MATHEMATICAL FICTION:

a list compiled by Alex Kasman (College of Charleston)

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194 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.)

21 Grams (2003)
Alejandro González Iñárritu
I have not yet seen this film in which Sean Penn portrays a critically ill mathematician. The title is apparently taken from the results of the bizarre (hard to believe and never reproduced) experiments... (more)
The 351 Books of Irma Arcuri (2008)
David Bajo
Philip is a mathematician who works in the financial industry, a quant. We also meet his ex-wife, Rebecca, who is a math professor. But, the main character in this novel is a woman who we only meet in... (more)
36 Arguments for the Existence of God (2010)
Rebecca Goldstein
This new novel by Rebecca Goldstein, whose Strange Attractors is one of my favorite works of mathematical fiction, features as two main characters a woman known as "the goddess of game theory" and a Hasidic... (more)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
Arcadia (1993)
Highly Rated!
Tom Stoppard
Stoppard's critically successful play includes long discussions of topics of mathematical interest including: Fermat's Last Theorem and Newtonian determinism, iterated algorithms, the second law of thermodynamics, Fourier's... (more)
The Art Student's War (2009)
Brad Leithauser
In this novel, Bea Paradiso is an art student during World War II who makes portraits of wounded soldiers. (Not coincidentally, the author's mother-in-law did the same, and the book is enhanced by the... (more)
The 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)
Aurora in Four Voices (1998)
Catherine Asaro
Jato is trapped in Nightingale, a city in permanent darkness, inhabited by mathematical artists who mostly ignore him. Soz arrives to repair her ship, meets Jato, and finds... (more)
The Axiom of Choice (2009)
David Corbett
An extremely well-crafted short story in which math professor coldly recounts for a detective how the bloody bodies of his wife and his student came to be in his house. It is not really a murder mystery,... (more)
The Axiom of Choice (2011)
David W. Goldman
A ``choose-your-own-adventure'' story about a guitarist who must face the consequences of his decision to take a plane ride that ended in disaster. A brief but very nice discussion of The Axiom of Choice... (more)
Émilie (2010)
Kaija Saariaho (composer)/Amin Maalouf (libretto)
In this opera, a single performer portrays the final days in the life of Émilie du Châtelet, whose promising career as a mathematical physicist in the 18th century was tragically cut short at the age of 42. Émilie du Châtelet's story is also told in two recent plays: see Emilie: La Marquise Du Châtelet Defends Her Life Tonight and Legacy of Light . (more)
The Bank (2001)
Robert Connolly
A brilliant young mathematician (aren't they all!) uses chaos theory to develop a mathematical model that predicts the stock market in this Australian thriller (co-produced by Axiom Films) . I love... (more)
A Beautiful Mind (2001)
Sylvia Nasar / Akiva Goldsman
Although the book A Beautiful Mind: A Biography of John Forbes Nash, Jr. is not fictional, Ron Howard's film (released December 2001) most certainly is. (I say this not as a complaint, but just to justify... (more)
The Bed and the Bachelor (2011)
Tracy Anne Warren
Although it involves cryptography and the Napoleonic wars, this novel is really more of a romance than it is historical fiction or espionage. Sebastianne Dumont is the daughter of a French mathematician... (more)
Belonging to Karovsky (2002)
Kathryn Schwille
This short story, published in the literary magazine Crazyhorse concerns the boring and lonely Mr. Digby who was the downstairs neighbor of Karovsky, the brilliant (but of course, seriously insane) mathematician... (more)
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)
Bread & Kisses (2010)
Katherine Fitzgerald (writer and director)
In this wonderful short film, a mathematician desperately trying to correct a hole in a proof falls in love with a baker. He uncharacteristically begins taking baking lessons from her but returns to... (more)
The Butterfly Effect (2001)
D.F. Roberts
Only available for Kindle download as far as I can tell, this sexually explicit novel follows Dr. Martin Crowe as he ``uses chaos math'' (sounds unlikely!) to solve unusual problems for people, such as his ex-lover who is now being blackmailed by her ex-husband. --Suggested for inclusion by Vijay Fafat. (more)
A Calculated Demise (2007)
Robert Spiller
A high school math teacher, Bonnie Pinkwater, solves the mystery surrounding the murder of a PE teacher, a student, and the family of the boy suspected in the killing. This sequel to The Witch of Agnesi... (more)
Calculus and Pizza (2003)
Clifford Pickover
A pizza chef teaches calculus to his restaurant patrons. Romance and hilarity ensue. (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)
The Central Tendency (2003)
Daniel Kaysen
In the first portion of this short story, a teenager and the aunt who took her in when her parents died enjoy doing math together. However, when the girl begins to get advanced training from Cambridge... (more)
A Certain Ambiguity: A Mathematical Novel (2007)
Highly Rated!
