MATHEMATICAL FICTION:

a list compiled by Alex Kasman (College of Charleston)

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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 six-issue series, one of the best of the retro comics out there. this is Moore's ingenious pastiche of Marvel comics in the critical (for Marvel and for the world) year 1963. Strange things... (more)
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 non-fiction. 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 ex-wife, Rebecca, who is a math professor. But, the main character in this novel is a woman who we only meet in... (more)
36 Arguments for the Existence of God (2010)
Rebecca Goldstein
This new novel by Rebecca Goldstein, whose Strange Attractors is one of my favorite works of mathematical fiction, features as two main characters a woman known as "the goddess of game theory" and a Hasidic... (more)
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, `Kafka-esque' suspense novel by well known horror author Richard Matheson, a government mathematician sees reality collapse around him as his life is turned into a surrealistic version... (more)
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)
Highly Rated!
John Green
Colin Singleton is a semi-burnt-out child prodigy who spends a summer coming of age as he develops a theorem to account for the fact that he's been dumped by nineteen girls, all named Katherine. Includes... (more)
The Accidental Time Machine (2007)
Joe Haldeman
A few mathematical ideas are tossed around casually in this light and entertaining science fiction story about a lab assistant who realizes before his boss that the device they are working on can be used... (more)
According to the Law (1996)
Solvej Balle
Four interconnected stories are told which wrap around onto themselves like a M¨bius strip. But, it is not only the structure of the story that is mathematical. In the first we meet a biochemist... (more)
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 mild-mannered 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' arch-nemesis 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, non-zero 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)
Highly Rated!
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)
Highly Rated!
Miriam Webster
The ghost of math professor Ray Bellwether tries to solve the mystery of his own murder in this `first novel' by Amy Babich (Webster is just a pseudonym). Babich has a Ph.D. in mathematics (and a Master's... (more)
After Math (2013)
Denise Grover Swank
This is a young adult novel about a college math major, a typical nerd with some apparent neuroses, who learns to be much more "normal" when she is forced to tutor a popular male soccer player. Thanks to my student, Madeline Goodman, for bringing this book to my attention. (more)
After the Fall, Before the Fall, During the Fall (2012)
Nancy Kress
The last 26 humans alive resort to kidnapping children from the past in order to save themselves from the oppressive aliens who keep them in "The Shell". Mathematics enters in the form of Julie Kahn,... (more)
Against the Day (2006)
Highly Rated!
Thomas Pynchon
This novel, set in the time frame 1890s to 1920s interleaves several plots and styles, from boys' adventures to peacetime spies to gunslingers' revenges. The forces of progress stomp over all the... (more)
Against the Odds (2001)
Martin Gardner
Luther Washington, a young, African-American 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 math-free Sci-Fi adventure. (more)
The Algebraist (2005)
Iain M. Banks
Fassin Taak is a human in the year 4034 who has the job of communicating with the alien species known as "the dwellers". Since the dweller culture is billions of years old, they have accumulated tremendous... (more)
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 one-world 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 post-singularity 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 mother-daughter novel, selected by Oprah, and recently produced by Oprah as a made-for-TV movie. Set in 1971 Maine, a 16-year-old girl has an affair with her high school math... (more)
Anathem (2008)
Highly Rated!
Neal Stephenson
This ambitious novel takes place on a world in which it is the theoretical scientists and mathematicians (rather than the theologians as on our planet) who have cloistered themselves in ascetic communes,... (more)
And Be a Villain (1948)
Rex Stout
Rex Stout and his seventy some Nero Wolfe novels are generally regarded as amongst the greatest mystery novels ever written. They read as fresh today as when the series started in 1934, and they... (more)
And He Built a Crooked House (1940)
Highly Rated!
Robert A. Heinlein
A clever architect designs a house in the shape of the shadow of a tesseract, but it collapses (through the 4th dimension) when an earthquake shakes it into a more stable form (which takes up very... (more)
An Angel of Obedience (2010)
John Giessmann
Due to his new obsession with fractal geometry, thirteen year-old prodigy Jackson Carter has just ended an illustrious career as a classical musician and enrolled as a math major at Harvard. There he... (more)
Aniara (1956)
Harry Martinson
Aniara is considered one of the greatest works of Swedish author Harry Martinson, 1974 Nobel Prize in Literature co-winner "for writings that catch the dewdrop and reflect the cosmos". It is an epic... (more)
Annals of Klepsis (1983)
R.A. Lafferty
A wacky sci-fi 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 self-sufficient women who live on a farm and the people around them. Antonia's granddaughter is a genius, namely a mathematician and a musician. But she... (more)
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)
Highly Rated!
Tom Stoppard
Stoppard's critically successful play includes long discussions of topics of mathematical interest including: Fermat's Last Theorem and Newtonian determinism, iterated algorithms, the second law of thermodynamics, Fourier's... (more)
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 mother-in-law did the same, and the book is enhanced by the... (more)
Art Thou Mathematics? (1978)
Highly Rated!
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 M-set; the UFO named Ma explains to him how... (more)
The Atrocity Archives (2004)
Highly Rated!
Charles Stross
"The Laundry" is a British spy organization which is responsible for suppressing certain dangerous math research. The occult implications of mathematics became clear with Alan Turing's paper "Phase Conjugate... (more)
Aurora in Four Voices (1998)
Catherine Asaro
Jato is trapped in Nightingale, a city in permanent darkness, inhabited by mathematical artists who mostly ignore him. Soz arrives to repair her ship, meets Jato, and finds... (more)
The Axiom of Choice (2009)
David Corbett
An extremely well-crafted short story in which math professor coldly recounts for a detective how the bloody bodies of his wife and his student came to be in his house. It is not really a murder mystery,... (more)
The Axiom of Choice (2011)
David W. Goldman
A ``choose-your-own-adventure'' story about a guitarist who must face the consequences of his decision to take a plane ride that ended in disaster. A brief but very nice discussion of The Axiom of Choice... (more)
Émilie (2010)
Kaija Saariaho (composer)/Amin Maalouf (libretto)
In this opera, a single performer portrays the final days in the life of Émilie du Châtelet, whose promising career as a mathematical physicist in the 18th century was tragically cut short at the age of 42. Émilie du Châtelet's story is also told in two recent plays: see Emilie: La Marquise Du Châtelet Defends Her Life Tonight and Legacy of Light . (more)
Back to Methuselah (1921)
George Bernard Shaw
In this not-very-stageable 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 post-WWII 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 (co-produced 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 ex-wife and his old... (more)
The Barking Clock (1947)
Harry Stephen Keeler / Hazel Goodwin Keeler
Tuddleton T. Trotter, author of a book which claims that all criminal mysteries can be solved mathematically, has only hours to save Joe Czeszczicki, a death row inmate soon to be electrocuted for the... (more)
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, well-writtten 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)
The Beekeeper's Apprentice: Or the Segregation of the Queen (1994)
Laurie R. King
A retired Sherlock Holmes, now tending bees in Sussex Downs, develops a friendship with a 15 year old orphan named Mary Russell. By all accounts, Mary proves to be a great partner for Holmes as they attempt... (more)
Been a long, long time (1970)
R.A. Lafferty
It's a very well-written 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 anti-social 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)
Highly Rated!
S.S. van Dine (pseudonym of Willard Huntington Wright)
Our hero, Vance, says at the end of this mystery novel: "At the outset I was able to postulate a mathematician as the criminal agent. The difficulty of naming the murderer lay in the fact that nearly... (more)
Black Mask of Al-Jabr (1967)
Vladimir Levshin
The 3 friends return to Karlikania. Their friend, the baby zero, is accosted by a mysterious x-shaped 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 one-sided 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 4-dimensional objects should be casting 3-dimensional 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 African-American 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 4-D from Miles Breuer, this time with Prof. Cosgrave who builds a "hyper-stereoscope" that can combine 3-dimensional views ("geometrical stereograms") from different angles into a 4-D... (more)
Border Guards (1999)
Greg Egan
In a virtual universe shaped like a 3-torus, 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 4-dimensional (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 ex-husband is a set theorist who goes mad because he fails to prove a theorem. One of my favourite authors, and one of his best... (more)
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)
Highly Rated!
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)
Highly Rated!
Stanley G. Weinbaum
A mathematics professor is kidnapped by a madman with a grudge against mathematicians, who threatens dire consequences unless the prof can solve a math riddle he has concocted: by asking ten questions,... (more)
The Brothers Karamazov (1880)
Fyodor Dostoevsky
In this classic final masterwork by Dostoevsky, the existence of non-Euclidean geometry is mentioned at one point. Although the theme is not explicitly carried throughout the rest of the novel, it plays... (more)
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 ex-lover who is now being blackmailed by her ex-husband. --Suggested for inclusion by Vijay Fafat. (more)
A Calculated Demise (2007)
Robert Spiller
A high school math teacher, Bonnie Pinkwater, solves the mystery surrounding the murder of a PE teacher, a student, and the family of the boy suspected in the killing. This sequel to The Witch of Agnesi... (more)
Calculated Magic (1995)
Robert Weinberg
In this sequel to A Logical Magician, the mathematically trained wizard's assistant returns to fight evil monsters in Vegas and save his fiance (Merlin's daughter) from Hell. I do like the idea that... (more)
Calculating God (2000)
Robert J. Sawyer
Though it is considerably less mathematical than Factoring Humanity, it holds together a bit better as a novel. Here, we encounter aliens who view the existence of god (a creator of the universe) as a... (more)
Calculus (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 part-time instructor and researcher at Berkeley and moonlights as a PI. He solves his cases using calculus. The narrative is excellent, humorous, and believable." Actually, I just... (more)
The Call of Cthulhu (1928)
H.P. Lovecraft
This is the most famous story by Lovecraft, which spawned it's own sub-genre 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 no-name 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 British-Russian spy novel in the style of Le Carre that is set in Cambridge, UK. If you like that sort of thing, fine. It is true that the murdered genius is a math graduate student, and he leaves... (more)
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 Cross-Section (1929)
Miles J. Breuer (M.D.)
Another "extra dimensions" story, with the twist of our hero having to save his fiance (also a mathematician) from terrifying dangers. There is some nonsense at the beginning about rotations and a count of variables/equations that probably had its basis in a reasonable linear algebra class but just comes out sounding kind of silly here. (more)
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)
Highly Rated!
Jean Lee Latham
The life of early American mathematician Nathaniel Bowditch, famous for his work on techniques of navigation, is fictionalized in this novel for young adults. Although the mathematical details are not... (more)
Cascade Point (1983)
Timothy Zahn
"Cascade Point" by Timothy Zahn (1983, won the 1984 Hugo award) contains fictionalized mathematical analysis of higher-order dimensions of space/time. The novel concerns future space travel whereby... (more)
Case of Lies (2005)
Perri O'Shaughnessy
An old, unsolved casino murder becomes mathematical when three of the witnesses turn out to have been math students using their skills to win at gambling. Quite a bit of detailed discussion of number... (more)
The Case of the Flying Hands (2001)
Harry Stephen Keeler / Hazel Goodwin Keeler
Quiribus Brown, a 7 1/2 foot tall man raised on a farm by a retired mathematician who taught him nothing but math, must solve four crimes using mathematics or be imprisoned on charges of perjury by his... (more)
The 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)
Casebook (2014)
Mona Simpson
A novel written from the point of view of Miles Adler-Hart, a boy who is spying on his mother. He learns of his parents' divorce, his mother's sex life, and her lover's dark secret. Like the superheroes... (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 mind-boggling mystery when one of his former students, his wife's best friend, and then his own wife wind up dead, and the police consider him to be a prime suspect. This is the first, my personal favorite, of the three "Professor Dobie Mysteries" written by British author Desmond Cory. (See also "The Mask of Zeus" and " (more)
A Catastrophe Machine (2004)
Carter Scholz
A well-written, 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)
Highly Rated!
