MATHEMATICAL FICTION:

a list compiled by Alex Kasman (College of Charleston)

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Motif=Higher/Lower Dimensions

70 matches found out of 1148 entries

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

1963 (1993)
Alan Moore
A six-issue series, one of the best of the retro comics out there. this is Moore's ingenious pastiche of Marvel comics in the critical (for Marvel and for the world) year 1963. Strange things... (more)
And He Built a Crooked House (1940)
Highly Rated!
Robert A. Heinlein
A clever architect designs a house in the shape of the shadow of a tesseract, but it collapses (through the 4th dimension) when an earthquake shakes it into a more stable form (which takes up very... (more)
The Appendix and the Spectacles (1928)
Miles J. Breuer (M.D.)
There sometimes seems to be an unlimited supply of stories based on the idea that we may be unaware of extra dimensions around us (just like the inhabitants of Flatland). But, each one has its own special features. Here we see it from a medical perspective: what are the implications for surgery and malpractice? Appears in Mathematical Magpie. (more)
Blinding Shadows (1934)
Donald Wandrei
Story of a mathematics professor who theorizes that 4-dimensional objects should be casting 3-dimensional shadows and such shadows should be viewable by specially made mirrors. Dutifully, element number... (more)
The Book of Worlds (1929)
Miles J. Breuer
Another story of 4-D from Miles Breuer, this time with Prof. Cosgrave who builds a "hyper-stereoscope" that can combine 3-dimensional views ("geometrical stereograms") from different angles into a 4-D... (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)
The Captured Cross-Section (1929)
Miles J. Breuer (M.D.)
Another "extra dimensions" story, with the twist of our hero having to save his fiance (also a mathematician) from terrifying dangers. There is some nonsense at the beginning about rotations and a count of variables/equations that probably had its basis in a reasonable linear algebra class but just comes out sounding kind of silly here. (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)
The Cube Root of Conquest (1948)
Rog Phillips
An evil dictator's plan to destroy and conquer the world is based on the work of one of his scientists, which allows travel into complex components of time. In order to do this, one is required to solve... (more)
The Dangerous Dimension (1938)
L. Ron Hubbard
"The Dangerous Dimension" is L. Ron Hubbard's first science fiction story, written at editor F Orlin Tremaine's request for something light, easy-reading, and humorous. In the story, Professor Henry... (more)
Dante Dreams (1998)
Stephen Baxter
There is an interpretation of Dante's "Divine Comedy" as a mystical description of the universe as a hypersphere (see "Dante and the 3-sphere" American Journal of Physics -- December 1979 -- Volume... (more)
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)
The Dreams in the Witch-House (1933)
H.P. Lovecraft
In this story, Walter Gilman, a mathematics graduate student at Miskatonic University in Arkham, Mass, rents a room in the famed haunted "Witch House" of Keziah Mason, a witch who legend says escaped... (more)
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 Eighth Room (1989)
Stephen Baxter
The story forms part of the Xeelee-sequence of stories and novels. In far distant future, the Xeelee decide to lock away the human race in a world hidden in hyperspace (as the pale, atavistic remnants... (more)
The Einstein See-Saw (1932)
Miles J. Breuer
This is another of the hyperspace stories by Miles Breuer. This time, a mathematical physicist discovers that mattter can be tossed around in and out of space(-time) [see his papers, "A Preliminary Report... (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)
An Episode of Flatland (1907)
Charles H. Hinton
Hinton, whose biography is a little too weird for me to believe and whose essays on the fourth dimension (see for example A New Era of Thought) leave me wondering how much he really believed that the fourth... (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 Fifth-Dimension Catapult (1931)
Murray Leinster
This short novel, originally published in the January 1931 ASTOUNDING, and republished by Damon Knight in SCIENCE FICTION OF THE 30'S (1975), involves a mathematical physicist whose theories get applied... (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)
The Fourth-Dimensional Demonstrator (1935)
Murray Leinster
Uses the fourth dimension as geewhiz terminology to explain a matter duplicator/unduplicator. Includes a tesseract. But if you ignore the story's explanation involving time as ... (more)
The Gate of the Flying Knives (1979)
Poul Anderson
