a list compiled by Alex Kasman (College of Charleston)

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The Devil a Mathematician Would Be (1962)
A.J. Lohwater
Note: This work of mathematical fiction is recommended by Alex for math majors, math grad students (and maybe even math professors).

This clever short story that captures the feeling of a math problem that "gets under your skin" was printed in The Mathematical Magpie and was said to have been "collected" by A.J. Lohwater. Well, I finally did a little bit of looking around to see who this Lohwater was and was surprised to find that he was not a writer, but a mathematician and editor of the Mathematical Reviews at about the same time that this story was first printed.

Can anyone out there fill me in on how this came to be? Did he write the story? Did he just put down on paper a joke that had been going around in mathematical circles? How does it relate to the story The Devil and Simon Flagg which was published much earlier and has basically the same plot?

More information about this work can be found at another page on this Website.
(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 Devil a Mathematician Would Be
According to my `secret formula', the following works of mathematical fiction are similar to this one:
  1. Prost, der Faust-Tragödie (-n)ter Teil [Prost: the (-n)th Part of the Faust Tragedy] by Kurd Lasswitz
  2. The Devil and Simon Flagg by Arthur Porges
  3. Damned Souls and Statistics by Robert Dawson
  4. The Rose Acacia by Ralph P. Boas, Jr.
  5. Geometria by Guillermo del Toro (Writer and Director)
  6. Hell of a Fix by Matthew Hughes
  7. I of Newton by Joe Haldeman
  8. The Root and the Ring by Wyman Guin
  9. Mathematics Disputes with Death, and the Devil Intervenes by Thomas Reed Willemain
  10. Naturally by Fredric Brown
Ratings for The Devil a Mathematician Would Be:
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:
4/5 (1 votes)
Literary Quality:
2/5 (1 votes)

GenreHumorous, Fantasy,
TopicAlgebra/Arithmetic/Number Theory,
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)