom, quaternions, nonorientable surfaces, mathematics of hyperspheres, and numerous other mathematics relating to higher spatial geometries. (more)
Sushi Never Sleeps (2002)
Clifford Pickover
A man and his custom built "girlfriend" visit the land of Fractalia in this bizarre SF novel featuring lots of mathematical concepts (and quite a few kinky concepts as well). A society of sexy mathematicians... (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)
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)
Tau Zero (1970)
Poul Anderson
Special relativity takes center stage in this classic science-fiction novel. So much so that the number tau, by which one must divide an object's rest mass to determine its apparent mass when travelling... (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)
The Thesis of the Absent-Minded Master (1971)
Vladimir Levshin
[This is the first book in the] trilogy called "The Master of the Absent-Minded Sciences". The heroes of the other books (and the author) establish a club, where they analyze the notes (and, later,letters)... (more)
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 in Karlikania (1964)
Vladimir Levshin
A children's fantasy novel written in Russian. I have not been able to find much about it but Rob Milson says: Three children travel to Karlikania, an enchanted land populated by numerals. Here they... (more)
Three times table (1990)
Sara Maitland
The story of three generations of women in a British family, with fantasy overtones introduced through the existence of "dragons". I have not read it, and so do not know how significant the mathematical... (more)
Threshold (1997)
Sara Douglass
This is another fantasy book in which mathematics is seen as a sort of magic, but in this one it is specifically a particularly evil, cold and inhuman form of magic, in contrast to other less formulaic... (more)
Thursday Next: First Among Sequels (2007)
Jasper Fforde
As Vijay Fafat points out, the eponymous heroine of this series of humorous, fantasy mysteries has a daughter who is a math prodigy. Among other things, in this novel she finds a counter-example to Fermat's... (more)
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 Time Axis (1949)
Henry Kuttner
This was published as an Ace paperback in 1965. I don't think I have a copy of the paperback in my collection, but I have the original magazine publication, in the January 1949 issue of Startling Stories.... (more)
The Time Machine (1895)
Herbert George Wells
This famous early science fiction novel opens with a clever (and, if you think ahead to the role of Minkowski Space in special relativity, prophetic) lecture on "the fourth dimension". Of course, discussions... (more)
Time, Like an Ever Rolling Stream (1992)
Judith Moffett
The aliens have come to save us from ourselves (which they do by passing environmental laws and sterilizing all humans to prevent overpopulation). One of the aliens, as a pet project, recruits eight young... (more)
Timescape (1979)
Gregory Benford
On the positive side, we have a clever idea that shows some of the flavor of modern mathematical physics, some positive comments about mathematics and mathematical name-dropping, and even some mathematical... (more)
To Hold Infinity (1998)
John Meaney
Meaney's first novel, which only saw its US release in 2006, is not quite as mathematical as some of his later books, but the foundations are there. We encounter "mu-space" (additional spatial dimensions... (more)
To Say Nothing of the Dog (1998)
Connie Willis
Travelling through time, as we all know, is a dangerous business. One small change in the past and you could mess up the future! In this science fiction novel, Willis proposes a (vaguely mathematical)... (more)
To Walk the Night (1937)
William Sloane
A beautifully written horror tale in which vague references to equations are used to explain the mysterious death of a researcher who believed he proved Einstein wrong and the subsequent suicide of his colleague. The book is narrated in a quaintly old-fashioned style by the colleague's best friend and a key character is the lovely but apparently inhuman woman who was married to each victim. (more)
Topsy-turvy (Sans Dessus Dessous) (1889)
Jules Verne
The members of the Gun Club want to use a giant cannon's recoil to change the Earth's rotation axis, so they can exploit the presumed coalfields at the North Pole. An unfortunate side effect is that... (more)
Touch the Water, Touch the Wind (1972)
Amos Oz
Amos Oz, the famous Israeli author and political activist, wrote this mathematical, musical and mystical novel about a Holocaust survivor who proves a terribly important theorem about "infinity" while... (more)
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)
The Translated Man (2009)
Chris Braak
Since the horrific Excelsior disaster, the subject of aetheric geometry has been banned. The ethical dilema for a young psychic is whether he should reveal to the detective he is assisting the tremendous... (more)
The Travel Notes of the Absent-Minded Master (1971)
Vladimir Levshin
This is the second in the Master of the Absent-Minded Sciences trilogy. The second book is the Master sending letters about his and Little One's adventures to the Club for continuing analysis. Levshin's beloved children's books have never been translated into English, but can be read in Russian at lib.rus.ec. (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)
Trouble on Triton (1976)
Samuel R. Delany
Originally published under the shorter title Triton, this "hard SF" novel uses mathematical concepts as part of its description of life for human colonists on the moon Triton. One of the main characters... (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 (A Novel About Computation) (2003)
Highly Rated!
