
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) 


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 Adventures of the Parrot (2008) 
 Gary Brown 

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


Against the Odds (2001) 
 Martin Gardner 

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


Art Thou Mathematics? (1978) 
 Charles Mobbs 

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


The Atrocity Archives (2004) 
 Charles Stross 

"The Laundry" is a British spy organization which is responsible for suppressing certain dangerous math research. The occult implications of mathematics became clear with Alan Turing's paper "Phase Conjugate... (more) 


The Axiom of Choice (2009) 
 David Corbett 

An extremely wellcrafted short story in which math professor coldly recounts for a detective how the bloody bodies of his wife and his student came to be in his house. It is not really a murder mystery,... (more) 


The Axiom of Choice (2011) 
 David W. Goldman 

A ``chooseyourownadventure'' story about a guitarist who must face the consequences of his decision to take a plane ride that ended in disaster. A brief but very nice discussion of The Axiom of Choice... (more) 


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

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


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) 


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) 


Brazzaville Beach (1990) 
 William Boyd 

Main character is a women studying chimpanzees in Africa, but her
exhusband is a set theorist who goes mad because he fails to prove a
theorem.
One of my favourite authors, and one of his best... (more) 


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 Catalyst [The Strange Attractor] (1991) 
 Desmond Cory 

Mathematics professor John Dobie gets caught up in a truly mindboggling
mystery when one of his former students, his wife's best friend, and then
his own wife wind up dead, and the police consider him to be a prime
suspect.
This is the first, my personal favorite, of the three "Professor Dobie
Mysteries" written by British author Desmond Cory. (See also "The Mask of Zeus" and " (more) 


A Certain Ambiguity: A Mathematical Novel (2007) 
 Gaurav Suri / Hartosh Singh Bal 

The intertwined stories of Ravi, a Stanford student taking a course on "Infinity" in the 1980's, and his grandfather who was jailed for blasphemy in New Jersey in 1919 constitute a philosophical investigation... (more) 


The 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) 


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) 


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) 


Continuums (2008) 
 Robert Carr 

The decisions we make and the difficulty in accepting the consequences is the main focus of this book about a Romanian mathematician who leaves her country and her daughter to be in a place that she could... (more) 


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) 


Dark Integers (2007) 
 Greg Egan 

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


The 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) 


Division by Zero (1991) 
 Ted Chiang 

Answers the question: what would happen if we found out that
mathematics is inconsistent? This is a great piece of
mathematical fiction. (Thanks to Frank Chess who pointed it out to
me.)
Renee... (more) 


Domaine [Domain] (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) 


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) 


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) 



The Face of the Waters (1991) 
 Robert Silverberg 

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


The Fall of Man In Wilmslow (2009) 
 David Lagercrantz 

Before he gained fame in the US as the Swedish author taking over the mystery series featuring the fictional heroine Lisbeth Sander, David Lagercrantz wrote this novel about the death of mathematician... (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) 


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) 


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 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) 


Gödel's Doom (1985) 
 George Zebrowski 

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


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

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


Gödel Numbers (1969) 
 J.W. Swanson 

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


Gödel's Sunflowers (1992) 
 Stephen Baxter 

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


Getaway from Getawehi (1969) 
 Colin Kapp 

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



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) 


Herr Doctor's Wondrous Smile (1998) 
 Vladimir Tasic 

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


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) 


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

This film about Alan Turing and his role in breaking the Nazi enigma code has been a critical and financial success. It has won numerous awards and brought huge crowds of people to see a movie about a... (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) 


Incomplete Proofs (2012) 
 John Chu 

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


Incompleteness (2004) 
 Apostolos Doxiadis 

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


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 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) 


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) 


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 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 Kingdom of Ohio (2009) 
 Matthew Flaming 

CheriAnne Toledo, the daughter of the King of Ohio, uses her mathematical skills (and the assistance of Nikola Tesla) to build a device that is supposed to be able transport people instantaneously from... (more) 


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 Library Paradox (2006) 
 Catherine Shaw 

Vanessa Duncan returns as the skilled amateur detective of Victorian England in this third mystery novel by "Catherine Shaw". (See The ThreeBody Problem and Flowers Stained with Moonlight for the earlier... (more) 


