a list compiled by Alex Kasman (College of Charleston)

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Mailman (2000)
J. Robert Lennon

Contributed by "William E. Emba"

The title character, called Mailman, is a mentally ill mailman with criminal and deviant behavior with respect to the mail that he handles. It turns out that Mailman had once been a mathematics graduate student, "working out a routine problem in fluid dynamics", but he went off on tangents until he worked out mathematical theories of everything, including intelligence, economics, art, love and war. His supervisors failed to understand the resulting equations and diagrams. This was followed by a nervous breakdown. After Mailman recovered, he quit school and joined the postal service.

This short story was rewritten and expanded to a novel (2003) of the same title, with the title character becoming a former physics undergraduate student who had lost it all with his theory of everything.

Published in Tin House #3.

(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 Mailman
According to my `secret formula', the following works of mathematical fiction are similar to this one:
  1. Straw Dogs by Sam Peckinpah (Director)
  2. Killing Time by Frank Tallis
  3. The Bird with the Broken Wing by Agatha Christie
  4. The Bishop Murder Case by S.S. van Dine (pseudonym of Willard Huntington Wright)
  5. Ghost Dancer [a.k.a. Dance of Death] by John Case
  6. Snow by Geoffrey A. Landis
  7. The Wild Numbers by Philibert Schogt
  8. Final Integer by Thomas Reed Willemain
  9. Proof by David Auburn
  10. Magpie Lane by Lucy Atkins
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MotifEvil mathematicians, Anti-social Mathematicians, Mental Illness, Academia,
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)