Gaurav Suri / Hartosh Singh Bal
The intertwined stories of Ravi, a Stanford student taking a course on "Infinity" in the 1980's, and his grandfather who was jailed for blasphemy in New Jersey in 1919 constitute a philosophical investigation... (more)
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)
Highly Rated!
Elliott Ostler
A mathematician known only as ``#6'', while trying to come up with a model that would predict probabilities for different human behaviors, finds that in fact he can very nearly predict the future with... (more)
The Chosen (1967)
Chaim Potok
In Chaim Potok's classic novel about two Jewish teenagers growing up in New York City at the end of World War II, one of the two boys expresses an interest in symbolic logic: 'What kind of mathematics... (more)
Christmas at Cardwell Ranch (2013)
B.J. Daniels
In keeping with my expectations of a Harlequin Romance novel, Christmas at Cardwell Ranch does have an improbable love affair, between a modern-day cowboy and a female mathematician. However, this one... (more)
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)
Claudia and the Middle School Mystery (Baby-sitters Club) (1995)
Ann Martin
A 100-page novel for 2nd graders about Claudia, a girl who is weak in mathematics but who studies hard to pass a class test with flying colors, only to get accused of cheating by the substitute math teacher... (more)
Cliff Walk (1987)
Margaret Dickson
This novel which alternates between being a melancholy character study and thriller, tells the story of a woman named Crelly, from her childhood in a family torn apart by abuse and tragedy, to the separation... (more)
The Clockwork Rocket (2011)
Highly Rated!
Greg Egan
"The Clockwork Rocket" by Greg Egan is the first in his Orthogonal trilogy. As usual the author is very committed with the writing and goes the extra mile (or miles in this case) in order to achieve... (more)
The Clueless Girl's Guide to Being a Genius (2011)
Janice Repka
An excellent book for 4th – 5th graders but one I would recommend for all teachers and students. Written as an interlaced, first-person account of two young girls – Aphrodite, who is a math prodigy... (more)
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 semi-mystical artist Zelian, and much of his spare time finding integers with interesting aesthetic and number... (more)
Code to Zero (2000)
Ken Follett
This thriller is set in 1958, with backdrop the first successful launching of a US satellite. Several of the characters are mathematicians turned rocket scientists. They frequently muse rather explicitly... (more)
Coffee, Love and Matrix Algebra (2014)
Gary Ernest Davis
This novel follows a year in the life of Jeffrey Albacete, a mathematics professor at a Rhode Island University, who is best known as the author of a textbook on matrix algebra. Although I think it... (more)
Coincidence (A novel) [AKA The Coincidence Authority] (2013)
J.W. Ironmoger
A woman who feels her life was guided by a sequence of inexplicable coincidences seeks the advice of Thomas Post, an expert on mathematics and philosophy of "coincidence science". Apparently, Post is... (more)
The Coincidence Engine (2011)
Sam Leith
A tongue-in-cheek, easy-read, quite enjoyable romp of a story about a reclusive mathematician named “Bancharski”, a play on the names of mathematicians Banach and Tarski (unfortunately, Banach-Tarski... (more)
The 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 Hershman-Leeson
Bizarre, low-budget film in which a female computer programmer from the 20th century accesses the memories of Ada Lovelace, the 19th century mathematician and daughter of the poet Lord Byron. The film... (more)
Confusions of Young Torless (1906)
Robert Musil
A semi-autobiographical novel set in a military academy in a desolate corner of the Austro-Hungarian empire, is the story of the intellectual awakening of an intelligent adolescent, and contains several... (more)
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)
Conned Again, Watson! Cautionary Tales of Logic, Math and Probability (2000)
Highly Rated!
Colin Bruce
To follow-up on his clever popular physics book that explains modern physics using Sherlock Holmes as a guide, Oxford based writer Colin Bruce has written a book that teaches some important mathematical... (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)
Highly Rated!
Carl Sagan
This is a fantastic novel; don't skip it just because you saw the movie. Mathematics plays an important role in the book, much more so than in the film. In both, Ellie Arroway detects a message from... (more)
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 δ-ε definition of continuity of a function to discuss the changing self-esteem of a character over time. After briefly recalling the rigorous definition, it introduces... (more)
Continuums (2008)
Highly Rated!
Robert Carr
The decisions we make and the difficulty in accepting the consequences is the main focus of this book about a Romanian mathematician who leaves her country and her daughter to be in a place that she could... (more)
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)
Conversations on Mathematics with a Visitor from Outer Space (1998)
David Ruelle
As the title implies, this is a description of (presumably fictional) discussions that the author had with an alien about mathematics and, in particular, the way that Earth mathematics differs from... (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)
Highly Rated!
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 in-fin-ite-ly 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)
Highly Rated!
Neal Stephenson
This "cult" novel of mathematics, computer science, espionage and warfare follows a mathematician through World War II and his grandson through the creation of a (less than ordinary) silicon valley start-up company.... (more)
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 Night-time (2003)
Highly Rated!
Mark Haddon
This book is a delightful read. You won't want to put it down. It is like nothing you have ever read. A murder mystery where the victim is a dog. A lead character with autism that is passionate... (more)
The Curve of the Snowflake (1956)
William Grey Walter
A beautiful and brilliant woman organizes a team of scientists (and a mathematician) who together make fusion energy efficient and invent a flying submarine...and perhaps a time-machine as well. When... (more)
Cyberchase (2002)
Highly Rated!
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, easy-reading, and humorous. In the story, Professor Henry... (more)
Dante Dreams (1998)
Stephen Baxter
There is an interpretation of Dante's "Divine Comedy" as a mystical description of the universe as a hypersphere (see "Dante and the 3-sphere" American Journal of Physics -- December 1979 -- Volume... (more)
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)
Highly Rated!
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 UC-Berkeley who gets caught up in a battle with a demon when she finds an unusual deck of tarot cards in... (more)
Dark Matter: The Private Life of Sir Isaac Newton (2002)
Philip Kerr
A multiple-murder mystery which outlandishly casts Newton in the role of Sherlock Holmes during his tenure as Warden at the British Royal Mint (Watson is played Christopher Ellis, nephew of mathematician... (more)
The Dark Side of the Sun (1976)
Terry Pratchett
This humorous science fiction novel tells the tale of Dom Salabos, who believes he is destined to become "Chairman of the Board of Widdershins and heir to riches untold", but his allies familiar with p-math... (more)
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)
Highly Rated!
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)
Dear Dumb Diary Year Two #1: School. Hasn't This Gone on Long Enough? (2012)
Jim Benton
An extremely witty, funny look at the psychology of a second-grader who hates mathematics. As she records her thoughts in her diary, you see glimpses of daily issues which irk and stagger a young child.... (more)
Death and the Compass (La Muerte y La Brujula) (1968)
Highly Rated!
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 brother-in-law is a high school math teacher. Nero Wolfe believes this to be relevant at one point, even quoting some mathematical history from an encyclopedia. I... (more)
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)
Decoded (2002)
Mai Jia
This novel tells the story of Rong Jinzhen, a mathematical genius who becomes a cryptographer in Mao's secret intelligence agency. The author, who is a well-known award-winning author in China, supposedly... (more)
Deep Lay the Dead (1942)
Frederick C. Davis
This is a decent but familiar and unremarkable murder mystery, the kind in which an odd assortment of people are trapped together in a house, not knowing which of them is the killer. In this case, they... (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 science-fiction 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)
Highly Rated!
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 ex-husband, 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 all-consuming, universe-destroying frontier of “non-spacetime” 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)
Highly Rated!
Greg Egan
"This is the only science-fiction book I have ever read to define the term fiber bundle." said contributor David Moews of this book. The same for me, though I was disappointed to see that it was... (more)
The Difference Engine (1991)
William Gibson / Bruce Sterling
Two of the innovators of the cyberpunk novel -- famous for showing how messed up the future will be because of technology -- turn everything around and show us instead how great the past would have been... (more)
Digital Fortress (1996)
Dan Brown
In a final act of defiance, a young Japanese genius threatens to make public his "unbreakable code" if the NSA does not confess that it has been reading even encrypted e-mails. The heroine of the story... (more)
Dirac (2006)
Dietmar Dath
The protagonist tries to write a novel about the mathematician and physicist Paul Dirac. Excerpts from Dirac's works and Geoffrey A. Landis' novel "Ripples in the Dirac Sea" are implemented in the plot, so you can learn a lot about mathematics and quantum physics. (As far as I know, this novel is currently only available in the original German. Please correct me if I'm wrong.) (more)
Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency (1987)
Douglas Adams
Douglas Adams is best known for his wacky Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy series. But his two Dirk Gently novels, while maintaining Adams' characteristic high wackiness, also carry ... (more)
A Disappearing Number (2007)
Highly Rated!
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 pathos-filled short story set in rural China toward the end of Mao’s Cultural Revolution. It captures beautifully the sense of loss inherent in a centrally-directed 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. . In brief, it is a gem of... (more)
Distances (2008)
Vandana Singh
Most members of Anasunya's species have "a gift". Since she has a gift of mathematics, she leaves her aquatic home and begins working at the Temple of Mathematical Arts. She has a gift that allows... (more)
Distress (1995)
Highly Rated!
Greg Egan
My friends and I are all in agreement on this one: this book starts out great (at a mathematical physics conference where people are talking about the latest theories of quantum gravity) but then it degenerates... (more)
Divergence (2007)
Tony Ballantyne
This is the third novel of a trilogy that began with RECURSION and CAPACITY. Set in the 23rd century, the nannying of humanity by government and computers is the cause of some discomfort and rebellion. Along... (more)
Division by Zero (1991)
Highly Rated!
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 math-loving eighth grader applies mathematical concepts to problems in her social life. According to the book jacket, the author has a degree in mathematics and writes pieces for many periodicals.... (more)
The Dobie Paradox (1993)
Desmond Cory
Another Professor Dobie mystery (see also The Catalyst and The Mask of Zeus) in which the so-called "Columbo with a chair in mathematics" solves the mystery of the murder of a young girl. There is less... (more)
Doctor Who (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)
Don Juan oder die Liebe zur Geometrie (1953)
Max Frisch
In this German play, sometimes presented in English translation as "Don Juan or the Love of Geometry", the famous lover explains to the audience that the other authors who have written about him have gotten it all wrong; it is mathematics and not women that he truly loves. Thanks to Thorben Brunschütte for bringing this work of mathematical fiction to my attention. (more)
Donald in Mathmagic Land (1959)
Highly Rated!
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 Witch-House (1933)
H.P. Lovecraft
In this story, Walter Gilman, a mathematics graduate student at Miskatonic University in Arkham, Mass, rents a room in the famed haunted "Witch House" of Keziah Mason, a witch who legend says escaped... (more)
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 (1717-1783), best known -- to me at least -- as the first to study and solve the famous linear wave equation u_xx + c u_tt = 0. See the online bookreview at at MAA Online. (more)
Echoes from the Past (2006)
Edward Michel-Bird
A young mathematics professor becomes involved in a mystery and a love affair when the identity of his true biological father is called into question. No mathematical ideas or results are discussed in... (more)
Eifelheim (2006)
Highly Rated!