Gaurav Suri / Hartosh Singh Bal
The intertwined stories of Ravi, a Stanford student taking a course on "Infinity" in the 1980's, and his grandfather who was jailed for blasphemy in New Jersey in 1919 constitute a philosophical investigation... (more)
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)
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)
Completeness (2011)
Itamar Moses
This play, currently in production at New York's Playwrights Horizons Mainstage Theater, tells the story of a romance between a biology graduate student and a computer science graduate student. Having... (more)
Conceiving Ada (1997)
Lynn Hershman-Leeson
Bizarre, low-budget film in which a female computer programmer from the 20th century accesses the memories of Ada Lovelace, the 19th century mathematician and daughter of the poet Lord Byron. The film... (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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
The Dot and the Line: A Romance in Lower Mathematics (1963)
Norton Juster
This picture book describes the love story of two geometrical figures. It was also made into a cartoon by Chuck Jones (available on YouTube). I have loved this book ever since my wonderful mathematical... (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)
Emilie: La Marquise Du Châtelet Defends Her Life Tonight (2010)
Lauren Gunderson
This play allows Gabrielle Émilie Le Tonnelier de Breteuil, marquise du Châtelet, who was a successful mathematical physicist until her tragic death at age 42 in the year 1749, to analyze her own life... (more)
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)
The Estimator (Georges) (2007)
Lynn Margulis
Georges Standon computes the probabilities of unlikely events for a living, especially those relating to outer space, but this does not prepare him for the complications in his personal life when an old... (more)
The Eternal Wanderer (1936)
Nathan Schachner
A magnificently pulpy story of one man, Cliff Haven’s, struggle against the tyranny of a Martian who enslaves the inner planets of the solar system. As a punishment, Cliff is sentenced to become “the... (more)
Evariste and Heloise (2008)
Marco Abate
This contribution to the collection The Shape of Content is difficult to classify. Combining fiction and fact, essay and comic book, fantasy and philosophy, it essentially takes the form of a proposal... (more)
Evariste Galois (1965)
Alexadre Astruc (writer and director)
Short film about the romantic and tragic death of Galois, the young mathematician whose research laid the foundation for Group Theory. I haven't actually seen the film, but the following quote (stolen... (more)
Eye of the Beholder (2005)
Highly Rated!
Alex Kasman
Shortly after a stunning success in her research, personal tragedy forces a math professor to change careers and begin work at the NSA where her work on cryptography involves some difficult ethical decisions.... (more)
Family Ties (Episode: My Tutor) (1985)
Jace Richdale (Screenplay) / Sam Weisman (Director)
I'm writing to bring your attention to a television episode for possible addition to your mathematical fiction website. The television show is "Family Ties" and the episode is entitled, "My Tutor".... (more)
The Favor (1994)
Donald Petrie (Director) / Sara Parriott (Writer) / Josann McGibbon (Writer)
A romantic comedy in which a woman married to a math professor wonders what it would have been like to have been with her old boyfriend and so convinces her girlfriend to sleep with him and report back.... (more)
Fear of Math (1985)
Peter Cameron
A feather-touch story about a young woman who comes to New York to do an MBA - and has to pass a Calculus course, a pre-requisite for an MBA. A brief description of how utterly lost she is after her... (more)
Fermat's Room (La Habitacion de Fermat) (2007)
Luis Piedrahita / Rodrigo Sopeña
In this Spanish thriller, four mathematicians are invited to a booby trapped room where they must solve mathematical puzzles to prevent the walls from closing in and crushing them. This leaves them little... (more)
The Fibonacci Confessions (2010)
Graham Wade
A historical novel telling the life story of Leonardo Pisano, perhaps the most famous European mathematician of the Middle Ages, better known today as Fibonacci. We know very little of the historical... (more)
The Five Hysterical Girls Theorem (2000)
Rinne Groff
I think this play about a number theory conference at the British seaside at the turn of the 20th century may be misunderstood. The plot revolves around the neuroses of the senior researcher, Moses Vazsonyi,... (more)
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)
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)
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)
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)
Geek Abroad (2008)
Piper Banks
Miranda Bloom, the mathematical prodigy first introduced in Geek High returns in another novel for teenagers, this time emphasizing her participation in mathematical competitions. For instance, we see... (more)
Geek High (2007)
Piper Banks
