
2+2=5 (2006) 
 Rudy Rucker / Terry Bisson 

A retired insurance adjuster and a math professor who was fired for telling his students that there are "holes" in the number line pass the time by trying to break a world record for counting. To achieve... (more) 


According to the Law (1996) 
 Solvej Balle 

Four interconnected stories are told which wrap around onto themselves like a M¨bius strip. But, it is not only the structure of the story that is mathematical. In the first we meet a biochemist... (more) 


After Math (2013) 
 Denise Grover Swank 

This is a young adult novel about a college math major, a typical nerd with some apparent neuroses, who learns to be much more "normal" when she is forced to tutor a popular male soccer player.
Thanks to my student, Madeline Goodman, for bringing this book to my attention. (more) 


Antonia's Line (1995) 
 Marleen Gorris 

About three or more generations of
strong and selfsufficient women who live on a farm and the people
around them. Antonia's granddaughter is a genius, namely a
mathematician and a musician. But she... (more) 


The Arnold Proof (2002) 
 Jessica Francis Kane 

This short story begins with a quote from Philip E.B. Jourdain's essay "The Nature of Mathematics". In the quote, he explains how in the process of carrying out a complicated computation, one may want... (more) 


A Beautiful Mind (2001) 
 Sylvia Nasar / Akiva Goldsman 

Although the book A Beautiful Mind: A Biography of John Forbes Nash, Jr. is not fictional, Ron Howard's film (released December 2001) most certainly is. (I say this not as a complaint, but just to justify... (more) 



Belonging to Karovsky (2002) 
 Kathryn Schwille 

This short story, published in the literary magazine Crazyhorse concerns the boring and lonely Mr. Digby who was the downstairs neighbor of Karovsky, the brilliant (but of course, seriously insane) mathematician... (more) 


Bianca (1984) 
 Nanni Moretti (director and screenplay) 

A math teacher (played by Nanni Moretti himself) has odd obsessions and compulsions in this film, including his crush on colleague Bianca. Although his antisocial behavior seems to be destroying his... (more) 


The Bishop Murder Case (1929) 
 S.S. van Dine (pseudonym of Willard Huntington Wright) 

Our hero, Vance, says at the end of this mystery novel: "At the outset I was able to postulate a mathematician as the criminal agent. The difficulty of naming the murderer lay in the fact that nearly... (more) 


The Body Counter (2018) 
 Anne Frasier 

Detective Jude Fontaine must stop a pathological killer whose murder sprees are dictated by the Fibonacci sequence.
Fontaine is known for her ability to read people. (She often can tell when people... (more) 


Brain Dead (1990) 
 Charles Beaumont (writer) /
Adam Simon (director) 

A nightmarish, reality bending horror movie about a brain surgeon whose services are obtained to retrieve corporate secrets from the mind of a mathematician who has become a homicidal maniac.
(more) 


Brazzaville Beach (1990) 
 William Boyd 

Main character is a women studying chimpanzees in Africa, but her
exhusband is a set theorist who goes mad because he fails to prove a
theorem.
One of my favourite authors, and one of his best... (more) 


Burn Notice (Episode: Signals and Codes) (2009) 
 Jason Tracey (screenplay) / Jeremiah Chechik (director) 

Presumably, each episode of this old TV series features exCIA agent Michael Westen catching some "bad guys" in the hope of being reaccepted by his former employer. (I say "presumably" because I've... (more) 


The Capsule (2010) 
 Miceal Og O'Donnell (writer and director) 

A former mathematician who has tape on his glasses, a sleeping bag on his back and talks just like Dustin Hoffman in Rain Main is ordered by his doctor to be more social (to get out of his "capsule").... (more) 


Com os Meus Olhos de Cão [With My Dog Eyes] (1986) 
 Hilda Hilst 

An aphasic Brazillian mathematics professor narrates his own decline into insanity.
Hilda Hilst was a Brazillian author whose works often addressed the topic of insanity (perhaps because both of her parents... (more) 


Context (2005) 
 John Meaney 

This is the second book in the Nulapeiron Sequence by John Meaney. The protagonist is still Tom Corcorigan, who in the first novel rose from slavery to royalty in part because of his "logosophical" (read... (more) 


Continuums (2008) 
 Robert Carr 

The decisions we make and the difficulty in accepting the consequences is the main focus of this book about a Romanian mathematician who leaves her country and her daughter to be in a place that she could... (more) 


Cryptology (2003) 
 Leonard Michaels 

You know how The New Yorker likes to publish vaguely bizarre short
stories that happen to take place in New York City? You know how lots of
authors who want to show a character who is afraid of "real... (more) 