The Logic Pool (1997) 
 Stephen Baxter 

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


A Logical Magician (1994) 
 Robert Weinberg 

A very creative romp through the lore of creatures of mythology and their return in modern times. A computer programmer creates a program to decode ancient texts and find the incantations to invoke powerful... (more) 


Logicomix (2008) 
 Apostolos Doxiadis / Christos Papadimitriou 

A graphic novel on the history of mathematical logic by the authors of Uncle Petros and Goldbach's Conjecture and Turing. In an interview (available online here) Papadimitriou says:
It is really... (more) 


Lucy and David and the God Equation (2011) 
 Alan McKenzie 

Lucy, a freshman at a Scottish University, and David, the graduate student who leads the problem sessions for her physics class, discuss the mathematical and philosophical implications of Gödel's First... (more) 


Luminous (1995) 
 Greg Egan 

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


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) 



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 Mathenauts (1964) 
 Norman Kagan 

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


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) 


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) 


MultiColored Dome (1987) 
 Martin Gardner 

A lighthearted, short story about a shy but precocious Math student working on symbolic logic (“he had read “Principia Mathematica” when he was in high school, and understood it, too”). Thesis... (more) 



Murder on the Einstein Express (2016) 
 Harun Šiljak 

An essay containing many interesting remarks and anecdotes about mathematics and mathematical physics presented in the form of a dialogue between a professor and students. Topics covered include entropy,... (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) 


Nightscape: The Dreams of Devils (2012) 
 David W. Edwards 

A teenage math prodigy is contacted by otherworldly beings through his nightmares. As the separation between dream and reality seems to disappear, he faces a supernatural threat with the help of a religious... (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) 


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) 


On the Occasion Of Your Graduation (2011) 
 Robert Dawson 

A thesis advisor entrusts his Ph.D. student with the responsibility of determining what to do with his discovery that mathematics contains inconsistencies.
This is one of several works of fiction that... (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 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) 


Paradox (2000) 
 John Meaney 

Young Tom Corcorigan seems to represent the lowest "caste" in the extremely hierarchical human society of the year 3404. However, his mathematical abilities (he is able to figure out a way around Gödel's... (more) 


The Planck Dive (1998) 
 Greg Egan 

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


Planck Time (2004) 
 Michael Iwoleit 

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


Planck Zero (1992) 
 Stephen Baxter 

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


PopCo (2004) 
 Scarlett Thomas 

Alice was raised by her grandparents, a mathematician and a cryptographer, and now uses what she learned from them to make mathematical puzzles for children. Her employer, the giant toy company "PopCo",... (more) 


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) 


Pythagorean Crimes (2006) 
 Tefcros Michaelides 

This murder mystery takes place amid the exciting developments occurring in the mathematical and artistic communities in Europe between 1900 and 1931. Much of what one will learn by reading this book... (more) 


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

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


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) 


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) 


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) 


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 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) 


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 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) 


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) 


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

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


Turing (A Novel About Computation) (2003) 
 Christos Papadimitriou 

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


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) 


Ultima lezione a Gottinga [Last lecture at Göttingen] (2009) 
 Davide Osenda 

This beautifully illustrated comic book presents a professor's last lecture to a (nearly) empty auditorium as the Nazi's begin to gather the city's Jews outside. It is perhaps a stretch to call this "fiction";... (more) 


Uncle Georg's Attic (2002) 
 Ben Schumacher 

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


Uncle Petros and Goldbach's Conjecture (1992) 
 Apostolos Doxiadis 

This novel, recently (2000) translated from Greek, follows the attempts of
fictional mathematician Petros Papachristos to prove Goldbach's
Conjecture (that every even number greater than two is the sum... (more) 


Waiting for Citizen Gödel (2005) 
 Howard V. Hendrix 

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


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) 


What Happened at Cambridge IV (1990) 
 David Langford 

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


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

I think the best description of this book is Naked Lunch
meets The Wild Numbers, with a cameo appearance by
Donald Duck's nephews. Happily, this book has recently been rereleased
(2001) in a new format... (more) 


Who Killed Professor X? (2010) 
 Thodoris Andriopoulos / Thanasis Gkiokas 

The famous mathematician Professor X (not to be confused with Charles Xavier) is found dead before his presentation to the International Congress of Mathematicians in 1900, and this graphic novel puts... (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) 