Miranda Bloom is a mathematically talented girl trying to deal with normal teenage problems (family, boys, etc.) Although mental calculations have always come easy to Miranda, she does not appear to be... (more)
The Geometrics of Johnny Day (1941)
Nelson Bond
Old MacDonald had a firm, and in that firm he had a young mathematician who wanted to win his daughter's hand in marriage. MacDonald was skeptical: ""Ye want a job, eh? And just what is it that ye... (more)
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)
Gifted: A Novel (2007)
Nikita Lalwani
This novel tells the coming-of-age story of a girl whose Indian father is a professor of mathematics in Wales. She is talented at mathematics and even uses sophisticated math in her everyday life (e.g.... (more)
The 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)
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)
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 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)
A Higher Geometry (2006)
Highly Rated!
Sharelle Byars Moranville
A teenage girl in the 1950's pursues her dream of becoming a mathematician in the American midwest over a background of sexism, romance and Cold War politics. This fictional account mirrors some of the... (more)
A Hill on the Dark Side of the Moon (1983)
Lennart Hjulström
A Swedish film about the life of Sonia Kovalevsky. The title refers, apparently, to a site on the moon which was actually named in her honor. The film tends to avoid the mathematics (for example, melodramatic... (more)
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)
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)
In the River (2006)
Justin Stanchfield
A female mathematics professor undergoes a surgical procedure to enable her to live and communicate with aquatic aliens. Her goal is to learn to understand their mathematics well enough to reproduce their... (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)
The Infinite Worlds of H.G. Wells (Episode: The Truth about Pyecraft) (2001)
Chris Harrald (Script) / Clive Exton (Script) / Herbert George Wells (story)
Please correct me if I'm mistaken here, but it seems that the 2001 TV miniseries The Infinite Worlds of H.G. Wells took the story ``The Truth about Pyecraft'', which has no math in it, and made the main... (more)
Jack and the Aktuals, or, Physical Applications of Transfinite Set Theory (2008)
Rudy Rucker
As the title suggests, the seemingly completely abstract Continuum Hypothesis is found to be manifested in the physical universe in this bizarre short story. It is very similar in feel and content to... (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)
Kapitoil (2010)
Teddy Wayne
It is 1999 and Karim Issar is a Qatari programmer who has just moved to NYC to work on Wall Street. Karim understands the world through mathematics and equations, and wishes others did as well. He does... (more)
Kavanagh (1849)
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
In the fourth chapter of this novel by the famous poet, the school teacher of the title tries to convince his skeptical wife that mathematics can be poetic by reading to her from Lilavati. (This one chapter was published separately as Englishwoman's Domestic Magazine, 3 (1855), pages 257–62, and so I will consider it both as a short story and as an excerpt from a novel.) (more)
Kavita Through Glass (2002)
Emily Ishem Raboteau
A loosely practicing Muslim graduate student in mathematics has great difficulty understanding his Hindu wife. He tries to understand her, love, and life in general via mathematics, regarding which... (more)
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)
La fiamma sul ghiaccio (The Flame on the Ice) (2006)
Umberto Marino (director)
An Italian movie about a mathematician with Asperger's syndrome. The role of the protagonist is played by Raoul Bova. According to Bova, It's the story of a young mathematics professor afflicted with... (more)
The Lady's Code (2006)
Samantha Saxon
The third in a series of romance novels about intelligent, confident women, The Lady's Code features Lady Juliet Pervell, who has ruined her reputation in social circles but earned an honorary degree in... (more)
Lambada (1990)
Joel Silbert (Director and Writer) / Sheldon Renan (Screenplay)
A blend of "Stand and Deliver" with "Dirty Dancing" with a high school math teacher who spends his evenings doing lambada dance moves in night clubs. He appears to be a very dedicated teacher, and in... (more)
The Last Enemy (2008)
Peter Berry (Screenplay) / Iain B. MacDonald (Director)
In this BBC TV series, mathematician Stephen Ezard returns home from China for his brother's funeral but finds himself caught up in two simultaneous stories of high level espionage. In one subplot, he... (more)
The Last 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)
Legacy of Light (2009)
Karen Zacarías
Two tales of discovery and pregnancy are told in this play. An astrophysicist at the Newton Institute whose team has discovered evidence of a planet in formation feels that she is too old to be pregnant... (more)
Logicomix (2008)
Highly Rated!