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 Xeelee-sequence of stories and novels. In far distant future, the Xeelee decide to lock away the human race in a world hidden in hyperspace (as the pale, atavistic remnants... (more)
The Einstein 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 See-Saw (1932)
Miles J. Breuer
This is another of the hyperspace stories by Miles Breuer. This time, a mathematical physicist discovers that mattter can be tossed around in and out of space(-time) [see his papers, "A Preliminary Report... (more)
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
An unusual and intimate novel that follows three women: a widowed sheep-farmer, a mathematician who studies quasicrystals, and a taxidermist (whose included blog entries explain the title of the book).... (more)
Emilie: La Marquise Du Châtelet Defends Her Life Tonight (2010)
Lauren Gunderson
This play allows Gabrielle Émilie Le Tonnelier de Breteuil, marquise du Châtelet, who was a successful mathematical physicist until her tragic death at age 42 in the year 1749, to analyze her own life... (more)
Emmy Noether: The Mother of Modern Algebra (2008)
Margaret B.W. Tent
A semi-fictional biography of Emmy Noether written for young adults. The book has received positive reviews from many mathematicians who hope (as, one supposes, does the author) that young readers will... (more)
Empire of the Ants (1991)
Bernard Werber
This is a fascinating first novel. Published in France under the title "Les Fourmis" in 1991 and translated into English as "Empire of the Ants" (not to be confused with the H G Wells story or movie... (more)
En busca de Klingsor (In Search of Klingsor) (1999)
Jorge Volpi
The story is highly mathematical, involving a German Character called Gustav Links, though the main character is a young American physicist called Francis Bacon (sounds good). The idea is that this... (more)
The End of Mr. Y (2006)
Scarlett Thomas
After her thesis advisor disappears, a graduate students studying "thought experiments" in science and in fiction discovers a copy of the rare (and supposedly cursed) book "The End of Mr. Y". Following... (more)
Enigma (1995)
Robert Harris / Tom Stoppard
In this this espionage story set in England's Bletchley Park at the height of the Second World War, Tom Jericho is a clever mathematician at the famous code breaking facility who -- either despite or because... (more)
Eon (1985)
Greg Bear
Its been quite a while since I read this, but some info is better than none! Its rather like "Rama" - a big asteroid appears over the earth in the near future. It was obviously made to be inhabited... (more)
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 re-released as a novel... (more)
The Escher Twist (2002)
Jane Langton
Part of the author's Homer/Mary Kelly series of mysteries based in Concord MA. The plot centers on a crystallographer falling in love with a stranger at an exhibit of Escher work, and... (more)
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 horror-and-coming-of-age 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 techno-legal thriller centered on a trial over cryptographic exportation. The chip in question uses properties of large Mersenne primes to provide an unbreakable code. This explanation seems to... (more)
The 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)
The Extraordinary Hotel or the Thousand and First Journey of Ion the Quiet (1968)
Highly Rated!
Stanislaw Lem
Here, the famous Polish author toys with the counter-intuitive nature of the countably-infinite by postulating the existence of an intergalactic hotel with rooms indexed by the positive integers. For instance,... (more)
Eye of the Beholder (2005)
Highly Rated!
Alex Kasman
Shortly after a stunning success in her research, personal tragedy forces a math professor to change careers and begin work at the NSA where her work on cryptography involves some difficult ethical decisions.... (more)
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 water-logged planet called “Hydros”, populated by artificial islands floating on a planet-spanning ocean. A few humans on one of the islands end up offending the local “Dwellers”... (more)
Factoring Humanity (1998)
Highly Rated!
Robert J. Sawyer
There is certainly a lot of deep mathematics discussed in this `first contact' novel, as well as a good deal of controversial physics and psychology. Still, in the end, I did not find it especially satisfying.... (more)
The Facts of Death (1998)
Raymond Benson
Would you believe...James Bond battling a mathematical cult bent on world destruction? (It could happen.) In this latter day Bond novel, the villian is a dynamic leader of a cult who bases his teachings... (more)
The Fairy Chessmen (1951)
Henry Kuttner
A mathematician whose research involves a type of chess played with variable rules ("fairy chess") is the only one able to solve an "equation from the future" in which the constants are treated as variables... (more)
The Fairytale of the Completely Symmetrical Butterfly (2003)
Dietmar Dath
I have long thought that Emmy Noether deserved to be the heroine of a work of mathematical fiction. I had even begun writing a story of my own to fill this gap. But, have no fear, since Dietmar Dath... (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)
Fantasia Mathematica : Being a Set of Stories, Together With a Group of Oddments and Diversions, All Drawn from ... (1958)
Highly Rated!
Clifton Fadiman (editor)
This is the first of the two wonderful, classic collections of mathematically flavored literature and such by Clifton Fadiman. (The second is "Mathematical Magpie".) Fortunately, it is now available... (more)
The Fatal Equation (1933)
Arthur Strangeland
This is a very well-crafted 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 feather-touch story about a young woman who comes to New York to do an MBA - and has to pass a Calculus course, a pre-requisite for an MBA. A brief description of how utterly lost she is after her... (more)
The Feeling of Power (1957)
Highly Rated!
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)
Highly Rated!
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 Fifth-Dimension Catapult (1931)
Murray Leinster
This short novel, originally published in the January 1931 ASTOUNDING, and republished by Damon Knight in SCIENCE FICTION OF THE 30'S (1975), involves a mathematical physicist whose theories get applied... (more)
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) pp112-115. (more)
The Finan-seer (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)
Highly Rated!
Edwin Abbott Abbott
This is the classic example of mathematical fiction in which the author helps us to think about the meaning of "dimension" through fictional example: a visit to a world with only two spatial dimensions.... (more)
Flatterland: like Flatland, only more so (2001)
Highly Rated!
Ian Stewart
In this "sequel" to Flatland, popular mathematics writer Ian Stewart lets us accompany the granddaugther of the original "A. Square" who starred in original classic, as she learns about fractal dimensions,... (more)
Flea Circus: A Brief Bestiary of Grief (2012)
Mandy Keifetz
A mathematically inclined woman deals with her grief over the suicide of her lover, an entomologist who runs a flea circus, in this award winning novel. Although the cover summary describes her as a... (more)
The Flight of the Dragonfly (aka Rocheworld) (1984)
Robert L. Forward
A crew of humans travel to a distant planet to meet the intelligent lifeform we have discovered there. They turn out to be a race largely interested in mathematical problems (sounds very reasonable... (more)
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 Three-Body Problem, Vanessa Duncan is called upon to save an innocent young woman, falsely suspected of murdering her older and unlikable husband. Although there is no mathematics... (more)
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)
Forgotten Milestones in Computing No. 7: The Quenderghast Bullian Algebraic Calculator (1990)
Alex Stewart
A very creative story about a mathematician which History has entirely forgotten - one "Thaddeus Q. Quenderghast III, of Nettlebend, Wyoming". Born around 1821, a contemporary of Charles Babbage and... (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 Four-Color Problem (1971)
Barrington J. Bayley
A story written in a psychedelic, stream-of-consciousness style a la William S. Burroughs concerning the discovery of previously unknown countries on the Earth whose existence provides a counter-example... (more)
The Four-Color Puzzle: Falling Off the Map (2013)
Lior Samson
A math professor becomes intrigued with a high school student he meets at an online tutoring site when she presents him with what appears to be a short and very clever proof of the four-color theorem.... (more)
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 Fourth-Dimensional Demonstrator (1935)
Murray Leinster
Uses the fourth dimension as geewhiz terminology to explain a matter duplicator/unduplicator. Includes a tesseract. But if you ignore the story's explanation involving time as ... (more)
Fractal Mode (1992)
Piers Anthony
Here, Anthony's usual blend of fantasy and science fiction takes us to an alternate universe where the geometry of worlds themselves take on the form of the Mandelbrot set. Unfortunately, he spends a... (more)
The Fractal Murders (2001)
Highly Rated!
Mark Cohen
In this award winning (Top Ten Mysteries on the Book Sense 76 Fall List for 2002) mystery novel "Hard-Boiled" Detective Pepper Keane is hired by a tall and attractive math professor (with whom he of course... (more)
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....Salty-fibered seafaring knots such as Trefoil - as... (more)
The French Mathematician (1998)
Highly Rated!
Tom Petsinis
A fictionalized account (in first person) of the life and untimely death of Evariste Galois, originator of the mathematical subject now known as group theory. This is a story about a mathematician,... (more)
Freud's Megalomania: A Novel (2001)
Israel Rosenfield
This is an intriguing piece of work, mixing fact with fiction and different styles (from the scientific essay to the diary), probably best understood as an ironic look upon the "Freud wars".... (more)
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 award-winning 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)
Highly Rated!
Douglas Hofstadter
Pulitzer Prize wining book whose chapters alternate between fictional "dialogues" and more standard non-fiction format to present ideas from philosophy, art, music and psychology as well as mathematical... (more)
G103 (2006)
Highly Rated!
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 Pot-Healer (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 mumbo-jumbo like "translating her mathematical intuitions into appropriate quasi-shapes... (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 name-dropping" 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)
Gauß, Eisenstein, and the ``third'' proof of the Quadratic Reciprocity Theorem: Ein kleines Schauspiel (1994)
Reinhard C. Laubenbacher / David J. Pengelley
It is presented as a dialogue/drama between Gauss and Eisenstein, talking about the third proof of Gauss's reciprocity theorem (perhaps the actors are supposed to draw symbols in the air to make the... (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 non-sequitor, one of the characters in the story guesses that the numbers... (more)
Gödel's Sunflowers (1992)
Highly Rated!
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 Garin-Mikhailovskii
The Russian Engineer N.G. Mikhailovskii (1852-1906) 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)
Geometry in the South Pacific (1927)
Sylvia Warner
A chapter from Warner's novel (more)
The Geometry of Love (1966)
John Cheever
An engineer is inspired by a passing truck from "Euclid's Dry Cleaning" to apply geometric principles to his own marital problems. He finds that interpreting his family as a triangle has the advantage... (more)
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 tongue-in-cheek, 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 self-respect 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 anti-hero Jack Wilson as a "brilliant mathematician" and also a "diabolical madman" in this thriller based on the popular conspiracy theory claiming that Nikola Tesla is... (more)
The Ghost from the Grand Banks (1990)
Arthur C. Clarke
The topics change from the Titanic to a giant octopus but a central one is the Mandelbrot set. We are introduced to mathematician-cum-computer wizard Edith Craig who invents software to fix the Y2K... (more)
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 anti-matter universe who terrorizes airplane pilots (but apparently, not movie... (more)
Gifted: A Novel (2007)
Nikita Lalwani
This novel tells the coming-of-age story of a girl whose Indian father is a professor of mathematics in Wales. She is talented at mathematics and even uses sophisticated math in her everyday life (e.g.... (more)
The 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 self-taught, 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 heel-breaking adventure in code-breaking that will bring out the math geek and the fashionista in you". "Cryptography is the new black". A woman with... (more)
Global Dawn (2007)
Deborah Gelbard
Geometry, especially the notion of the "tilted square", plays a mathematical as well as a spiritual role in the ambitious project undertaken in this novel. According to the author, "The protagonist aims... (more)
Globión's Whimsical Shape (La Caprichosa Forma de Globión) (1999)
Alejandro Illanes Mejía
It is a tale about the quest of the inhabitants of Globión to find the true shape of their home planet. It also explains in a crystal-clear way some very abstract notions of topology of surfaces, and... (more)
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)
Highly Rated!