A Disappearing Number (2007) 
 Simon McBurney 

Scenes of Srinivasa Ramanujan's collaboration with G.H. Hardy around the time of World War I are mixed in with modern storylines including an Indian physicist who has applied Ramanujan's work to String... (more) 


Doctor Who: The Algebra of Ice (2004) 
 Lloyd Rose (pseudonym of Sarah Tonyn) 

Lloyd Rose (pen name for Sarah Tonyn) has a “Doctor Who” book called “The Algebra of Ice”. It describes the attempted invasion of our universe by mathematical beings from another... (more) 


Domaine [Domain] (2009) 
 Patric Chiha (screenplay and director) 

This subtle, slow and depressing French film concerns the relationship between a homosexual teenager and his alcoholic aunt. She is a math professor whose research is connected to Gödel's Theorem, and... (more) 


A Doubter's Almanac (2016) 
 Ethan Canin 

This literary novel follows the life of the fictional mathematical genius Milo Andret from his youth in Michigan, though his education at Berkeley and the winning of a Fields Medal as a Princeton math... (more) 


Drunkard's Walk (1960) 
 Frederik Pohl 

A number theorist is suffering from frequent and
inexplicable suicide attempts, the latest victim of a small epidemic among
academia. In between lectures on Pascal's triangle and the binomial
theorem... (more) 


Enigma (1995) 
 Robert Harris / Tom Stoppard 

In this this espionage story set in England's Bletchley Park at the height of the Second World War, Tom Jericho is a clever mathematician at the famous code breaking facility who  either despite or because... (more) 


The Fairy Chessmen (1951) 
 Henry Kuttner 

A mathematician whose research involves a type of chess played with
variable rules ("fairy chess") is the only one able to solve an "equation
from the future" in which the constants are treated as variables... (more) 


The Fear Index (2011) 
 Robert Harris 

Dr. Alex Hoffmann is an antisocial billionaire whose investment firm uses what he calls "Autonomous Machine Reasoning" (AMR) to make spectacular profits based on the Volatility Index (VIX), from which... (more) 


Fermat's Room (La Habitacion de Fermat) (2007) 
 Luis Piedrahita / Rodrigo Sopeña 

In this Spanish thriller, four mathematicians are invited to a booby trapped room where they must solve mathematical puzzles to prevent the walls from closing in and crushing them. This leaves them little... (more) 


Flea Circus: A Brief Bestiary of Grief (2012) 
 Mandy Keifetz 

A mathematically inclined woman deals with her grief over the suicide of her lover, an entomologist who runs a flea circus, in this award winning novel.
Although the cover summary describes her as a... (more) 


The Fringe (Episode: The Equation) (2008) 
 J.R. Orci (Screenplay) / David H. Goodman (Screenplay) 

The ``Fringe Team'' (an FBI agent, a mad scientist and his son) investigate a series of kidnappings in which the victim is hypnotized with red and green lights. In each case, the victim was about to... (more) 


The Ghost from the Grand Banks (1990) 
 Arthur C. Clarke 

The topics change
from the Titanic to a giant octopus but a central one is the
Mandelbrot set. We are introduced to mathematiciancumcomputer
wizard Edith Craig who invents software to fix the Y2K... (more) 


Good Benito (1994) 
 Alan P. Lightman 

This novel presents many instances in the life of mathematical physicist
Bennett Lang, the "Benito" of the title. The different scenes, presented
nonchronologically, cover most of his life from early... (more) 


Habitus (1998) 
 James Flint 

There is no doubt that this novel is a work of mathematical fiction, but I'm not sure how to describe it. I think the best word for it may be "uneven". It does some great things, both presenting some... (more) 


Hannah, Divided (2002) 
 Adele Griffin 

The story of a 13 year old girl living in rural Pennsylvania in 1934,
"Hannah" presents us with yet another fictional account of someone who is
not only talented in mathematics but also psychologically... (more) 


The Hollow Man (1993) 
 Dan Simmons 

A psychic mathematician is driven to the edge of insanity as his life partner approaches death. The mathematician's research is described explicitly  as are some of the horrific events that befall... (more) 


Homage (1995) 
 Ross Kagan Marks (director) / Mark Medoff (screenplay) 

This film (and the 1994 play "The Homage that Follows" on which it was based) explores the mind of a murderer, who in this case happens to be a man with a Ph.D. in mathematics. He turns down a position... (more) 


A House for Living (2020) 
 Nicolette Polek 

A very short story (not quite two pages) about an insecure mathematician:
The mathematician moves into a glass condominium with fourteen doors and has nightmares about the rooms behind them switching... (more) 


