MATHEMATICAL FICTION:

a list compiled by Alex Kasman (College of Charleston)

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(Note: This is not the entire list of works of Mathematical Fiction. To see the entire list, click here.)
The Bangalore Detectives Club (2022)
Harini Narendra
On the first page of this mystery set in 1920's India, a scrap of paper identifies the person a desperate character seeks: MRS KAVERI MURTHY, Mathematician and Lady Detective. The rest of the novel... (more)
Last Changed: 2022-05-23 16:28:13
Law and Order: Criminal Intent (Episode: Inert Dwarf) (2004)
Renee Balcer (story) / Warren Leight (script) / Alex Chapple (director)
The collaborator of a world-famous, wheelchair bound mathematical physicist is murdered. When the detectives investigate, suspicion falls on the mathematician's wife/nurse who appears to be abusing him. Like... (more)
Last Changed: 2022-05-16 16:39:21
Unknown Things (1989)
Reginald Bretnor
A very short, well-written horror story about a collector, Andreas Hoogstraten. a wealthy man with an obsession with unusual objects. The narrator, one Mr. Dennison, a dealer in the antiques and the... (more)
Last Changed: 2022-05-11 18:31:55
Agha and Math (1946)
Vladmir Karapetoff
A very funny, very creative tale of how logarithms might have been invented in ancient times, without it having had to wait for Napier. In ancient times, ‘Agha, the Master’ was a rich landed proprietor... (more)
Last Changed: 2022-05-11 16:54:51
In Our Prime [I-sang-han na-ra-eui su-hak-ja] (2022)
Lee Yong-jae (screenwriter) / Dong-hoon Park (director)
A poor student at an expensive South Korean academy receives much needed math tutoring (and a place to stay) from the school's security guard. The student later discovers that the security guard is in... (more)
Last Changed: 2022-05-10 23:14:12
My Random Friend (1977)
Larry Eisenberg
Gene Berry was a statistical anomaly. A foster child who had changed four families, he was “god-damned bright”, “a treasure-trove of disparate facts” and blessed with “extraordinary reasoning... (more)
Last Changed: 2022-05-10 20:56:20
Danny’s Inferno (2003)
Albert Cowdrey
An extremely hilarious tale about Danny, a lover of garlic and HP Lovecraft, who is married to a mathematician, Edith. Danny and Edith are somewhat of what you may term “misaligned couple”, with... (more)
Last Changed: 2022-05-05 23:01:38
The Locked House of Pythagoras [P. no Misshitsu] (1999)
Soji Shimada
A locked-room mystery which I found disorienting, needlessly complex and a bit incomprehensible, with very stilted writing, a know-it-all kid detective who has a magical god’s eye-view of everything,... (more)
Last Changed: 2022-05-05 15:57:06
Paint ‘Em Green (1967)
Burt Filer
In some far future, after “the Asians had obliterated themselves with a dazzling atomic mistake”, former allies, Ambrija and Russia, found themselves as cold-war opponents once again, in a race for... (more)
Last Changed: 2022-05-04 13:52:09
She Spies (Episode: Message from Kassar) (2003)
Vince Manze (script) / Joe Livecchi (script) / Steven Long Mitchell (script)
Although I lived in the US and had a TV in 2003, I somehow completely missed “She Spies”. I had no idea such a show existed. And so, while watching this episode to see whether it really is “mathematical... (more)
Last Changed: 2022-05-02 14:39:26
Onto Infinity (2002)
David Alex
A young mathematician and his older wife struggle to accept her fate as she slowly dies of cancer. As you might guess since I maintain a website on mathematical fiction, I am not one of those who see... (more)
Last Changed: 2022-04-29 12:51:05
Ada and the Engine (2015)
Lauren Gunderson
For Lauren Gunderson, whose plays all seem to be about emotionally potent mathematical subjects, a study of Ada Lovelace seems like a natural choice. Born Ada Byron (the daughter of the scandalous poet... (more)
Last Changed: 2022-04-27 12:16:26
The Auden Test (2016)
Lawrence Aronovitch
A short play in which poet W.H. Auden delivers a speech in 1954 on the same day that he learns of the death of his friend, mathematician Alan Turing. Although they were contemporaries, I'm not aware of... (more)
Last Changed: 2022-04-25 21:46:59
When the Devil Took the Professor [Wie der Teufel den Professor holte] (1907)
Kurd Lasswitz
A light-hearted tale about a mathematics professor who is accosted by the Devil (who looks like the Professor because, as the Devil says, “Everybody is his own devil”). He has come to possess the... (more)
Last Changed: 2022-04-25 11:43:00
El Troiacord (2001)
Miquel de Palol
It would be an understatement to refer to this massive novel as "complex". Written in Catalan and never translated (not even into Spanish), it is often published in multiple volumes. Adding the intricacy... (more)