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 get-rich-quick 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 Goddess of Small Victories [La déesse des petites victoire] (2012)
Yannick Grannec
A beautifully written novel about the life of Kurt Gödel. In fact, it is not Kurt himself or his math, but his wife Adele who is the focus of attention. The set up of the story is that Adele has refused... (more)
The Gold at Starbow's End (aka Starburst / aka Alpha Aleph) (1972)
Frederik Pohl
A short story based on an interesting premise that at some point in the (near) future, mankind will stop making interesting, fundamental discoveries because we have too much knowledge and too much apparatus... (more)
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, anti-social, and spends his time trying to "penetrate zero". (more)
The Gold-Bug (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 little-known "University of Northern Vermont", Professor Goldman does not seem to be living up to his promise as a great math researcher. Under pressure from his superiors, he claims to have... (more)
Goliijo (2007)
Alex Rose
A very cute, mind-tickling 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)
Highly Rated!
Alan P. Lightman
This novel presents many instances in the life of mathematical physicist Bennett Lang, the "Benito" of the title. The different scenes, presented non-chronologically, cover most of his life from early... (more)
Good Will (1989)
Jane Smiley
A poor couple living on a rural farm deal with the intrusions of the "outside world", including an affluent and worldly African-American math professor and her young daughter. I don't think there... (more)
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 Earth-shaking 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)
Highly Rated!
Miles J. Breuer (M.D.)
In this classic science fiction story, a mathematical physicist convinces his friend to try to travel into another dimension by merely altering the way he thinks about things. The friend finds himself... (more)
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 Banach-Tarski paradox is invoked repeatedly as the underlying explanation for shapeshifting. And higher-dimensional generalizations prove crucial to the plot. The author goes so far as to cite... (more)
Gravity's Rainbow (1973)
Highly Rated!
Thomas Pynchon
In this novel "there's "mathematicians' graffiti" and a lot of musing on the Poisson-curve. See, for ex. page 140 in the Pengiun 20th century classics edition. I was impressed with Pynchon's... (more)
Ground Zero Man (The Peace Machine) (1971)
Bob Shaw
A self-described `unimportant mathematician' who works on guidance systems for a British weapons manufacturer discovers, just by playing around with the formulas, a way to cause the explosion of every... (more)
Gulliver's Travels (1726)
Jonathan Swift
If you are lucky enough to find an unabridged version of Swift's classic book, you will be able to read (among descriptions of the people of many other unbelievable countries) about the people of Laputa.... (more)
Gulliver's Posthumous Travels to Riemann's Land and Lobachevskia (1947)
William Pepperell Montague
In this sequel to Swift's classic Gulliver's Travels (which is also mathematical), Barnard College philosopher Montague tells us of his dreams in which Gulliver shares with him the non-Euclidean geometry... (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 in-law (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)
Highly Rated!
Adele Griffin
The story of a 13 year old girl living in rural Pennsylvania in 1934, "Hannah" presents us with yet another fictional account of someone who is not only talented in mathematics but also psychologically... (more)
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 double-agent 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 panick-stricken woman the question, "if I give you a penny the first... (more)
The Happy Numbers of Julius Miles (2013)
Jim Keeble
The characters in this twisted tale include a transexual "Cupid" with a drug problem, a crooked businessman, a Somali babysitter, a four-year old boy of unknown paternity, a London police officer, the... (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)
Highly Rated!
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)
Highly Rated!
Gerrit Krol
It was published in 1967 by Querido, Amsterdam, and seems to have been translated into Italian (La testa millimetrata). There is a lot of mathematics in this experimental novel (Hans Freudenthal judged:... (more)
Hickory Dickory Shock! The Tale of Techies (2010)
Sundip Gorai
This novel, which the author tells me is a best-seller in India, is a mystery thriller whose protagonist is a young man named "210". In the first chapter, which is available for free at the book's official... (more)
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)
Highly Rated!
Sharelle Byars Moranville
A teenage girl in the 1950's pursues her dream of becoming a mathematician in the American midwest over a background of sexism, romance and Cold War politics. This fictional account mirrors some of the... (more)
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 anti-social 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 Holmes-Ginsbook 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)
The Housekeeper and the Professor (Hakase No Aishita Sushiki) (2004)
Highly Rated!
Yoko Ogawa
In the Japanese novel Hakase No Aishita Sushiki, a young single mother is hired to care for an older mathematician who is suffering from anterograde amnesia caused by a car accident. The professor, who... (more)
How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe (2010)
Charles Yu
Fans of mathematical fiction are likely to love the self-referential nature of this novel about a time-machine repairman whose future self travels back in time to give him a novel about a time-machine... (more)
The Humans: A Novel (2013)
Matt Haig
After Cambridge mathematician Andrew Martin proves the Riemann Hypothesis, he is replaced by an alien whose job it is to prevent news of the discovery from spreading as it is their belief that humans are... (more)
Hypatia (2000)
Mac Wellman
Artistically produced off-Broadway 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 Greco-Roman world. This book, written in 1852 by Reverend Kingsley, focuses more... (more)
The Hyperboloid of Engineer Garin (1927)
Aleksei Nikolaevich Tolstoi
Written by a distant relative of the more famous author Count Tolstoy, by one of the first Russian science fiction writers, this tells the story of a mad scientist who tries to take over the world,... (more)
I Married You for Happiness (2011)
Highly Rated!
Lily Tuck
A bittersweet and beautiful work of literature in which an artist sitting beside the corpse of her recently deceased mathematician husband recalls snippets of their lives: how they met, conceiving and... (more)
I 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 al-Bokhari, 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, tall-tale reminiscent of Heinlein's "And He Built A Crooked House". Someone ends up making a 3-dimensional, unfolded projection of a 5-dimensional hypercube, a Penteract. The... (more)
The Image in the Mirror (1933)
Dorothy Leigh Sayers
Lord Peter Wimsey, while staying at an inn, finds a stranger is completely rapt in reading and rereading from a book of Wimsey's. It turns out to be H G Wells' story of a man inverted via the fourth... (more)
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)
Imaginary Numbers : An Anthology of Marvelous Mathematical Stories, Diversions, Poems, and Musings (1999)
Highly Rated!
William Frucht (editor)
Although it is nice to see a more recent collection of mathematical stories (published in 1999), I'm afraid that many of these works seem only tenuously connected to mathematics at best. Stories about... (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)
Highly Rated!
Adam Fawer
A probability expert suffering from epilepsy (with hints of schizophrenia) is in over his head with gambling debts to the Russian mob and a beautiful, renegade CIA agent before discovering that he has the ability to predict the future. A running subplot is the mathematical aspects of determinism (i.e. (more)
In 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 Light of What We Know (2014)
Zia Haider Rahman
The plot of this novel involves the financial industry around the time of the 2008 crash, Afghanistan after the American invasion, and the romance between a very clever man who grew up poor in Bangladesh... (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 homo-eroticism. 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 24-28, 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)
Highly Rated!
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 ship-wrecked 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)
Inspector Morimoto and the Sushi Chef: A Detective Story set in Japan (2005)
Timothy Hemion (aka Anthony Hayter)
In this installment of the Inspector Morimoto series of novels, a man the detectives believe to be innocent seems likely to be convicted of robbing ATMs. A key component of the evidence against him is... (more)
An Instance of the Fingerpost (1999)
Iain Pears
A murder mystery set in Oxford in the 1660's. Mathematician John Wallis plays a major role as a character in the book (and Newton a small role). See the review at MAA online. A very fine piece... (more)
The 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 worm-hole that randomly appears in cities, killing anyone who is not able to make it to the center of the spacetime-distortion 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)
Intoxicating Heights (Höhenrausch. Die Mathematik des XX. Jahrhunderts in zwanzig Gehirnen) (2003)
Dietmar Dath
Word by word I would translate Dath's "Höhenrausch" as "High-altitude Euphoria. Mathematics of the 20th century in 20 brains". It is a collection of short stories and fictional portraits of (I copy... (more)
The Inverted World (1974)
Christopher Priest
About a mobile city that must tap its power from a mysterious `optimum point', which is less effective for their engines as it gets more distant. Weird distortion of the surrounding world is based... (more)
The Investigation (1959)
Highly Rated!
Stanislaw Lem
In investigating a bizarre case of missing -- and apparently resurrected bodies -- an investigator at Scotland Yard consults mystics, philosophers, and (most significantly to the book as well as to this... (more)
An Invisible Sign of My Own (2000)
Aimee Bender
Mona Gray is a second grade math teacher for whom math is not only a job, but a beloved friend, an obsession and a security blanket. In this first novel we learn about the events that have shaped her... (more)
Irrational Numbers (2008)
Robert Spiller
Another mystery about high school math teacher Bonnie Pinkwater by the author of Witch of Agnesi. Like the others in this series, this is a murder mystery with adult themes (violence, homosexuality, etc.)... (more)
The Ishango Bone (2012)
Paul Hastings Wilson
Amiele becomes the first female student at Trinity College and goes on to disprove the Riemann Hypothesis at the age of 26, but is denied the Fields Medal. Written as if it were her life story recorded... (more)
The Island of Five Colors (1952)
Highly Rated!
Martin Gardner
In this sequel to The No-sided 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 and the Aktuals, or, Physical Applications of Transfinite Set Theory (2008)
Rudy Rucker
As the title suggests, the seemingly completely abstract Continuum Hypothesis is found to be manifested in the physical universe in this bizarre short story. It is very similar in feel and content to... (more)
Jack of Eagles (1952)
James Blish
Blish bases this novel on a quasi-mathematical explanation of ESP and psycho-kinesis which was really not necessary and doesn’t hold together at all (“the activity of the psi mechanism as a whole... (more)
The Janus Equation (1980)
Steven G. Spruill
In an alternate reality where John Kennedy survived the assassination attempt and replaced all national governments with five all-powerful corporations, an award-winning mathematician tries to invent a... (more)
Jayden's Rescue (2002)
Highly Rated!
Vladimir Tumanov
I am the author of a children's math mystery novel entitled Jayden's Rescue and Published by Scholastic Canada. This novel's plot revolves around mathematical puzzles for the grades 4-6 level. The... (more)
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 rabbit-series/sequence, his abacus-duel with Pisa's foremost... (more)
John Jones's Dollar (1915)
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 frequently-used device: "Alice in X", where X can be any kind of space which you wish to explain to the gentle reader. In this instance, Alice, along with Lewis Carroll and a Doctor... (more)
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)
Ker-Plop (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
Cheri-Anne Toledo, the daughter of the King of Ohio, uses her mathematical skills (and the assistance of Nikola Tesla) to build a device that is supposed to be able transport people instantaneously from... (more)
The 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 non-overlapping "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 trans-dimensional... (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 card-counter 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
Science-fiction 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)
Highly Rated!
John Boyd
A mathematician named Haldane IV and a poet named Helix fall in love and try to learn the truth about the famous 19th century mathematician Fairweather I. Unfortunately, both of these things are against... (more)
The Last Theorem (2008)
Arthur C. Clarke / Frederik Pohl
Ranjit Subramanian, the protagonist in this science fiction novel, is a young Sri Lankan man who (re)discovers a short and elementary proof of Fermat's Last Theorem while enduring torture during an unjust... (more)
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)
Lee a Julio Verne: El Amore En Tiempos de Criptografia (2002)
Susana Mataix
A Spanish novel in which three characters must relearn some mathematics and read Jules Verne to solve the puzzle left to them by a parent. Thanks to Elena Kaczorowski for pointing it out to me. (more)
Leeches (2011)
David Albahari
Serb author David Albahari's avant-garde novel about a newspaper columnist caught up in a Kabbalistic plot is notable in that it is written as a single, unbroken paragraph. It is also sort of interesting,... (more)
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)
Highly Rated!