Immune Dreams (1978) 
 Ian Watson 

A creepy but interesting story that combines the genetics of cancer, the neurology of dreaming, immunology, and the mathematics of catastrophe theory (a precursor of what we now call "chaos theory"). ... (more) 


Improbable (2005) 
 Adam Fawer 

A probability expert suffering from epilepsy (with hints of schizophrenia) is in over his head with gambling debts to the Russian mob and a beautiful, renegade CIA agent before discovering that he has the ability to predict the future. A running subplot is the mathematical aspects of determinism (i.e. (more) 


Incompleteness (2004) 
 Apostolos Doxiadis 

A play by the author of Uncle Petros and Goldbach's Conjecture on the last, sad days in the life of Kurt Gödel. After a "workshop production" in Athens, Greece (June 2428, 2003) the show's official... (more) 


Inflexible Logic (1940) 
 Russell Maloney 

There is a famous example of probability which (in one of its many
forms) states that six chimpanzees randomly typing at six typewriters
would eventually reproduce all of the books in the British museum.... (more) 


An Invisible Sign of My Own (2000) 
 Aimee Bender 

Mona Gray is a second grade math teacher for whom math is not only a
job, but a beloved friend, an obsession and a security blanket. In this first novel we
learn about the events that have shaped her... (more) 


Killing Time (2000) 
 Frank Tallis 

In this noir thriller, a British math grad student discovers antique lab equipment which allows him to see into the past and winds up murdering his girlfriend. Sex (explicitly described) and interpersonal... (more) 


The Last Enemy (2008) 
 Peter Berry (Screenplay) / Iain B. MacDonald (Director) 

In this BBC TV series, mathematician Stephen Ezard (Benedict Cumberbatch) returns home from China for his brother's funeral but finds himself caught up in two simultaneous stories of high level espionage.... (more) 


Leaning Towards Infinity (1996) 
 Sue Woolfe 

Tells the story of an Australian woman who wins a contest for the best
mathematical theory from an amateur mathematician. The prize is a trip to
a math conference in Athens. The theory proposed by... (more) 


Life After Genius (2008) 
 M. Ann Jacoby 

Although his family would normally expect him to stay in their small town and take over the family business (a combination of a furniture store and funeral home), Mead Fegley's "genius" gives him the unprecedented... (more) 


Logicomix (2008) 
 Apostolos Doxiadis / Christos Papadimitriou 

A graphic novel on the history of mathematical logic by the authors of Uncle Petros and Goldbach's Conjecture and Turing. In an interview (available online here) Papadimitriou says:
It is really... (more) 


Lost Empire (A Sam and Remi Fargo Adventure) (2011) 
 Clive Cussler / Grant Blackwood 

When archaeological adventuring couple Remi and Sam Fargo come across an old ship's bell off the coast of Zanzibar, they discover that someone else doesn't want them to find it. Eventually, their discovery... (more) 


The Mad Mathematician (from ITV's Junior Maths) (1984) 
 ITV Schools 

Each episode of Junior Maths, a British children's TV program that was part of ITV Schools, featured a story about "The Mad Mathematician". For example, in this episode (currently available on YouTube),... (more) 


A Madman Dreams of Turing Machines (2006) 
 Janna Levin


This novel about Alan Turing and Kurt Gödel contains much that has already been said many times before, and occasionally "tries too hard" artistically. Still I very much enjoyed reading it, and even... (more) 


Magpie Lane (2020) 
 Lucy Atkins 

This wonderful novel is difficult to describe, somewhere between literary fiction and a procedural mystery with the atmosphere of a supernatural thriller. The book is narrated by Dee, a nanny who is being... (more) 


Mailman (2000) 
 J. Robert Lennon 

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... (more) 


Mathematicians in Love (2006) 
 Rudy Rucker 

Together, two math grad students who are both in love with the same girl prove a theorem which characterizes all dynamical systems (from the stock market to the motion of particles) in terms of objects... (more) 


The Miscalculations of Lightning Girl (2018) 
 Stacy McAnulty 

A girl who developed "genius level" mathematical abilities after being struck by lightning has a thing or two to learn about life in this novel for young adults.
Lucy Callahan finds that after her... (more) 


Moment of Madness (2002) 
 UnaMary Parker 

When her father, a brilliant but somewhat twisted mathematical statistician, dies unexpectedly, a woman is forced by his will to distribute valuable jewels to all of the women with whom he has cheated... (more) 


