a list compiled by Alex Kasman (College of Charleston)

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The Pi Man (1959)
Alfred Bester
(click on names to see more mathematical fiction by the same author)

Contributed by Jerry Summers

I found this work in an anthology of Alfred Bester short stories "The Dark Side of the Earth". It is an ironic story of a man that calls himself the Pi Man (irrational) that tries to set a pattern in Earth's population actions by performing irrational acts. The main character is a statistics major that has Extra Pattern Perception (Pi power) compared to Extra Sensory Perception (Psi power). There is some math like X^2 + X + 41 = prime number except when x=40 and discussion of pi. The author uses an irrational stream of consciousness style that is a little unnerving but palatable in short story form.

Contributed by Nomad

This is a great story. Under any circumstance less than the birth of a child would I ever use the word "amazing" to describe anything, but this is a terrific story. I wish I had written it.

I wish I knew where to get a copy of the story. (I know I could buy the collection, but there must be an easier way!)

(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 Pi Man
According to my `secret formula', the following works of mathematical fiction are similar to this one:
  1. Clockwork by Leslie Bigelow
  2. On the Average by Frank Bryning
  3. The Men who Murdered Mohammed by Alfred Bester
  4. Problem in Geometry by T.P. Caravan
  5. Love and a Triangle by Stanley Waterloo
  6. The Moebius Room by Robert Donald Locke
  7. Project Flatty by Irving Cox Jr.
  8. The Second Moon by Russell R. Winterbotham
  9. Eve Times Four by Poul Anderson
  10. Diabologic by Eric Frank Russell
Ratings for The Pi Man:
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:
2.4/5 (5 votes)
Literary Quality:
4.2/5 (5 votes)

GenreScience Fiction,
TopicAlgebra/Arithmetic/Number Theory, Probability/Statistics,
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)