a list compiled by Alex Kasman (College of Charleston)

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The Wizard (1989)
C.S. Godshalk

A mathematically talented youth in a bad neighborhood becomes a drug dealer and may not be able to take advantage of his genius by attending the private school which has offered him a scholarship.

Contributed by Jon Powell

In “The Wizard,” by C. S. Godshalk, the title character is a mathematical genius. At one point in the story, he plants flowers in a spiral of ever-increasing radii. This connects to his mentioning earlier the number twenty-eight as a perfect number.

First appeared in the Boston University literary magazine AGNI in 1989 and reprinted in The Best American Short Stories: 1990. (Thanks to Jon Powell for bringing it to my attention.)

Contributed by Lewis S.

This story was an upsetting one, centered on a boy who, for all the intelligence in the world, lacked purpose. A little upsetting, but not emotional enough to cause true heartbreak for the main character. Limited mathematical references in the form of Perfect Numbers and Fibonacci Sequence/Spiral. Heavier focus on Albrecht Dörer, of the renaissance era, who studied Geometry in art.

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Works Similar to The Wizard
According to my `secret formula', the following works of mathematical fiction are similar to this one:
  1. Regarding Roderer by Guillermo Martinez
  2. Good Will Hunting by Gus Van Sant (director) / Matt Damon (Screenplay)
  3. Stand and Deliver by Ramon Menendez
  4. Gifted: A Novel by Nikita Lalwani
  5. Against the Odds by Martin Gardner
  6. Numbers by Dana Dane
  7. The Girl Who Loved Mathematics by Elizabeth Smithers
  8. Mefisto: A Novel by John Banville
  9. Gifted by Marc Webb (director) / Tom Flynn (writer)
  10. Mathemagics by Patricia Duffy Novak
Ratings for The Wizard:
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:
2/5 (2 votes)
Literary Quality:
4/5 (1 votes)

MotifGenius, Prodigies,
MediumShort Stories,

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Exciting News: The total number of works of mathematical fiction listed in this database recently reached a milestone. The 1,500th entry is The Man of Forty Crowns by Voltaire. Thanks to Vijay Fafat for writing the summary of that work (and so many others). I am also grateful to everyone who has contributed to this website. Heck, I'm grateful to everyone who visited the site. Thank you!

(Maintained by Alex Kasman, College of Charleston)