a list compiled by Alex Kasman (College of Charleston)

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The Decimal People (2022)
Zachary Shiffman

This short story is narrated by a math teacher who frequently utilizes mathematical terminology and notation in his musings on the human condition. A key metaphor throughout the story is the idea that the relationship of parents to children is like that of factors of a whole number to the number. According to the narrator, this makes orphans analogous to prime numbers. The title refers to the fact that when you divide a prime number by any natural number other than itself or one, you would get a "decimal". So, orphans like himself (and one of his students who recently lost his parents in a car accident) are "decimal people".

This story appeared in in issue 7 of the online literary magazine Variety Pack.

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 The Decimal People
According to my `secret formula', the following works of mathematical fiction are similar to this one:
  1. Long Division by Michael Redhill
  2. Fractions by Buzz Mauro
  3. Long Division by Buzz Mauro
  4. Twenty-seven Uses for Imaginary Numbers by Buzz Mauro
  5. The Solitude of Prime Numbers [La Solitudine dei Numeri Primi] by Paolo Giordano
  6. iPhone SE by Weike Wang
  7. Final Integer by Thomas Reed Willemain
  8. Special Meal by Josh Malerman
  9. Mathe-Matti by Anuradha Mahasinghe
  10. Against the Odds by Martin Gardner
Ratings for The Decimal People:
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:
3/5 (1 votes)
Literary Quality:
3/5 (1 votes)

MotifMath Education,
TopicAlgebra/Arithmetic/Number Theory,
MediumShort Stories, Available Free Online,

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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)