MATHEMATICAL FICTION:

a list compiled by Alex Kasman (College of Charleston)

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Motif=Math as Cold/Dry/Useless

35 matches found out of 1158 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)
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)
The Ah of Life (2010)
Banks Helfrich (Writer and Director)
At the beginning of this film we see various stages in the life of Nigel. We see him as a high school student about to fail math due to lack of interest in the subject. We see him as an old man who enjoys... (more)
Albert's Bridge (1967)
Tom Stoppard
A radio play about a philosophy graduate student who gets a job painting the Clufton Bay Bridge. It takes him and three other workers exactly two years to paint the entire bridge, at which time they must... (more)
Antonia's Line (1995)
Marleen Gorris
About three or more generations of strong and self-sufficient women who live on a farm and the people around them. Antonia's granddaughter is a genius, namely a mathematician and a musician. But she... (more)
The Brink of Infinity (1936)
Highly Rated!
Stanley G. Weinbaum
A mathematics professor is kidnapped by a madman with a grudge against mathematicians, who threatens dire consequences unless the prof can solve a math riddle he has concocted: by asking ten questions,... (more)
Cantor's War (1974)
Christopher Anvil
In my opinion, this story is slanderous and the author should be ashamed. The plot involves a science fiction scenario in which the human military is battling aliens in "tau space". Whenever we send... (more)
Chronicles of a Comer (1972)
K.M O'Donnell (aka Barry N. Malzberg)
A short story about a statistician who believes in the second coming of Christ and looks for it in the statistical correlations between the events and people's reactions to those events (e.g. "14%... (more)
Coincidence (A novel) [AKA The Coincidence Authority] (2013)
J.W. Ironmoger
A woman who feels her life was guided by a sequence of inexplicable coincidences seeks the advice of Thomas Post, an expert on mathematics and philosophy of "coincidence science". Apparently, Post is... (more)
The Cold Equations (1954)
Tom Godwin
This classic science fiction story is a favorite of English teachers because, even after all of these years, it has the ability to get the attention of and provoke discussion amongst otherwise apathetic... (more)
Constans (The Constant Factor) (1980)
Krzysztof Zanussi
In this film Witold, a Polish man who believes that he can explain all of life's mysteries and solve all of life's problems with mathematics, learns otherwise. (more)
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)
Description of a New World, Called The Blazing World (1666)
Margaret Cavendish
Although there is only a short discussion of mathematics, I had to include it because it is just too interesting that this is not only one of the oldest science-fiction stories but moreover the fact that... (more)
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 Geometry of Love (1966)
John Cheever
An engineer is inspired by a passing truck from "Euclid's Dry Cleaning" to apply geometric principles to his own marital problems. He finds that interpreting his family as a triangle has the advantage... (more)
Good Will Hunting (1997)
Gus Van Sant (director) / Matt Damon (Screenplay)
A young janitor at MIT solves a (supposedly) difficult problem left on a black board by a Fields medalist. This successful film did make many more people aware of the existence of the Fields medal.... (more)
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)
Homage (1995)
Ross Kagan Marks (director) / Mark Medoff (screenplay)
This film (and the 1994 play "The Homage that Follows" on which it was based) explores the mind of a murderer, who in this case happens to be a man with a Ph.D. in mathematics. He turns down a position... (more)
Kim Possible (Episode: Mathter and Fervent) (2007)
Jim Peronto (script)
This episode of the Disney animated TV series "Kim Possible" is a comic book parody featuring a mathematical villain. As an English assignment, Kim Possible and Ron Stoppable have to write a paper... (more)
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)
Math Takes a Holiday (2001)
Paul Di Filippo
Saint Hubert and Saint Barbara, the two patron saints of mathematics, pay a visit to a devout Catholic mathematics professor who has been praying for a mathematical miracle to silence his mockers.... (more)
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 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)
Multi-Colored Dome (1987)
Martin Gardner
A light-hearted, short story about a shy but precocious Math student working on symbolic logic (“he had read “Principia Mathematica” when he was in high school, and understood it, too”). Thesis... (more)
Old Fillikin (1982)
Joan Aiken
A farm boy who hates his math class seemingly calls upon his grandmother's "familiar" to get revenge on his teacher. This reads like an old fashioned ghost story, but it is the kind where you can imagine... (more)
The Purloined Letter (1845)
Edgar Allan Poe
"This is the third and last C. Auguste Dupin mystery. The Prefect of Paris police explains a very delicate situation to Dupin, involving a royal letter whose possession grants its bearer great... (more)
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)
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)
Stand-In (1937)
Tay Garnett
Leslie Howard plays a typical Hollywood mathematical genius: emotionless, conceited, and convinced that everything can be understood through mathematics. (Well, one out of three isn't bad!) It takes a trip to Tinsel Town and a beautiful actress to make him see the errors of his ways. (more)
Stranger than Fiction (2006)
Marc Forster (Director) / Zach Helm (Screenplay)
An employee of the IRS who is obsessed with counting and performing mental computations begins to hear the voice of a woman narrating his life. He soon learns that he is a character in a novel and that... (more)
Three Days and a Child (1970)
Abraham B. Yehoshua
Dov, an Israeli mathematics graduate student, watches the young child of a woman he knew at a kibbutz. He alternates between loving the child as he still loves the woman and intentionally endangering... (more)
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)
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)
Tracking the Random Variable (1991)
Highly Rated!
Marcos Donnelly
Ronald Barr is a statistician with a knack for identifying hidden variables. For example, it was he who recognized that by offering chicken soup and hot chocolate in the automatic coffee machine, his... (more)
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)

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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)