Apostolos Doxiadis / Christos Papadimitriou
A graphic novel on the history of mathematical logic by the authors of Uncle Petros and Goldbach's Conjecture and Turing. In an interview (available online here) Papadimitriou says: It is really... (more)
Long Division (2003)
Michael Redhill
The title of this short story refers both to arithmetic, a beloved subject of the school age child at its center, and the separation that his mother feels from him and his father due to the child's extraordinary... (more)
Lucy and David and the God Equation (2011)
Alan McKenzie
Lucy, a freshman at a Scottish University, and David, the graduate student who leads the problem sessions for her physics class, discuss the mathematical and philosophical implications of Gödel's First... (more)
A Madman Dreams of Turing Machines (2006)
Janna Levin
This novel about Alan Turing and Kurt Gödel contains much that has already been said many times before, and occasionally "tries too hard" artistically. Still I very much enjoyed reading it, and even... (more)
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 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)
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 Mathematicians of Grizzly Drive (1988)
Josef Skvorecky
A detective story, in the "hard boiled" genre, featuring Eve Adam, a sexy nightclub performer who solves crimes in her free time. In this story, she visits a house where mathematicians gather to entertain... (more)
The Mathematics of Nina Gluckstein (1985)
Esther Vilar
When Argentina's most famous singer dies in an accident during a concert, his unpopular wife, Nina Gluckstein, commits suicide. Yet, since public opinion of her was so low (and perhaps because she was... (more)
Mathematics of the Heart (2011)
Kefi Chadwick (playwright) / Donnacadh O’Briain (director)
An expert on the mathematics of chaos theory deals with chaos in his own life in the form of a girlfriend seeking commitment, a brother crashing in his apartment, and a new graduate student. I have not seen this play, but have only run across notices announcing its production at the Brighton Fringe festival in 2011. Additional information about the play would be most appreciated. (more)
Maths on a Plane (2008)
Phil Trinh
This story, about a student flirting with the attractive woman in the seat next to him on a plane, won the student category of the 2008 New Writers Award from Cambridge University's ``Plus+ Magazine''.... (more)
The Measure of Eternity (2006)
Sean McMullen
The beautiful servant of an even more beautiful courtesan leaves the palace in an ancient city and finds a beggar proudly shouting "I have nothing" in many different languages. Yet, this beggar seems... (more)
The Mind-Body Problem (1983)
Rebecca Goldstein
A philosophy graduate student seduces and marries a famous mathematician. They do not have a great marriage, but we are presented with some thought provoking passages concerning Princeton University,... (more)
The Mirror Has Two Faces (1996)
Barbra Streisand (director)
Love story with Jeff Bridges and Barbra Streisand as math and English professors (respectively) at Columbia University. We get a detailed description of the Twin Prime Conjecture (concerning the number... (more)
Miscalculations (2000)
Elizabeth Mansfield
This romance novel features female "math whiz", hired to help an attractive millionaire handle his wealth. Of course, they fall in love. If you have read this book and can correct/add to the description above, please write to me at kasmana@cofc.edu. (more)
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)
Mozart and the Whale (2005)
Petter Næss (Director)
A romance about two people with Asperger's Syndrome based on a true story. I have not seen the film, but understand that the male character is obsessed with numbers and statistics but works as a cab driver.... (more)
Murder, She Conjectured (2005)
Alex Kasman
A police psychologist attending a conference in Cambridge, England is pulled into an unsolved murder mystery by her mathematician boyfriend. An important theme of the story is the oppresive sexism that... (more)
Nachman Burning (1998)
Leonard Michaels
In this story, the reclusive UCLA mathematician Nachman, a recurring character in stories by Leonard Michaels, gets a haircut. He chooses a barber he knows to be terrible at cutting hair, but he goes... (more)
Nachman from Los Angeles (2002)
Leonard Michaels
