a list compiled by Alex Kasman (College of Charleston)

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I Had to Call In a Mathematician (2019)
Erik Talvila
(click on names to see more mathematical fiction by the same author)

This short story published in the Mathematical Intelligencer answers the age old question "What if math was more like plumbing?"

(quoted from I Had to Call In a Mathematician)

“Hi Janice. It's Mort. I've got another problem here and I've had to call in a mathematician. I'm stuck at home until she's done.”


The mathematician came over with a sheet of paper.

“It looks like someone was trying to use a contraction mapping here. That won't work unless the target space is compact.”

“Oh, ah, I wonder how that got in there. One of the kids, maybe.” She rolled her eyes like I was an idiot.

“I'm not sure if this space is separable. Where did you get it?”

Thanks to Allan Goldberg for noticing this very funny story.

More information about this work can be found at
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Mathematical Content:
5/5 (1 votes)
Literary Quality:
2/5 (1 votes)

MediumShort 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)