Monster's Proof (2009) 
 Richard Lewis 

With parents and a younger brother who are all "mathematical geniuses", Livey Ell (who is in danger of getting kicked out of cheerleading unless she improves her algebra grades) is a bit too normal. Things... (more) 


Morte di un matematico napoletano (1992) 
 Mario Martone (director) 

"This movie describes the last day in [the] life of a
famous Italian mathematician: Renato Caccioppoli. He was a fascinating and
discussed person in Naples' political and cultural life. [A] member... (more) 


My Heart Belongs to Bertie (2018) 
 Helen DeWitt 

This short story, which appears in the anthology "Some Trick: Thirteen Stories by Helen DeWitt" features an academic turned author arguing with a literary agent who wants him to include less math in his... (more) 


Nachman Burning (1998) 
 Leonard Michaels 

In this story, the reclusive UCLA mathematician Nachman, a recurring character in stories by Leonard Michaels, gets a haircut. He chooses a barber he knows to be terrible at cutting hair, but he goes... (more) 


Nagel im Himmel (2020) 
 Patrick Hofmann 

The protagonist in this novel grows up in a loveless, dysfunctional family, but finds refuge and success in mathematics until he is "saved" by a physicist.
Since I do not read German, my knowledge of... (more) 


New Tales of the
The AbsentMinded Master (1971) 
 Vladimir Levshin 

This is the third in the Master of the AbsentMinded Sciences trilogy.
The third book is about the two investigating the stealing of a very
valuable stamp. It ends with the promise of further adventures, but
the author never wrote them.
Levshin's beloved children's books have never been translated into English, but can be read in Russian at lib.rus.ec. (more) 


Nymphomation (2000) 
 Jeff Noon 

A math professor's theory of ``nymphomation'' (described in the book as a way for numbers to mate) is used to develop a lottery game called "Domino Bones" that entirely takes over the city of Manchester,... (more) 


Orpheus Lost: A Novel (2007) 
 Janette Turner Hospital 

This book is simultaneously a beautiful love story with frequent allusions to the myth of Orpheus, a political thriller, and a gut wrenching tear jerker about people whose lives are destroyed by war. ... (more) 


The Oxford Murders (2004) 
 Guillermo Martinez 

A young, Argentinian mathematician visiting the UK is drawn into a murder mystery when his landlord (a woman who had worked as a code breaker during World War II) is killed. A clue and the words "The... (more) 


Pi (1998) 
 Darren Aronofsky (director) 

A mathematician discovers a new relationship between chaos theory and
the number Pi which makes him a target of a dangerous religious sect
and a greedy investor. The references to mathematics and its... (more) 


Prime (2013) 
 Steve Erickson 

Because he is jealous of the relative success of colleagues he considers his intellectual inferiors, a mathematician kidnaps a celebrity to learn the numerical secret of fame.
The kidnapper in this... (more) 


Proof (2000) 
 David Auburn 

This Pulitzer Prize winning play (now also a film) focuses on a daughter who took care of her father after his mental disorder forced him to give up his successful career as a mathematician. After the... (more) 


The Queen's Gambit (2020) 
 Scott Frank (writer&director) /
Allan Scott (writer) /
Walter Tevis (writer) 

This popular TV miniseries about the personal trials of a chess prodigy is based on a novel. Interestingly, as I learned from Lauren Tubbs, a tiny bit of math was added for the screen adaptation:
One... (more) 


Red Zen (2007) 
 Jason Earls 

A man travels to another planet in an attemp to resolve a bizarre memory problem in this absurdist science fiction novel. As in his other works, Earls includes tidbits of computational number theory.... (more) 


Roten av minus én [The Square Root of Minus One] (2006) 
 Atle Næss 

There are three different levels of reality in this novel: On the one hand it is the story of Terje Huus, a Norwegian mathematician undergoing a midlife crisis. That part of the story is presented through... (more) 


The Secret Number (2000) 
 Igor Teper 

In this very cute story, a mathematician who believes that there is an integer between 3 and 4 tries to convince his psychiatrist that he is not crazy. The idea is not very deep, but it is well handled... (more) 


Secrets to the Grave (2011) 
 Tami Hoag 

Mathematician Zander Zahn is suspected of having murdered an artist in this followup to the novel "Deeper than the Dead". Almost no mathematics is actually discussed, not even the tiny amount one often... (more) 


Shakespeare Predicted it All (2003) 
 Dietmar Dath 

An artistically composed piece about Georg Cantor, inventor of the theory of transfinite cardinals, in the form of a dialogue between the characters "1" and "2", both of whom are either Cantor or Hamlet.... (more) 


