
1 to 999 (1981) 
 Isaac Asimov 

When cryptologists try to break a simple code, one of the key clues is
the frequency with which letters appear. In English, the letter "a"
is one of the most frequently used letters. It is therefore... (more) 


1963 (1993) 
 Alan Moore 

A sixissue 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) 


2+2=5 (2006) 
 Rudy Rucker / Terry Bisson 

A retired insurance adjuster and a math professor who was fired for telling his students that there are "holes" in the number line pass the time by trying to break a world record for counting. To achieve... (more) 


21 (2008) 
 Robert Luketic (Director) 

As I understand it, the book by Ben Mezrich which inspired this film is nonfiction. It told the true story (though using pseudonyms) of a team comprised of an MIT math professor and six MIT students... (more) 


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 exwife, 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) 


The 39 Steps (1935) 
 Alfred Hitchcock (director) 

Alfred Hitchcock’s 1935 thriller follows the getaway of Richard Hannay (Robert Donat), a man accused of murder. While Hannay must outsmart the police in his escape, he also finds himself sought... (more) 


7 Steps to Midnight (1993) 
 Richard Matheson 

In this unnerving, `Kafkaesque' 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) 


A. Botts and the Moebius Strip (1945) 
 William Hazlett Upson 

William Hazlett Upson wrote a series of pieces for the Saturday Evening Post about a salesman for The Earthworm Tractor Company, written as a dialog of letters and memos between Alexander Botts and his... (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) 
 John Green 

Colin Singleton is a semiburntout 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) 


Actuarial / The Paradox Paradox (2010) 
 Buzz Mauro 

These two extremely short stories by Mauro, part of his thesis project which consisted entirely of original works of mathematical fiction, appeared in the December 2010 issue of Prime Number Magazine.
Actuarial... (more) 


The Adding Machine (1923) 
 Elmer Rice 

This highly symbolic play tells the life, death, afterlife, and
rebirth of Zero, a mildmannered nobody who is hoping to get a raise
for twenty five years of loyal service as a clerk doing addition... (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) 


Adventure of the Final Problem (1893) 
 Sir Arthur Conan Doyle 

This first Sherlock Holmes story about Professor Moriarty (later to be
viewed as Holmes' arch enemy) introduces him as a professor of
mathematics who won fame as a young man for his extension of the
binomial... (more) 


The Adventure of the Russian Grave (1995) 
 William Barton / Michael Capobianco 

Even in the old Arthur Conan Doyle stories, Sherlock Holmes' archnemesis was a mathematician. Moriarty was said to be a math professor who (when he wasn't being evil) worked on the binomial theorem and... (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) 


The Adventures of the Parrot (2008) 
 Gary Brown 

Gary I. Brown, chair of the math department at CSBSJU in St. Joseph MN, has written two detective stories in which "The Parrot" uses mathematics (specifically, nonzero sum games and fair division problems) to solve the mysteries. The stories appear together in a new book from North Star Press which is available from Amazon.com .
(more) 


The Adventures of Topology Man (2005) 
 Alex Kasman 

Parody is easy....topology is hard!
In this short story, I made use of (and made fun of) the classic superhero comic book genre to illustrate some ideas from topology. So, we end up seeing a battle... (more) 


After Math (1997) 
 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) 
 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) 


Against the Odds (2001) 
 Martin Gardner 

Luther Washington, a young, AfricanAmerican boy in Butterfield, KS must overcome several kinds of prejudice to become a mathematician.
First, he must face the prejudices of his father that his interest... (more) 


Agora (2009) 
 Alejandro Amenábar (writer and director) / Mateo Gil (writer) 

A film based on the life of Hypatia of Alexandria. What little we know of the real Hypatia suggests that she was a talented mathematician and teacher (neither of them easy professions for a woman to enter... (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) 


Aleph Sub One (1948) 
 Margaret St. Clair 

This is a little known story by a well known author from the Golden Age of Science Fiction. The math content is high, and it's a good story, definitely belongs on your Mathematical Fiction page.
From... (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 mathfree SciFi 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) 


Algorithms and Nasal Structures (1998) 
 Lois H. Gresh 

This short story appears "in Aboriginal Science Fiction, Summer 1998.
CS grad student is having trouble programming sheep odors.
The story competently uses real programming terminology
(stacks, queues, etc). Includes a wee bit of trigonometry.
(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 oneworld economy to the World Trade Organization, the case falls to Interpol agent Henri... (more) 


All on a Golden Afternoon (1956) 
 Robert Bloch 

"The title alludes to Alice in Wonderland, and the story is
indeed partly set in the two dream books. One Professor Laroc
has extended some mathematical work of Charles Dodgson, and by
... (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) 


Alphabet (2002) 
 Chelsea Spear 

A silent, short film which shows intertwined clips of a young girl playing the french horn and answering a question at the board in her algebra class. Reviews of the film that I've read suggest that she... (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) 


Altogether Elsewhere, Vast Herds of Reindeer (2011) 
 Ken Liu 

One advantage of the human race having been uploaded into a virtual existence, in this postsingularity story, is that it offers a wide variety of decorating choices not normally available to those of... (more) 


Amy and Isabelle (1998) 
 Elizabeth Stout 

A highly praised motherdaughter novel, selected by Oprah, and
recently produced by Oprah as a madeforTV movie.
Set in 1971 Maine, a 16yearold girl has an affair with her
high school math... (more) 


Anathem (2008) 
 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) 


And He Built a Crooked House (1940) 
 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) 


An Angel of Obedience (2010) 
 John Giessmann 

Due to his new obsession with fractal geometry, thirteen yearold prodigy Jackson Carter has just ended an illustrious career as a classical musician and enrolled as a math major at Harvard. There he... (more) 


Aniara (1956) 
 Harry Martinson 

Aniara is considered one of the greatest works of Swedish author
Harry Martinson, 1974 Nobel Prize in Literature cowinner "for
writings that catch the dewdrop and reflect the cosmos". It is
an epic... (more) 


Annals of Klepsis (1983) 
 R.A. Lafferty 

A wacky scifi adventure comedy featuring space pirates. There is not much math in the book, but the central plot revolves around a mathematical ``doomsday equation'' and the goal of preventing the horrible... (more) 


Another New Math (2005) 
 Alex Kasman 

A mathematician and his young daughter try to convince a school board to consider teaching advanced mathematics to elementary school children in this short story that appeared in the collection Reality... (more) 


Antibodies (2000) 
 Charles Stross 

P vs NP is perhaps the greatest problem of theoretical computer science,
and has attracted attention of a range of mathematicians, from logic
to topology. It's one of the seven Clay Millennium Prize... (more) 


Antonia's Line (1995) 
 Marleen Gorris 

About three or more generations of
strong and selfsufficient 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) 


Apartheid, Superstrings and Mordecai Thubana (1991) 
 Michael Bishop 

I don't want to get into a debate here about whether superstrings are math or physics. I know mathematicians and physicists who would argue (with some good points on each side) that it is in their area... (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) 


Applied Mathematical Theology (2006) 
 Gregory Benford 

Benford, a physicist and science fiction author, wrote this piece about a message hidden in the Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation (CMB) for the journal Nature's "Futures" column. It cites (fictional)... (more) 


Approaching Perimelasma (1998) 
 Geoffrey A. Landis 

As part of a planned experiment, a man falls into a black hole and escapes through a wormhole. (Don't worry, it is only a backup copy of his mind on an artificial body specifically designed for this task.)... (more) 


Arcadia (1993) 
 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) 


Archimedes, a planetarium opera (2007) 
 James Dashow 

Opera, as in people singing and music playing, and not the
usual Latin for "works".
James Dashow has been scripting, composing, and recording
Archimedes, a "planetarium opera" for the past ten years.
It's... (more) 


The Arnold Proof (2002) 
 Jessica Francis Kane 

This short story begins with a quote from Philip E.B. Jourdain's essay "The Nature of Mathematics". In the quote, he explains how in the process of carrying out a complicated computation, one may want... (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 motherinlaw did the same, and the book is enhanced by the... (more) 


Art Thou Mathematics? (1978) 
 Charles Mobbs 

Short story (Analog Science Fiction/Science Fact, October 1978 Vol. 98 No 10) concerning the very nature of mathematical discovery. It was later rewritten in the form of a play, which the author has... (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) 


As Above, So Below (2009) 
 Rudy Rucker 

An LSD of a story  in typical Rucker style  where a computer programmer working with the Mandelbrot set is visited upon by a living UFO in the form of the Mset; the UFO named Ma explains to him how... (more) 


The Atrocity Archives (2004) 
 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 wellcrafted 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 ``chooseyourownadventure'' 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) 


Back to Methuselah (1921) 
 George Bernard Shaw 

In this notverystageable play in five parts, Shaw expounds on
mankind and the theory of evolution, from Adam and Eve in the
Garden of Eden to a paradise world 30,000 years in the future.
It turns... (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 postWWII
black Los Angeles, and unfold over the years. (The... (more) 


The Balloon Hoax (1844) 
 Edgar Allan Poe 

This is Poe's account of an alleged balloon trip to the
moon, in the spirit of the then infamous moon hoax. The
balloon rider describes the Earth as appearing concave when
5 miles up. Later,... (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 (coproduced by Axiom Films) .
I love... (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 exwife 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) 


Batorsag and Szerelem [a.k.a. Beautiful Ohio] (2006) 
 Ethan Canin 

A very sensitively written story about a child, William, who grows up in the shadow of his brother, Clive, who is a math prodigy. Clive, in addition to his strong mathematical skills, is also a very... (more) 


Battle of the Frog and the Mouse (1984) 
 John Barrow 

This succinct, wellwrittten fable captures the polemics between Hilbert and Brouwer related to Hilbert's Formalist position and Brouwer's Constructivist position vis a vis the foundations of mathematics... (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) 



Been a long, long time (1970) 
 R.A. Lafferty 

It's a very wellwritten humorous tale (as expected if you're familiar with Lafferty). The mathematical content is a literal interpretation of the six typing monkeys. The angel Boshel, as a punishment,... (more) 


The Bees of Knowledge (1975) 
 Barrington J. Bayley 

It's a story about a traveller marooned on a planet, part of which is populated by giant bees which collect the "nectar of knowledge" and make "honey of experience" out of that nectar. The story has a... (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 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) 


Bianca (1984) 
 Nanni Moretti (director and screenplay) 

A math teacher (played by Nanni Moretti himself) has odd obsessions and compulsions in this film, including his crush on colleague Bianca. Although his antisocial behavior seems to be destroying his... (more) 


Big Numbers (1990) 
 Alan Moore / Bill Sienkiewicz 

This comic book (written by Moore and illustrated by Sienkiewicz) was planned as a 12 issue series with a mathematics theme. Unfortunately, due to a lack of cooperation by the artist (and also a substitute... (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 Bird with the Broken Wing (1930) 
 Agatha Christie 

The Harley Quin stories (this collection, plus two later stories) are amongst the most peculiar mysteries ever written. (They certainly are Dame Agatha's most peculiar. They were also her personal... (more) 


The Birds (BC414) 
 Aristophanes 

In one scene of this classic Greek play, the geometer Meton appears
and...well, it's pretty short. So why should I summarize it when I can
simply reproduce it here!
(Enter
METON, With surveying... (more) 


The Bishop Murder Case (1929) 
 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 Mask of AlJabr (1967) 
 Vladimir Levshin 

The 3 friends return to Karlikania. Their friend, the baby zero, is accosted by a mysterious xshaped stranger, who challenges our heroes to recover his identity. Many adventures unfold, and the... (more) 


The Black Mirror (1983) 
 Eric Simon 

This story (available in "The Black Mirror and Other Stories"
and first published in the anthology, "Ways to Impossibility", 1983) is an interesting twist on the idea of onesided surfaces. Based on... (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) 


Blinding Shadows (1934) 
 Donald Wandrei 

Story of a mathematics professor who theorizes that 4dimensional objects should be casting 3dimensional shadows and such shadows should be viewable by specially made mirrors. Dutifully, element number... (more) 


BLIT (1988) 
 David Langford 

Goedelian incompleteness is encoded in graphic images that
kill viewers. A new kind of infoterrorism spreads.
Originally published in INTERZONE #25 Sept/Oct 1988.
See also a fake FAQ... (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) 


Blowups Happen (1940) 
 Robert A. Heinlein 

A mathematician discovers that his formulas predict that an important
new power station poses an extremely grave risk to humanity, and he
must convince others of the danger.
reprinted in THE PAST... (more) 


The Blue Door (2006) 
 Tanya Barfield 

A successful AfricanAmerican mathematics professor who has tried to ignore racism and its implications for his life is visited by his ancestors during a sleepless night in this critically acclaimed new... (more) 


Blue Tigers (1977) 
 Jorge Luis Borges 

The protagonist, a Scotsman, chases down reports of a blue species of tigers sighted in village in Punjab, Pakistan. He never finds a blue tiger but ends up obtaining some magical stones on a hillside... (more) 


Boltzmann's Ghost (1998) 
 Ken Wharton 

A physicist encounters an apparently crazy man who tries to convince him
that some beings experience time backwards. His intriguing explanation of
this phenomenon depends on theoretical physics, and... (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) 


The Book of Irrational Numbers (1999) 
 Michael Marshall Smith 

The protagonist of this short story views everything through the filter of numerology. His journal entries detail his considerations of digital roots, perfect numbers, irrational numbers, and even Wilson’s... (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 Book of Sand (1975) 
 Jorge Luis Borges 

"The line is made up of an infinite number of points;
the plane of an infinite number of lines;
the volume of an infinite number of planes;
the hypervolume of an infinite number of volumes.
.... (more) 


The Book of Worlds (1929) 
 Miles J. Breuer 

Another story of 4D from Miles Breuer, this time with Prof. Cosgrave who builds a "hyperstereoscope" that can combine 3dimensional views ("geometrical stereograms") from different angles into a 4D... (more) 


Border Guards (1999) 
 Greg Egan 

In a virtual universe shaped like a 3torus, free from disease and death, Jamil is easily depressed but enjoys playing a game of quantum soccer with his old friends, and one new friend. The new friend... (more) 


Borzag and the Numerical Apocalypse (2006) 
 Jason Earls 

I must warn you that I am a trained mathematician, but NOT a trained expert on literature. Among other consequences, this means that I sometimes have trouble telling the difference between brilliant,... (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 4dimensional (and
higher) space. It includes... (more) 


Brain Dead (1990) 
 Charles Beaumont (writer) /
Adam Simon (director) 

A nightmarish, reality bending horror movie about a brain surgeon whose services are obtained to retrieve corporate secrets from the mind of a mathematician who has become a homicidal maniac.
(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
exhusband 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) 


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) 


Breaking the Code (1986) 
 Hugh Whitemore (playwright) 

This biography of Alan Turing is a "character study" of this
fascinating mathematician. Although we do see some mathematics (including
an especially nice description of Gödel's Theorem and its mathematical
significance)... (more) 


The Brink of Infinity (1936) 
 Stanley G. Weinbaum 

A
mathematics professor is kidnapped by a madman with a grudge against
mathematicians, who threatens dire consequences unless the prof can
solve a math riddle he has concocted: by asking ten questions,... (more) 


The Brothers Karamazov (1880) 
 Fyodor Dostoevsky 

In this classic final masterwork by Dostoevsky, the existence of nonEuclidean geometry is mentioned at one point. Although the theme is not explicitly carried throughout the rest of the novel, it plays... (more) 


Buried Alive at the End of the World (2011) 
 Blair Bourrassa 

A completely paralyzed mathematician receives congratulations from colleagues and other hospital visitors on the culmination of his research in a large scale physics experiment that is about to be conducted..but... (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 exlover who is now being blackmailed by her exhusband.
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 (Newton's Whores) (2004) 
 Carl Djerassi 

The credit for the invention of calculus has long been contested, being claimed by both Isaac Newton and Gottfried Leibniz. A committee established by the Royal Society in 1712 concluded that Newton was... (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 parttime 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 Call of Cthulhu (1928) 
 H.P. Lovecraft 

This is the most famous story by Lovecraft, which spawned it's own subgenre and
RPG,
called the Cthulhu Mythos. It concerns the investigations of Prof. Francis
Wayland Thurston
as he investigates... (more) 


The Cambist and Lord Iron (2007) 
 Daniel Abraham 

The story is set in a noname kingdom, seemingly medieval but with
certain modernisms. The cambist of the title is a minor worker, whose
daily routine is interrupted by Lord Iron, who has come to... (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 BritishRussian 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) 


