a list compiled by Alex Kasman (College of Charleston)

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The Love Formula (2023)
Giulia Clerici / Giulia Pasqualini

this Italian graphic novel contains three different tales of romance. Each one is written to resemble a different geometric relationship between lines and curves: being parallel, being asymptotic, and being tangent.

As I have not yet been able to obtain a copy of this book, I really don't have much to say about it. I suspect the (potential) lovers in the parallel tale never meet, which is a sort of mathematical metaphor. And it sounds as if the concept of being tangent is represented by meeting only once. (Indeed, a straight line in the plane is tangent to a circle if and only if they intersect once, though the situation is different for other curves. For example, the y-axis meets the curve y=x3-2x2+x exactly once but isn't tangent while the x-axis meets it more than once and is tangent!)

I don't know why the title is in English or whether there really is a "love formula" that appears in any of the stories. If you have read it and can help clarify the extent to which it is (or is not) mathematical fiction, I would be very grateful.

Update: I have received a second e-mail message from the Italian teenager who first wrote to let me know about this graphic novel, and it answers some of my questions:

Contributed by Giulia Maceroni

To answer the questions:

1) I hope to remember correctly, but one of the characters should be a mathematician, and the three stories are inspired by lines: parallels, tangents and asymptotes, respectively.

2) The story is completely in Italian, and no translation is available at the moment, I think. The title is in English for no apparent reason, if not to appeal to the Italian public by giving the idea it’s from America (comic books are a trend here!)

Hope this helps!

It does...thanks to Giulia Maceroni for this additional information and for bringing this work of mathematical fiction to my attention.

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Works Similar to The Love Formula
According to my `secret formula', the following works of mathematical fiction are similar to this one:
  1. Proof Geometric Construction Can Solve All Love Affairs by Takahashi Manbou (lyricist) / Ane Manbou (illustrator)
  2. The Manga Guide to Regression Analysis by Shin Takahashi / Iroha Inoue
  3. The Manga Guide to Statistics by Shin Takahashi
  4. Enigma: La strana vita di Alan Turing by Tuono Pettinato / Francesca Riccioni
  5. I padroni del caos by A. Russo (writer) / Esposito Brothers (artists)
  6. La formula di Ramanujan by Marco Abate (writer) / P. Ongaro (artist)
  7. Ultima lezione a Gottinga [Last lecture at Göttingen] by Davide Osenda
  8. The Manga Guide to Linear Algebra by Shin Takahashi / Iroha Inoue
  9. The Geometry of Love by John Cheever
  10. A Calculated Man by Paul Tobin (writer) / Alberto Alburquerque (artist)
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MediumGraphic Novel/Comic Book/Manga,

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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)