
The 39 Steps (1935) 
 Alfred Hitchcock (director) 

Alfred Hitchcock's 1935 thriller follows the getaway of Richard Hannay (Robert Donat), a man accused of murder. While Hannay must outsmart the police in his escape, he also finds himself sought... (more) 


7 Steps to Midnight (1993) 
 Richard Matheson 

In this unnerving, `Kafkaesque' suspense novel by well known horror author Richard Matheson, a government mathematician sees reality collapse around him as his life is turned into a surrealistic version... (more) 


The Ah of Life (2010) 
 Banks Helfrich (Writer and Director) 

At the beginning of this film we see various stages in the life of Nigel. We see him as a high school student about to fail math due to lack of interest in the subject. We see him as an old man who enjoys... (more) 


All the Light We Cannot See (2014) 
 Anthony Doerr 

Doerr's Pulitzer Prize winning novel follows two children in World War II, a blind French girl hiding with her father and a valuable jewel from the museum where he works and an orphaned German boy. When... (more) 


The Art Student's War (2009) 
 Brad Leithauser 

In this novel, Bea Paradiso is an art student during World War II who makes portraits of wounded soldiers. (Not coincidentally, the author's motherinlaw did the same, and the book is enhanced by the... (more) 



The Bones of Time (1996) 
 Kathleen Ann Goonan 

A young 21st century mathematician named Cen (short for Century) Kalakaua falls in love with a 19th century Hawaiian princess when they meet through an unusual temporal phenomenon. He becomes obsessed... (more) 


The Boy Who Escaped Paradise (2016) 
 J.M. Lee (author) / ChiYoung Kim (translator) 

After a body is found surrounded by mathematical formulas in Queens, a young Korean man named GilMo is arrested for the murder. Because of his autistic tendencies, he does not respond at all to the usual... (more) 


Buried Alive at the End of the World (2011) 
 Blair Bourrassa 

A completely paralyzed mathematician receives congratulations from colleagues and other hospital visitors on the culmination of his research in a large scale physics experiment that is about to be conducted..but... (more) 


A Calculated Man (2022) 
 Paul Tobin (writer) / Alberto Alburquerque (artist) 

An accountant for the mob, now in witness protection, must defend himself from his former employers, but with the power of math on his side he is quite capable of killing those who have been sent to eliminate... (more) 


Carry On, Mr. Bowditch (1955) 
 Jean Lee Latham 

The life of early American mathematician Nathaniel Bowditch, famous for his work on techniques of navigation, is fictionalized in this novel for young adults. Although the mathematical details are not... (more) 


A Certain Ambiguity: A Mathematical Novel (2007) 
 Gaurav Suri / Hartosh Singh Bal 

The intertwined stories of Ravi, a Stanford student taking a course on "Infinity" in the 1980's, and his grandfather who was jailed for blasphemy in New Jersey in 1919 constitute a philosophical investigation... (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) 


Distances (2008) 
 Vandana Singh 

Most members of Anasunya's species have "a gift". Since she has a gift of mathematics, she leaves her aquatic home and begins working at the
Temple of Mathematical Arts. She has a gift that allows... (more) 


The Distant Dead (2020) 
 Heather Young 

When a boy named Sal discovers the burned body of his middle school math teacher, two amateur sleuths try to determine who killed him. One of them is Jake, the volunteer fireman to whom Sal initially... (more) 


The Doors of Eden (2020) 
 Adrian Tchaikovsky 

A handful of inhabitants of Earths with different evolutionary histories find themselves either working together to save their worlds as the multiverse collapses. The characters include a cryptidhunting... (more) 


Dragon's Egg (1980) 
 Robert L. Forward 

[In this science fiction novel],
the crew of the first spaceship to ever visit a neutron star discover that the star is inhabited by a race  the Cheela  whose metabolism is based on nuclear reactions... (more) 


Eifelheim (2006) 
 Michael Flynn 

In this award winning science fiction novel, Tom and Sharon have a lot in common. They share an apartment, both use sophisticated mathematics in their research, and both become completely obsessed with... (more) 


Emmy's Time (2018) 
 Anthony Bonato 

The main storyline is quite reminiscent of the pulp era, with its awshucks use of "recently discovered temporal fields" and "earth is about to be destroyed unless one brilliant mathematician can solve... (more) 


The End of Mr. Y (2006) 
 Scarlett Thomas 

After her thesis advisor disappears, a graduate students studying "thought experiments" in science and in fiction discovers a copy of the rare (and supposedly cursed) book "The End of Mr. Y". Following... (more) 


Evariste and Heloise (2008) 
 Marco Abate 

This contribution to the collection The Shape of Content is difficult to classify. Combining fiction and fact, essay and comic book, fantasy and philosophy, it essentially takes the form of a proposal... (more) 


Eversion (2022) 
 Alastair Reynolds 

One supporting character in this science fiction novel is a young mathematician whose solution to a problem involving sphere eversion is essential to the success of the mission. But, as it is not clear... (more) 


Fermat's Best Theorem (1995) 
 Janet Kagan 

A student comes up with what appears to be a proof of Fermat's Last Theorem. So, she gives it to her professor hoping that he will find a mistake in it (see below). It turns out that the professor is... (more) 


The Flight That Disappeared (1961) 
 Reginald Le Borg (Director) 