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) 


The Capsule (2010) 
 Miceal Og O'Donnell (writer and director) 

A former mathematician who has tape on his glasses, a sleeping bag on his back and talks just like Dustin Hoffman in Rain Main is ordered by his doctor to be more social (to get out of his "capsule").... (more) 


The Captured CrossSection (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) 


Cardano and the Case of the Cubic (2005) 
 Jeff Adams 

This parody of early 20th century "Hard Boiled Private Detective" novels is instead a short story about 16th century mathematician Gerolamo Cardano.
Its opening paragraphs clearly set the tone:
It... (more) 


Carry On, Mr. Bowditch (1955) 
 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 higherorder 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 Case of the Murdered Mathematician (2001) 
 Julia Barnes / Kathy Ivey 

This story is actually a fictionalized account of the "Murder Mystery" game
played by the MAA Student Mathematics Club at Western Carolina University.
Clues provide insight into possible motivations... (more) 


The Cat in Numberland (2006) 
 Ivar Ekeland (author) / John O'Brien (illustrator) 

This picture book uses the idea of a hotel with infintely many rooms for introducing some advanced concepts about numbers and infinity to children. The hotel, run in the book by "Mr. and Mrs. Hilbert",... (more) 


The Catalyst (1991) 
 Desmond Cory 

Mathematics professor John Dobie gets caught up in a truly mindboggling
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) 


A Catastrophe Machine (2004) 
 Carter Scholz 

A wellwritten, vaguely surrealistic story loosely based on the real mathematical field of catastrophe theory and set within the context of the Vietnam War.
The title is taken from an invention of mathematician... (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) 


Cálculo Infinitesimal de una variable
(1994) 
 Juan de Burgos Román 

Apparently, this Spanish calculus textbook begins each chapter with a "tale". I have not yet had a chance to see the book myself, and so I cannot say for certain whether these really are "fiction" or... (more) 


Cálculo Infinitesimal de varias variables
(1995) 
 Juan de Burgos Román 

Apparently, this Spanish calculus textbook begins each chapter with a "tale". I have not yet had a chance to see the book myself, and so I cannot say for certain whether these really are "fiction" or... (more) 


The Center of the Universe (2005) 
 Alex Kasman 

This short story was intended to serve two different purposes. On the one hand it is a glimpse into the lives and interactions of mathematics graduate students. And, on the other, it addresses the philosophical... (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) 
 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) 


The Chair of Philanthromathematics (1908) 
 O. Henry (William Sydney Porter) 

Jeff Peters and Andy Tucker, con men in
the O. Henry stories collected in this volume, are a bit
uncomfortable after scoring a really big scam. So they
... (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) 


Child's Play (1986) 
 Isaac Asimov 

Young Griswold uses something he just learned
in elementary school math class to solve a minor stumper. (Be
warned: the problem has a minor bug. Change "mix" to "nix".)
Published in the... (more) 


The Chimera Prophesies (2007) 
 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 modernday cowboy and a female mathematician. However, this one... (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) 


The Circle of Zero (1936) 
 Stanley G. Weinbaum 

Thanks to Vijay Fafat for pointing out this story (with only a little math in it). A character speculates that the laws of probability predict that anything will happen in an infinite amount of time,... (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) 


City of Infinite Bridges (2007) 
 Alex Rose 

A very short, definitely fictional but delightful little tale about Katharina Gsell, Euler’s wife. In this fictional account, Katharina is supposed to have displayed a graph of the 7 Konigsberg bridges... (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) 
 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, firstperson account of two young girls – Aphrodite, who is a math prodigy... (more) 


Coconuts (1926) 
 Ben Ames Williams 

The story is a very nicely written tale of one man, Wadlin, whose only passion in life is mathematics  numbers, puzzles, Diophantine equations ("indeterminates"), statistics. As the author describes... (more) 


Cocoon of Terror (2008) 
 Jason Earls 

The protagonist in the latest novel by Jason Earls spends his time hunting down the evil and semimystical 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 tongueincheek, easyread, quite enjoyable romp of a story about a reclusive mathematician named “Bancharski”, a play on the names of mathematicians Banach and Tarski (unfortunately, BanachTarski... (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) 


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) 


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) 


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) 


Conceiving Ada (1997) 
 Lynn HershmanLeeson


Bizarre, lowbudget 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) 


Confusions of Young Torless (1906) 
 Robert Musil 

A semiautobiographical novel set in a military
academy in a desolate corner of the AustroHungarian empire, is the
story of the intellectual awakening of an intelligent adolescent, and
contains several... (more) 


Conjure Wife (Dark Ladies) (1953) 
 Fritz Leiber 

Norman Saylor, a professor of anthropology/sociology, discovers his wife has been practicing magic for years, and that their
house is loaded with charms. Annoyed at her secret superstitious bent, he... (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) 


Contact (1985) 
 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) 


Conte d'ete (1996) 
 Eric Rohmer 

With a title that can be translated as "A Summer's Tale", this is the third film in Rohmer's "seasons" series, preceeded by tales of
spring and winter and followed by a tale of autumn in 1998. In this... (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) 


Continuity (1999) 
 Buzz Mauro 

This short story cleverly uses the δε definition of continuity of a function to discuss the changing selfesteem of a character over time. After briefly recalling the rigorous definition, it introduces... (more) 


Continuums (2008) 
 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) 


Convergent Series (1979) 
 Larry Niven 

According to
the liner notes, Niven received an undergraduate degree in
mathematics. Mostly the degree has only apparently inspired his
titles (note also the book called "The Integral Trees") without
noticeably... (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) 


The Countable (2011) 
 Ken Liu 

An autistic boy finds comfort in Cantor's discovery that the set of fractions is greatly outnumbered by the set of irrationals. (See, for example, Cantor's Diagonal Argument.)
I did not much enjoy... (more) 


Counting on Frank (1990) 
 Rod Clement 

Lots of people seem to really like this
children's picture book about a boy who likes to ask (and answer) questions
like: "How long would it take to fill up the room with water if I left the
bathtub... (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 Crime of the Mathematics Professor (1960) 
 Clarice Lispector 

There is very little mathematical content to this story of a math professor attempting to atone for having abandoned a pet dog. He is described (in the English translation) as having a "cold, mathematical... (more) 


Crimes and Math Demeanors (2007) 
 Leith Hathout 

The short mysteries in this book remind me of "Encyclopedia Brown". After a brief description of a sometimes contrived dilemma facing our young detective  14 year old Ravi  you are given an opportunity... (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) 


Crunch (2003) 
 John Gould 

A short story in which a man tries to explain to his son, Barry, the relative sizes of things when the child happens to ask, “How small is infinitely small?”. So father and son start exploring... (more) 


Cryptology (2003) 
 Leonard Michaels 

You know how The New Yorker likes to publish vaguely bizarre short
stories that happen to take place in New York City? You know how lots of
authors who want to show a character who is afraid of "real... (more) 


Cryptonomicon (1998) 
 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 startup
company.... (more) 


Cube (1997) 
 Vincenzo Natali (Director) 

This [film] concerns the attempt of six individuals to escape from a vast network
of interlocking cubes, each room, and each wall, floor and ceiling
identical. The rooms vary in colour. Some are harmless;... (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 Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime (2003) 
 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 timemachine as well. When... (more) 


Cyberchase (2002) 
 Educational Broadcasting Corporation 

Three kids go inside "cyberspace" to help the maternal Mother Board
fight the evil Hacker. Each episode, in addition to learning about
computers, the kids have to develop their mathematical skills to... (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) 


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, easyreading, 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 3sphere"
American Journal of Physics  December 1979  Volume... (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) 


Dark Integers (2007) 
 Greg Egan 

The ``cold war'' between this universe with our mathematical laws and a bordering universe with different ones (which began in "Luminous") heats up when the numerical experiments of a mathematical physicist... (more) 


The Dark Lord (2005) 
 Patricia Simpson 

This fantasy/horror/romance novel features as its protagonist a young, female math professor at UCBerkeley 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 multiplemurder 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 pmath... (more) 


The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951) 
 Robert Wise (director) / Harry Bates (story) /
Edmund H. North 

One must wonder how aliens might communicate with humans when and if they arrive on Earth. In the 1951 film The Day the Earth Stood Still, the extraterrestrial Klaatu (Michael Rennie) introduces himself... (more) 


De Impossibilitate Vitae and Prognoscendi (1971) 
 Stanislaw Lem 

This is a philosophical discourse (intended as a parody, but I swear
I've read serious papers that were very much like it) in which the
author argues that probablity theory makes no sense since it is... (more) 


Dead Ancients Trilogy (2008) 
 Peter Hobbs 

Pythagoras explains in first person his celebrated theorem, complete with diagrams and shaded triangles. It is a source of substantial chagrin to him because it naturally leads to the irrational numbers.... (more) 


A Deadly Medley of Smedley (2003) 
 Feargus Gwynplaine MacIntyre 

Paradox Patrol officer Julie Anne Callender, with the help of her brother
Gregorian and her uncle Newgate, track down yet again the timecrime master
of evil Smedley Faversham (and atrocious punmeister)... (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) 



Death and the Compass (La Muerte y La Brujula) (1968) 
 Jorge Luis Borges 

This is considered one of Borges' greatest short stories, and was even made into a film by "RepoMan" director Alex Cox. The following review from Alejandro Satz explains the mathematical content, but... (more) 


Death of a Doxy (1966) 
 Rex Stout 

The murder victim's brotherinlaw 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) 


The Death of Archimedes (1923) 
 Karel Čapek 

As history usually tells the story, Archimedes is killed by a Roman
soldier who did not realize who he was. In this version, however, the
centurion is well aware of who he is speaking with. While he... (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) 


Delicious Rivers (2006) 
 Ellen Maddow 

This collage of absurd and entertaining scenes at a NYC post office (and the music and choreography to which they are performed) were all inspired by the mathematics of Penrose Tilings. In particular,... (more) 


A Deprogrammer's Tale (2000) 
 Colin Adams 

This spoof presents the attempts of math professors to convince students to become math majors and the subsequent interest of those students in math as if it were a religious cult. Told from the point... (more) 


Der Tag ohne Abend (The Day without Evening) (1925) 
 Leo Perutz 

Der Tag ohne Abend/The Day without Evening is a short story which
alludes to the life of Evariste Galois and to Augustine's theology.
Perutz' protagonist is called Georges Durval, he lives at the
beginning... (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 sciencefiction stories but moreover the fact that... (more) 


The Devil a Mathematician Would Be (1962) 
 A.J. Lohwater 

This clever short story that captures the feeling of a math problem that "gets under your skin" was printed in
The Mathematical Magpie
and was said to have been "collected" by A.J. Lohwater. Well, I... (more) 


The Devil and Simon Flagg (1954) 
 Arthur Porges 

Mathematicians know the feeling of trying to prove something you
really believe to be true, but has never been proven. There is
pleasure in doing this, like solving a puzzle, but also frustration
and... (more) 


The Devil and the Lady (1930) 
 Alfred Tennyson 

Although first published in 1930, this humorous and beautifully worded play was written by the famous poet more than 100 years earlier when he was less than 14 years old. One character is a mathematician... (more) 


The Devil You Don't (1970) 
 Keith Laumer 

The devil (who is not such a bad guy after all) seeks help from a quantum physics expert to fight off some aliens (who are not so evil either) that happen to disrupt the "Randomness Field". This disruption... (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 exhusband, they are... (more) 


The Devouring Tide (1944) 
 John Russell Fearn (under the pseudonym Polton Cross) 

Another horridly written story by JRF, this time about an allconsuming, universedestroying frontier of “nonspacetime” dubbed “Black Infinity”, a shock wave from the original big bang which... (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) 
 Greg Egan 

"This is the only sciencefiction 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 emails. 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) 


A Disappearing Number (2007) 
 Simon McBurney 

Scenes of Srinivasa Ramanujan's collaboration with G.H. Hardy around the time of World War I are mixed in with modern storylines including an Indian physicist who has applied Ramanujan's work to String... (more) 


Disciple of the Masses (2008) 
 Xujun Eberlein 

A pathosfilled short story set in rural China toward the end of Mao’s Cultural Revolution. It captures beautifully the sense of loss inherent in a centrallydirected and enforced revolution, with... (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) 
 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) 


Division by Zero (1991) 
 Ted Chiang 

Answers the question: what would happen if we found out that
mathematics is inconsistent? This is a great piece of
mathematical fiction. (Thanks to Frank Chess who pointed it out to
me.)
Renee... (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 mathloving 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 socalled "Columbo with a chair in mathematics" solves the mystery of the murder of a young girl. There is less... (more) 


Doctor Who (Episode: Logopolis) (1981) 
 Christopher Bidmead 

This famous "last Tom Baker" episode of the popular
BBC show "Doctor Who" involves a city of whispering mathematicians
whose computations keep the universe running smoothly.
"The next broadcast story... (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) 


Domaine (2009) 
 Patric Chiha (screenplay and director) 

This subtle, slow and depressing French film concerns the relationship between a homosexual teenager and his alcoholic aunt. She is a math professor whose research is connected to Gödel's Theorem, and... (more) 


Donald in Mathmagic Land (1959) 
 Hamilton Luske (director) 

Disney's Donald Duck takes an adventure to a land where mathematics
"comes alive". (Animated short.)
I used this video in my 6th grade
classroom. The kids enjoyed watching
... (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) 


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) 


The Dreams in the WitchHouse (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) 


Drode's Equations (1981) 
 Richard Grant 

When this story takes place, the fictional "Drode's Equations" have been
lost for so long that they have become practically mythological. And so
the historian protagonist is surprised to find them in... (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 (17171783), 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 MichelBird 

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 Eighth Room (1989) 
 Stephen Baxter 

The story forms part of the Xeeleesequence 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 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) 


The Einstein SeeSaw (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) 


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 Bullet (1931) 
 John Rhode (aka Cecil John Charles Street) 

Dr. Priestly is a professor whose hobby is "the mathematical detection of crime". In this story, he must convince the police inspector that the man he plans to accuse of murder is, in fact, innocent.
The... (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 semifictional 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) 


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) 


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 rereleased 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) 


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) 


The Ethical Equations (1945) 
 Murray Leinster 

Mathematics is invoked several times to formalize `what goes
round, comes around' as if it were a law of nature. 100% hokey.
The only thing worse than the bad math is the bad science.
... (more) 


Euclid Alone (1975) 
 William F. Orr 

An administrator in the math department of a major research institute
has to decide how to handle a paper which proves the inconsistency of
Euclidean geometry.
Math is definitely central to this... (more) 


Euclid and His Modern Rivals (1879) 
 Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (aka Lewis Carroll) 

I have long known that mathematician Charles Dodgson, who wrote the famous Alice stories under the pseudonym "Lewis Carroll", also wrote a book defending Euclid's ancient text as the best for teaching... (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) 


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 Exception (2005) 
 Alex Kasman 

Written in the form of a dialogue between a man in a nursing home and his grandchild, this short story describes an undergraduate research project that produces a surprising answer to one of the most famous... (more) 


Excision (2012) 
 Richard Bates Jr (Director and Screenwriter) 

I watched a horrorandcomingofage film (think an arty version of "Carrie") called "Excision" last weekend, and was delighted to find that it had in it Malcolm McDowell in it, playing a high school... (more) 


The Expert (1999) 
 Lee Gruenfeld 

A technolegal 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 Exploration of Space (1972) 
 Barrington J. Bayley 

The author has used  as in some of his other stories like "The problem of Morley's Emission"  a story format to lay out some of his philosophical speculations, in this instance about the nature of... (more) 



Eye of the Beholder (2005) 
 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) 


A Fable for Moderns (1955) 
 Lord Dunsany 

A bank employee becomes bored with the restrictions of arithmetic and decides to let his mathematical computations enjoy the freedom of "modern" poets and artists. Although he loses his job at the bank,... (more) 


The Face of the Waters (1991) 
 Robert Silverberg 

The novel is set on a waterlogged planet called “Hydros”, populated by artificial islands floating on a planetspanning ocean. A few humans on one of the islands end up offending the local “Dwellers”... (more) 


Factoring Humanity (1998) 
 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) 


Falling Umbrella (2002) 
 Julia Whitty 

In this short story, an aging mathematician witnesses a woman with an umbrella jumping (falling?) off of the Golden Gate bridge. Mathematical terminology is tossed around reasonably well ("proofs by contradiction",... (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) 