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 e-mail from Charles Freudenthal has suggested to me that the pilot episode of the TV Series "Lewis" (a spin-off of the popular Inspector... (more)
The Library of Babel (1941)
Highly Rated!
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 Three-Body Problem and Flowers Stained with Moonlight for the earlier... (more)
Life After Genius (2008)
M. Ann Jacoby
Although his family would normally expect him to stay in their small town and take over the family business (a combination of a furniture store and funeral home), Mead Fegley's "genius" gives him the unprecedented... (more)
Life and Fate (1959)
Vasily Grossman
A Russian nuclear physicist flirts with the wife of his mathematician colleague and makes an important mathematical discovery, all during the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union. I had not heard of this... (more)
The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman (1759)
Laurence Sterne
Michele Benzi wrote to recommend that I add this classic novel, which was critically praised when it first appeared and then fell in esteem due to accusations of plagiarism. Benzi writes: I was surprised... (more)
Life in a Mirror (2003)
Daniel Ryan
This e-book not only contains many explicit references to mathematics, but it also claims to follow the outline of a mathematical text! Set in 18th century Brittany, the story is ostensibly about royalty... (more)
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 space-time), it is possible to witness any event that is taking or has taken place in the universe. This makes privacy essentially an obsolete... (more)
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 British-only... (more)
Little Zero the Seafarer [Captain One's frigate] (1968)
Vladimir Levshin
[This Russian children's novel] is about the titular character (who appears in the other books [by Levshin]), sailing from the A bay through arithmetical, algebraical and geometrical seas, learning... (more)
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 meme-minds in Gregory Benford's Foundations Fear. Meme-mind -- 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)
Highly Rated!
Apostolos Doxiadis / Christos Papadimitriou
A graphic novel on the history of mathematical logic by the authors of Uncle Petros and Goldbach's Conjecture and Turing. In an interview (available online here) Papadimitriou says: It is really... (more)
The Long Chalkboard (2006)
Jenny Allen / Jules Feiffer (Illustrator)
Allen's book is a collection of three short-short 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 e-mail messages from a feminist historian interspersed with chapters from a previously unknown novel by Lord Byron which she has discovered while researching his daughter,... (more)
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)
Los relatos de Gudor Ben Jusá: Cuentos y consejas con algo de matemáticas más son pocas y de las viejas (1994)
Juan de Burgos Román
A compilation of 40 short stories of mathematical fiction by Juan de Burgos, including those from his calculus books and his 1994 commencement address. Published by Fundación General de la Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, 1994. (more)
Lost (2011)
Tamora Pierce
A mathematically talented little girl from a mystical medieval realm is abused by her anti-intellectual 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 pseudo-scholarship, explaining how the chapters to follow were decoded by an NSA cryptographer with the help of the author. The intro contains references to... (more)
Lost in Lexicon: An Adventure in Words and Numbers (2010)
Pendred Noyce
This novel for middle school aged children seems at first rather similar to the Phantom Tollbooth, which was apparently a source of inspiration for its author. The plot is familiar: a boy and girl travel... (more)
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)
Highly Rated!
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)
Highly Rated!
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 multi-body 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 well-integrated 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 "intra-dimensional" 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 Counted : A Collection of Mathematical Adventures (1949)
Highly Rated!
Malba Tahan
The Man who counted: delightful adventures of a medieval arabic mathematician. It is aimed at young readers (10+) but can be enjoyed by all. The mathematics is elementary but is all correct and nicely... (more)
The Man Who Dammed the Yangtze: A Mathematical Novel (2011)
Alex Kuo
A story of two number theorists at the opposite ends of the world having similar experiences of strife and disillusionment at times of great turmoil. Ge is a female mathematician teaching in schools in... (more)
The Man Without Qualities Vol. 1: A Sort of Introduction and Pseudo Reality Prevails (1930)
Highly Rated!
Robert Musil
The hero of this landmark of Modernism is a mathematician. The author, Austrian Robert Musil, studied mathematics and philosophy in college. "Life-changing view of how to live. The finest work... (more)
Mangum, P.I. (2004)
Colin Adams
A parody of the hard-boiled 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)
Highly Rated!
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)
Highly Rated!
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)
Highly Rated!
Hiroshi Yuki
Three high school friends work through some difficult mathematical ideas in this book, recently translated into English from the Japanese original. The author is apparently well known in Japan for his... (more)
Math is Murder (2012)
Robert C. Brigham / James B. Reed
This is a murder mystery co-written by an emeritus math professor and a retired crime scene investigator. The victim was an egotistical and (almost unbelievably) unpleasant mathematics department chair... (more)
Math Patrol (1977)
Highly Rated!
TV Ontario
"Math Patrol was a 15-minute 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. Li-Chang Hung, who has read the books translated into Chinese, has suggested that I add... (more)
The Mathematical Magpie: Being more stories, mainly transcendental, plus subjects of essays, rhymes, music, anecdotes, ... (1962)
Highly Rated!
Clifton Fadiman (editor)
This is the second of the two wonderful, classic collections of mathematically flavored literature and such by Clifton Fadiman. (The first was "Fantasia Mathematica".) Here is a partial listing of... (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)
A Mathematical Mystery Tour: Discovering the Truth and Beauty of the Cosmos (1999)
Highly Rated!
A.K. Dewdney
A "chicken and the egg"-type question of interest to fans of mathematics is this: "Are mathematical results discovered or invented?" To answer this question, A.K. Dewdney takes a "mathematical" tour... (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 knot-theorist Colin Adams (Williams College, MA) has been writing this short, mathematically-wise 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)
The Mathematician's Shiva (2014)
Stuart Rojstaczer
When Rachela Karnokovich dies, her family's attempt to conduct the Jewish mourning ritual of sitting shiva is disturbed by the many strangers who descend on her Madison, WI home. Although she never won... (more)
The Mathematician’s Nightmare: The Vision of Professor Squarepunt (1954)
Bertrand Russell
This short story by [renowned philosopher and mathematician Bertrand] Russell is a mild satire on numerology, taking [Sir Arthur] Eddington’s obsession with it and spinning it as a “nightmare”... (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)
Highly Rated!
Norman Kagan
A hilarious story that plays with the mind-blowing 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)
Highly Rated!
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)
Highly Rated!
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 "Dis-moi qui tu aimes (je te dirai qui tu hais)". However, it has just been be republished (Fall of 2002) with a change... (more)
Maths on a Plane (2008)
P T
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)
Highly Rated!
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 electro-magnetic 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 non-fiction 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)
Highly Rated!
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)
Highly Rated!
Scott Westerfield
Teenagers discover an extra hour to the day during which they can do things while everyone else is frozen. Unfortunately, they also have to worry about the Darklings! One of the teens, Dess, is interested... (more)
Midtown Pythagoras (2007)
Michael Brodsky
Michael Brodsky is a deconstructionist's dream writer, which for most people, simply means utterly unreadable. His many novels, stories, and plays inhabit a world where meaning is just past the reader's... (more)
Milo and Sylvie (2000)
Eliot Fintushel
"Shapeshifting is treated as a form of Banach-Tarski 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)
Highly Rated!
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 Mind-Body Problem (1983)
Rebecca Goldstein
A philosophy graduate student seduces and marries a famous mathematician. They do not have a great marriage, but we are presented with some thought provoking passages concerning Princeton University,... (more)
The Mirror Has Two Faces (1996)
Barbra Streisand (director)
Love story with Jeff Bridges and Barbra Streisand as math and English professors (respectively) at Columbia University. We get a detailed description of the Twin Prime Conjecture (concerning the number... (more)
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 non-fiction, it is generally believed that this account concerning a very thoughtful six year old girl is a work of fiction. It is primarily about the girl's philosophy... (more)
Mobius Strip (1978)
Cho-Se 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 mirror-maker 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)
Una-Mary Parker
When her father, a brilliant but somewhat twisted mathematical statistician, dies unexpectedly, a woman is forced by his will to distribute valuable jewels to all of the women with whom he has cheated... (more)
Monday Begins on Saturday (1966)
Arkady Strugatsky / Boris Strugatsky
In this parody of the activity at Soviet research thinktanks, mathematics underlies the "science" of magic. Math is rarely discussed in depth and a knowledge of Russian fairy tales helps the reader to... (more)
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)
Highly Rated!
Andrew Thomas Breslin
Lawyer Cindy Kichlklug takes on the dairy industry (with the aid of a quirky mathematician) in this witty SF satire. The "conspiracy theory" in the book is well put together. It tightly combines so... (more)
The Mouse and his Child (1967)
Russell Hoban
Not really a kids book (too violent and depressing) nor an adult book (about a toy mouse that goes on an adventure, with illustrations) this is nonetheless an interesting allegory for those so inclined.... (more)
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)
Multi-Colored Dome (1987)
Martin Gardner
A light-hearted, short story about a shy but precocious Math student working on symbolic logic (“he had read “Principia Mathematica” when he was in high school, and understood it, too”). Thesis... (more)
The Mummy and Miss Nitocris: A Phantasy of the Fourth Dimension (1906)
George Griffith
In his presentation entitled "An Examination of Some Supposed Mathematical Impossibilities" before the Royal Society, Professor Marmion demonstrates that he can do three geometric constructions that mathematicians... (more)
Murder and Mendelssohn (Phryne Fisher Mystery) (2014)
Kerry Greenwood
As a fan of the Miss Fisher Murder Mysteries TV Series, I was pleased to see that the 20th novel in the series that inspired it features a mathematician, giving me an excuse to read it. Phryne Fisher... (more)
Murder at the Margin (1978)
Marshall Jevons
This is the first of the Henry Spearman murder mysteries (the others being THE FATAL EQUILIBRIUM and A DEADLY INDIFFERENCE--they can be read in any order). These unusual murder mysteries star Harvard... (more)
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 rapid-read, reasonably entertaining novel about the real location of the Pharaoh Khufu’s (Cheops) tomb and the fabulous treasury buried therein. An old, Chinese mathematician spends decades decoding... (more)
The Mystic Cipher (2009)
Dennis Mangrum
When an ex-Army Ranger finds a mysterious coded document on his farm purporting to be the key to the location of a hidden treasure, he enlists the aid of his daughter, a math student. There is stereotypical... (more)
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 N-Plus-1th-Degree (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 n-plus-1th 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 Post-modernist (2013)
Sarah Lawrence College Writing Class WRIT-3303-R / Melvin Jules Bukiet
Written as a group project by the students in a creative writing class at Sarah Lawrence College, this wacky academic farce takes the form of a whodunit, trying to identify the murderer of a math professor. (more)
The Name of the Rose (1980)
Umberto Eco
A mystery novel which takes place in a 14th Century monastery by the brilliant Italian author, Umberto Eco. This book only has a small amount of math in it, but I frequently receive recommendations to... (more)
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 sit-com. 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 short-short. "Naturally" is a one-pager 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 space-time 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)
Highly Rated!
David Zindell
"[In this book], the Order of Pilots tries to tackle the Continuum Hypothesis. It's a long, strange, complex story, but it seems pretty certain that the author had some mathematical training. He tries... (more)
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 Absent-Minded Master (1971)
Vladimir Levshin
This is the third in the Master of the Absent-Minded Sciences trilogy. The third book is about the two investigating the stealing of a very valuable stamp. It ends with the promise of further adventures, but the author never wrote them. Levshin's beloved children's books have never been translated into English, but can be read in Russian at lib.rus.ec. (more)
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 two-dimensional 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 future--including the nice girl of the title--talk at cross purposes, but no one realizes... (more)
Night and Day (1919)
Virginia Woolf
The protagonist, Katherine Hilbery, is a young woman who (like the author) grows up in a "literary" family; her "job" is to help her mother both in writing a biography of her grandfather, a famous... (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 non-campanologists. As usual with Sayers, she makes... (more)
No One You Know (2008)
Michelle Richmond
Having felt overshadowed by her mathematician older sister when she was alive, the main character becomes obsessed with her murder after the sister is killed. Using her sister's notebook describing her... (more)
No Regrets (2007)
Shannon Butcher
This is an espionage thriller in which a cryptographer reluctantly helps the military break a mathematical code. It gets high ratings from those who enjoy this sort of cloak-and-dagger stuff. Moreover,... (more)
No-Sided Professor (1946)
Highly Rated!
