a list compiled by Alex Kasman (College of Charleston)

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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 is mathematical. (Or, perhaps, math is magical?) Spells take the form of equations, that can be cancelled through addition. Consequently, the book makes many references to formulas and mathematicians like Newton and Leibniz.

Originally published under the title "Sine of the Magus" as a short story in the short lived magazine Beyond Fantasy Fiction (May 1954), it was later expanded to a full novel. Unfortunately, in the opinion of many readers, there is too little plot spread too thinly to make it worthwhile.

Thanks to Fred Galvin for bringing this work of mathematical fiction to my attention!

More information about this work can be found at
(Note: This is just one work of mathematical fiction from the list. To see the entire list or to see more works of mathematical fiction, return to the Homepage.)

Works Similar to Sine of the Magus [aka The Magicians]
According to my `secret formula', the following works of mathematical fiction are similar to this one:
  1. A Logical Magician by Robert Weinberg
  2. Calculated Magic by Robert Weinberg
  3. Merlin Planet by E.G. Von Wald
  4. The Mathematics of Magic by L. Sprague de Camp / Fletcher Pratt
  5. Lord Darcy by Randall Garrett
  6. The Translated Man by Chris Braak
  7. Let's Consider Two Spherical Chickens by Tommaso Bolognesi
  8. Counting the Shapes by Yoon Ha Lee
  9. The Gate of the Flying Knives by Poul Anderson
  10. The Parrot's Theorem by Denis Guedj
Ratings for Sine of the Magus [aka The Magicians]:
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GenreMystery, Fantasy,
MediumNovels, Short Stories,

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Exciting News: The 1,600th entry was recently added to this database of mathematical fiction! Also, for those of you interested in non-fictional math books let me (shamelessly) plug the recent release of the second edition of my soliton theory textbook.

(Maintained by Alex Kasman, College of Charleston)