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 Fatal Equation (1933) 
 Arthur Strangeland 

This is a very wellcrafted murder mystery executed quite ingeniously. A mathematical physicist  Jan Friede  sets up a system of 20+ equations which eliminate the time variable from Einstein's equations... (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) 


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) 


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) 


Fear of Math (1985) 
 Peter Cameron 

A feathertouch story about a young woman who comes to New York to do an MBA  and has to pass a Calculus course, a prerequisite for an MBA. A brief description of how utterly lost she is after her... (more) 


The Feeling of Power (1957) 
 Isaac Asimov 

An advanced society rediscovers the joys
of multipying numbers BY HAND, a forgotten art. It's a
gem.
The
author probably did not realize how quickly the premise of this story
(people so dependent... (more) 


Feigenbaum Number (1995) 
 Nancy Kress 

A postdoc who perceives reality different than other people (he sees something like the Platonic ideals people ought to be) works with a professor on combining chaos theory with particle physics. I'm... (more) 


Fermat's Best Theorem (1995) 
 Janet Kagan 

A student comes up with what appears to be a proof of Fermat's Last Theorem. So, she gives it to her professor hoping that he will find a mistake in it (see below). It turns out that the professor is... (more) 


Fermat's Lost Theorem (1994) 
 Jerry Oltion 

This is a neat little story which plays on the fancy that one has found a very simple proof for Fermat's last theorem...if only one can write it down before the epiphany passes. A young mathematician... (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 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) 


Fermat's Last Tango (2000) 
 Joanne Sydney Lessner / Joshua Rosenblum 

Fermat's Last Tango is an intelligently written, hilarious fantasia
based on Andrew Wiles' 1993 proof of Fermat's Last Theorem. The main plot consists of a love triangle between Daniel
Keane... (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 FifthDimension 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) 


Fifty Million Monkeys (1943) 
 Raymond F. Jones 

The story is set sometime around 12,000 AD. The use of interstellar rockets over 15 years creates a "polarization of space" which leads to a "Pioneer anomaly"like deviations in flight paths of spacecraft.... (more) 


Fillet of Man (1995) 
 Eliot Fintushel 

A first contact short short. Prime numbers are the way humans
and the aliens recognize each other. And the alien spaceship
"looked like a topologist's diagram of an exploded torus".
Published in ASIMOV'S (Sept 95) pp112115.
(more) 


The Finanseer (1949) 
 Edward L. Locke 

This is a story about a Mathematics and an Economics professor who use game theory to beat the stock market. The university's endowment fund, having lost significant amounts in the market, is desperate... (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) 


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) 


Flame War: A Cyberthriller (1997) 
 Joshua Quittner / Michelle Slatalla 

A brilliant math professor invents a code that even the government will not be able to break. When he dies in an explosion, his daughter and the law student who (unknowingly) delivered the bomb that killed him work together to bring the killers to justice. (more) 


Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions (1884) 
 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) 
 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) 


The Flight That Disappeared (1961) 
 Reginald Le Borg (Director) 

An unsuspecting mathematician and some scientists are taken to another dimension where they stand trial for their involvement in the creation of horrible weapons. Perhaps during the Cold War and before... (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 ThreeBody 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) 


Forbidden Knowledge (1987) 
 Kathryn Cramer 

Mathematical statements can sound pretty strange, practically humorous, when you don't know the technical definitions of the terms. This somewhat frightening story has such a statement as its punchline. Specifically, it all builds up to a quote from Irving Kaplansky's (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) 


Four Brands of Impossible (1964) 
 Norman Kagan 

In the futuristic 1980's, a math student graduates from multiversity and gets a job with a megacorporation which is trying to do the impossible, literally. Along with his friends (a psychologist and an... (more) 


The FourColor Problem (1971) 
 Barrington J. Bayley 

A story written in a psychedelic, streamofconsciousness style a la William S. Burroughs concerning the discovery of previously unknown countries on the Earth whose existence provides a counterexample... (more) 


The FourColor 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 fourcolor theorem.... (more) 


The Fourth Dynasty (1936) 
 R.R. Winterbotham 

A confused story of a couple (Victor and Georgiana) who go into
cryogenic suspended animation for a million and a half years and wake
up in the era of the Fourth Dynasty, the age of the Kora (first... (more) 


The FourthDimensional 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) 


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) 
 Mark Cohen 

In this award winning (Top Ten Mysteries on the Book Sense 76 Fall List for 2002) mystery novel "HardBoiled" Detective Pepper Keane is hired by a tall and attractive math professor (with whom he of course... (more) 


Fractions (2011) 
 Buzz Mauro 

A math teacher realizes that the father of one of his students is a man with whom he has had an anonymous sexual relationship. There is some discussion of math education in general, and about hypothetical... (more) 


The Franklin's Tale (in The Canterbury Tales) (1390) 
 Geoffrey Chaucer 

Aurelius of Brittany greatly desires Dorigen, a married woman who has
not seen her husband, the knight, for some years. Dorigen puts off
Aurelius's advances by promising that she will yield when he... (more) 


A Frayed Knot (2009) 
 Felix Culp 

Culp takes a classic mystery by Poe and retells it with knotted ropes taking the place of people. For example:
Tyler Trefoil was a Bowline knot....Saltyfibered seafaring knots such as Trefoil  as... (more) 


The French Mathematician (1998) 
 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) 


The Fringe (Episode: The Equation) (2008) 
 J.R. Orci (Screenplay) / David H. Goodman (Screenplay) 

The ``Fringe Team'' (an FBI agent, a mad scientist and his son) investigate a series of kidnappings in which the victim is hypnotized with red and green lights. In each case, the victim was about to... (more) 


Frobenius: A Sesquilogue (1996) 
 Lee Rudolph 

A fictionalized account of the life of Hamilton as remembered by
Frobenius (in verse). (A slightly different version was published in
the Mathematical Intelligencer.)
(more) 


Funes el Memorioso [Funes, His Memory] (1942) 
 Jorge Luis Borges 

Borges’ short story piece, “Funes, His Memory’ (or in other translations, “Funes, The Memorious”) discusses the phenomenal memory of an acquaintance, Ireneo Funes. Funes, at age nineteen,... (more) 


Furuhata Ninzaburô (Episode 13) (1995) 
 Kôki Mitani 

In the last episode of the first season of this popular Japanese detective show, the inspector must solve the mystery of the murder of an awardwinning mathematician. It turns out that the murderer was... (more) 


Futurama (TV Series) (1999) 
 David S. Cohen (David X. Cohen) / Ken Keeler / Jeff Westbrook 

Another Matt Groening cartoon TV show (like the Simpsons) that includes many mathematical "in jokes". The website simpsonsmath.com/futuramamath includes discussion of these jokes and the mathematical... (more) 


The Future Engine (1995) 
 Byron Tetrick 

Charles Babbage's son calls on Sherlock Holmes to investigate the
theft of the Analytic Engine from its warehouse. The son gives a
description of its importance to mathematical calculations. But
it's his mention of the role of the binomial theorem in its working
that arouses Holmes's interest.
Published in Mike Resnick and M H Greenberg (eds) SHERLOCK HOLMES IN ORBIT.
(more) 


FYI (1961) 
 James Blish 

This story contains a brief explanation of the transfinite cardinals
and their arithmetic as part of a scary bit of science fiction. Why,
you may ask (and the character in the story does), do the transfinite
cardinals... (more) 


Gödel's Doom (1985) 
 George Zebrowski 

What if Gödel was wrong? That is the question asked in this well
written but very confused short story. The characters in this story
decide to test Gödel's theorem by running a computer
program... (more) 


Gödel, Escher Bach: an eternal golden braid (1979) 
 Douglas Hofstadter 

Pulitzer Prize wining book whose chapters alternate between fictional
"dialogues" and more standard nonfiction format to present ideas from
philosophy, art, music and psychology as well as mathematical... (more) 


G103 (2006) 
 Oliver Tearne (director) 

This short film "shows a surreal day in the life of a mathematics undergraduate" taking the math course G103 at the University of Warwick. In fact, the Website makes it sound as if it is an informational... (more) 


Galactic PotHealer (1969) 
 Philip K. Dick 

Joe Fernwright, mender of broken pottery in some future Earth
society, but bored out of his mind after months without any pots
to fix, accepts a mysterious invitation to a far planet where... (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) 


Galileo (1938) 
 Bertolt Brecht 

Of course, Brecht's biographical play takes more of a political than a mathematical view of the life of the famous astronomer/mathematician. Note that Joseph Losey, who directed the first American production... (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) 


A Game of Consequences (1998) 
 David Langford 

Two reckless researchers at "The Mathematics Institute" undertake dangerous "quantum" research based on mathematical mumbojumbo like "translating her mathematical intuitions into appropriate quasishapes... (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 Gangs of New Math (2005) 
 Robert W. Vallin 

This humorous short story about a brawl in a pub of mathematicians appeared in the November 2005 issue of Math Horizons magazine. There is quite a bit of "mathematical namedropping" in the form of quick... (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 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 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) 


Gödel Numbers (1969) 
 J.W. Swanson 

The story revolves around an ancient stone artifact found near Cairo which has engraved markings of slanted lines. In an incredible nonsequitor, one of the characters in the story guesses that the numbers... (more) 


Gödel's Sunflowers (1992) 
 Stephen Baxter 

Far in the future, a human explores a giant fractal construction which is a
physical realization of the total knowledge of the creatures which created
it long ago. In the process he learns about (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) 


Genghis Khan and 888 (2005) 
 Jason Earls 

As one might guess from the title of the literary journal in which it was published ("Bust Down the Door and Eat All the Chickens #4"), this story is a bit strange. According to the author, it is absurdist... (more) 


The Genius (1901) 
 Nikolai Georgievich GarinMikhailovskii 

The Russian Engineer N.G. Mikhailovskii (18521906) was also an accomplished author using the pseudonym "N.G. Garin". His short story, "The Genius", tells about an Jewish man who fills his notebooks with... (more) 


Geometria dell'apocalisse (1999) 
 Marco Abate (writer) / R. Bogagni (artist) 

Italian comic book whose title translates as "Geometry of the Apocalypse".
A (definitely not successful, if I may say so myself) attempt of mixing fractals, impossible murders, racial issues, voodoo gods and the wonderful city of Venice. Remember the city, and forget this story.
Published in
Lazarus Ledd 68, Star Comics, Perugia, 1999, 95 pp (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) 


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 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) 


Georgia on My Mind (1995) 
 Charles Sheffield 

The story has to do with Babbage's
Analytical Engine and a remote region of Antarctica (the "Georgia"
of the title). The mathematics bit, aside from Babbage, consists
of a nonlinear optimization... (more) 


Getaway from Getawehi (1969) 
 Colin Kapp 

Colin Kapp has written a few stories which have some good, hard SF mixed up with highly tongueincheek, believable flights of fancy. The present story is set on the single planet, Getawehi, of a rogue... (more) 


Getting Rid of Fluff (1908) 
 Ellis Parker Butler 

A humorous story in which two men formulate a mathematical "law of scared dogs" to help in frightening away an annoying dog named Fluff.
"I bet if Sir Isaac Newon had had Fluff as long as you have had... (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 selfrespect with the help of a maths teacher. The teacher challenges her... (more) 


Getting the Combination (1982) 
 Isaac Asimov 

Griswold figures out a combination by correctly guessing
the next number in a sequence.
AKA "Playing the Numbers". Published originally in the June 1982 issue of Gallery.
(more) 


Ghost Dancer (2006) 
 John Case 

The blurb on the cover describes antihero 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 mathematiciancumcomputer
wizard Edith Craig who invents software to fix the Y2K... (more) 


The Giant Claw (1957) 
 Fred F. Sears (director) 

Known as possibly one of the worst horror movies of the 20th century, The Giant Claw tells the story of a huge bird from an antimatter universe who terrorizes airplane pilots (but apparently, not movie... (more) 


Gifted: A Novel (2007) 
 Nikita Lalwani 

This novel tells the comingofage 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 Gigantic Fluctuation (1973) 
 Arkady Strugatsky / Boris Strugatsky 

This is an oddly funny story about a man who becomes the "focus point of all miracles in the world", a "gigantic fluctuation". He somehow appears to attract extremely improbably but possible statistical... (more) 


The Gimatria of Pi (2004) 
 Lavie Tidhar 

More ``numerology'' than mathematics, this short story is based on the idea that the decimal expansion of π has predictive value. For example, it is portrayed as predicting the assassination of Yitzhak... (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 selftaught, nearly autistic, young genius, Lisbeth Salander, once again becomes involved in a thrilling mystery allied with... (more) 


The Girl with the Celestial Limb (1990) 
 Pauline Melville 

Although recognized as mathematically talented in school, Jane Cole hid from all things intellectual after having a frightening epiphany regarding infinity. Math, however, seemingly exacts its revenge... (more) 


The Givenchy Code (2005) 
 Julie Kenner 

You've got to love the tag lines for this book: "A heelbreaking adventure in codebreaking 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) 



Glory (2007) 
 Greg Egan 

The story talks about a xenomathematician's quest to understand hieroglyphic tablets on an alien planet containing the mathematical knowledge of an extinct civilization. The extinct aliens had apparently... (more) 


The Gnome and the Pearl of Wisdom: A Fable (1977) 
 Richard Willmott 

A greedy gnome with a countably infinite collection of marbles wants to
trade it with Merlin the mathematician for his beautiful "pearl of
wisdom". Merlin takes advantage of the gnomes unfamiliarity... (more) 


Go, Little Book (1972) 
 Isaac Asimov 

Combinatorics is used to break a "matchbook code".
One of the "Black Widower" mysteries written for Ellery Queen magazine.
See also these [2, 3] other BW stories. (more) 


God and Stephen Hawking (2000) 
 Robin Hawdon 

Although most people know him as a "scientist", Stephen Hawking is probably the best known living mathematician. (Technically, he is the Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at Cambridge University.) This play examines his life and work.
(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 getrichquick scheme which, amazingly, actually works.
The gambling scheme which Kirk calls "Win by Losing" is based on (more) 


The God Equation (2007) 
 Michael A.R. Co 

The angel Azrael is ordered to kill a Philippine mathematician who is using the Internet to create a mathematical proof of the existence of God.
In this story, Azrael is presented as a hitman who kills... (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 Cup (2000) 
 Lucas Reiner 

A character study of the patrons in a Los Angeles coffee shop, including Jack, a mathematician. Jack is widowed, antisocial, and spends his time trying to "penetrate zero". (more) 


The GoldBug (1843) 
 Edgar Allan Poe 

Not only does this very famous Poe story contain a (very little) bit of mathematics in the form of a probabilistic approach to cryptography and a geometric description of the treasure hunt on the ground... (more) 


Goldman's Theorem (2009) 
 R.J. Stern 

Hired by the littleknown "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) 


Goliijo (2007) 
 Alex Rose 

A very cute, mindtickling short tale about a place called “Goliijo”. References to Mandelbrot’s paper on British coastline and the Koch curve lead the reader to a description of Goliijo, which... (more) 


Gomez (1954) 
 Cyril M. Kornbluth 

this story is about a physics prodigy, but a mathematical equation
appears in it  the first time I read story the equation didn't make any
sense to me, but eventually I realized that it was a... (more) 


Good Benito (1994) 
 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
nonchronologically, 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 AfricanAmerican math professor and her young daughter.
I don't think there... (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) 


Gospel Truths (2007) 
 J.G. Sandom 

Another novel in the same genre as The Da Vinci Code – an Earthshaking secret which can destroy the Roman Catholic Church (as a character says, “Can you imagine the headline? ‘Christ found to... (more) 


The Gostak and the Doshes (1930) 
 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) 


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) 


The Grass and Tree (2003) 
 Eliot Fintushel 

The BanachTarski paradox is invoked repeatedly as the underlying
explanation for shapeshifting. And higherdimensional generalizations
prove crucial to the plot. The author goes so far as to cite... (more) 


Gravity's Rainbow (1973) 
 Thomas Pynchon 

In this novel "there's "mathematicians'
graffiti" and a lot of musing on the Poissoncurve. 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 selfdescribed `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) 


Hamisch in Avalon (1995) 
 Eliot Fintushel 

This story marks the return of the Yiddishe mystic Izzy and his daughter
inlaw (now a math professor) Hamisch previously encountered in Izzy at the Lucky Three. There isn't as much math in
this story,... (more) 


