a list compiled by Alex Kasman (College of Charleston)

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A Tangled Tale (1886)
Lewis Carroll
(click on names to see more mathematical fiction by the same author)
Highly Rated!

A collection of ten mathematical puzzles in story form by the famous author/mathematician Charles Dodgson (aka Lewis Carroll).

Contributed by "Daniel"

"The reason I answered 3 for "Mathematical Content" is that all the math is implicit, in the form of puzzles concealed in the stories, as opposed to being "mentioned explicitly"; but those puzzles are the whole point of the work. The stories themselves are fairly amusing in the usual Carroll vein. His responses to the children who answered the puzzles (when the story first appeared in successive issues of a magazine) are arrogant and condescending and sometimes inaccurate, again in the usual Carroll vein."

Contributed by Sabine

Actually, A Tangled Tale is no work of fiction. It is a series of mathmatical problems (or, rather, puzzles) served in a more palatable form. Originally, it had been published in a periodical with readers being able to send in their solutions. In dealing with many of the less than perfect answers, Carroll gives readers something to smile about (not the ones having their solutions dismantled though...).

I enjoyed both reading and applying my mind in quest for the solutions.

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Works Similar to A Tangled Tale
According to my `secret formula', the following works of mathematical fiction are similar to this one:
  1. Euclid and His Modern Rivals by Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (aka Lewis Carroll)
  2. The Puzzling Adventures of Dr. Ecco by Dennis Shasha
  3. Codes, Puzzles & Conspiracy [a.k.a. Dr. Ecco, Mathematical Detective] by Dennis Shasha
  4. Science Fiction Puzzle Tales by Martin Gardner
  5. Puzzles from Other Worlds by Martin Gardner
  6. Math Curse by Jon Scieszka / Lane Smith (illustrator)
  7. The Princess Hoppy or the Tale of Labrador by Jacques Roubaud
  8. Math Patrol by TV Ontario
  9. The Raven and the Writing Desk by Ian T. Durham
  10. Mathmakers by TV Ontario
Ratings for A Tangled Tale:
RatingsHave you seen/read this work of mathematical fiction? Then click here to enter your own votes on its mathematical content and literary quality or send me comments to post on this Webpage.
Mathematical Content:
4.14/5 (7 votes)
Literary Quality:
3.11/5 (9 votes)

GenreHumorous, Didactic, Children's Literature,
MediumShort Stories,

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Exciting News: The total number of works of mathematical fiction listed in this database recently reached a milestone. The 1,500th entry is The Man of Forty Crowns by Voltaire. Thanks to Vijay Fafat for writing the summary of that work (and so many others). I am also grateful to everyone who has contributed to this website. Heck, I'm grateful to everyone who visited the site. Thank you!

(Maintained by Alex Kasman, College of Charleston)