a list compiled by Alex Kasman (College of Charleston)

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The Giant Claw (1957)
Fred F. Sears (director)

Known as possibly one of the worst horror movies of the 20th century, The Giant Claw tells the story of a huge bird from an anti-matter universe who terrorizes airplane pilots (but apparently, not movie audiences).

The special effects are awful. The "monster" looks like a puppet from a television show for little children. And the documentary-style narration is laughable. But, it has some redeeming qualities as well.

One of the main characters is a female mathematician who is collecting data from test flights and develops a romantic relationship with the one pilot who survived his encounter with the monster. In 1957, portraying a woman as a competent mathematician who contributes to solving the problem rather than simply being a "damsel in distress" was a rare and notable achievement. In addition, I am pleased to add that she is not portrayed as being socially awkward or anti-social as mathematicians often are.

Visitors to this website may also be interested in the fact that the writers clearly knew something about anti-matter and correctly used the mathematical term "symmetry" when a scientist character is explaining it to the others. However, the way that this bit of physics supposedly fits into the movie makes no sense sense to me. (The bird is made of matter but is surrounded by a field of anti-matter which shields it from radar and opens up when it wants to eat or grab something?)

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Works Similar to The Giant Claw
According to my `secret formula', the following works of mathematical fiction are similar to this one:
  1. Phase IV by Mayo Simon (writer) / Saul Bass (director)
  2. The Anomaly [L'Anomalie] by Hervé Le Tellier
  3. Solid Geometry by Ian McEwan
  4. It was the Monster from the Fourth Dimension by Al Feldstein
  5. Yesternight by Cat Winters
  6. The Ghosts by Lord Dunsany
  7. Unknown Things by Reginald Bretnor
  8. Special Meal by Josh Malerman
  9. The Judge's House by Bram Stoker
  10. The Object by Alex Kasman
Ratings for The Giant Claw:
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:
1/5 (1 votes)
Literary Quality:
1/5 (1 votes)

MotifFemale Mathematicians, Romance,

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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)