Hannah, Divided (2002) 
 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) 


Hapgood (1988) 
 Tom Stoppard 

A brief discussion of Euler's solution to the Königsburg Bridge Problem appears in Stoppard's play about espionage and quantum physics.
When a British physicist doubleagent is accused of giving... (more) 


The Happening (2008) 
 M. Night Shyamalan (writer and director) 

John Leguizamo's character is a math professor who keeps using uplifting percentage statistics to cheer up. At one point, he asks a panickstricken woman the question, "if I give you a penny the first... (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) 


Harvey Plotter and the Circle of Irrationality (2011) 
 Nathan Carter / Dan Kalman 

Harvey Plotter, who has a scar shaped like a radical sign on his forehead, must find all of the rational points on the circularum unititatus before the evil Lord Voldemorphism.
The reader follows... (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) 


Hell of a Fix (2009) 
 Matthew Hughes 

When an actuary's exclamation upon hitting his thumb with a hammer summons a demon, he unwittingly causes a general strike of the workers in Hell. With the help of a theologian with a bizarre theory to... (more) 


Herbrand's Conjecture and the White Sox Scandal (1993) 
 Eliot Fintushel 

Hi, I'm Eliot Fintushel, the author of HERBRAND'S CONJECTURE AND THE WHITE
SOX SCANDAL. The idea is that the mathematical logician Jacques Herbrand
who actually did die in a mountaineering accident... (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) 


Herr Doctor's Wondrous Smile (1998) 
 Vladimir Tasic 

In this short story, a logician who really does not take the superstitions
of numerology seriously is invited to a "fringe" conference where he
delivers a talk on the mystical implications of Gregory... (more) 


Het gemillimeterde hoofd (The Cropped Head) (1967) 
 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 bestseller 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) 


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) 


A Higher Geometry (2006) 
 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) 


Hilbert's Hotel (1999) 
 Ian Stewart 

Another take on the idea (attributed to lectures by David Hilbert) that the bizarre properties of the countably infinite can best be presented through the analogy of a hotel. Here, Mr. and Mrs. Smith... (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) 


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) 


Hole in the Paper Sky (2008) 
 Howard Kingkade (Screenplay) / Bill Purple (Director) 

An antisocial mathematics graduate student is forced to take a job in his university's psychology department where he gets to know a dog used for laboratory experiments. In risking all to save the dog,... (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) 


The HolmesGinsbook Device (1969) 
 Isaac Asimov 

A scientist recounts how, stung by his former professor
hogging all the credit for figuring out a way to safely
light cigarettes and girlwatch at the same time, he and
... (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) 


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) 



How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe (2010) 
 Charles Yu 

Fans of mathematical fiction are likely to love the selfreferential nature of this novel about a timemachine repairman whose future self travels back in time to give him a novel about a timemachine... (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 (2000) 
 Mac Wellman 

Artistically produced offBroadway play about the famous female
mathematician who was tortured to death by Christian monks in the 5th
Century. (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 GrecoRoman 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) 
 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 of Newton (1970) 
 Joe Haldeman 

In this short story a mathematics professor accidentally summons a demon
by cursing while working on a problem involving integration. The devil
brags
that he is able to disprove Fermat's last theorem,... (more) 


I padroni del caos (2003) 
 A. Russo (writer) / Esposito Brothers (artists) 

An Italian comic book whose title translates as "Masters of Chaos".
Not much mathematics in here, but several of the characters are mathematicians. They've better
not talk about mathematics (the writer... (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) 


Ibn Hakkan alBokhari, Dead in his Labyrinth (1951) 
 Jorge Luis Borges 

Two friends, a poet and a mathematician (who is described as the author of a study on "the theorem which Fermat did not write in the margin of a page of Diophantus") arrive at an abandoned house in the... (more) 


L' idée fixe du Savant Cosinus (1899) 
 Christophe  Georges Colomb 

This humorous and profusely illustrated French book is considered to be an early example of what we might today call a "comic book".
Cosinus is a mathematician who
desperately wants to travel around... (more) 


The Ifth of Oofth (1957) 
 Walter Trevis 

[This] is a short, zany, talltale reminiscent of Heinlein's "And He Built A Crooked House". Someone ends up making a 3dimensional, unfolded projection of a 5dimensional 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) 


The Imaginary (1942) 
 Isaac Asimov 

As Asimov notes in his afterword to it (in THE EARLY ASIMOV), it is mostly about the idea of applying mathematical formulae to psychology, which he later did with his psychohistory in the "Foundation"... (more) 


The Imaginary Number (1956) 
 Yizhak Oren 

In this peculiar and humorous story, a complete stranger
shows up at physicist Benjamin's door, with an imaginary
tale of their childhood friendship, marriage to twin sisters,
and his deed to certain... (more) 



The Imitation Game (2014) 
 Morten Tyldum (director) / Graham Moore (screenplay) 

I do not yet know much about this film other than that Benedict Cumberbatch stars as Alan Turing, Keira Knightley is Joan Clark and Allen Leech (Downton Abbey) is a spy. The title, presumably, is a reference to the Turing Test.
(more) 


Immortal Bird (1961) 
 H. Russell Wakefield 

Professor Brandley, a "young" man of 53, wants nothing more than to attain the position of Regius Professor of Pure Mathematics at the Metropolitan University in London so that he could train "disciples... (more) 


Immune Dreams (1978) 
 Ian Watson 

A creepy but interesting story that combines the genetics of cancer, the neurology of dreaming, immunology, and the mathematics of catastrophe theory (a precursor of what we now call "chaos theory"). ... (more) 


Imperativ (1982) 
 Krzysztof Zanussi 

It is about a mathematician (a probability professor) in existential crisis about the nature of necessity and chance.
(more) 


Improbable (2005) 
 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 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) 


In Good King Charles's Golden Days (1939) 
 George Bernard Shaw 

Considered by many to be Shaw's worst play, this late example of his
witty writing may be of special interest to visitors to this site. It
takes place at the home of Sir Isaac Newton where he is joined... (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 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) 


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) 


Incomplete Proofs (2012) 
 John Chu 

This unusual piece combines equal parts fashion industry and math research, with a dash of fantasy and just a pinch of homoeroticism. Grant does a favor for his old partner, Duncan, by modeling his new... (more) 


Incompleteness (2004) 
 Apostolos Doxiadis 

A play by the author of Uncle Petros and Goldbach's Conjecture on the last, sad days in the life of Kurt Gödel. After a "workshop production" in Athens, Greece (June 2428, 2003) the show's official... (more) 


The Indefatigable Frog (1953) 
 Philip K. Dick 

A parody of science utilizing the old "Zeno's Paradox". Originally appeared in Fantastic Story Magazine (July 1953) and republished
recently in The Ascent of Wonder. (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 Assassin (1991) 
 Greg Egan 

Originally published in `Interzone #48', June 1991.
There are multiple realities. As the narrator puts it, `the number of
parallel worlds is uncountably infinite  infinite like the real numbers,
not... (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 Plane (1981) 
 Paul J. Nahin 

As a student, Richard Mackley discussed some philosophical aspects of the
mathematical abstraction of an infinite plane with his math
professor. For instance, they noted that the plane would look the... (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 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) 


Infinitely Near (1999) 
 Anthony Cristiano 

An 8 minute long, black and white film with no dialogue showing intertwined scenes of a student having trouble with the concept of a limit in his calculus class and other scenes from his life. The director... (more) 


Infinities (2002) 
 John Barrow 

This play, written by Cambridge cosmologist John Barrow, has been produced and performed in Italy (Milan and Valencia). It is made up of five separate vignettes several of which touch on the deep mathematics... (more) 


Infinities (2010) 
 Vandana Singh 

A nicely written story about Abdul Karim, a mathematics teacher at the local municipal school, set against the backdrop of the religious turmoil between Hindus and Muslims in India. I couldn’t quite... (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) 


Infinity (1996) 
 Patricia Broderick 

It's about the early years of Richard Feynman, up to the completion
of the Manhattan Project, and the death of his wife.
What I like particularily is a scene in NY's Chinatown where [Feynman]
races... (more) 


Inflexible Logic (1940) 
 Russell Maloney 

There is a famous example of probability which (in one of its many
forms) states that six chimpanzees randomly typing at six typewriters
would eventually reproduce all of the books in the British museum.... (more) 


The Ingenious Mr. Spinola (1924) 
 Ernest Bramah 

Max Carrados is a blind amateur detective genius, quite popular in the early 20th century, but mostly forgotten since then. (Such is also the fate of E.B.'s Kai Lung fantasy stories.)
... (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 shipwrecked on an island called “Inquirendo Island”, probably a sarcastic aside... (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) 



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 Integral: A Horror Story (2009) 
 Colin Adams 

This story, which he claims is an attempt to emulate Stephen King, is different from many of Adams' others. This may explain why it was published for the first time in his 2009 collections Riot at the... (more) 


Into Darkness (1992) 
 Greg Egan 

Creepy story about a man who volunteers to rescue people from a
wormhole that randomly appears in cities, killing anyone who is not
able to make it to the center of the spacetimedistortion before it
disappears.... (more) 


Into the Comet (1960) 
 Arthur C. Clarke 

When a computer malfunction prevents the crew of a spaceship from being able to determine a trajectory back to Earth, they are forced to resort to using an abacus to aid in the computation. [Note that... (more) 


Into Thin Air (2000) 
 Colin Adams 

This was the first of Colin Adams' ``Mathematically Bent'' columns for the Mathematical Intelligencer, published back in Vol.22, No. 1, 2000. It combines many of the analogies between mountain climbing... (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) 
 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) 


The Island of Five Colors (1952) 
 Martin Gardner 

In this sequel to The Nosided Professor, our
heroes tackle the Four Color Theorem, which was
unproved at the time. (See here for a brief summary of a recent proof.) Included are some historically... (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) 


It's My Turn (1980) 
 Claudia Weill (director) 

About a mathematician who writes a proof of the Snake Lemma at the
speed of
light. Her love interest was Michael Douglas, some sort of athlete.
One mathematician I know claims he wrote a paper just... (more) 


Izzy at the Lucky Three (1996) 
 Eliot Fintushel 

There are two kinds of weird: good weird and bad weird. This story
is the third kind. I mean, what can you say about a story in which the
Yiddishe mystic Izzy encounters
the demon spirit who created... (more) 



Jack of Eagles (1952) 
 James Blish 

Blish bases this novel on a quasimathematical explanation of ESP and psychokinesis 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 allpowerful corporations, an awardwinning mathematician tries to invent a... (more) 


Jayden's Rescue (2002) 
 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 46 level. The... (more) 


The Jester and the Mathematician (2000) 
 Alan R. Gordon 

A short historical fiction piece involving Leonardo of Pisa ("Fibonacci"). Interesting story which features Fibonacci talking briefly about his rabbitseries/sequence, his abacusduel with Pisa's foremost... (more) 


John Jones's Dollar (1927) 
 Harry Stephen Keeler 

The main mathematical content of this science fiction story is an illustration of the potential of exponential growth in the form of considering how a single dollar invested in a bank would grow in value... (more) 


Journey into a Dark Heart (1998) 
 Peter Hoeg 

This story appears in the collection Tales of the Night made up of stories by Hoeg that are all set on the evening of March 19, 1929. In this one, a depressed young Danish mathematician takes a train... (more) 


Journey into Geometries (1997) 
 Marta Sved 

It is styled after a frequentlyused 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) 


Journey to the Center of Mathematics (2006) 
 Colin Adams 

A parody of the classic Jules Verne tale, which reads like what Woody Allen would have written if he had taken math instead of philosophy at NYU:
The next day, we booked travel on a steamer across the... (more) 


The Judge's House (1914) 
 Bram Stoker 

A math student seeks a quiet place to study for his exams but winds up battling an angry ghost. Stoker certainly knew mathematical words to throw around (e.g. quaternions and conic sections), but this... (more) 


Jumpers (1989) 
 Tom Stoppard 

In a philosophical monologue on the nature of morality, a main character considers Zeno's paradox and infinitesimals and imagines a circle as a limit of polygons. (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) 


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) 


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) 


KerPlop (1979) 
 Ted Reynolds 

Two branches of humanity meet after 300,000 years without
contact. At one point, comparison is made between their
different modes of existence via explicit... (more) 


A Killer Theorem (2007) 
 Colin Adams 

Mangum, P.I. returns in this mystery in which the unproven Gauss' Last Lemma is wielded as a murder weapon. Apparently, a certain approach to proving it is so enticing that merely showing it to mathematicians... (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 Killion (1982) 
 Ian Frazier 

Fans of Monty Python will recall the joke so funny that anyone who reads it dies laughing. Frazier brings us the mathematical analogue: a number so big that it kills anyone who tries to think about it.... (more) 


Kim Possible (Episode: Mathter and Fervent) (2007) 
 Jim Peronto (script) 

This episode of the Disney animated TV series "Kim Possible" is a comic book parody featuring a mathematical villain.
As an English assignment, Kim Possible and Ron Stoppable have to write a paper... (more) 


The Kingdom of Ohio (2009) 
 Matthew Flaming 

CheriAnne 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 Kissing Number (1992) 
 Ian Stewart 

Published as part of his "Mathematical Recreations" column in Scientific
American (February 1992), this story concerns human colonists on Mars
who are trying to figure out how many nonoverlapping "circular"... (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) 


La formula di Ramanujan (2001) 
 Marco Abate (writer) / P. Ongaro (artist) 

A trip from Berkeley to India via Oxford to recover the lost Ramanujan's notebooks, pursued independently
by two (again, realistic) mathematicians, both driven by revenge, though of different kind.
Along... (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) 


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 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 transdimensional... (more) 


The Last Answer (1980) 
 Isaac Asimov 

Physicist Murray Templeton dies and is then surprised to find that he somehow still exists. Murray engages in a conversation with his Creator (who is bemused at being called `God'),... (more) 


The Last Casino (2004) 
 Pierre Gill (director) /
Steven Westren (screenplay) 

A fairly amateurish movie about a Math professor who is an expert cardcounter and ipso facto, banned from most casinos. So he trains 3 math graduates to count cards and work as a team to fleece casinos... (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 Magician (1952) 
 Bruce Elliott 

Sciencefiction story about a magician performing for aliens using a Klein bottle as a prop. (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) 
 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) 


The Last Theorem (2008) 
 Buzz Mauro 

A depressed music professor ponders Fermat's Last Theorem and the implications of its proof by Andrew Wiles.
Like many of Mauro's other stories, this one is very well written, focusing not so much on... (more) 


The Law (1947) 
 Robert M. Coates 

In this story, the "law of averages" ceases to apply (so that, for instance, everyone in Manhattan decides to drive across the Triborough Bridge on the same evening). As a result, it is necessary for... (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) 


Leap (2004) 
 Lauren Gunderson 

This play explores the inspiration for Isaac Newton's amazing discoveries in 1664, personifying it in the form of two young girls whose playful interaction leads to the results we remember Newton for today.... (more) 



Leeches (2011) 
 David Albahari 

Serb author David Albahari's avantgarde 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) 


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) 


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) 


The Legend of Howard Thrush (2005) 
 Alex Kasman 

I always have enjoyed the American folk tale, a medium in which one pretends to be speaking earnestly and in all sincerity about a history so ridiculous that it it simply cannot be taken seriously. There... (more) 


Il Lemma di Levemberg (1996) 
 Marco Abate (writer) / S. Natali (artist) 

Published in an Italian comic book, this story (whose title translates as "Levemberg's Lemma") was written by Abate and illustrated by Natali. The author describes it for us as follows:
A (possibly... (more) 


Lepel (2005) 
 Willem van de Sande Bakhuyzen (director) /
Mieke de Jong (screenplay) 

In this charming family film from the Netherlands, a boy who believes his name is "Lepel" runs away from the mean button thief who has watched over him since his parents disappeared.
If you have come... (more) 


Let Newton Be! (2011) 
 Craig Baxter 

The three actors in this play portray Isaac Newton at three different stages of his life, as well as occasionally representing other people. Interestingly, the three Newton's interact with each other,... (more) 


Letters to a Young Mathematician (2006) 
 Ian Stewart 

I listed this one here before I had a chance to read it and am now wondering whether it should be counted as fiction at all. This is an excellent book which provides a lot of useful information about... (more) 


Lewis (Episode: Whom the Gods Would Destroy) (2006) 
 Daniel Boyle (Screenwriter) 