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 Non-Statistical 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 best-selling... (more)
Notes from the Underground (1864)
Fyodor Dostoevsky
Part I involves an unnamed rather crazed and unreliable narrator (generally known as "the Underground Man") raving and rambling against life, the universe, and everything. A few... (more)
Nothing but the Truth (and a few white lies) (2006)
Justina Chen Headley
This is a novel for young adults about a half Asian teenager who is sent to a summer Math Camp at Stanford by her overprotective mother. She enjoys the camp more than she expected to, until her mother... (more)
Null-P (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)
Highly Rated!
Nick Falacci / Cheryl Heuton
This TV crime drama (premiered January 2005) follows the adventures of a pair of brothers, one a mathematics professor and the other an FBI agent, as they combine forces to solve mysteries. Cool effects... (more)
Number 9: The Search for the Sigma Code (1998)
Cecil Balmond
A young boy learns about mathematics while trying to solve a mathematical puzzle. "As a teacher and Education Inspector in England I would rate this book very highly. It is extremely well written... (more)
The Number Devil (Der Zahlenteufel) (1997)
Highly Rated!
Hans Magnus Enzensberger
"The title may be translated as The Counting Devil, or maybe The Number Devil, and it has a subtitle that translates to 'a pillowbook for everyone who is afraid of math'. Enzensberger is a respected... (more)
The Number of the Beast (1979)
Robert A. Heinlein
Engineer and physicist Jacob Burroughs invents a time machine which lets him travel to what we might consider "alternate universes". The underlying mathematics involves the notion that there are in... (more)
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 co-author (with John Schumaker) of STATISTICS: AN INTUITIVE APPROACH, and practicing psychotherapist, tells a charming little fable about Numberland. Peace, harmony,... (more)
Numbers (2009)
Dana Dane
Hip Hop artist Dana Dane wrote this novel about a NYC youth with mathematical talent who gets caught up in a life of crime. There is no actual mathematics discussed. Rather, it appears in a few brief comments only to justify the protagonist's nickname of "Numbers" and presumably to convince us that he had the potential for a bright future under the right circumstances. (more)
Numbers Don't Lie (2005)
Terry Bisson
This novel is actually just a compilation of three Wilson Wu short stories ("The Hole in the Hole", "The Edge of the Universe" and "Get Me to the Church on Time") which were previously published in Asimov's... (more)
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)
Highly Rated!
Jeff Noon
A math professor's theory of ``nymphomation'' (described in the book as a way for numbers to mate) is used to develop a lottery game called "Domino Bones" that entirely takes over the city of Manchester,... (more)
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 “Meta-Time”. Essentially, Duncan proposes the idea that True Reality evolves along Meta-Time which is broken up into smaller... (more)
The Odd Women (1893)
George Gissing
This is one of many Victorian novels about romance, gender and class, but it has aged well. Among the several relationships it considers is one between a mathematician, the author of "A Treatise on Trilinear... (more)
Odds Against Tomorrow (2013)
Nathaniel Rich
Mitchell Zukor is a statistician and probabilist whose area of expertise is the prediction of disasters. To many people, including the reporter/narrator, this makes him a humorous and pathetic number... (more)
Odile (1937)
Raymond Queneau
A humorous semi-autobiographical novel by this famous, French, surrealistic author. Queneau seems to have had some training as a mathematician and was friends with several leading French mathematicians.... (more)
Of Mystery There Is No End (2002)
Leonard Michaels
Leonard Michaels' recurring character of UCLA mathematician Nachman faces questions of infidelity when he learns of the extra-marital affairs of his friend Norbert and Norbert's wife. It is somewhat... (more)
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 two-way 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)
On the Quantum Theoretic Implications of Newton's Alchemy (2007)
Highly Rated!
Alex Kasman
A postdoc at the mysterious "Institute for Mathematical Analysis and Quantum Chemistry" is surprised to learn that his work on Riemann-Hilbert Problems is being used as part of his employer's crazy alchemy... (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)
The One Plus One (2014)
Jojo Moyes
The title presumably primarily refers to the couple in the romance: Jess (a single mom struggling to make ends meet by working as a cleaning woman) and Ed (a well-off client of hers, facing charges for... (more)
One, True Platonic Heaven: A Scientific Fiction of the Limits of Knowledge (2003)
John L. Casti
A novel about the limits of scientific knowledge set at the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton. Mathematicians Kurt Gödel and John von Neumann are among the principle characters (along with... (more)
Only Say the Word (2005)
Niall Williams
This novel about loss and grief includes a minor character (the protagonist's brother) who has mathematical talent and "retreats" into numbers. He believes that "for every problem there is a true and perfect solution" and eventually applies his skills to gambling (apparently providing the perfect solution to the problems of his life.) (more)
Operation Chaos / Operation Changeling (1969)
Poul Anderson
Part of a series of stories about detectives who use magic and religion published in Fantasy and Science Fiction magazine in the 1960s, Operation Changeling (later published in novelized form in Operation... (more)
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 all-time 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 11-13 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/pseudo-facts from Greek history with rich imagination to discuss the discovery of irrational numbers (Pythagoras, Hippasus), the vanishing point in perspective... (more)
Paradox (2000)
Highly Rated!
John Meaney
Young Tom Corcorigan seems to represent the lowest "caste" in the extremely hierarchical human society of the year 3404. However, his mathematical abilities (he is able to figure out a way around Gödel's... (more)
The Parrot's Theorem (2000)
Highly Rated!
Denis Guedj
This is an ambitious novel, a magical fantasy about a talking parrot bought at a flea market in France who, with the help of the personal library of a reclusive mathematical genius, teaches some children... (more)
Les Particules élémentaires [Elementary Particles] (1998)
Michel Houellebecq
The following description is based on material sent to me by Annie-Michel Pajus (IREM PARIS 7) in French. Any error below is likely to be a mistake that I made in attempting to translate it. This novel... (more)
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 anti-social UCLA mathematician, Nachman. In it, Nachman attends a conference in San Francisco at which a Swedish... (more)
Perelman's Song (2008)
Highly Rated!
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 Morpheus-System (2012)
Marc A. Herren
The long-running German science fiction series Perry Rhodan recently ran a contest whose winner, a certain Martin Felten, was included in issue number 2638 as a space actuary and inventor of a five-dimensional... (more)
A Person of Interest (2008)
Susan Choi
Professor Lee, an older math professor at a small mid-western university becomes a suspect when a package bomb kills the young and popular professor in the office next to his. More of a serious psychological... (more)
Phantom (2006)
Terry Goodkind
Richard Rahl, the protagonist of the best-selling Sword of Truth series, seeks to protect the world from an evil spell which (among other things) has removed his wife from existence. As Kati Voigt points... (more)
The Phantom 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)
Highly Rated!
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 7:23-26) 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 140-km 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 hard-SF 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 space-operatic story which implements Edwin Abbott's world of Flatland. A perfectly flat comet strikes earth at a glancing angle and sheers off a very small part, including a few people, who discover... (more)
The Planiverse: computer contact with a two-dimensional world (1984)
A.K. Dewdney
In this modern take on the "Flatland" theme, some academics investigate the virtual two-dimensional world they have created inside a computer. The sophisticated simulation includes sentient beings, one... (more)
The Plattner Story (1896)
Herbert George Wells
Gottfrieb Plattner disappears after an explosion for nine days. Upon return, he recounts a strange tale of a parallel world. More mathematically interesting, he discovers that he is now left-handed,... (more)
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)
Highly Rated!
Scarlett Thomas
Alice was raised by her grandparents, a mathematician and a cryptographer, and now uses what she learned from them to make mathematical puzzles for children. Her employer, the giant toy company "PopCo",... (more)
Post-Bombum [aka Post-Boomboom] (1967)
Alberto Vanasco
Argentinian author and math professor Alberto Vanasco wrote this short story about post-apocalyptic 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 (two-pages 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 Pre-Persons (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 time-symmetric, they... (more)
Primary Inversion (1996)
Catherine Asaro
In this first book in her "Skolian Saga" series, Asaro explains how faster-than-light speeds are attainable by using imaginary numbers, and hence frequent mentions of "imaginary space" occur throughout... (more)
Prince of Mathematics: Carl Friedrich Gauss (2006)
Margaret B.W. Tent
A fictionalized account of the life and achievements of one of history's greatest mathematicians, told in a style which is appropriate for children but also maintains the interest of adult readers. (I'm... (more)
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 teen-angst 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 smart-cracks. 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 Self-Study (2002)
Charles Yu
The life of a mathematical physicist -- from earning his PhD, through marriage, fatherhood and into a midlife crisis -- presented in the form of homework exercises from a math book. We first meet... (more)
Professor 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 (non-fiction) 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)
Highly Rated!
David Auburn (playwright)
This Pulitzer Prize winning play (now also a film) focuses on a daughter who took care of her father after his mental disorder forced him to give up his successful career as a mathematician. After the... (more)
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 well-written, highly mathematical novel for 5th – 6th graders. Three children – Shawna, Adin and Tavia – are math aficionados and are trying to crack the Beale Ciphers, a set of 3 documents... (more)
Pythagoras' Revenge: A Mathematical Mystery (2009)
Arturo Sangalli
Freelance science journalist Sangalli has written a book which presents some historical information about Pythagoras and his beliefs in the form of a novel of the detail driven conspiracy theory adventure... (more)
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)
Highly Rated!
Tefcros Michaelides
This murder mystery takes place amid the exciting developments occurring in the mathematical and artistic communities in Europe between 1900 and 1931. Much of what one will learn by reading this book... (more)
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. 96-112) 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)
Highly Rated!
Neal Stephenson
This long novel from the author of Cryptonomicon does for 17th Century mathematics what that earlier novel did for the 20th century. Namely, it deifies some great historical mathematicians (this time... (more)
The Ragged Astronauts (1987)
Bob Shaw
The novel is set in an alternate universe where two planets orbit each other in close proximity, with a common atmosphere. The civilization on one of the planets is shown to be similar to the western... (more)
Rama II (1989)
Arthur C. Clarke /Gentry Lee
This is the sequel to the novel Rendezvous With Rama by Arthur C. Clarke. Short Summary: The huge cylindrical Rama spaceship has returned 70 years after it arrived near Earth for the first time.... (more)
Ramanujan’s Miracles – A Drama To Demystify Mathematics (1997)
R.N. Kapur
A dramatization involving a particular problem which Ramanujan had solved and how two teenagers reason out why the solution works. Scene 1 of the drama has Mahalanobis and Ramanujan in conversation... (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)
Highly Rated!
Don DeLillo
Billy Terwilliger (aka Twillig) is not your typical 14 year old boy. True, he is beginning to get interested in sex and thinks that the word "fart" is entertaining, but he is also a number theorist and... (more)
Reading by Numbers (2009)
Highly Rated!
Aidan Doyle
Elementary number theory and some superstitious numerology underlie this story, which appeared in the November 11, 2009 issue of the online Fantasy Magazine (though I would never describe this story as... (more)
Reality Conditions (2005)
Highly Rated!