For his contribution to the first "Thieves' World" collection, Poul Anderson contributed a fantasy story about an illustrated scroll which forms a gateway between dimensions. As the story progresses,... (more)
The Geometry of Narrative (1983)
Hilbert Schenck
This story begins with a character who is a graduate student of English proposing to his professor a new geometric approach to literary analysis. As he points out, this has been used to some limited degree... (more)
The Gostak and the Doshes (1930)
Highly Rated!
Miles J. Breuer (M.D.)
In this classic science fiction story, a mathematical physicist convinces his friend to try to travel into another dimension by merely altering the way he thinks about things. The friend finds himself... (more)
Hidden in Glass (1931)
Paul Ernst
A murder mystery involving a mathematical physicist. One Professor Brainard, who is claimed to have mastered "the secret of the fourth dimension" (haven't they all in the pulps?), has a serious professional... (more)
The Ifth of Oofth (1957)
Walter Trevis
[This] is a short, zany, tall-tale reminiscent of Heinlein's "And He Built A Crooked House". Someone ends up making a 3-dimensional, unfolded projection of a 5-dimensional hypercube, a Penteract. The... (more)
The Image in the Mirror (1933)
Dorothy Leigh Sayers
Lord Peter Wimsey, while staying at an inn, finds a stranger is completely rapt in reading and rereading from a book of Wimsey's. It turns out to be H G Wells' story of a man inverted via the fourth... (more)
In Fading Suns and Dying Moons (2003)
John Varley
There is an explicit reference not only to mathematics, but to mathematical fiction in this scary short story. When strange creatures with an unusual interest in butterflies begin appearing on the Earth, it takes a mathematician and familiarity with Abbott's Flatland to understanding what is going on. (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)
Inside Out (1987)
Rudy Rucker
The story itself is quite disturbing IMO but has the usual zaniness of his other writings. Features quarks as "hypertoroidal vortex rings/loops of superstring", a "cumberquark", "hypertorii with fuzzy... (more)
It was the Monster from the Fourth Dimension (1951)
Al Feldstein
I found a story from a Weird Science issue of 1951 (i believe it's # 7) titled It Was the Monster From the Fourth Dimension. It's written and drawn by Al Feldstein. It is about a farmer whose farm... (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 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)
Left or Right (1951)
Martin Gardner
Originally published in Esquire magazine in 1951, this story about a space ship "flipping" through the fourth dimension has rarely been seen because Gardner later worried that it was physically inaccurate.... (more)
The Magic Staircase (1946)
Nelson Slade Bond
A Mathematics professor develops a theory of "intra-dimensional" spaces, hypothesizing that the vast, empty spaces in atoms form a parallel dimension in which alternative histories of "what might have... (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)
The Mathematics of Magic (1940)
L. Sprague de Camp / Fletcher Pratt
The "Enchanter Stories" by de Camp and Pratt are a very popular series of SF/fantasy stories whose protagonist, Harold Shea, is able to travel to other universes using symbolic logic. "The Mathematics... (more)
Message Found in a Copy of Flatland (1983)
Rudy Rucker
This is the story that answers the age old question: "What if Flatland was in the basement of a Pakistani restaurant in London?". The answer is scarier than you might think, especially when you realize... (more)
The Monopole Affair (2003)
Ken Wharton
This short story in the May 2003 issue of Analog by physicist Wharton includes references to the role of higher dimensions in string theory. References to string theory, but much more about physics than math (which gets a passing mention). (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)
The New Reality (1950)
Charles Leonard Harness
The theme of this story concerns the idea that observation determines reality, and takes it to a more profound level than is usual in quantum mechanics. Along the way, the history of π and of... (more)
The Next Dimension (1947)
Vladimir Karapetoff
"A Mathematical Play in Five Dialogs". Once again, we are treated to the Flatland notion of two-dimensional creatures pondering a "hypothetical" three dimensional existence. Many of the usual concerns... (more)
Our Feynman Who Art in Heaven... (2007)
Paul Di Filippo
A religious cult based on the Standard Model (of high energy physics) has its headquarters in a tesseract. This story, which is certainly more physical than mathematical, appears in the "Plumage from Pegasus" column in the February 2007 issue of Fantasy and Science Fiction and is available for free at their website. (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 Phantom of Kansas (1976)