[I may need assistance from some British site visitors on this one!] An email from Charles Freudenthal has suggested to me that the pilot episode of the TV Series "Lewis" (a spinoff of the popular Inspector... (more) 


The Library of Babel (1941) 
 Jorge Luis Borges 

Years ago, I read The Library of Babel in a volume of collected short
stories by [Argentinian] Jorge Luis Borges, published under the title,
Labyrinths and translated from the [Spanish]. Like many... (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 ThreeBody 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 ebook 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) 


Life of Pi (2001) 
 Yann Martel 

I read this novel when it first came out both because it (deservedly) received a lot of praise and awards, and also because the title suggested there might be some connection to math. When I realized... (more) 


life.exe (2006) 
 Jason Rogers 

This work of fiction is not strictly narrative. It is hard to say what is happening since the characters live in the world of "the matrix". Not like the Wachowski Bros.'s epic trilogy of films (though... (more) 


The Light of Other Days (2000) 
 Arthur C. Clarke / Stephen Baxter 

Using the WormCam (a camera sent through a wormhole in spacetime), it is
possible to witness any event that is taking or has taken place in the
universe. This makes privacy essentially an obsolete... (more) 


The Limit of Delta Y Over Delta X (1994) 
 Richard Cumyn 

Here is a calculus example from a book with a title that can not
be more mathematical. I printed this one in a calculus book that I
wrote for my business/economics calculus class. I also read it out... (more) 


Lines of Longitude (1997) 
 Stephen Baxter 

The story tries to delve into Hawking's idea of imaginary time  how it may occur that at the beginning of the universe, time and space were ambiguously defined, smeared out into each other as a flattened... (more) 


The Lions in the Desert (1993) 
 David Langford 

Two men are hired to guard a mysterious treasure. One of them is a math grad student, and so their discussions to pass the time take on a mathematical flavor. Of particular interest are the references... (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 Britishonly... (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) 


The Living Equation (1934) 
 Nathan Schachner 

A mathematician invents a machine that provides abstract mathematical objects ("vectors" and "tensors") a certain reality. His goal is to allow them not to solve equations but to create new ones. However,... (more) 


The Logic Pool (1997) 
 Stephen Baxter 

The Logic Pool deals with an intelligence that is similar
to the mememinds in Gregory Benford's Foundations Fear.
Mememind  I think this means some sort of intelligence whose
existence arises... (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) 


Logicomix (2008) 
 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) 


The Long Chalkboard (2006) 
 Jenny Allen / Jules Feiffer (Illustrator) 

Allen's book is a collection of three shortshort stories spread
out over book length with illustrations on every page, in the usual
style of children's literature, complete with charmingly simple... (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) 


Long Division (2010) 
 Buzz Mauro 

A very short story in which a hypochondriacal boy confuses the long division which he is learning in school with the cell division in the cancer that killed his grandmother. The boy's mother responds... (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 email 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) 


Lord Darcy (1966) 
 Randall Garrett 

The stories in this collection of fantastical murder mysteries take place in an alternate universe where magic rather than science has become the primary human tool for manipulating the world. Frequent... (more) 



Lost (2011) 
 Tamora Pierce 

A mathematically talented little girl from a mystical medieval realm is abused by her antiintellectual father and unappreciated by a mean math teacher who insists that she show all of her work. However,... (more) 


The Lost Books of the Odyssey (2008) 
 Zachary Mason 

The introduction to this novel is a work of pseudoscholarship, 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) 


Lost in the Funhouse (1968) 
 John Barth 

According to the "foreward to the Anchor Books Edition", this
collection of short stories is "strung together on a few echoed and developed themes and [circles] back upon itself; not to close a simple... (more) 


Love Counts (2005) 
 Michael Hastings (libretto) / Michael Nyman (score) 

This opera tells the tale of the surprising friendship between a boxer whose career and life are in decline and a mathematics professor who uses arithmetic as a tool to help him out. It premiered in March 2005 at Germany's Badisches Staatstheater Karlsruhe.
Thanks to Peter Freyd for pointing it out to me. (more) 


Lovesong of the Electric Bear (2005) 
 Snoo Wilson (playwright) 

This play about Alan Turing, told from the point of view of Porgy, his teddy bear, was produced as part of the Summer 2005 season at the Potomac Theater Project in Maryland. Turing certainly had both... (more) 


Luck be a Lady (2009) 
 Dean Wesley Smith 

A seriously bizarre story about how
Laverne, the Goddess of Luck, has gone missing, and superheroes Poker
Boy, Front Desk Lady, and Screamer go looking for her, only to discover
that the Bookkeeper... (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) 


Luminous (1995) 
 Greg Egan 

A truly wonderful story in which two math grad students discover that the things we consider to be "truths" in number theory are actually part of a dynamical system, subject to change over time and in... (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) 


Mad Destroyer (1930) 
 Fletcher Pratt 

The story is about a mathematician/astronomer who has discovered an exact solution to the multibody problem in gravitation i.e. a formula which can easily calculate the positions and velocities of N... (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 wellintegrated problems in mathematics, which makes this a great book to be included in a course on ‘mathematics in literature’.... (more) 


The Magic Staircase (1946) 
 Nelson Slade Bond 

A Mathematics professor develops a theory of "intradimensional" spaces, hypothesizing that the vast, empty spaces in atoms form a parallel dimension in which alternative histories of "what might have... (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) 


Mailman (2000) 
 J. Robert Lennon 

The title character, called Mailman, is a mentally ill mailman
with criminal and deviant behavior with respect to the mail that
he handles. It turns out that Mailman had once been a mathematics
graduate... (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) 



Mangum, P.I. (2004) 
 Colin Adams 

A parody of the hardboiled private detective genre in which ``P.I.'' stands for ``Principal Investigator'', a phrase familiar to anyone who has applied for a research grant. In this hilarious story,... (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) 


Many Moons (1943) 
 James Thurber 

In this famous children's tale about a princess who wants the moon, "the
mathematician" is one of three wisemen who shows himself not to be so
wise. (The jester, on the other hand,...)
It was... (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) 


The Math Code (2005) 
 Alex Kasman 

A friend of mine once told me that he believes that mathematicians invented intentionally confusing notations to keep others from understanding what they were saying. I'm sure this is not true. We mathematicians... (more) 


Math Curse (1995) 
 Jon Scieszka / Lane Smith (illustrator) 

In this children's picture book, the main character finds that "anything can be a math problem" when her elementary school teacher puts a math curse on her. For example:
Unfortunately for me, LUNCH... (more) 


Math Girls (2007) 
 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 cowritten by an emeritus math professor and a retired crime scene investigator. The victim was an egotistical and (almost unbelievably) unpleasant mathematics department chair... (more) 


Math Patrol (1977) 
 TV Ontario 

"Math Patrol was a 15minute long educational TV series produced in the late 1970s by TV Ontario about the adventures of a secret agent named "Sydney" who dressed up as a kangaroo with a blue trenchcoat.... (more) 


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) 


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) 


Mathematica (1936) 
 John Russell Fearn 

Using a strange metal which gives them the power to change reality with their thoughts, two humans either summon or create an alien who explains to them that reality is mathematics. Together, they seek... (more) 


Mathematica Plus (1936) 
 John Russell Fearn 

In this sequel to Mathematica, the humans, now knowing that everything is mathematics and having been made immortal by the ultimate mathematician, encounter a race of beings somewhere between material... (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. LiChang Hung, who has read the books translated into Chinese, has suggested that I add... (more) 



The Mathematical Man (1913) 
 Robert Musil 

Robert Musil's "The mathematical Man" is an essay, but it is fiction!
Musil uses the foundational crisis of mathematics to draft a new kind
of fiction, modern fiction, later realized in "The Man without
Qualities".... (more) 



Mathematical R & D (1979) 
 Paul J. Nahin 

This short short story, published in the professional journal
IEEE Transactions on Aerospace and Electronic Systems describes a
talk by the (fictional) famous mathematician Professor Osgood. Greatly
limited... (more) 


Mathematically Bent (2000) 
 Colin Adams 

Geometer and knottheorist Colin Adams (Williams College, MA) has been writing this short, mathematicallywise and bitingly funny column in the quarterly issues of The Mathematical Intelligencer since... (more) 


The Mathematician (1997) 
 George Weinberg 

“Peter K was the first person on earth ever to invert a skew symmetric matrix by pressing a button”. So begins the story, set in the years where computers had just started making a foray into the... (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) 


Mathematician Proof (1920) 
 Ralph Ellison de Castro 

An utterly trite story about a genius of a mathematician (aren’t they all? To wit, “he had the binomial theorem for breakfast, lunched on integral calculus and for his evening meal considered attempts... (more) 


The Mathematician Repents (2004) 
 Estep Nagy 

A short story (?) in which Paul Erdős wakes up in the home of a Parisian mathematician, seems a bit confused, wanders around, and says some strange things. No real math is discussed in the story, but... (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 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) 


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) 


The Mathenauts (1964) 
 Norman Kagan 

A hilarious story that plays with the mindblowing idea that it may not be that mathematics describes reality, but instead that reality is mathematics.
In the future presented by this story, only those... (more) 


Mathenauts: Tales of Mathematical Wonder (1987) 
 Rudy Rucker (editor) 

This collection contains a wonderful assortment of
mathematically oriented SF written between 1962 (when Mathematical
Magpie appeared) and 1987 when this volume was published. Editor Rudy Rucker is... (more) 


Mathmakers (1978) 
 TV Ontario 

Canadian television show (circa 1978) about making a television show.
Humorous story lines illustrate mathematical concepts.
"The program was developed and produced by TVOntario in 1978. Each
episode... (more) 


MathNet (1987) 
 Childrens Television Workshop 

A children's TV show in which mysteries are solved using
mathematics. The suspects and victims always ask the investigators
"Are you the police?" To which they reply "No, we're
mathematicians!"... (more) 


Maths à mort (1990) 
 Margot Bruyère 

This murder mystery which takes place at the IHES in Paris was originally entitled "Dismoi qui tu aimes (je te dirai
qui tu hais)". However, it has just been
be republished (Fall of 2002) with a change... (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) 


A Matter of Mathematics (1999) 
 Brian Wilson Aldiss 

A space/time shortcut is found connecting the earth to the moon. Its use
provokes an alien response, consisting of a device encoding within it some
very strange mathematics.
(For those interested, the title story of the Aldiss collection was the
original inspiration for Kubrick/Spielberg's AI.)
Also published as "The Apollo Asteroid". In Crowther and Greenberg (eds)
"Moon Shots". (more) 


A Matter of Mathematics (2005) 
 Tony Ballantyne 

A story about the attempt by the British to change the tilt of Earth's axis to create a more suitable environment for themselves and how the Americans foil it. The British have been launching incessant... (more) 


The Maxwell Equations (1969) 
 Anatoly Dnieprov 

The math in this story seems very real, though the specifics of it are
inconsequential to the plot. A mathematical physicist in an isolated
city needs help finding a solution to a linearized version... (more) 


Maxwell's Equations (2005) 
 Alex Kasman 

James Clerk Maxwell was the 19th century theoretician who discovered electromagnetic waves. He is often described as a "physicist", but I would argue that he was a mathematician. Certainly some of his... (more) 


Mean Girls (2004) 
 Tina Fey (screenplay) /Mark S. Waters (director) 

In this movie about teenage girls  written by Tina Fey (Saturday Night Live, 30 Rock) and inspired by the nonfiction book Queen Bees and Wannabes  a previously home schooled student (played by Lindsay... (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) 


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) 


Mercury Rising (1998) 
 Harold Becker (director) 

Bruce Willis is an FBI agent trying to protect an autistic child whose mathematical abilities allow him to break the government's top secret codes.
Now, it is true that some of the most frequently used... (more) 


Mersenne's Mistake (2008) 
 Jason Earls 

This is a nice piece of mathematical fiction in which the mathematician/monk Marin Mersenne encounters a demon with amazing mathematical skills. Like the other stories by Earls, this seems to be designed to showcase the interesting numbers which he has found using computer algebra tools.
(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) 


Micromegas (1752) 
 François Marie Arouet de Voltaire 

"Micromegas" is a Voltaire short story, obviously inspired by Swift's
Gulliver's Travels. The title character comes from a planet
orbiting Sirius, and stands 120,000 feet tall. Before spelling out
Micromegas'... (more) 


The Midnighters (Series) (2004) 
 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) 


Milo and Sylvie (2000) 
 Eliot Fintushel 

"Shapeshifting is treated as a form of BanachTarski
equidecomposition. And part of a Zorn's Lemma proof
is given explicitly."
This story appeared in the March 2000... (more) 


Mimsy Were the Borogoves (1943) 
 Lewis Padgett (aka Henry Kuttner and Catherine L. Moore) 

Far in the future, humans have not only improved their digestive tracts
(eliminating the appendix and shortening their large intestine) and invented a time machine, but they have also invented educational
toys... (more) 


The MindBody 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) 


Mirror Image (1972) 
 Isaac Asimov 

A robot volunteers the aid of his human, Earthling friend to settle a
dispute between a pair of feuding "spacer" mathematicians. It seems that an
old mathematician (over 270 years old in fact) and a... (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) 


Misfit (1939) 
 Robert A. Heinlein 

A crew of misfits ships out to the asteroid belt. One member turns
out to be a misfit among the misfits: he's a mathematical prodigy.
His skills prove to be very valuable.
reprinted in THE PAST... (more) 


Mister God, This is Anna (1985) 
 Fynn 

Though it is presented as if it were nonfiction, 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) 


Mobius Strip (1978) 
 ChoSe Hui 

A very short Korean tale, where the author has tried to give a parallel between a situation in real life and the Möbius strip. The story begins with a Math professor’s lecture, where he explains... (more) 


Moebius (1996) 
 Gustavo Daniel Mosquera R. 

In this Argentinian film, a mathematician discovers a bizarre topological
explanation for the disappearance of a train in the labrynthian Buenos
Aires subway system. Although based on the short story... (more) 


Moebius Trip (2006) 
 Janny Wurts 

Featuring an aging mirrormaker who is asked to create a mirror which acts like a moebius strip and shows a reflection of the past and the future. Frankly, I did not think it was done well at all and... (more) 


Moment of Madness (2002) 
 UnaMary 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) 


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) 


Monster (2005) 
 Alex Kasman 

A story about group theory, plagiarism, the untapped potential of a collaboration between mathematics and marketing, the bleak financial future of academia, and the Monster.
This story talks about... (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) 


Moriarty by Modem (1995) 
 Jack Nimersheim 

A cyberversion of Sherlock Holmes is created to track down an accidently
released cyberversion of Moriarty. The big clue involves both the binomial
theorem and binomial variables.
Published in... (more) 


Mortal Immortal (1833) 
 Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley 

This fantasy story by the author of Frankenstein, about a man who drinks a half dose of a potion that bestows immortality, is only borderline mathematical fiction. The only arguably mathematical part... (more) 


Morte di un matematico napoletano (1992) 
 Mario Martone (director) 

"This movie describes the last day in [the] life of a
famous Italian mathematician: Renato Caccioppoli. He was a fascinating and
discussed person in Naples' political and cultural life. [A] member... (more) 


Mother's Milk (2005) 
 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) 


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) 


Mozart on Morphine (1989) 
 Gregory Benford 

A mathematician nearly loses his life to appendicitis. While
sedated in the hospital, he describes the loony stuff that flits through his
head, and how it relates to the subjective and personal processes... (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) 


Mrs. Warren's Profession (1894) 
 George Bernard Shaw 

This is Shaw's notorious play about poverty and prostitution, the
"profession" of the title. (The play itself was not performed in
public in the UK until 1925.)
Mrs. Warren has made her fortune... (more) 


Ms Fnd in a Lbry (1961) 
 Hal Draper 

Hal Draper took a break from his life's work of promoting Marxism,
and wrote one science fiction story. The information explosion, and
associated storage and retrieval problems, is humorously examined
in... (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) 


MultiColored Dome (1987) 
 Martin Gardner 

A lighthearted, 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) 


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 INDIFFERENCEthey can be read
in any order). These unusual murder mysteries star Harvard... (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) 


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) 


Musgrave Ritual (1893) 
 Sir Arthur Conan Doyle 

A tiny bit of mathematics is used by Sherlock Holmes
to solve this mystery. In it, he ties together the disappearance of a
housemaid, the discovery of the dead body of the chief butler and a strange
poem... (more) 