Alex Kasman
The title story in the collection of the same name, this short story follows a mathematics grad student to a workshop at the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute. Although the story contains no supernatural... (more)
Reality Conditions: short mathematical fiction (2005)
Highly Rated!
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 non-flat geometries for... (more)
Report from the Ambassador to Cida-2 (2008)
Clifton Cunningham
The human selected to communicate with the aquatic aliens of Cida-2 is surprised to learn that their number system differs from our own. In particular, although our communication with the extra-terrestrials... (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 "Run-ups" in Italian. The book tells the story of a young, talented mathematician who travels trough Italy interviewing for jobs at various companies. During one of the interviews... (more)
Riot at the Calc Exam and Other Mathematically Bent Stories (2009)
Colin Adams
Finally, a collection of hilarious mathematical stories by Colin Adams! Most of these stories were previously published in his Mathematically Bent column in the Mathematical Intelligencer. Only one is... (more)
Ripples in the Dirac Sea (1988)
Highly Rated!
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 50-page trivia-fest 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)
Highly Rated!
Edward Frenkel / Reine Graves
UC-Berkeley mathematical physicist Edward Frenkel wrote and stars in this short film about a mathematician who is determined to kill himself after he discovers the formula for love. The film is inspired... (more)
The Rithmatist (2013)
Brandon Sanderson
Geometric chalk drawings have magical power in this Harry Potter-like book for teens. In fact, it takes place in an "alternate universe" where Earth's history is different. Since "Rithmatics" was discovered... (more)
River of Gods (2006)
Ian McDonald
A science fiction novel about artificial intelligence, politics, cellular automata, climate change and alternate universes that takes place in India of 2047. Math plays only a very small role in this... (more)
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 people--including an Australian Air Force computer operator, a Mexican engineering professor, a New York housewife, a Colombian Special Forces officer, and an English mathematician--are invited to... (more)
The Rolling Stones (1952)
Robert A. Heinlein
The Stone family goes off on a working tour across the solar system. As a condition for going, the father insists the twins keep up with their higher mathematics studies, which gets referred to explicitly several times. The difference between arithmetic and geometric growth is commented on when their pet "flat cat" reproduces 8 at a time, and faster than expected. (more)
The Romance of Mathematics: Being the Original Researches of a Lady Professor of Girtham College... (1886)
Peter Hampson Ditchfield
The Reverend Peter Hampson Ditchfield (1854-1930) was the author of many novels and histories, including this odd piece that claims to be compiled from the lecture notes and diaries of a "lady professor",... (more)
Rooster: An American Tragedy (2000)
Brian Fielding
A gifted artist suffering from leprosy encounters Tamara Browne, a quirky former math grad student who is interested in "humanistic mathematics". "While this book is not based on mathematics, it... (more)
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)
Highly Rated!
Jules Verne
This early science fiction novel about space travel (published originally in French, of course) contains two chapters with explicit (and very nice) mathematical content. In Chapter 4 (A Little Algebra)... (more)
Royal Highness (Königliche Hoheit) (1909)
Thomas Mann
At the heart of Thomas Mann's novel, “Royal Highness,” is the courtship and eventual marriage of Klaus Heinrich, the heir to a fictional German principality, and Imma Spoelmann, the daughter of an... (more)
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 Sand-Reckoner (2000)
Highly Rated!
Gillian Bradshaw
In this historical novel whose title is copied from one Archimedes' own works, the famous Greek mathematician is your typical math nerd, always so wrapped up in his computations that he is barely aware... (more)
Saraswati's Way (1978)
Monika Schroder
This is a novel written for very young adults (age 10 or so). Chronicles a mathematically gifted young boy's search for resources and a tutor from whom he can learn more mathematics than his local teachers... (more)
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)
Highly Rated!
Greg Egan
Far in the future, the mathematical theory of "quantum graph theory" is the theory of physics. Unlike the current theories of relativity and quantum physics, which are obviously approximations that... (more)
School Scandalle (2004)
Marla Weiss
In 80 short chapters (each of which has the word "First" in its title), this book relates the sordid details in the professional life of a computer science and math teacher at a private school in Florida.... (more)
Schwarzschild Radius (1987)
Connie Willis
Connie Willis' short-story ``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)
Highly Rated!
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 follow-up 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 Seven-Per-Cent Solution (1974)
Nicholas Meyer
Meyer presents an alternative view of Sherlock Holmes in this surprising novel: that of a deluded drug addict. In particular, and of interest to those who visit this Website, we learn that Professor Moriarty is only a kindly mathematician who once tutored Holmes in mathematics. The idea that he is a criminal mastermind (as we learn in Conan Doyle's stories) is just part of Holmes' paranoia. (more)
The Shackles of Conviction (2008)
James R. Meyer
This novel intersperses a fictionalized account of the life of Kurt Gödel with the modern tale of an engineer who realizes (and eventually convinces the world) that Gödel's proof was flawed and that his (more)
The Shadow Guests (1980)
Joan Aiken
After his mother's death, a boy goes to live with his aunt, a mathematician, in her haunted English house where he meets the ghosts of his ancestors and learns about his family's curse. The mathematician... (more)
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 is Not Invisible (2013)
Marcus Sedgwick
In this young adult thriller, a blind teenager and her younger brother search for their missing father, a successful author obsessed with coincidence and the number 354. Although the approach is more supernatural and numerological than mathematical, there is also some flavor of probability and discussion of such things as Benford's Law. (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)
Highly Rated!
Eric S. Nylund
The protagonist in this science fiction novel, Jack Potter, is a tenure track math professor in a future where San Francisco has sunk under the ocean, all non-academic employment in the United States... (more)
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: Homer3) (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 sisters-in-law. 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)
Highly Rated!
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 Chess-Board (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)
Six Thought Experiments Concerning the Nature of Computation (2005)
Rudy Rucker
These are six very short stories, a few of which have mathematical themes. In the first story, Lucky Number, a game programmer spots some "lucky numbers" spray painted on a train. On a whim, he uses... (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 pulp-fiction-of-the-thirties 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 Malcolm-Smith (Novel) / Sam Perrin (Script) / George Balzer (Script)
Eggheaded actuary Milton Northey Haskins quits his job upon learning that his company has lost money due to his misplaced decimal point and he joins a carnival in the 1941 novel Slightly Perfect. This... (more)
Smilla's Sense of Snow (1993)
Peter Hoeg
"Smilla Qaavigaaq Jaspersen is a part-Inuit Dane who is an expert on ice and snow, and a mathematician to boot. She is depressed and/or anxious most of the time, and the story is very dark, depressing,... (more)
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)
The Solitude of Prime Numbers [La Solitudine dei Numeri Primi] (2008)
Paolo Giordano
The novel "La Solitudine dei Numeri Primi" (2008), written by a physics grad student, sold over a million copies in Italy and appeared in English as ``The Solitude of Prime Numbers'' (2010). It tells... (more)
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 100-page novel for 2nd graders about a math genius, Sophie Simon, whose parents are always worried that their daughter is not “well-adjusted”. Sophie, on the other hand, wants to do math far... (more)
Sophie's Diary (2004)
Highly Rated!
Dora Musielak
Sophie Germain famously studied mathematics at night by candlelight despite her parents' insistence that she give up this unfeminine discipline. She then went on to become one of the great mathematician's... (more)
Sorority House (1956)
Jordan Park (Cyril M. Kornbluth and Frederik Pohl)
Sorority House is a lesbian pulp novel written in 1956 by Cyril M. Kornbluth (1923-1958) and Frederik Pohl (1919- ) under the pen name "Jordan Park". The main character is a mentally unstable young... (more)
Souls in the Great Machine (1999)
Sean McMullen
Souls in the Great Machine is apparently a post-ecological-apocalypse SF novel in which a powerful multiprocessing computer is built out of human beings manipulating abaci. Has anyone out there read... (more)
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 four-dimensional beings... (more)
Spacetime Donuts (1981)
Rudy Rucker
The story is set in a chaotic setting (it's a Rucker novel!) of an all-providing-but-oppressive society. The society is controlled in large parts by a supercomputer, PhizWhiz, and its political masters.... (more)
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)
Sphereland: A Fantasy About Curved Spaces and an Expanding Universe (1965)
Highly Rated!
Dionys Burger
This "sequel" to Flatland deals in a very simplistic sense with the notion of intrinsic curvature (curvature of space itself) in the same way that the original dealt with dimension. (See also the more... (more)
Spherical Harmonic (2001)
Catherine Asaro
As a child, Dyhianna Selei created a transformation, just a mathematical construct, mapping the real world into an abstract space of "thoughts" (whatever that means) spanned by an infinite set of spherical... (more)
Spying on My Dreams (2000)
Laurence Howard
In my second novel, Spying on My Dreams, my protagonist, a mathematician working for a computer game company, uses fuzzy logic to integrate Eastern and Western thought, and hence finds the meaning of... (more)
The Square Root of Murder (2002)
Paul Zindel
A murder mystery written for a middle school aged audience in which a calculus professor is found pinned to a chalk board by a bolt fired from a crossbow. A formula on the board turns out to be an essential clue (though it involves only elementary arithmetic). This novel for young readers should not be confused with the adult mystery novel with the same title by Ada Madison. (more)
The Square Root of Murder (2011)
Ada Madison
Math professor Sophie Knowles turns amateur detective when an unpopular colleague is found dead in his office in this entertaining but light mystery novel. From reading comments at Amazon, I have learned... (more)
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)
Highly Rated!
Ramon Menendez
Edward James Olmos plays Jaime Escalante, "a real-life 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)
Stand-In (1937)
Tay Garnett
Leslie Howard plays a typical Hollywood mathematical genius: emotionless, conceited, and convinced that everything can be understood through mathematics. (Well, one out of three isn't bad!) It takes a trip to Tinsel Town and a beautiful actress to make him see the errors of his ways. (more)
The 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 teddybear-shaped six- fingered alien was trying to communicate with the koalas in the zoo until an open-minded human showed up and the two traded written numbers. Originally published in Fantastic in 1952. (more)
Star, Bright (1952)
Highly Rated!
Mark Clifton
How would you feel if your daughter could make deep mathematical discoveries, even when she was a toddler? If you were the parent of little Star in this story, you'd feel a combination of pride and... (more)
The Stargazers (1986)
Barbara Susan Lefever
An historical novel based on Mason and Dixon. (Includes references!) It was self-published in a first printing of 700, and a second printing of 200. The author is/was a member of the Pennsylvania Society... (more)
Starman Jones (1953)
Robert A. Heinlein
These adventures of Max Jones, a boy who runs away from Ozark home and works his way up the ranks of a starship is a nice example of classical science fiction as well as being a bit mathematical. The... (more)
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)
Stay Close, Little Ghost (2013)
Oliver Serang
This is a bizarre, psychedelic and semi-autobiographical novel about a man named Oliver who has an uncanny ability to find four-leaf clovers, spends much of his time working on a mathematical problem,... (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
Time-travel story for young adolescents with a little bit of chaotic dynamical systems thrown in. The plot follows Max, a high school student with an interest in math and science, as he becomes involved... (more)
Strange Attractors (1993)
Highly Rated!
Rebecca Goldstein
"Strange attractors: Collection of short stories, some of which have mathematical content. Two stories (the geometry of soap bubbles and impossible love and strange attractors) figure the same main... (more)
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 78-90 (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)
Highly Rated!
