a list compiled by Alex Kasman (College of Charleston)

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Vault of the Beast (1940)
Alfred Elton van Vogt

Contributed by "William E. Emba"

"A creature of vast powers is locked up inside a vault made up of ultimate metal. The key to freeing it turns out to be 'factoring the ultimate prime number', which procedure is given an extended pseudomathematical explanation. (Of course, this is all deliberate 1940 goshwow gibberish.)"

Originally published in Astounding (1940), it has since been reproduced in several van Vogt collections.

Contributed by Anonymous

I enjoyed Vault of the Beast very much. It was probably the best SF read of my otherwise misspent youth.

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 Vault of the Beast
According to my `secret formula', the following works of mathematical fiction are similar to this one:
  1. The Second Moon by Russell R. Winterbotham
  2. What Dead Men Tell by Theodore Sturgeon
  3. Misfit by Robert A. Heinlein
  4. The Feeling of Power by Isaac Asimov
  5. The Cube Root of Conquest by Rog Phillips
  6. The Island of Five Colors by Martin Gardner
  7. The Library of Babel by Jorge Luis Borges
  8. Technical Error by Arthur C. Clarke
  9. Into the Fourth by Adam Hull Shirk
  10. The Galactic Circle by Jack Williamson
Ratings for Vault of the Beast:
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:
3.5/5 (2 votes)
Literary Quality:
3/5 (2 votes)

GenreScience Fiction,
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)