Music of the Spheres (2011) 
 Ken Liu 

The short stories in the anthology Mirror Shards all focus on augmented reality (AR), the idea that our perception of the world around us will be fundamentally changed by the use of advanced technology.... (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 rapidread, 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 exArmy 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) 


N Day (1943) 
 Philip Latham 

An astronomer's observations of the sun lead him to predict the sun will go nova in just a few days. The formula that he used for his prediction is included explicitly. "Philip Latham" is
the pseudonym of Robert Shirley Richardson.
(more) 


The NPlus1thDegree (1968) 
 Stephen Barr 

A mathematician is accused of murdering a man who flirted with his wife. Her faith in him (which is so strong, she describes it as being to the nplus1th degree) allows her to figure out how and by... (more) 


Nachman (1998) 
 Leonard Michaels 

An American mathematician attends a conference in Poland, the country in which his grandparents were killed in a Nazi concentration camp. This is during the Cold War, and the American consul warns him... (more) 


Nachman at the Races (1999) 
 Leonard Michaels 

In Michaels' third Nachman story, we learn that the UCLA mathematician enjoys attending horse races  apparently his only emotional outlet besides his mathematics research. There is discussion of the... (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) 


Naked Came the Postmodernist (2013) 
 Sarah Lawrence College Writing Class WRIT3303R / 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) 


Nanny and the Professor (TV Series) (1970) 
 AJ Carothers (creator) / Thomas L. Miller (creator) 

A handsome math professor gets the help of a magical British nanny in raising his adorable kids in this early '70's sitcom.
I actually used to watch this show when I was a little kid, but had completely... (more) 


Nanunculus (1997) 
 Ian Watson 

A mathematician wishes to commit suicide, but is pestered by an automated visitor from the future programmed to make certain that the mathematician discovers the key to time travel before he does.
Appears in the collection The Great Escape
and first published in Interzone January 1997.
(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) 


Narrow Valley (1966) 
 R.A. Lafferty 

This is a madcap story about a tract of land which is topologically folded through a shamanic incantation. Contains descriptions of some physical effects but explicitly states that the topological defect... (more) 


Naturally (Double Whammy) (1954) 
 Fredric Brown 

Fredric Brown, a prolific and acclaimed writer of mystery
and science fiction stories and novels, was an extraordinary
master of the shortshort. "Naturally" is a onepager about
Henry... (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 spacetime are going to be relevant to his plans in the near future, he goes straight... (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) 


Nena's Math Force (2005) 
 Susan Jarema 

This picture book for children, which is available for free online and also in print, tells the story of a girl who is upset when her math teacher requires the class to do arithmetic without a calculator.... (more) 


Neverness (1988) 
 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) 


A New Golden Age (1981) 
 Rudy Rucker 

In this story, and in our world as well, mathematicians lament the
fact that legislators cannot sufficiently appreciate mathematics and
that this adversely affects the funding of their science. To address
this... (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 New Tales of the
AbsentMinded Master (1971) 
 Vladimir Levshin 

This is the third in the Master of the AbsentMinded 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) 


Newton's Gift (1979) 
 Paul J. Nahin 

Time traveller Wallace John Steinhope believes that he will be able to help
his hero, Isaac Newton, avoid the tedium of computation by bringing him an electronic
calculator that can do simple arithmetic.... (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) 


The Next Dimension (1947) 
 Vladimir Karapetoff 

"A Mathematical Play in Five Dialogs". Once again, we are treated to the
Flatland notion of twodimensional creatures
pondering a "hypothetical" three dimensional existence. Many of the usual
concerns... (more) 


Nice Girl with Five Husbands (1951) 
 Fritz Leiber 

A man is unwittingly swept by a time wind 100 years
into the future. He and the people he meets in the
futureincluding the nice girl of the titletalk
at cross purposes, but no one realizes... (more) 


The Nine Billion Names of God (1953) 
 Arthur C. Clarke 

As much about computers as it is about mathematics, we join two
programmers hired by a Buddhist sect seeking to find all true names of
God by exhausting a combinatorial library of possibilities.
Appears... (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 noncampanologists. 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 cloakanddagger stuff. Moreover,... (more) 


NoSided Professor (1946) 
 Martin Gardner 

We all know that among the surprising things you learn when you first
make a Mobius strip is
the fact that out of a two sided piece of paper you can make an object
with only one side. Why should this... (more) 


The NonStatistical Man (1956) 
 Raymond F. Jones 

In this short story, insurance adjuster Charles Bascomb comes up against his greatest enemy: intuition. The story presents mathematics (especially statistics and logic) as one way man can deal with reality.... (more) 


Not a Chance (2009) 
 Peter Haff 

A student harangues his physics professor about the possibility that all mathematical proofs are incorrect. His argument is based on the supposed uncertainty about the validity of proofs of the Four Color... (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 bestselling... (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) 


NullP (1951) 
 William Tenn 

The story extrapolates to great lengths (including a complete overthrow of humanity by smartly evolved canines) a simple principle: what might happen if we found a perfectly average man who had quantitative... (more) 


NUMB3RS (2005) 
 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) 


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) 
 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) 


Numbercruncher (2013) 
 Si Spurrier (writer) / PJ Holden (artist) 

A recently deceased mathematician "cracks the recirculation algorithm" and thus is able to control his own reincarnation in the hope of being able to spend more time with the woman he loves. It ends up... (more) 


Numberland (1987) 
 George Weinberg 

The coauthor (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) 


Numbers in the Dark (La notte dei numeri) (1990) 
 Italo Calvino 

A boy looking around the huge office building where his mother works meets an old accountant who now works with computers but reveals to him an undiscovered arithmetic error made back in one of the company's... (more) 


Nuremberg Joys (2000) 
 Charles Sheffield 

A mathematician is on trial for war crimes, regarding
his role in developing an absolutely horrendous killing
weapon based on sophisticated new physics. Guilt or
... (more) 


Nymphomation (2000) 
 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) 


The Object (2005) 
 Alex Kasman 

This is a mathematical horror story, written by someone who doesn't like horror stories. Since I'm the author, I can honestly (and humbly) admit that the result is kind of weird.
The plot concerns... (more) 


Occam's Razor (1956) 
 David Duncan 

This story involves the concept of discontinuous time embedded in a sort of “MetaTime”. Essentially, Duncan proposes the idea that True Reality evolves along MetaTime 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 semiautobiographical 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) 


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 extramarital affairs of his friend Norbert and Norbert's wife.
It is somewhat... (more) 


Off Day! (1953) 
 Al Feldstein (writer)/ Jack Kamen (artist) 

Believe it or not, this Weird Science story is essentially a lecture on the law of large numbers.
A very worried college professor tells his class he's just witnessed the failure of one of the most... (more) 


Oh, Brother (2007) 
 Stanley Hart 

A serious mystery/adventure novella from an author better known as a script writer for the old Carol Burnett show. A professor solicits the help of his brother, a retired police detective, in order to... (more) 


An Old Arithmetician (1885) 
 Mary Eleanor Wilkins Freeman 

The title character of this short story, which appeared in the September 1885 issue of Harper's Weekly, is an old, uneducated woman who loves computing (with chalk and slate):
You have always been very... (more) 


Old Faithful (1934) 
 Raymond Z. Gallun 

An extended discussion of the use of arithmetic in setting up a twoway communication code comprises the mathematical content of this forgotten classic SF short story.
Gallun (rhymes with balloon)... (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) 


On the marriage of Hermes and Philology (410) 
 Marianus Capella 

"A must in your data base is Martianus Capella (c. 410 A.D.), On the
marriage of Hermes and Philology (translated in english by W.H. Stahl,
Columbia University Press): Hermes is marrying a minor godess
Philology. The Seven Liberal Arts (including Arithmetic, Geometry,
Astronomy and Harmony) come to greet the couple and present themselves."
(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) 



One (1995) 
 George Alec Effinger 

Two interstellar searchers for alien life, after endless failures, must
confront what went wrong in their understanding of Drake's equation, the
famed formula that allegedly estimates the odds of interstellar... (more) 


The One Best Bet (1911) 
 Samuel Hopkins Adams 

The story is about an amateur detective who uses some elementary geometric triangulation to foil an assassination. The last paragraph is a great touch, “Why, Governor, you’re giving me too much credit.... (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) 


Oracle (2000) 
 Greg Egan 

The protagonist, Robert Stoney is a british mathematician who worked on German codes during WW II, was greatly affected by the death of a close friend, and was later persecuted for his homosexuality. ... (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) 


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) 


Ouroboros (1997) 
 Geoffrey A. Landis 

The question of whether what we call "reality" could be nothing other than a simulation run on a computer gets a mathematically sophisticated treatment in this story. In addition to a vague reference... (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) 


The Pacific Mystery (2006) 
 Stephen Baxter 

This starts as an alternate history short story, in which Lord Halifax became Prime Minister of England in 1940 and reaches an accommodation with Germany; Germany holds sway over Europe and Russia, Japan... (more) 


The Pacifist (1966) 
 Arthur C. Clarke 

Clarke, one of the alltime biggest names in serious science
fiction, took time to write a series of humorous science
fiction tall tales. The stories are narrated by one Harry
... (more) 


Palimpsest (2007) 
 Howard V. Hendrix 

A very short story with strong shades of Clarke's "Nine billion Names of God" and "Genesis", coupled with the general idea that our reality is a Turing machine in danger of being subverted by the Great... (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 1113 year old children. The entire novel has a touch of Wodehouse to it as it follows the bumbling... (more) 


Papos (2007) 
 Alex Rose 

A short piece which mixes up historical facts/pseudofacts from Greek history with rich imagination to discuss the discovery of irrational numbers (Pythagoras, Hippasus), the vanishing point in perspective... (more) 


Paradox (2000) 
 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) 
 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 AnnieMichel 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) 


Partition (2003) 
 Ira Hauptman 

According to Ken Ribet's review of the San Francisco production in the Notices of the AMS, this play about the interaction between the mathematicians Hardy and Ramanujan explores the "partitions" that... (more) 


Paul Bunyan versus the Conveyor Belt (1949) 
 William Hazlett Upson 

A clever "twist" on the usual Mobius band story.
Answers the age old question: How can you win lots of money betting
against poor saps who don't understand topology?
I use this story with children... (more) 


The Penultimate Conjecture (1999) 
 Leonard Michaels 

This is the most mathematical of Leonard Michaels' seven stories about the brilliant but antisocial UCLA mathematician, Nachman. In it, Nachman attends a conference in San Francisco at which a Swedish... (more) 


Perelman's Song (2008) 
 Tina Chang 

This story by Tina Chang appears in the February 2008 issue of Math Horizons magazine (see also JSTOR). It uses a conversation between gods manipulating universes in their hands to poetically inform... (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 MorpheusSystem (2012) 
 Marc A. Herren 

The longrunning 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 fivedimensional... (more) 


A Person of Interest (2008) 
 Susan Choi 

Professor Lee, an older math professor at a small midwestern 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 bestselling 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 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 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) 


Phase IV (1974) 
 Mayo Simon (writer) / Saul Bass (director) 

A mathematician who `applied game theory to the language of killer whales' is brought in to help fight an attack by intelligent ants. (more) 


Pi (1998) 
 Darren Aronofsky (director) 

A mathematician discovers a new relationship between chaos theory and
the number Pi which makes him a target of a dangerous religious sect
and a greedy investor. The references to mathematics and its... (more) 


Pi in the Sky (1983) 
 Rudy Rucker 

The story is about a family which finds an alien artifact on a beach while on vacation: a smooth cone with patterns of stripes on its surface and which produces sound in the same pattern. It turns out... (more) 


The Pi Man (1959) 
 Alfred Bester 

I found this work in an anthology of Alfred Bester short stories "The Dark Side of the Earth". It is an ironic story of a man that calls himself the Pi Man (irrational) that tries to set a pattern... (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) 


Pieces of Pi (2006) 
 David Bartell 

A socially inept cubicle worker becomes obsessed with making sense of the controversial Biblical passage (I Kings 7:2326) which many interpret as claiming that the value of π is exactly three (therefore... (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) 


The Planck Dive (1998) 
 Greg Egan 

This short story describes a bizarre experiment in which researchers are cloned (quantum cloning, not the genetic kind; these researchers aren't "fleshers") and sent into a black hole. Their goal is to... (more) 


Planck Time (2004) 
 Michael Iwoleit 

The setting is 2036 to 2038. A 140km long linear collider ("Super Large Hadron Collider") has been installed at one of the L5 points in earth orbit. Some unknown technology must have been discovered... (more) 


Planck Zero (1992) 
 Stephen Baxter 

Baxter's hardSF ideas are often quite stunning in their scope and creativity. "Planck Zero" is no exception to this. An advanced species of aliens  the Ghosts  have started conducting experiments... (more) 


Plane People (1933) 
 Wallace West 

A spaceoperatic 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 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
lefthanded,... (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) 


Pop Quiz (2005) 
 Alex Kasman 

An algebraic geometer is called in when messages from an alien spacecraft appear to be asking questions about projective varieties. Though it may at first appear to be another "mathematics as a common... (more) 


PopCo (2004) 
 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) 


PostBombum [aka PostBoomboom] (1967) 
 Alberto Vanasco 

Argentinian author and math professor Alberto Vanasco wrote this short story about postapocalyptic survivors trying to record keys to civilization, and failing miserably. (Thanks to Vijay Fafat for bringing... (more) 


The Power of Words (1845) 
 Edgar Allan Poe 

A very short work (twopages long!) in
which two angels discuss the divine implications of our ability to
mathematically determine the future consequences of an action, especially
wave propagation.... (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) 


The PrePersons (1974) 
 Philip K. Dick 

His nastiest story, a deeply felt response to Roe vs Wade. Dick imagines a future where Congress has decided that abortion
is legal until the soul enters the body, which is specified as
... (more) 


PreVision (1936) 
 John Pierce 

The story hangs its hat on a clever observation made long ago by many physicists, including Einstein, about the nature of solutions of Maxwell's equations. Since the equations are timesymmetric, they... (more) 


Primary Inversion (1996) 
 Catherine Asaro 

In this first book in her "Skolian Saga" series, Asaro explains how fasterthanlight 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) 


Princess Elizabeth's Spy: A Maggie Hope Mystery (2012) 
 Susan Elia MacNeal 

Maggie Hope is assigned to stay with the royal family. As we know from her first appearance in Mr. Churchill's Secretary, Maggie has an undergraduate degree in mathematics from Wellesley and was about... (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 teenangst and sexual exploration.
The author is very good at letting you... (more) 


Probability Storm (1977) 
 Julian Reid 

Julian Reid takes the concept of statistical anomalies to a fantastic extreme in a slapstick fantasy comedy written in a very witty and conversational style, replete with puns and smartcracks. A tavern... (more) 


The Problem of Cell 13 (1907) 
 Jacques Futrelle 

"The story which introduces Professor S. F. X. van Dusen,
professional scientific supergenius, who lends his talents
to solving baffling mysteries. He is described as primarily
... (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 SelfStudy (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 and Colonel (1987) 
 Ruth Berman 

In this unusual story, we get to see another side to Sherlock Holmes' arch enemy, the brilliant but evil mathematician Professor Moriarty. Here, rather than perpetrating a crime, Moriarty is merely visiting with his brother, discussing the significance of his research into asteroid dynamics. (See also Asimov's take on this same subject.) (more) 


Professor Conundrum Mysteries! (2008) 
 Bill Streifer 

My book, Professor Conundrum Mysteries!...combines math education (nonfiction) and historical fiction.
The book consists of five stories that take place during important events in 20th century U.S.... (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) 


Progress (2005) 
 Alex Kasman 

The mathematics of ancient Egypt can look very strange to us today. For example, although they did not have many fractions, they did know about the number 2/3. Strangely, however, it took a page of computation... (more) 


Proof (2000) 
 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) 


A Proof of God (2004) 
 Colin Adams 

A mathematician is approached by a seemingly crazy old man who claims to have a proof of the existence of God, but later it seems that he might not be so crazy after all in this hilarious spoof from Adams'... (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) 


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) 


The Push of a Finger (1942) 
 Alfred Bester 

Story set in 2909. A Prognostication Machine which can look into the future beyond 50 years (but no earlier) predicts the destruction of the entire universe in about 1000 years. Evidently, a new movement... (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 wellwritten, 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) 


