a list compiled by Alex Kasman (College of Charleston)

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Two Trains Running (1990)
August Wilson

Contributed by "William E. Emba"

This play is set in Pittsburgh, 1969. An economically depressed area of the city is facing urban renewal, and the specter of eminent domain seizure hangs over the main character's future. The other characters discuss their plight and theorize about what makes for success, with the most notable successes in their neighborhood being a flashy but now deceased preacher and the funeral parlor director handling the burial.

Along the way one character elaborates an exponential growth model to explain how the white man has come to so completely exploit the black man in recent history.

As a trivia note, the play premiered in New Haven with a cast including Samuel Jackson and Laurence Fishburne. Fishburne continued with the play in its 1992 Broadway production, for which he won a Tony Award. (And to mathematically footnote the trivia, Fishburne's mother was a math teacher.)

(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 Two Trains Running
According to my `secret formula', the following works of mathematical fiction are similar to this one:
  1. Stand and Deliver by Ramon Menendez
  2. Jumpers by Tom Stoppard
  3. Tenet by Lorne Campbell / Sandy Grierson
  4. The Genius by Nikolai Georgievich Garin-Mikhailovskii
  5. Hapgood by Tom Stoppard
  6. The Mathematics of Friedrich Gauss by D.W. Wilson
  7. An Invisible Sign of My Own by Aimee Bender
  8. Mean Girls by Tina Fey (screenplay) / Mark S. Waters (director)
  9. Long Division by Michael Redhill
  10. Proof by David Auburn
Ratings for Two Trains Running:
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Mathematical Content:
1/5 (1 votes)
Literary Quality:
5/5 (1 votes)


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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)