This second "Nachman" story by Leonard Michaels is a flashback to a time when the UCLA mathematician was a graduate student and hired by a rich Arabian prince to ghostwrite a philosophy paper for him.... (more)
The Needle in a Haystack (2002)
Tom DeMarco
A pretty funny, silly story about a tailor with a mathematical bent who loses a needle in a haystack. Quite despondent about his chances of finding it, he decides to be mathematically rigorous in his... (more)
Newton's Hooke (2004)
David Pinner
A play about Isaac Newton and Robert Hooke which presents "the dark side" of Newton. Emphasis is put on his egotism (not only does he think that he is incomparably brilliant, but he also seems to think... (more)
Nothing but the Truth (and a few white lies) (2006)
Justina Chen Headley
This is a novel for young adults about a half Asian teenager who is sent to a summer Math Camp at Stanford by her overprotective mother. She enjoys the camp more than she expected to, until her mother... (more)
NUMB3RS (2005)
Highly Rated!
Nick Falacci / Cheryl Heuton
This TV crime drama (premiered January 2005) follows the adventures of a pair of brothers, one a mathematics professor and the other an FBI agent, as they combine forces to solve mysteries. Cool effects... (more)
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)
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)
Of Mystery There Is No End (2002)
Leonard Michaels
Leonard Michaels' recurring character of UCLA mathematician Nachman faces questions of infidelity when he learns of the extra-marital affairs of his friend Norbert and Norbert's wife. It is somewhat... (more)
On the Nature of Human Romantic Interaction (2003)
Karl Iagnemma
The title of the story was the title of a chapter in the Ph.D. thesis that Joseph, the main character, was working on...but never finished. Instead, he wound up living with his advisor's daughter, working... (more)
The Ore Miner's Wife (2003)
Karl Iagnemma
A miner who spends his spare time secretly working on geometry problems arouses the suspicions of his God fearing wife when she comes upon his cryptic writings and follows him to a meeting with a visiting... (more)
Orpheus Lost: A Novel (2007)
Janette Turner Hospital
This book is simultaneously a beautiful love story with frequent allusions to the myth of Orpheus, a political thriller, and a gut wrenching tear jerker about people whose lives are destroyed by war. ... (more)
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)
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)
Problems (1979)
John Updike
What might otherwise be a standard short story about a man who regrets leaving his wife for his lover is recast by this famous author as a list of math homework problems. In one problem, where the man... (more)
Problems for Self-Study (2002)
Charles Yu
The life of a mathematical physicist -- from earning his PhD, through marriage, fatherhood and into a midlife crisis -- presented in the form of homework exercises from a math book. We first meet... (more)
Professor Morgan's Moon (1899)
Stanley Waterloo
A young mathematician asks for the hand of a senior mathematician's beautiful (and clever) daughter, but is refused on the grounds that his inability to support her financially was a mathematical certainty.... (more)
Proof (2000)
Highly Rated!
David Auburn (playwright)
This Pulitzer Prize winning play (now also a film) focuses on a daughter who took care of her father after his mental disorder forced him to give up his successful career as a mathematician. After the... (more)
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)
Reading by Numbers (2009)
Highly Rated!
Aidan Doyle
Elementary number theory and some superstitious numerology underlie this story, which appeared in the November 11, 2009 issue of the online Fantasy Magazine (though I would never describe this story as... (more)
Reality Conditions (2005)
Highly Rated!
Alex Kasman
The title story in the collection of the same name, this short story follows a mathematics grad student to a workshop at the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute. Although the story contains no supernatural... (more)
Risqueman (2009)
Mike Wood
A brilliant (and beautiful) French mathematician is distressed by governmental misuse of her algorithm which accurately predicts accidents and disasters that previously were only determined probabilistically.... (more)
Rites of Love and Math (2010)
Highly Rated!