Pythagoras's Darkest Hour (2007) 
 Colin Adams 

A humorous short story from the author of Mathematically Bent which tells the true story of the discovery of the Pythagorean Theorem. Well, actually, perhaps it isn't exactly true...but it is so good,... (more) 


Pythagorean Crimes (2006) 
 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) 


Q.E.D. (1984) 
 Bruce Stanley Burdick 

The "Q.E.D." from the title of this short story published in Analog
(volume 104 #12, December 1984, pp. 96112) is the latin expression "quod
erat demonstratum" that is meant to conclude a proof and... (more) 


Quanto scommettiamo ("How much do you want to bet?") (1965) 
 Italo Calvino 

The story is about two beings, living since the beginning of the universe (one of them, the protagonist of the book, is "old Qfwfq"  it's not a misprint , a mysterious being that claims to have witnessed... (more) 


Quarantine (1977) 
 Arthur C. Clarke 

For safety's sake, all organic life on the planet Earth has been
wiped out by automatic defenses. The investigator looking into
this regrettable turn of affairs in an otherwise promising species
discovers... (more) 


Qui perd gagne! (2003) 
 Laurent Bénégui (Director) 

In this French film, a math teacher claims to have a system for winning the lottery.
I tracked this down after seeing the page on your site a couple of days ago. It is a very enjoyable movie, but... (more) 


Quicksilver: The Baroque Cycle Volume 1 (2003) 
 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) 



The Rapture of the Nerds (2004) 
 Cory Doctorow / Charles Stross 

This story is set in Stross's "Accelerando" series,
due for publication in novel form in 2005, offering
a worm's eye view of the "Vinge singularity", the
supposed moment in the coming decades... (more) 


Ratner's Star (1976) 
 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) 


Reading by Numbers (2009) 
 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) 
 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) 


Reality Conditions: short mathematical fiction (2005) 
 Alex Kasman 

The stories in this collection of 16 original short works of mathematical fiction are different from each other in many ways: some are serious and some funny, some are realistic and some fantastical,... (more) 


Recess (Episode: A Genius Among Us) (2000) 
 Brian Hamill 

This episode of Disney's Saturday Morning cartoon "Recess" is clearly a parody of the film "Good Will Hunting". I hope this doesn't lower anyone's opinion of me...but I personally liked it better than... (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) 


Refund (1938) 
 Fritz Karinthy (original) / Percival Wilde (English Adaptation) 

A former student demands that his tuition be refunded because he feels his education was worthless, but loses his bid when he is tricked by the mathematics master.
This entry refers to the 1938 adaptation... (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) 


The Remarkable Case of Davidson's Eyes (1895) 
 Herbert George Wells 

Rather than seeing what is actually around him in England, Davidson sees
events occurring on a rock off of the Antipodes Island. The explanation
offered includes the notion of nonflat geometries for... (more) 


Report from the Ambassador to Cida2 (2008) 
 Clifton Cunningham 

The human selected to communicate with the aquatic aliens of Cida2 is surprised to learn that their number system differs from our own. In particular, although our communication with the extraterrestrials... (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) 


Riding the Crocodile (2005) 
 Greg Egan 

A couple from the race of “Amalgam” wanted to carry out one project before choosing to die after a life spanning tens of thousands of years: Establishing contact with the elusive race called “Aloof”.... (more) 


Rincorse (1994) 
 Dario Voltolini 

The title means "Runups" 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) 



Ripples in the Dirac Sea (1988) 
 Geoffrey A. Landis 

A time machine story based on a combination of Hilbert's Hotel analogy and the "Fermi Sea". We read of the travels of the main character to the ancient past, to the San Francisco earthquake and to the... (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) 


A Rite of Spring (1977) 
 Fritz Leiber 

Leiber has stretched out a very flimsy story line into a 50page triviafest on the number seven. A genius of a mathematician yearns for his childhood ability to visualize and play with mathematics as... (more) 


Rites of Love and Math (2010) 
 Edward Frenkel / Reine Graves 

UCBerkeley 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 Rithmatist (2013) 
 Brandon Sanderson 

Geometric chalk drawings have magical power in this Harry Potterlike 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) 


Robbins v. New York (2008) 
 Colin Adams 

The author of the Mathematical Intelligencer's "Mathematically Bent" column has a talent for making me laugh, and this piece which has the US Supreme Court justices debating higher math and modern physics... (more) 


The Rock (1996) 
 Robert Doherty 

"Five peopleincluding an Australian Air Force computer operator, a Mexican engineering professor, a New York housewife, a Colombian Special Forces officer, and an English mathematicianare 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) 



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) 


The Rose Acacia (1995) 
 Ralph P. Boas, Jr. 

"A computer makes a deal with the devil, with the
usual escape clause: if it can ask a question the devil cannot answer, the
computer gets the information for free. As the devil puts it, no logical
paradoxes,... (more) 


Rosencrantz & Guildenstern are Dead (1967) 
 Tom Stoppard 

This brilliant, weird play, retelling the story of Shakespeare's Hamlet
from the point of view of two "throw away" characters, unfortunately has
very little mathematics in it. However, every few days... (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) 
 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) 


Rucker  A Life Fractal by Eli Halberstam (1991) 
 John Allen Paulos 

Like Lem's De Impossibilitate Vitae and Prognoscendi , this is a work of fiction that takes the form of a book review. (As Paulos explains in his introduction, "Reviewing [a] book which hasn't been written... (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) 


Rumpled Stiltskin (2004) 
 Colin Adams 

Do you remember the old Fractured Fairy Tales segment on Rocky and Bullwinkle in which classic stories were updated with a twist? This is just like those. The old Grimm's Brother tale is retold, but... (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) 


San (2000) 
 Lan Samantha Chang 

A short story in the collection "Hunger" about a girl who becomes interested in mathematics (especially probability) when her gambler father deserts his family. She does not succeed as a college student and learns in the end that in both math and life, it is the mysteries (and not their solutions) which are of real interest.
(more) 


The SandReckoner (2000) 
 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) 


Satisfactory Proof (2005) 
 Cynthia Morrison Phoel 

A Master's degree student pouts and complains about the people around him as he earns his Master's degree in mathematics at a Bulgarian university.
Although the titular phrase "satisfactory proof" appears... (more) 


Schild's Ladder (2002) 
 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) 


Schwarzschild Radius (1987) 
 Connie Willis 

Connie Willis' shortstory ``Schwarzschild Radius'' is based on events
in the life of Karl Schwarzschild, who gave the first exact solutions
to the equations of general relativity. The
historical aspects... (more) 


Sebastian (1968) 
 David Greene (director) 

A film about a British mathematician trying to break the German codes during World War II. (So, add this to the growing list of works of mathematical fiction inspired by Alan Turing!) I must admit that I have not yet seen the film, but you've got to love its tagline:
We can't tell you what he does (it's an international secret) but he does it with 100 girls... and does it the best!
(more) 


The Secret Integration (1964) 
 Thomas Pynchon 

The title is a pun relating the operation from calculus (the definite
integral of a function) to the controversial attempt to solve many of the
problems of race relations in America (the integration... (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) 


The Secret Number (2000) 
 Igor Teper 

In this very cute story, a mathematician who believes that there is an integer between 3 and 4 tries to convince his psychiatrist that he is not crazy. The idea is not very deep, but it is well handled... (more) 


Secrets to the Grave (2011) 
 Tami Hoag 

Mathematician Zander Zahn is suspected of having murdered an artist in this followup to the novel "Deeper than the Dead". Almost no mathematics is actually discussed, not even the tiny amount one often... (more) 


Security (1953) 
 Poul Anderson 

A top secret project uses some mathematical physics to create a new material. As the title makes clear, the secrecy (and what the head of the project is willing to do to achieve it) is really the point... (more) 


Sekret Enigmy (1979) 
 Roman Wionczek


Although Alan Turing tends to get much of the credit for breaking the Nazi "Enigma" codes during World War II, three Polish mathematicians did preliminary work that was equally brilliant and equally important. This film tells their story, featuring some real acts of heroism.
(more) 


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 SevenPerCent 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) 


Shaffery Among the Immortals (1972) 
 Frederik Pohl 

A funny yarn about one Jeremy Shaffery, an astronomer who idolizes Einstein and his methods and who wants to achieve immortal fame by doing something just as famous. The problem is that he is not built... (more) 


Shakespeare Predicted it All (2003) 
 Dietmar Dath 

An artistically composed piece about Georg Cantor, inventor of the theory of transfinite cardinals, in the form of a dialogue between the characters "1" and "2", both of whom are either Cantor or Hamlet.... (more) 


The Shape of Content: Creative Writing in Mathematics and Science (2008) 
 Chandler Davis (editor) / Marjorie Senechal (editor) / Jan Zwicky (editor) 

This collection of writings associated with the Workshops on Creative Writing in Mathematics and Science at the math institute at Banff contains mathematical fiction along with mathematical poetry, scientific... (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) 


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) 


Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (2011) 
 Guy Ritchie (director) 

There is not much actual mathematics in this sequel which, like its predecessor, features a version of Sherlock Holmes portrayed by Robert Downey Jr. as more of an action hero than the one in Sir Arthur... (more) 


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) 


Sidewise in Time (1934) 
 Murray Leinster 

"The protagonist is a frustrated mathematician, whose genius
(which Leinster makes some attempt to convey) is not recognized
by his teachers and peers. So when reality goes... (more) 


Signal to Noise (1999) 
 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 nonacademic employment in the United States... (more) 


Silas P. Cornu's Dry Calculator (1898) 
 Henry Hering 

A very hilarious short story about a man who wants to build a mechanical calculator to evaluate logarithms but has success building a machine that can do only addition and multiplication. On the other... (more) 


Silence Please (1954) 
 Arthur C. Clarke 

In this
"White Hart" story, Purvis tells about an experimental
physicist who invents a highly successful antinoise generator.
The Fourier analysis underpinning of antinoise is explicitly
... (more) 


Silent Cruise (2002) 
 Timothy Taylor 

In an open forum on mathematics at the BIRS Website, Canadian author Taylor does a great job of explaining why I am listing this short story here:
[In this story] I introduce [the characters]
Dett... (more) 


Silicon Muse (1984) 
 Hilbert Schenck 

Schenck's other Analog story would provide a geometric means of analyzing this one, but that is not why it is listed here. The story is about a computer that can write fiction about a computer that can... (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) 


Simpsons (Episode: Homer^{3}) (1995) 
 John Swarzwelder / Steve Tomkins / David S. Cohen 

In this segment from an episode of "The Simpsons" cartoon, Homer finds a
portal to the third dimension while trying to hide from his
sistersinlaw. This is a joke on the fact that they are usually... (more) 


The Simpsons: Girls Just Want to Have Sums (2006) 
 Matt Selman 

In this episode from the 17th season of the hit cartoon The Simpsons, the principal of Bart and Lisa's school makes a sexist comment (clearly a reference to the controversial comments from Harvard President... (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) 


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) 


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) 


Sir Cumference and the... (1997) 
 Cindy Neuschwander 

These are pun filled picture books. To be honest, they do not appeal to me at all; I would give them low ratings for both literary quality and mathematical content. However, as you can see from the comments... (more) 


The Sirdar's ChessBoard (1885) 
 Elizabeth Wormeley Latimer 

A military bride travelling in Afghanistan is surprised when a mystic is able to cut up a chess board ("with three snips of my scissors") and put it back together so that the number of squares has increased... (more) 



Sixty Million Trillion Combinations (1980) 
 Isaac Asimov 

Tom Trumbull, one of Asimov's regular "Black Widower" mystery
characters, wants to convince an eccentric mathematician (working on
Goldbach's conjecture) that his secret password is not safe.
Combinatorics... (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 pulpfictionofthethirties lens. Then it became fun and hilarious. Scientists are unemotional and ruthless;... (more) 


A Slight Miscalculation (1971) 
 Ben Bova 

This is a story of a mathematician who found a way to predict
earthquakes. He finds out that there will be a major earthquake
in California (where he lives). After checking this prediction
using CalTech's... (more) 


Slightly Perfect / Are you with it? (1941) 
 George MalcolmSmith (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 partInuit 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) 


Sneakers (1992) 
 Phil Alden Robinson (director) 

Complex espionage story, more about computers than mathematics.
However, mathematics is clearly an underlying theme and in one scene
the mysterious mathematician Gunter Janek lectures on mathematical
aspects... (more) 


Snow (1998) 
 Geoffrey A. Landis 

An apparently schizophrenic, homeless woman sells her body to get herself and her infant off the street on a cold night. Only at the end of this extremely short story do we realize that the imaginary... (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) 


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) 



Somnium (1634) 
 Johannes Kepler 

"Published posthumously, it is a short story about a dream
of life on the moon. There is no mathematical content in
the actual story, but Kepler included voluminous notes, plus
... (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) 


Sophie Simon Solves them All (2010) 
 Lisa Graff 

A 100page novel for 2nd graders about a math genius, Sophie Simon, whose parents are always worried that their daughter is not “welladjusted”. Sophie, on the other hand, wants to do math far... (more) 


Sophie's Diary (2004) 
 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 (19231958) 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
postecologicalapocalypse SF novel in which a powerful
multiprocessing computer is built out of human beings manipulating
abaci. Has anyone out there read... (more) 


Space (1911) 
 John Buchan 

This mystical story, as recounted by a lawyer, is about a brilliant mathematician ("an erratic genius who had written some articles in Mind on that dreary subject, the mathematical conception of infinity",... (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 fourdimensional beings... (more) 


Spacetime Donuts (1981) 
 Rudy Rucker 

The story is set in a chaotic setting (it's a Rucker novel!) of an allprovidingbutoppressive society. The society is controlled in large parts by a supercomputer, PhizWhiz, and its political masters.... (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) 


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) 



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) 


The Square Root of Pythagoras (1999) 
 Paul Di Filippo/Rudy Rucker 

Pythagoras has been granted the magical power of five numbers.
Along the way he discusses his theorem, the five Platonic solids,
and his general philosophy about numbers and the universe. But
he... (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) 


Stand and Deliver (1987) 
 Ramon Menendez 

Edward James Olmos plays Jaime Escalante, "a reallife math teacher in East L.A.. This is
really unique. The hero's heroism consists in teaching mathematics! Obviously, I've gotta love this one. So... (more) 


StandIn (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 Star (1897) 
 Herbert George Wells 

Although some of the science is a bit off  for example, the idea that the
rotation of planets has something to do with their ability to orbit the sun
or that the "star" formed by the collision of Neptune... (more) 


The Star Dummy (1952) 
 Anthony Boucher 

I learned duodecimal (and the whole
concept of number bases) from "The Star Dummy," by Boucher, in
Conklin's Omnibus of Science Fiction. The teddybearshaped six
fingered alien was trying to communicate with the koalas in the zoo
until an openminded human showed up and the two traded written
numbers.
Originally published in Fantastic in 1952.
(more) 


Star, Bright (1952) 
 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) 


The Stargazers (1986) 
 Barbara Susan Lefever 

An historical novel based on Mason and Dixon. (Includes references!) It was selfpublished 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) 


Statistician's Day (1970) 
 James Blish 

An aging novelist and Nobel Prize winner gives what he knows is
his last interview. But rather than take questions, he has rather
pointed ones of his own, based on his twenty years of statistical
analyses... (more) 


The Statistomat Pitch (1958) 
 Chandler Davis 

This pulp science fiction story by "Chan Davis" features a discussion of the use of mathematics and a computer for the purposes of stock trading. As Vijay Fafat explains below in his post, while this... (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) 


Story of Your Life (1998) 
 Ted Chiang 

What sort of mathematics would Vonnegut's Tralfamadorean's like to do? Or,
alternatively, what sort of worldview would a sentient species have if their idea of simple mathematics was the calculus of... (more) 


The Story of Yung Chang (1900) 
 Ernest Bramah (Ernest Bramah Smith) 

Before the invention of multiplication tables, a Chinese idol merchant must
sell his wares individually, even if someone wishes to purchase a large
amount, since he has no way to determine how much money... (more) 


Strange Attractors (1990) 
 William Sleator 

Timetravel 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) 
 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) 


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 Strange Case of Mr. Jean D. (1983) 
 Joao Filipe Queiro 

Published in the Mathematical Intelligencer magazine (Math.Intell. 5, 3 7890 (1983)) this is the story of a mathematician who has a nightmare: Pi is rational! (Thanks to Nuno Crato for the suggestion.) (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) 


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) 


Straw Dogs (1971) 
 Sam Peckinpah (Director) 