Snow (1998) 
 Geoffrey A. Landis 

An apparently schizophrenic, homeless woman sells her body to get herself and her infant off the street on a cold night. Only at the end of this extremely short story do we realize that the imaginary... (more) 


The Song of the Geometry Instructor (1985) 
 Ralph M. Berry 

While snowed in at his home, a geometer writes to his former lover about his students, his discoveries and how much he misses her.
This is one of those literary art pieces by an author for whom mathematics... (more) 


Strange Attractors (2013) 
 Charles Soule (author) / Greg Scott (Illustrator) 

This is is graphic novel in which a mathematics student seeks the help of a seemingly insane genius who claims he has been using chaos theory to save the city of New York from disaster for decades.
Heller... (more) 


Strip Search (2007) 
 William Bernhardt 

A detective is aided by an autistic child in capturing a serial killer who leaves equations written in the blood of his victims at the scenes of the grisly crimes.
In your MathFiction entry for William... (more) 


The Thesis of the AbsentMinded Master (1971) 
 Vladimir Levshin 

[This is the first book in the] trilogy called "The
Master of the AbsentMinded Sciences". The heroes of the other books
(and the author) establish a club, where they analyze the notes (and,
later,letters)... (more) 


The Three Body Problem (2004) 
 Catherine Shaw 

A cleverly titled novel that uses a historical mathematical contest
and several characters based on real mathematicians as the basis for a
murder mystery. Of special interest is the novel's presentation... (more) 


Tigor (aka The Snowflake Constant) (1991) 
 Peter Stephan Jungk 

In this novel, a mathematics professor is emotionally wounded to the point of temporary insanity by the lack of acceptance of his geometric theory of snowflakes and runs away. His journey takes him to... (more) 


TouchMeNot (2010) 
 Cynthia Riggs 

In this installment of a series of mystery novels set on Martha's Vineyard, an electrician accidentally murders an employee who was blackmailing him and then is killed himself. Throughout most of the... (more) 


Tracking the Random Variable (1991) 
 Marcos Donnelly 

Ronald Barr is a statistician with a knack for identifying hidden variables. For example, it was he who recognized that by offering chicken soup and hot chocolate in the automatic coffee machine, his... (more) 


The Travel Notes of the AbsentMinded Master (1971) 
 Vladimir Levshin 

This is the second in the Master of the AbsentMinded Sciences trilogy.
The second book is the Master sending letters about his and Little
One's adventures to the Club for continuing analysis.
Levshin's beloved children's books have never been translated into English, but can be read in Russian at lib.rus.ec. (more) 


Uncle Georg's Attic (2002) 
 Ben Schumacher 

This short story appeared in the September 2002 issue of "Math Horizons",
published by the Mathematical Association of America. In it, some kids
look through an attic containing lots of stuff belonging... (more) 


Uncle Petros and Goldbach's Conjecture (1992) 
 Apostolos Doxiadis 

This novel, recently (2000) translated from Greek, follows the attempts of
fictional mathematician Petros Papachristos to prove Goldbach's
Conjecture (that every even number greater than two is the sum... (more) 


Until Tomorrow, Then (2010) 
 Shaun Hamill (writer and director) 

A short film about a young mathematician obsessed with working out the "rate the universe is running down" so that he can determine time that the universe will end.
One of the two other characters... (more) 


Waiting for Citizen Gödel (2005) 
 Howard V. Hendrix 

Short story revolving around Godel's application for US citizenship. There is a wellknown episode from Godel's life, where Einstein and Oscar Morgenstern took Godel for his citizenship oath. Godel,... (more) 


We (1924) 
 Yevgeny Zamyatin 

Like 1984, We is a book about a utopia gone wrong. In fact, it is acknowledged as a source which Orwell used when writing his more famous dystopian novel. (We was written in Russian in 1921, published... (more) 


White Rabbit, Red Wolf [This Story is a Lie] (2018) 
 Tom Pollock 

Seventeenyearold Peter Blankman is afraid of most things, but he loves his mother (a famous research psychologist), his twin sister (a tough girl who looks out for him), and math. So, he is in trouble... (more) 


The Wild Numbers (1998) 
 Philibert Schogt 

Most mathematicians dream of proving a terribly important result. In
this novel, mathematician Isaac Swift
thinks he has done just that: solved "Beauregard's Wild Number
Problem". But is his proof... (more) 


The Zero Theorem (2013) 
 Pat Rushin (screenplay) / Terry Gilliam (director) 

Qohen Leth corrects people who call him a number cruncher: he's an entity cruncher. Even though he is very good at his job, processing data in the office at his company's famous cubebased computer terminals,... (more) 
