a list compiled by Alex Kasman (College of Charleston)

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Naturally (1954)
Fredric Brown

Contributed by "William E. Emba"

Fredric Brown, a prolific and acclaimed writer of mystery and science fiction stories and novels, was an extraordinary master of the short-short. "Naturally" is a one-pager about Henry Blodgett, who knows he will fail his forthcoming geometry exam, flunk out of college, and ruin his career prospects. But Henry has studied black magic, and he's now desperate enough to risk summoning up a demon. It works! Henry starts to explain things, but gets interrupted:

"I've always been poor at geometry," he began... "You're telling me," said the demon gleefully.

Naturally the demon is gleeful, considering the geometric ineptitude of the pentagram that was meant to constrain him.

Originally published in Beyond Fantasy Fiction together with another supernatural story as "Double Whammy" and reprinted in Brown's anthology Honeymoon in Hell (aka And the Gods Laughed).

Note: The 1987 film short "Geometria" by Guillermo del Toro is loosely based on this story.

(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 Naturally
According to my `secret formula', the following works of mathematical fiction are similar to this one:
  1. The Devil and Simon Flagg by Arthur Porges
  2. When the Devil Took the Professor [Wie der Teufel den Professor holte] by Kurd Lasswitz
  3. Geometria by Guillermo del Toro (Writer and Director)
  4. The Root and the Ring by Wyman Guin
  5. Prost, der Faust-Tragödie (-n)ter Teil [Prost: the (-n)th Part of the Faust Tragedy] by Kurd Lasswitz
  6. Mathematics Disputes with Death, and the Devil Intervenes by Thomas Reed Willemain
  7. Danny’s Inferno by Albert Cowdrey
  8. The Devil a Mathematician Would Be by A.J. Lohwater
  9. I of Newton by Joe Haldeman
  10. Nanny and the Professor (TV Series) by AJ Carothers (creator) / Thomas L. Miller (creator)
Ratings for Naturally :
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:
2/5 (1 votes)
Literary Quality:
3/5 (1 votes)

GenreHumorous, Fantasy,
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)