Dustin Hoffman stars as an astrophysicist in this violent
Peckinpah film. Before the violence starts, Hoffman's wife plays a
trick on him by changing some signs (+/) in an equation he is working
with.... (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) 


A Subway Named Moebius (1950) 
 A.J. Deutsch 

When the MBTA (Boston's Public Transportation authority) introduces a
new line, the topology of the network become so complex that a train
vanishes...lost in some fourth dimensional properties of the... (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 postcolonial 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) 


Summa Mathematica (2002) 
 Sean Doolittle 

Not really a mystery, but more of a "crime drama" in which a former math professor gets two offers he can't refuse: one from a crime boss who wants to hire him as his accountant and another from the police... (more) 


Summer Solstice (1985) 
 Charles Leonard Harness 

I did enjoy reading this short story (nominated for a Nebula award in 1985)
in which the famous Greek mathematician Eratosthenes determines the Earth's
circumference and meets a shipwrecked alien, but... (more) 


Summer Wars (2009) 
 Mamoru Hosoda (Director) 

Kenji is a parttime computer programmer from a poor family who has never had a girlfriend. Aside from the fact that he was almost selected to represent Japan in the Mathematics Olympiad he considers... (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) 


Sword Game (1968) 
 H.H. Hollis 

A topologist manages to create a timesmeared 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) 


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) 


The Symbolic Logic of Murder (1960) 
 John Reese 

Through a combination of biblical mnemonics and Boolean algebra, our
heroes are able to solve a mysterious murder. Appears in Mathematical Magpie.
(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) 


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) 


The Tale of the Big Computer (aka The End of Man?) (1966) 
 Hannes Alfven (writing as Olof Johannesson) 

"Alfven, the Swedish physicist and astrophysicist who was
awarded the Nobel prize for his development of plasma physics
and magnetohydrodynamics (but is perhaps better remembered
... (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) 


A Tangled Tale (1886) 
 Lewis Carroll 

A collection of ten mathematical puzzles in story form by the famous author/mathematician Charles Dodgson (aka Lewis Carroll).
"The reason I answered 3 for "Mathematical Content" is that all the math... (more) 


Tau Zero (1970) 
 Poul Anderson 

Special relativity takes center stage in this classic sciencefiction
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) 


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) 


Teen Patti (2010) 
 Leena Yadav (Director) 

This Bollywood film features Ben Kingsley as a math professor whose theory of probability allows him (and a team of student helpers) to win huge sums of money gambling. The plot sounds suspiciously similar... (more) 


Ten (1986) 
 Isaac Asimov 

We might argue that the particular words and symbols we use to express
mathematical concepts are not as important as the concepts themselves...and
mathematically that may well be the case. However,... (more) 


Tenet (2012) 
 Lorne Campbell/ Sandy Grierson 

Évariste Galois is one of two characters in this play, whose full title is apparently "Tenet: A True Story About the Revolutionary Politics of Telling the Truth about Truth as Edited by Someone Who is... (more) 


The Siege Of The "Lancashire Queen" (1906) 
 Jack London 

Describes how the capture of illegal shrimppoachers becomes a problem of triangular geometry and relative speeds of chase. In particular, the pirates, trapped on a ship, the chasing posse and the point... (more) 


The 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 2dimensional manifold, he... (more) 


The Thesis of the AbsentMinded Master (1971) 
 Vladimir Levshin 

[This is the first book in the] trilogy called "The
Master of the AbsentMinded 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) 


The Third Party (2004) 
 David Moles 

Two conflicting groups of humans make contact with
a forgotten human world. One of the natives turns
out to be a brilliant mathematician, independently
discovering Cantor's diagonalization argument, and
is confused that a colleague considers it obvious.
This short story appeared in the September 2004 issue of Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine. (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 Nobellaureate 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
wellknown English college. It... (more) 


Those Who Can, Do (1965) 
 Bob Kurosaka 

In this shortshort classic, a mathematics professor ends the first day
of a Differential Equations class asking for questions. One student is
irksome, even peculiar, in his wish to know what practical... (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) 
 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 Cornered Wheel (1963) 
 Poul Anderson 

Sometimes a surprising mathematical fact will inspire a science fiction story to illustrate it. I suspect that is what happened with this story that comes up with a contrived circumstance in which the... (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) 


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) 


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 4dimensional 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) 


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 counterexample to Fermat's... (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 notparticularlysound... (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 namedropping, 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 "muspace" (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 The Power Against (2007) 
 Carrie Smith (writer) / Stephanie Lantry (Artist) 

Probability and the number 235 (which appears on each cover, sometimes cleverly hidden) each play a role in this interesting but still somewhat amateurish comic book series from Conjoined Comics.
Our... (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 oldfashioned 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) 


The Tolman Trick (2006) 
 Manil Suri 

Professor Tolman attends a conference at the Mathematics Institute at Oberwolfach, but a young colleague suspects that the result he is presenting may not be correct. Published in the first issue of Subtropics,... (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) 


Topsyturvy (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) 


Torn Curtain (1966) 
 Alfred Hitchcock (Director) 

Professor Armstrong (Paul Newman) pretends to defect to the other side
of the iron curtain to learn of the secret "star wars"like defense
plan discovered by the brilliant (by his own account) Dr. Lindt.
Fiancee... (more) 


Touch (2012) 
 Tim Kring (screenplay/creator) 

This TV show combines disparate familiar elements. Like "24", it has Kiefer Sutherland running around trying to save people. Like "Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close" it has the autistic child of a single... (more) 


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) 


TouchMeNot (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) 


Touching Centauri (2003) 
 Stephen Baxter 

A mathematician solves Fermi's paradox, and then actually
*does* something about it, with immense consequences.
Originally appeared in Asimov's Science Fiction August 2003. Republished in the Baxter compilation "Phase Space". (more) 


Towel Season (1998) 
 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) 


The Tower of Babylon (2002) 
 Ted Chiang 

There really is almost no mathematics in this bizarre story that hauntingly
combines
religion with science fiction. However, the "punchline" is entirely
topological in nature.
This story can be... (more) 


Tracking the Random Variable (1991) 
 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) 


Train Brains / The Runaway Train (Donald Duck) (1956) 
 Carl Barks 

Donald Duck's nephews  Huey, Dewey and Louie  are trying to earn a merit badge in engineering for the Junior Woodchucks by working out a complicated problem involving toy trains.
"We'll never be... (more) 


Transition Dreams (1993) 
 Greg Egan 

Transition dreams, an old man learns in this story, are dreams that your new, robotic brain has as it is being "filled up" with the patterns copied from your old, organic brain. There is a good deal of... (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 AbsentMinded Master (1971) 
 Vladimir Levshin 

This is the second in the Master of the AbsentMinded 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) 


Travelling Salesman (2012) 
 Andy Lanzone (writer) / Timothy Lanzone (director and writer) 

This film is a lowbudget intellectual thriller about a Fields Medalist who, while working for the NSA, helps to prove that P=NP and takes part in the deliberations to decide what to do with it. "Travelling... (more) 


Tre per zero (1997) 
 T. Sclavi (writer) / B. Brindisi (artist) 

An Italian comic book whose title translates as "Three Times Zero".
A very surreal story where a (stereotypical but nontrivial) mathematician "discovers" that
three times zero equal three, and we... (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) 
 Christos Papadimitriou 

The four vertices of an unlikely love "rectangle" are (a) a dying, maverick cryptographer, (b) a pregnant Internet wiz, (c) a romantic middleaged Greek archaeologist and (d) Turing, an artificially intelligent... (more) 


Turing's Apples (2008) 
 Stephen Baxter 

Story about a faraway civilization transmitting a complex message in all directions, containing a software program (“Turing machine”) which ends up creating von Neumann machines with one specific... (more) 


Turing's Delirium (2007) 
 Edmundo Paz Soldan 

This is a hackercounterhacker story set in Bolivia, where the newly resurrected president hires an NSA official to set up the country's counterespionage / cybersecurity unit ("Black Chamber"). The... (more) 


Turjan of Miir (The Dying Earth) (1950) 
 Jack Vance 

The classic fantasy novel "The Dying Earth" is actually more like a collection of short stories, separate vignettes that share some common features but stand entirely alone. The first of these stories... (more) 


Turnabout (1955) 
 Gordon R. Dickson 

It's a story about a physics professor who is investigating a device that creates planar forcefields. In its first run, an explosion destroys the device and the physicist is trying to obtain an answer... (more) 


Twentyseven 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) 


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) 


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) 


Twisters (1988) 
 Paul J. Nahin 

A medical doctor stumbles onto a dangerous trap in this short story which
was published in Analog (Vol CVIII No 6, May 1988). The twisted
donuts sold by the new shop he passes on the way to work turn out to be
Klein bottles (a topological oddity like the Mobius strip). (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) 


Two Trains Running (1990) 
 August Wilson 

This play is set in Pittsburgh, 1969. An economically depressed area
of the city is facing urban renewal, and the specter of eminent domain
seizure hangs over the main character's future. The other... (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) 


The Ultimate Analysis (1944) 
 John Russell Fearn 

This one is a hurriedly thrown together mishmash of mathematical statements which make no sense when examined individually but taken together, form a breathless pulp story about a mathematician who... (more) 


The Ultimate Crime (1976) 
 Isaac Asimov 

We all know that Sherlock Holmes' arch enemy was a mathematician,
right? (If not, check out Sherlock Holmes.)
In fact, his second famous paper was on the dynamics of an asteroid.
Now, you may ask,... (more) 


Uncle Georg's Attic (2002) 
 Ben Schumacher 

This short story appeared in the September 2002 issue of "Math Horizons",
published by the Mathematical Association of America. In it, some kids
look through an attic containing lots of stuff belonging... (more) 


Uncle Petros and Goldbach's Conjecture (1992) 
 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) 


Understand (1991) 
 Ted Chiang 

"An experimental treatment for a drowning victim turns him into
an incredible supergenius. Mathematics is mentioned several
times in passing, and twice the supergenius explicitly uses it
... (more) 


The Universal Library [Die Universalbibliothek] (1901) 
 Kurd Lasswitz 

This early "science fiction" story explores the notion of a library containing every possible five hundred page book and an English translation appears in the classic mathematical fiction collection Fantasia... (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) 
 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) 


Unreasonable Effectiveness (2003) 
 Alex Kasman 

"Unreasonable Effectiveness" reminds me of a classic Arthur C. Clarke style
short story. It has exactly enough mathematics done correctly and a twist that
boggles the mind at the end. To be fair... (more) 


Unstable Orbits in the Space of Lies (1992) 
 Greg Egan 

"Originally published in Interzone #61, July 1992. Because of an accident,
people's values and beliefs, and convictions, became completely permeable
to one another. So people start clumping according... (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 oneway teleportation to a star
system
several light years away,... (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) 


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) 


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 fullfledged development. An artist, Carter, who is a trained mathematician... (more) 


Vault of the Beast (1940) 
 Alfred Elton van Vogt 

"A creature of vast powers is locked up inside a vault made up of
ultimate metal. The key to freeing it turns out to be 'factoring
the ultimate prime number', which procedure is given an extended
pseudomathematical... (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) 


A Very Good Year (1984) 
 Jack C. Haldeman (II) 

A very short fantasylike story about Statistics. A senior statistician for Dept of Acccident Prevention describes how the law of averages appears to have failed when applied to mortality rates. In particular,... (more) 


A Very Peculiar Practice (1986) 
 Andrew Davies 

In this television series about a medical doctor at a British university, a recurring character during the first season was a mathematician who was the doctor's roommate, Chen. Their "flat" was therefore... (more) 


A Victim of Higher Space (1917) 
 Algernon Blackwood 

This is another of the John Silence talltales, this time involving a man who learns to visualize 4dimensional space and then starts slipping in and out of the hyperspace. As he describes it,
"This... (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) 


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) 
 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) 



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) 


Waiting for Citizen Gödel (2005) 
 Howard V. Hendrix 

Short story revolving around Godel's application for US citizenship. There is a wellknown episode from Godel's life, where Einstein and Oscar Morgenstern took Godel for his citizenship oath. Godel,... (more) 


The Wall of Darkness (1946) 
 Arthur C. Clarke 

In a universe consisting of one star and one planet, there is a
mysterious impenetrable wall surrounding the entire planet in the deep
freezing southlands. Two men, one with money, the other... (more) 


Wang's Carpets (1995) 
 Greg Egan 

This short story about a life form based on Wang Tiles first appeared in 1995 in Greg Bear's New Legends collection but was later expanded into an entire novel. For more information, see my entry on the... (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) 


Welcome to Paradise (2005) 
 Paul DavidGoddard /Helen Miller 

Not much happens in this play. A young Englishman who has just earned an undergraduate degree in mathematics goes on a trip to Australia to find himself. Coauthor Helen Miller based the play on her... (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) 


What Dead Men Tell (1949) 
 Theodore Sturgeon 

A supergenius discovers a secret society amongst us that
is guarding the secret of immortality. He elects to take
their entry examination, which has immediate death as the
price... (more) 


What Happened at Cambridge IV (1990) 
 David Langford 

This is another BLIT story by David Langford; this time, a brilliant mathematician working on a neuromathematical model of the brain finds a type of visual input that doesn't just slow it down but causes... (more) 



White Light, or What is Cantor's Continuum Problem? (1980) 
 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) 


Who Killed the Duke of Densmore? (1994) 
 Claude Berge 

The murder mystery in the title took
place many years ago and the only witnesses are a group of women who each
visited the crime scene for a single stretch of time. They each remember
whom they met... (more) 


Whom the gods love: The story of Evariste Galois (1948) 
 Leopold Infeld 

A fictionalized biography of the illfated 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) 
 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) 


Without a Trace (Episode: Claus and Effect) (2007) 
 David Amann (writer) /
Alicia Kirk (writer) / Bobby Roth (Director) 

In this Christmas special episode of the TV crime drama, a department store Santa turns out to be a mathematical prodigy who has quit his job as a mathematician/programmer due to ethical concerns that his work will cause others to lose their jobs. He becomes involved in a scheme to make money by applying mathematics to gambling.
(more) 


The Wizard (1989) 
 C.S. Godshalk 

A mathematically talented youth in a bad neighborhood becomes a drug dealer and may not be able to take advantage of his genius by attending the private school which has offered him a scholarship.
In... (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 extramarital... (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) 


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 / teardown 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) 


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) 


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 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) 


Year of the Rat (2009) 
 Kristine Kathryn Rusch 

A story of two brothers who
use mathematics, one to prove, one to disprove God, and fortunately have
their big sister to resolve things.
One of two mathematical stories in Denise Little's anthology Intelligent Design. (See also Luck be a Lady).
(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) 


Yi ge dou bu neng shao (1999) 
 Yimou Zhang (director) / Xiangsheng Shi (screenplay) 

A 13 yearoldgirl is given the job of being the teacher for a remote Chinese village for one month and promised extra pay if she does not lose a single student. When one student's mother becomes ill,... (more) 


Ylem (1994) 
 Eliot Fintushel 

Another Fintushel BigBangAndBack TotallyWeird adventure,
the plot concerns a business conflict in the helium market.
Somebody dickered with the primordial nucleosynthesis, and
... (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) 


Young Archimedes (1924) 
 Aldous Huxley 

A couple vacationing in Italy meet a peasant boy with strong
mathematical abilities. The most mathematical portion of the text is
a discussion of a proof of the Pythagorean theorem which the boy
develops.... (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) 


Zéro, ou les Cinq vies d'Aemer (2005) 
 Denis Guedj 

This novel traces the history of the number `zero' through the lives of five different women, living in five different eras, but all living in the same place: Mesopotamia/Iraq.
Guedj is already known... (more) 


Zero (2009) 
 Buzz Mauro 

An awkward, middleaged 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) 


The Zero Clue (1952) 
 Rex Stout 

Nero Wolfe can't stand Leo Heller, a mathematician who uses operations research to solve mysteries and seems to be superseding Wolfe's own reputation. But then Heller is murdered by one of his clients.... (more) 


The Zero Theorem (2013) 
 Pat Rushin (screenplay) / Terry Gilliam (director) 

Thanks to Brenton Lemesurier for pointing out this film directed by Monty Python's Gilliam and expected to be released December 2013. According to Wikipedia, it is about a computer programmer who "works to solve the Zero Theorem – a mathematical formula which will finally determine whether life has any meaning." (more) 


Zilkowski's Theorem (2003) 
 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) 
