a list compiled by Alex Kasman (College of Charleston)

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The Happening (2008)
M. Night Shyamalan (writer and director)

Contributed by Vijay Fafat

John Leguizamo's character is a math professor who keeps using uplifting percentage statistics to cheer up. At one point, he asks a panick-stricken woman the question, "if I give you a penny the first day, 2 pennnies the day after, 4 pennnies after that and keep doubling for a month, how much money will I have paid you?". The woman guesses 2-3 times ranging from a dollar to 30 dollars before the professor gives her the answer of "more than 10 million dollars", a figure easily verifiable (Since the answer X = 2^30-1 or abut 2^30 pennies, if you approximate log(10) = 0.3, you get log(X) about 30*0.3 = 9, giving X = a billion pennies, equalling 10 million dollars)

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Works Similar to The Happening
According to my `secret formula', the following works of mathematical fiction are similar to this one:
  1. Solid Geometry by Ian McEwan
  2. You Don't Scare Me by John Farris
  3. Special Meal by Josh Malerman
  4. Grigori’s Solution by Isobelle Carmody
  5. Unknown Things by Reginald Bretnor
  6. The Object by Alex Kasman
  7. The Integral: A Horror Story by Colin Adams
  8. Threshold by Bragi F. Schut / Brannon Braga / David S. Goyer / Dan O'Shannon
  9. Excision by Richard Bates Jr (Director and Screenwriter)
  10. Nightscape: The Dreams of Devils by David W. Edwards
Ratings for The Happening:
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Mathematical Content:
1/5 (1 votes)
Literary Quality:
2/5 (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)