John Varley
A sublunar meteorological artist wakens from her memory recording to learn that a serial killer has been murdering her repeatedly, and is presumably still... (more)
The Pikestaffe Case (1924)
Algernon Blackwood
This quite unsatisfying yarn hangs its hat on the old idea of finding a way into a mirror to discover a new reality. The author waves his hands quite a bit to build an aura of mystery (by appealing... (more)
Plane People (1933)
Wallace West
A space-operatic story which implements Edwin Abbott's world of Flatland. A perfectly flat comet strikes earth at a glancing angle and sheers off a very small part, including a few people, who discover... (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 Plattner Story (1896)
Herbert George Wells
Gottfrieb Plattner disappears after an explosion for nine days. Upon return, he recounts a strange tale of a parallel world. More mathematically interesting, he discovers that he is now left-handed,... (more)
Shell (1987)
Stephen Baxter
Humanity, trapped and quarantined by the Xeelee in hyperspace (see "Stephen Baxter - The Eighth Room"), live on a spherical world apparently surrounded by a huge shell. The Shell harbors life and a group... (more)
Skylark of Valeron (1934)
E. E. Doc Smith
At first I was completely confused while reading this novel, until I read it through my pulp-fiction-of-the-thirties lens. Then it became fun and hilarious. Scientists are unemotional and ruthless;... (more)
Space Bender (1928)
Edward Rementer
This is another story which uses the convenient device of the fourth dimension for rapid spatial transport. This time, Prof. Jason Livermore is the one who disappears entirely from the face of the earth... (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)
Star, Bright (1952)
Highly Rated!
Mark Clifton
How would you feel if your daughter could make deep mathematical discoveries, even when she was a toddler? If you were the parent of little Star in this story, you'd feel a combination of pride and... (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)
Sword Game (1968)
H.H. Hollis
A topologist manages to create a time-smeared tesseract whose interior moves extremely slowly through time (from our perspecctive) while the exterior moves at the normal pace. He uses the tesseract to... (more)
Tangents (1986)
Greg Bear
There are far too many mathematical stories about finding a way to travel into "other dimensions". Still, this one is one of my favorites. Not only do we see a clever approach to this "old" storyline,... (more)
Technical Error (1946)
Arthur C. Clarke
During the last phases of construction, a huge supercooled superconducting generator is accidentally given a surge of current. At that moment, an engineer is at the center of its field and is somehow... (more)
Threshold (2006)
Bragi F. Schut/ Brannon Braga / David S. Goyer / Dan O'Shannon
This science fiction TV series featured a sarcastic dwarf mathematician character. According to Mathematics Goes to the Movies, mathematical highlights included a 4-dimensional alien object intersecting our world in the first episode, references to "isomorphic group therapy [sic]", "monotonic null sequences" and "quadratic reciprocity" in the second, and a strange statistical study in the 11th. (more)
Through the Gates of the Silver Key (1934)
H.P. Lovecraft / E. Hoffmann Price
"We read of the fantastic travels of the dreamer and mystic Randolph Carter as he arrives at the Ultimate Gate separating the parallel dimensions and alternate realities of the Universe. The Gate... (more)
Tiger by the Tail (1951)
A.G. Nourse
A pocketbook contains a gateway to another universe, and a group of unlikely heroes tries to save ours from the aliens there by reaching in and grabbing it. This is a cute short story, with a not-particularly-sound... (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)
Vanishing Point (1959)
C.C. Beck
The short story is another take on the true nature of reality and one man's quest to unmask it. It is more an idea piece than a full-fledged development. An artist, Carter, who is a trained mathematician... (more)
A Victim of Higher Space (1917)
Algernon Blackwood
This is another of the John Silence tall-tales, this time involving a man who learns to visualize 4-dimensional space and then starts slipping in and out of the hyperspace. As he describes it, "This... (more)
The Wonderful Visit (1895)
Herbert George Wells
"An angel, who normally inhabits a fourth dimensional world (with curvature instead of gravitation!) falls into our three dimensional world." (more)
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)
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)

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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)