Last Changed: 2022-04-25 11:41:28
The Madness of Crowds (2021)
Louise Penny
In Penny's 17th murder mystery featuring detective Chief Inspector Armand Gamache of Sûreté du Québec, a statistician with a controversial political philosophy speaks at the local university, resulting... (more)
Last Changed: 2022-04-22 09:07:25
Rubicon Beach (1986)
Steve Erickson
One of the three plot lines in this bizarre novel follows a mathematician who has made a (supposedly) horrific discovery. Since there are no direct connections between the other two characters and the... (more)
Last Changed: 2022-04-18 09:33:28
The Peculiarities (2021)
David Liss
Thomas Thresher, the youngest descendant of the founder of Thresher's Bank in London, has problems. For one thing, Walter Thresher, the current bank director, has trapped him in a dead-end job as a bank... (more)
Last Changed: 2022-04-17 18:45:08
The Turing Enigma (2011)
Peter Wild (Screenwriter and Director)
Maths professor Jonah Block finds himself in possession of a 50 year old postcard from Alan Turing over which people have been killed. He quickly realizes it is the (literal) key to decoding a series... (more)
Last Changed: 2022-04-13 09:42:40
The Brady Kids (Episode: It's All Greek to Me) (1972)
Marc Richards (screenwriter) / Marc Richards (director)
I had completely forgotten that there was a cartoon about the Brady Bunch until I ran across this while searching for mathematical fiction. But, it looks so familiar (the pet pandas, the cheesy animation,... (more)
Last Changed: 2022-04-08 09:41:00
The Quantum Weirdness of the Almost-Kiss (2021)
Amy Noelle Parks
In this young adult romance, Evie Beckham is an extremely anxious teenager who loves math and attends a STEM magnet school. She is starting to get interested in dating, but is unaware that her longtime... (more)
Last Changed: 2022-04-07 09:25:25
Quod Erat Demonstrandum (2013)
Andrei Gruzsniczki (Director and Screenwriter)
A mathematician is persecuted for failing to join the communist party in this film that starkly portrays life in Romania under Nicolae Ceausescu. In the film, Sorin Parvu has proved an important... (more)
Last Changed: 2022-04-06 14:47:32
Merlin Planet (1968)
E.G. Von Wald
A lovely tale which merges mathematics / logic systems and magic to a satisfying conclusion. And what a great hook of a tagline in the story! “On Arrey, you could survive - as a frog. Unless you could... (more)
Last Changed: 2022-04-05 08:05:41
The Man Who Walked Through Mirrors (1939)
Robert Bloch
A tongue-in-cheek story making repeated fun of the common, misleading tagline which appeared in many sci fi magazines of the day, “Every Story Scientifically Accurate”. Volmar Clark was a crackpot... (more)
Last Changed: 2022-04-01 08:46:18
Equations of Life (2011)
Simon Morden
To escape from his life in organized crime, the protagonist creates a fake identity as a physics student named Samuil Petrovich. Though he has made an incredible discovery in theoretical physics, Petrovich... (more)
Last Changed: 2022-03-31 10:37:12
Foundation (1951)
Isaac Asimov
In this book and its prequels/sequels, we see humanity guided by the work of fictional "mathematician, Hari Seldon, who works out the rules of psychohistory and makes a secret chart that the humankind... (more)
Last Changed: 2022-03-30 16:20:57
The Invention of Zero [Die Erfindung der Null] (2020)
Michael Wildenhain
This German novel records a "game of cat and mouse" between a prosecutor and a suspected murderer, who happens to be a mathematician. The young prosecutor tries to prove that Martin Gödeler, who holds... (more)
Last Changed: 2022-03-30 09:26:42
In Search of the Shortest Way [Das Geheimnis des kürzesten Weges] (2004)
Peter Gritzmann
A novel in which a teenager learns about discrete mathematics (e.g. graph theory, the Traveling Salesman Problem, Euler circuits, etc.) by interacting with a computer program. It was published by the... (more)
Last Changed: 2022-03-30 09:12:32
Sharper than a Sword (1983)
Alexander Petrovich Kazantsev
The famous Soviet science fiction author Kazantsev wrote this fantasy adventure featuring Pierre de Fermat. as the primary protagonist. As far as I know, the book is out of print and available only... (more)
Last Changed: 2022-03-27 21:10:47
Clockwork (1953)
Leslie Bigelow
A very satisfying tale which blends some hand-waving magic realism and mathematics to create a vision of the fantastic. Noah Griffenhoek is professor of physics, and the narrator, Patrick Lanson,... (more)
Last Changed: 2022-03-27 21:02:37

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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)