Edward Frenkel / Reine Graves
UC-Berkeley mathematical physicist Edward Frenkel wrote and stars in this short film about a mathematician who is determined to kill himself after he discovers the formula for love. The film is inspired... (more)
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)
Rough Strife (1980)
Lynne Sharon Schwartz
This is the story of the courtship, marriage and affairs of Ivan (who works on the business side of the art world) and Caroline (a math professor). Although there are plenty of clues to the knowledgeable... (more)
Royal Highness (Königliche Hoheit) (1909)
Thomas Mann
At the heart of Thomas Mann's novel, “Royal Highness,” is the courtship and eventual marriage of Klaus Heinrich, the heir to a fictional German principality, and Imma Spoelmann, the daughter of an... (more)
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)
She Wrote the Book (1946)
Oscar Brodney (writer) / Warren Wilson (writer) / Charles Lamont (director)
A modest and shy female math professor develops amnesia and completely changes her behavior when she comes to believe she is the author of steamy romance models. According to Burkard Polster and Marty... (more)
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)
Singleton (2002)
Greg Egan
This story involves a physicist and a mathematician who have a child -- well, sort of -- that they have specially designed to remain in a "classical" state (as opposed to a quantum superposition of states)... (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)
Solid Geometry (1976)
Ian McEwan
This short story from McEwan's award winning first collection is about a man who learns some topology from his grandfather's journals...but not your average topology. He learns how to fold surfaces (like... (more)
The Solitude of Prime Numbers [La Solitudine dei Numeri Primi] (2008)
Paolo Giordano
The novel "La Solitudine dei Numeri Primi" (2008), written by a physics grad student, sold over a million copies in Italy and appeared in English as ``The Solitude of Prime Numbers'' (2010). It tells... (more)
The Song of the Geometry Instructor (1985)
Ralph M. Berry
While snowed in at his home, a geometer writes to his former lover about his students, his discoveries and how much he misses her. This is one of those literary art pieces by an author for whom mathematics... (more)
Songs My Mother Never Taught Me (2007)
Selçuk Altun
After his mother's death, a young Turkish man seeks his father's killer. His father was a very charismatic, conceited and famous mathematician, but aside from that there is little math in the book. The... (more)
The Spacetime Pool (2008)
Catherine Asaro
Janelle, recently graduated from MIT with a degree in math, is pulled through the "branch cut" between two universes to an alternate Earth where two sword wielding brothers rule half the world. There,... (more)
The Square Root of Murder (2011)
Ada Madison
Math professor Sophie Knowles turns amateur detective when an unpopular colleague is found dead in his office in this entertaining but light mystery novel. From reading comments at Amazon, I have learned... (more)
Stand-In (1937)
Tay Garnett
Leslie Howard plays a typical Hollywood mathematical genius: emotionless, conceited, and convinced that everything can be understood through mathematics. (Well, one out of three isn't bad!) It takes a trip to Tinsel Town and a beautiful actress to make him see the errors of his ways. (more)
The Stargazers (1986)
Barbara Susan Lefever
An historical novel based on Mason and Dixon. (Includes references!) It was self-published in a first printing of 700, and a second printing of 200. The author is/was a member of the Pennsylvania Society... (more)
The Steep Approach to Garbadale (2007)
Iain Banks
Alban McGill is a reluctant member of a family whose wealth is derived from the creation of an immensely popular board game. The three main plots of the novel (which are intertwined) concern his childhood... (more)
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 (1993)
Highly Rated!
Rebecca Goldstein
"Strange attractors: Collection of short stories, some of which have mathematical content. Two stories (the geometry of soap bubbles and impossible love and strange attractors) figure the same main... (more)
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)
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)
The Tachypomp (1873)
Edward Page Mitchell
I can't believe this story is as old as it is! First published in Scribner's Magazine in 1873, it is only dated by its sexism and its contradition of Einstein. In order to win the hand of the beautiful Abscissa... (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)
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)
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)
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)
Too Much Happiness (2009)
Alice Munro
The penultimate collection of short stories from Nobel laureate Alice Munro features a title story about the final days of Sonia Kovalevskaya. The main source of tension in the story is her love affair... (more)
Towel Season (1998)
Highly Rated!
Ron Carlson
A mathematician and his wife try to fit in with their suburban neighbors. Perhaps the best description of the feel of what doing mathematical research is really like. Much of the tension of the... (more)
Tracking the Random Variable (1991)
Highly Rated!
