a list compiled by Alex Kasman (College of Charleston)

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Die Gleichung des Lebens [The Equation of Life] (2017)
Norman Ohler

This German novel is based on the true story of Leonhard Euler being assigned by Frederick the Great to supervise the draining of the Oderbruch marshlands near Berlin. From reviews I have read, I know that the book plays with themes of modern interest (such as man's influence on the natural environment, immigration in Europe, and drug use), but I do not know to what extent this is really a work of mathematical fiction.

The title of the book clearly refers to the fact that Euler is best known as a mathematician. But, does math play any other role in this novel? Is Euler's math research mentioned? Does the author utilize mathematical metaphors, as is common in mathematical fiction? Does the book either build upon or intentionally break any of the stereotypes of mathematicians in its portrayal of Euler? If you have read this book and can let me know the answers to those questions, please write to let me know.

I am grateful to Thomas Riepe for letting me know of this book's existence and I look forward to hearing more about it from him and others who (unlike me) can read and understand German.

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Works Similar to Die Gleichung des Lebens [The Equation of Life]
According to my `secret formula', the following works of mathematical fiction are similar to this one:
  1. Measuring the World by Daniel Kehlmann
  2. An Elegant Solution by Paul Robertson
  3. City of Infinite Bridges by Alex Rose
  4. Roten av minus én [The Square Root of Minus One] by Atle Næss
  5. The Cypher Bureau by Eilidh McGinness
  6. The Tenth Muse by Catherine Chung
  7. Enchantress of Numbers: A Novel of Ada Lovelace by Jennifer Chiaverini
  8. Hidden Figures by Allison Schroeder (writer) / Theodore Melfi (director and writer)
  9. A Universe of Sufficient Size by Miriam Sved
  10. Eifelheim by Michael Flynn
Ratings for Die Gleichung des Lebens [The Equation of Life]:
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GenreHistorical Fiction,
MotifReal Mathematicians,

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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)