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 post-colonial India has enough pages to devote a few to mathematics. And,... (more)
The Sum of All Kisses (2013)
Julia Quinn
Lady Sarah Pleinsworth and a mathematician who was crippled in a duel are forced to spend time together. Since they despise each other at the outset, we know from the typical plot arc of the romance novel... (more)
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 part-time 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)
Surreal Numbers: How Two Ex-Students Turned on to Pure Mathematics and Found Total Happiness (1974)
Don Knuth
The famous computer scientist (known to many grateful mathematicians as the creator of TeX) presents Conway's "surreal numbers" in the form of a fictionalized dialogue. Includes exercises! It... (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 time-smeared tesseract whose interior moves extremely slowly through time (from our perspecctive) while the exterior moves at the normal pace. He uses the tesseract to... (more)
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)
Highly Rated!
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 science-fiction novel. So much so that the number tau, by which one must divide an object's rest mass to determine its apparent mass when travelling... (more)
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 shrimp-poachers 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 2-dimensional manifold, he... (more)
The Thesis of the Absent-Minded Master (1971)
Vladimir Levshin
[This is the first book in the] trilogy called "The Master of the Absent-Minded Sciences". The heroes of the other books (and the author) establish a club, where they analyze the notes (and, later,letters)... (more)
Thinking of Leaving Your Husband? (2010)
Charlotte Cory
[This] is the book of a series of [BBC] radio comedies from last year, in which the heroine has various unfortunate experiences with internet dating before meeting the perfect partner, who is a mathematician.... (more)
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 Nobel-laureate in Economics, keels over and dies after receiving a perfect hand... (more)
Thomas Gray: Philosopher Cat (1988)
Philip J. Davis
As the jacket blurb explains, the book is "a philosophical fireside tale wrapped lightly around a mathematical problem, revealing scholarly life and attitudes at a well-known English college. It... (more)
Those Who Can, Do (1965)
Bob Kurosaka
In this short-short 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)
Highly Rated!
Catherine Shaw
A cleverly titled novel that uses a historical mathematical contest and several characters based on real mathematicians as the basis for a murder mystery. Of special interest is the novel's presentation... (more)
Three 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 4-dimensional alien object intersecting our world in the first episode, references to "isomorphic group therapy [sic]", "monotonic null sequences" and "quadratic reciprocity" in the second, and a strange statistical study in the 11th. (more)
Through the Gates of the Silver Key (1934)
H.P. Lovecraft / E. Hoffmann Price
"We read of the fantastic travels of the dreamer and mystic Randolph Carter as he arrives at the Ultimate Gate separating the parallel dimensions and alternate realities of the Universe. The Gate... (more)
Thursday Next: First Among Sequels (2007)
Jasper Fforde
As Vijay Fafat points out, the eponymous heroine of this series of humorous, fantasy mysteries has a daughter who is a math prodigy. Among other things, in this novel she finds a counter-example to Fermat's... (more)
Tiger by the Tail (1951)
A.G. Nourse
A pocketbook contains a gateway to another universe, and a group of unlikely heroes tries to save ours from the aliens there by reaching in and grabbing it. This is a cute short story, with a not-particularly-sound... (more)
Tigor (aka The Snowflake Constant) (1991)
Peter Stephan Jungk
In this novel, a mathematics professor is emotionally wounded to the point of temporary insanity by the lack of acceptance of his geometric theory of snowflakes and runs away. His journey takes him to... (more)
The Time Axis (1949)
Henry Kuttner
This was published as an Ace paperback in 1965. I don't think I have a copy of the paperback in my collection, but I have the original magazine publication, in the January 1949 issue of Startling Stories.... (more)
The Time Machine (1895)
Herbert George Wells
This famous early science fiction novel opens with a clever (and, if you think ahead to the role of Minkowski Space in special relativity, prophetic) lecture on "the fourth dimension". Of course, discussions... (more)
Time, Like an Ever Rolling Stream (1992)
Judith Moffett
The aliens have come to save us from ourselves (which they do by passing environmental laws and sterilizing all humans to prevent overpopulation). One of the aliens, as a pet project, recruits eight young... (more)
Timescape (1979)
Gregory Benford
On the positive side, we have a clever idea that shows some of the flavor of modern mathematical physics, some positive comments about mathematics and mathematical name-dropping, and even some mathematical... (more)
To Hold Infinity (1998)
John Meaney
Meaney's first novel, which only saw its US release in 2006, is not quite as mathematical as some of his later books, but the foundations are there. We encounter "mu-space" (additional spatial dimensions... (more)
To Say Nothing of the Dog (1998)
Connie Willis
Travelling through time, as we all know, is a dangerous business. One small change in the past and you could mess up the future! In this science fiction novel, Willis proposes a (vaguely mathematical)... (more)
To 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 old-fashioned style by the colleague's best friend and a key character is the lovely but apparently inhuman woman who was married to each victim. (more)
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)
Topsy-turvy (Sans Dessus Dessous) (1889)
Jules Verne
The members of the Gun Club want to use a giant cannon's recoil to change the Earth's rotation axis, so they can exploit the presumed coalfields at the North Pole. An unfortunate side effect is that... (more)
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)
Touch-Me-Not (2010)
Cynthia Riggs
In this installment of a series of mystery novels set on Martha's Vineyard, an electrician accidentally murders an employee who was blackmailing him and then is killed himself. Throughout most of the... (more)
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)
Highly Rated!
Ron Carlson
A mathematician and his wife try to fit in with their suburban neighbors. Perhaps the best description of the feel of what doing mathematical research is really like. Much of the tension of the... (more)
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)
Highly Rated!
Marcos Donnelly
Ronald Barr is a statistician with a knack for identifying hidden variables. For example, it was he who recognized that by offering chicken soup and hot chocolate in the automatic coffee machine, his... (more)
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 Absent-Minded Master (1971)
Vladimir Levshin
This is the second in the Master of the Absent-Minded Sciences trilogy. The second book is the Master sending letters about his and Little One's adventures to the Club for continuing analysis. Levshin's beloved children's books have never been translated into English, but can be read in Russian at lib.rus.ec. (more)
Travelling Salesman (2012)
Andy Lanzone (writer) / Timothy Lanzone (director and writer)
This film is a low-budget 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 non-trivial) 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)
Highly Rated!
Christos Papadimitriou
The four vertices of an unlikely love "rectangle" are (a) a dying, maverick cryptographer, (b) a pregnant Internet wiz, (c) a romantic middle-aged Greek archaeologist and (d) Turing, an artificially intelligent... (more)
Turing's Apples (2008)
Stephen Baxter
Story about a far-away 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 hacker-counter-hacker story set in Bolivia, where the newly resurrected president hires an NSA official to set up the country's counter-espionage / cyber-security unit ("Black Chamber"). The... (more)
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 force-fields. In its first run, an explosion destroys the device and the physicist is trying to obtain an answer... (more)
Twenty-seven Uses for Imaginary Numbers (2009)
Buzz Mauro
A teenage boy's discovery of the joys of Euler's formula coincides with the awakening of his homosexual desires. The author's mathematical understanding is very good, and the story reminded me of young... (more)
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 mish-mash 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)
Highly Rated!
Apostolos Doxiadis
This novel, recently (2000) translated from Greek, follows the attempts of fictional mathematician Petros Papachristos to prove Goldbach's Conjecture (that every even number greater than two is the sum... (more)
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)
Highly Rated!
Benedict Carey
A novel for middle school children which aims to teach mathematical concepts as the young protagonists try to solve the mystery of the disappearances in their neighborhood. I thoroughly enjoyed the... (more)
Unreasonable Effectiveness (2003)
Highly Rated!
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 one-way 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 full-fledged 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 fantasy-like 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 tall-tales, this time involving a man who learns to visualize 4-dimensional space and then starts slipping in and out of the hyperspace. As he describes it, "This... (more)
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)
Highly Rated!
Robert Littell
Lemuel Falk, a ``randomnist'' from the Steklov Institute in Russia gets a visiting position at a chaos research institute in Upstate New York in this academic farce. He meets a drunkard who studies... (more)
Visitors from Oz : The Wild Adventures of Dorothy, the Scarecrow, and the Tin Woodsman (1999)
Martin Gardner
You wouldn't believe it, but the famous popular math writer produced a sequel to the Oz books in which Dorothy travels to New York City through a Klein bottle (built out of two Mobius strips by the same fellow who built the Tin Man). I have not read the book, but it apparently involves a mathematical puzzle of some sort. (more)
Voyage of the Shadowmoon (2002)
Sean McMullen
Emperor Warsovran plans to take over the world with Silverdeath, a magical weapon buried centuries ago for fear that its power would be misused. Silverdeath unleashes circles of fiery destruction obeying... (more)
Waiting for Citizen Gödel (2005)
Howard V. Hendrix
Short story revolving around Godel's application for US citizenship. There is a well-known episode from Godel's life, where Einstein and Oscar Morgenstern took Godel for his citizenship oath. Godel,... (more)
The Wall of Darkness (1946)
Highly Rated!
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 David-Goddard /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. Co-author 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 neuro-mathematical model of the brain finds a type of visual input that doesn't just slow it down but causes... (more)
What I'm going to do, I think (1969)
Larry Woiwode
A dark, serious novel about a math grad student whose life I do not envy. (more)
White Light, or What is Cantor's Continuum Problem? (1980)
Highly Rated!
Rudy Rucker
I think the best description of this book is Naked Lunch meets The Wild Numbers, with a cameo appearance by Donald Duck's nephews. Happily, this book has recently been rereleased (2001) in a new format... (more)
White Mars : or, the mind set free : a 21st Century Utopia (2000)
Brian Wilson Aldiss / Roger Penrose
It's not everyday that a mathematician of Penrose's calibre is listed as a coauthor on a science fiction novel. Although he is probably best known to the general public for the Penrose Tiling (a set... (more)
Who Killed the Duke of Densmore? (1994)
Highly Rated!
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 ill-fated originator of group theory written by a collaborator of Einstein (better known today for his joint work with Max Born on electrodynamics). “No professor... (more)
The Wild Numbers (1998)
Highly Rated!
Philibert Schogt
Most mathematicians dream of proving a terribly important result. In this novel, mathematician Isaac Swift thinks he has done just that: solved "Beauregard's Wild Number Problem". But is his proof... (more)
The Witch of Agnesi (2006)
Robert Spiller
Solid murder mystery in which a high school math teacher finds the murderer of three of her best students. My favorite thing about this book is the way that Bonnie Pinkwater and her boyfriend -- the... (more)
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 extra-marital... (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 / tear-down of... (more)
A Wrinkle in Time (1962)
Madeleine L'Engle
In this classic children's adventure story, "time travel is explained as a tesseract, a five dimensional figure. By traveling along the tesseract, one bypasses the space in between." Usually,... (more)
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 year-old-girl 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 Big-Bang-And-Back Totally-Weird 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)
Young Beaker (1973)
J.T. Lamberty, Jr.
A singular individual who knows how to do mental arithmetic triumphs over peers in a future where everyone has become dependent on calculators and computers. That description would apply equally to this... (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, middle-aged math teacher life stumbles (quite literally) into a sexual relationship with an unusual young woman. The character occasionally thinks in mathematical term. Towards the beginning,... (more)
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... (more)
Zilkowski's Theorem (2003)
Highly Rated!
Karl Iagnemma
This is a story of a love triangle with a definite mathematical twist. Henderson's roommate, Czogloz, steals away his girlfriend, Milla, when all three were math graduate students. Years later, seeking... (more)
Zombies and Calculus (2014)
Colin Adams
The title and rave reviews probably say it all. I have ordered my copy and will post more detailed information here as soon as I know more. (more)

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

(Maintained by Alex Kasman, College of Charleston)