a list compiled by Alex Kasman (College of Charleston)

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Kepler: A Novel (1981)
John Banville
(click on names to see more mathematical fiction by the same author)

Johannes Kepler, the most famous Rennaissance court mathematician, is remembered today for his successes, especially his explicit description of planetary orbits. However, he also had some rather strange ideas which are rarely mentioned. (One that I remember is his explanation of why there are only 6 planets in terms of Platonic solids.)

This novel of historical fiction seeks to understand Kepler and his motivations. The author has done the same for several other historical figures and has a reputation for being able to do it well! As I write this (June 2000) I have not yet read this novel myself but have every reason to expect that it is well done. If you have read it, please write to me with more details (thanks!)

"Kepler is a magnificent novel, it makes for a fascinating read, especially after Banville's other piece on Copernicus which is equally riveting. He is without doubt, one of the finest literary talents to have emerged from Ireland in the last 40 years." (Contributed by anonymous.)

Contributed by Anonymous

The Revolution trilogy it's an excelent novel, where Copernicus and Kepler are men, more than astronomers or mathematicians. From a narratological point of view, the book is a very good example of modern (postmodern) writing.

More information about this work can be found at
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Works Similar to Kepler: A Novel
According to my `secret formula', the following works of mathematical fiction are similar to this one:
  1. Pythagoras the Mathemagician by Karim El Koussa
  2. D'Alembert's Principle: A Novel in Three Panels by Andrew Crumey
  3. The Divine Proportions of Luca Pacioli by W.A.W. Parker
  4. El matemático del Rey by Juan Carlos Arce
  5. Prince of Mathematics: Carl Friedrich Gauss by Margaret B.W. Tent
  6. Galileo by Bertolt Brecht
  7. The World as I Found It by Bruce Duffy
  8. Stella Maris by Cormac McCarthy
  9. Uncle Petros and Goldbach's Conjecture by Apostolos Doxiadis
  10. Doctor Who: The Turing Test by Paul Leonard
Ratings for Kepler: A Novel:
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:
2.8/5 (5 votes)
Literary Quality:
4.4/5 (5 votes)

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)