Marcos Donnelly
Ronald Barr is a statistician with a knack for identifying hidden variables. For example, it was he who recognized that by offering chicken soup and hot chocolate in the automatic coffee machine, his... (more)
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)
Twenty-seven Uses for Imaginary Numbers (2009)
Buzz Mauro
A teenage boy's discovery of the joys of Euler's formula coincides with the awakening of his homosexual desires. The author's mathematical understanding is very good, and the story reminded me of young... (more)
The Twisted Heart (2009)
Rebecca Gowers
An English graduate student solves a 19th century murder mystery involving Charles Dickens with the help of her boyfriend, a mathematician. This book is not yet available in the US and so I have not... (more)
Twisted Seduction (2010)
Dominique Adams (writer and director)
A man with a PhD in mathematics and a master's degree in psychology kidnaps a woman he has determined mathematically and scientifically to be an ideal match for him, with the intention of forcing her to... (more)
Two Moons (2000)
Thomas Mallon
A historical novel set in Washington DC of the late 19th century in which astronomers and the Naval Observatory (aided by the "computer" Cynthia May) deal with scientific and political matters of the... (more)
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)
Until Tomorrow, Then (2010)
Shaun Hamill (writer and director)
A short film about a young mathematician obsessed with working out the "rate the universe is running down" so that he can determine time that the universe will end. One of the two other characters... (more)
Verrechnet (2009)
Carl Djerassi/Isabella Gregor
With the help of playwright/director Isabella Gregor, Djerassi updated his play Calculus (Newton's Whores). The plot still revolves around the question of priority on the invention of calculus, and especially... (more)
Victoria Martin: Math Team Queen (2007)
Kathryn Walat (playwright)
Victoria Martin is a popular girl at Longwood High -- dating one of the stars of the school basketball team and friends with the "Jens" on the cheerleading squad. So, most of the guys on the math team... (more)
Villages (2004)
John Updike
The protagonist of this novel is Owen Mackenzie, a character who earned a degree in mathematics in the 1950's and went on to work with computers. His first lover, as well, was a mathematician. They... (more)
The Visiting Professor (1994)
Highly Rated!
Robert Littell
Lemuel Falk, a ``randomnist'' from the Steklov Institute in Russia gets a visiting position at a chaos research institute in Upstate New York in this academic farce. He meets a drunkard who studies... (more)
The 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 Are the Odds? (2006)
Justin Spitzer (writer) / Matthew Tritt (director)
Two extremely nerdy strangers who keep running into each other in New York City are surprised to learn that they both "study applied mathematics" and are attending the same conference on "stochastic processes... (more)
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 Woman in Schrödinger's Wave Equations (2005)
Eugene Mirabelli
The artist girlfriend of a grad student working in theoretical physics becomes interested in determining something about the mysterious woman with whom Erwin Schrödinger supposedly had an extra-marital... (more)
The Writing on the Wall (2005)
Steve Stanton
When he was eight years old, David was visited by an image of his future self, causing him to write mathematical formulas on the wall. (Unfortunately, his parents paint over it before he has a chance... (more)
The Year of the Jackpot (1952)
Robert A. Heinlein
A statistician notices trends in everything from war and famine to women unexpectedly stripping off their clothes in public. He concludes that the year 1954 is going to be an exceptionally bad year. ... (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)
Zero (2009)
Buzz Mauro
An awkward, middle-aged math teacher life stumbles (quite literally) into a sexual relationship with an unusual young woman. The character occasionally thinks in mathematical term. Towards the beginning,... (more)
Zilkowski's Theorem (2003)
Highly Rated!
Karl Iagnemma
This is a story of a love triangle with a definite mathematical twist. Henderson's roommate, Czogloz, steals away his girlfriend, Milla, when all three were math graduate students. Years later, seeking... (more)

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Your Help Needed: Some site visitors remember reading works of mathematical fiction that neither they nor I can identify. It is time to crowdsource this problem and ask for your help! You would help a neighbor find a missing pet...can't you also help a fellow site visitor find some missing works of mathematical fiction? Please take a look and let us know if you have seen these missing stories anywhere!.

(Maintained by Alex Kasman, College of Charleston)