Christos Papadimitriou
The four vertices of an unlikely love "rectangle" are (a) a dying, maverick cryptographer, (b) a pregnant Internet wiz, (c) a romantic middle-aged Greek archaeologist and (d) Turing, an artificially intelligent... (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)
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)
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)
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 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)
The Unteleported Man (aka Lies Inc.) (1964)
Philip K. Dick
In the future, earth is overcrowded, and nearly the only relief is provided by one-way teleportation to a star system several light years away,... (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)
Vampire World (Trilogy) (1993)
Brian Lumley
In these sequels to Necroscope, the twin sons of Harry Keogh living in the remains of a black hole continue to fight vampires. One of the sons has visions of a "vortex of numbers". He seeks the assistance... (more)
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)
Visitors from Oz : The Wild Adventures of Dorothy, the Scarecrow, and the Tin Woodsman (1999)
Martin Gardner
You wouldn't believe it, but the famous popular math writer produced a sequel to the Oz books in which Dorothy travels to New York City through a Klein bottle (built out of two Mobius strips by the same fellow who built the Tin Man). I have not read the book, but it apparently involves a mathematical puzzle of some sort. (more)
Voyage of the Shadowmoon (2002)
Sean McMullen
Emperor Warsovran plans to take over the world with Silverdeath, a magical weapon buried centuries ago for fear that its power would be misused. Silverdeath unleashes circles of fiery destruction obeying... (more)
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)
We (1924)
Yevgeny Zamyatin
Like 1984, We is a book about a utopia gone wrong. In fact, it is acknowledged as a source which Orwell used when writing his more famous dystopian novel. (We was written in Russian in 1921, published... (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)
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)
White Light, or What is Cantor's Continuum Problem? (1980)
Highly Rated!
Rudy Rucker
I think the best description of this book is Naked Lunch meets The Wild Numbers, with a cameo appearance by Donald Duck's nephews. Happily, this book has recently been rereleased (2001) in a new format... (more)
White Mars : or, the mind set free : a 21st Century Utopia (2000)
Brian Wilson Aldiss / Roger Penrose
It's not everyday that a mathematician of Penrose's calibre is listed as a coauthor on a science fiction novel. Although he is probably best known to the general public for the Penrose Tiling (a set... (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)
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)
A Wrinkle in Time (1962)
Madeleine L'Engle
In this classic children's adventure story, "time travel is explained as a tesseract, a five dimensional figure. By traveling along the tesseract, one bypasses the space in between." Usually,... (more)
WWW: Wake (2009)
Robert J. Sawyer
A blind math prodigy uses her ability to "see" what is going on in the Internet (watch out for the pun: Websight) to discover the emergence of a virtual life form. This is a solid and very readable hard... (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)
You Don't Scare Me (2007)
John Farris
A math grad student at Yale is haunted by the memory and undead spirit of her abusive stepfather. Using her knowledge of the mathematics of "higher dimensions", she locates the coordinates of the "netherworld" where he lives. (more)
Your Magic or Mine (2008)
Ann Macela
A math professor and botany professor, who happen to be a wizard and a witch, have an academic disagreement regarding the nature of magic. They also happen to be soulmates, though neither of them likes... (more)

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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)