An unsuspecting mathematician and some scientists are taken to another dimension where they stand trial for their involvement in the creation of horrible weapons. Perhaps during the Cold War and before... (more) 


Flowers Stained with Moonlight (2005) 
 Catherine Shaw 

In this sequel to The ThreeBody Problem, Vanessa Duncan is called upon to save an innocent young woman, falsely suspected of murdering her older and unlikable husband. Although there is no mathematics... (more) 


Gallactic Alliance  Translight! (2009) 
 Doug Farren 

A human scientist invents a new branch of mathematics, "continuum calculus", as the basis for a stardrive. At one point, he compares his mathematical constructions with those of an alien species who have... (more) 


The Geometrics of Johnny Day (1941) 
 Nelson Bond 

Old MacDonald had a firm, and in that firm he had a young mathematician who wanted to win his daughter's hand in marriage. MacDonald was skeptical:
""Ye want a job, eh? And just what is it that ye... (more) 


Hajime's Algorithm (2017) 
 Mihara Kazuto 

A bitter old mathematician discovers a young prodigy while visiting the little Japanese island where he grew up in this ten volume manga series that ran from 20172020.
Uchida Yutaka is a mathematician... (more) 


The Heart on the Other Side (1962) 
 George Gamow 

A math professor and his beloved girlfriend try to imagine how they could win the approval of her father for their marriage. She laments that he could only do so by being helpful in her father's profession,... (more) 


A Higher Geometry (2006) 
 Sharelle Byars Moranville 

A teenage girl in the 1950's pursues her dream of becoming a mathematician in the American midwest over a background of sexism, romance and Cold War politics. This fictional account mirrors some of the... (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) 



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) 


In Our Prime [Isanghan naraeui suhakja] (2022) 
 Lee Yongjae (screenwriter) / Donghoon 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) 


Kim Possible (Episode: Mathter and Fervent) (2007) 
 Jim Peronto (script) 

This episode of the Disney animated TV series "Kim Possible" is a comic book parody featuring a mathematical villain.
As an English assignment, Kim Possible and Ron Stoppable have to write a paper... (more) 



Le larmes de saint Laurent (Wonder) (2010) 
 Dominique Fortier 

The three separate stories that comprise this book are tied together by common themes of romance, death and volcanism. It is because of the second story, entitled "Harmony of the Spheres", that I am including... (more) 


Let's Consider Two Spherical Chickens (2016) 
 Tommaso Bolognesi 

Although it takes the form of a murder mystery, Bolognesi's "Let's Consider Two Spherical Chickens" really is more of an essay than a work of fiction. Like the other chapters from the collection in which... (more) 


Letters to a Young Mathematician (2006) 
 Ian Stewart 

I listed this one here before I had a chance to read it and am now wondering whether it should be counted as fiction at all. This is an excellent book which provides a lot of useful information about... (more) 


Lost (2011) 
 Tamora Pierce 

A mathematically talented little girl from a mystical medieval realm is abused by her antiintellectual father and unappreciated by a mean math teacher who insists that she show all of her work. However,... (more) 


The Mandelbrot Bet (2016) 
 Dirk Strasser 

The byline of the story is: "Does mathematics truly describe the physical universe, or is the world of mathematics actually the universe itself? And what do these concepts have to do with the hopes and... (more) 


The Manga Guide to Calculus (2009) 
 Hiroyuki Kojima 

This book attempts to teach calculus concepts and convey their importance to everyday life through the fictional story of a rookie newspaper reporter. She does not initially expect math to be an important... (more) 


The Martian (2014) 
 Andy Weir 

An astronaut is stranded alone on Mars and must figure out how to survive until he can be rescued.
My wife and I both loved this "hard SF" novel (soon to be a movie). But, we disagreed about whether... (more) 


The Masters (1963) 
 Ursula K. Le Guin 

This short story, which takes place in a world where society is medieval and the sun is seen less than once per year, focuses on the mathematical advances brought about by the primary protagonist, Ganil.... (more) 


Math Curse (1995) 
 Jon Scieszka / Lane Smith (illustrator) 

In this children's picture book, the main character finds that "anything can be a math problem" when her elementary school teacher puts a math curse on her. For example:
Unfortunately for me, LUNCH... (more) 


Mathemagics (1990) 
 Patricia Duffy Novak 

Kyria despises math and hates the fact that she is required to learn vector calculus at Salem University where she is studying magic. So, she determines to go back in time to learn how the ancient wizards... (more) 


Mathematica (1936) 
 John Russell Fearn 

Using a strange metal which gives them the power to change reality with their thoughts, two humans either summon or create an alien who explains to them that reality is mathematics. Together, they seek... (more) 


Mathematica Plus (1936) 
 John Russell Fearn 

In this sequel to Mathematica, the humans, now knowing that everything is mathematics and having been made immortal by the ultimate mathematician, encounter a race of beings somewhere between material... (more) 


Mathematical Doom (1936) 
 Paul Ernst 

A detective, one Mr. Pearson, catches the crooks using a little geometry. As the story tagline says,
“Crooks try to subtract a copper from life  and find he had added up a Mathematical Doom for... (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) 


Maths on a Plane (2008) 
 P T 

This story, about a student flirting with the attractive woman in the seat next to him on a plane, won the student category of the 2008 New Writers Award from Cambridge University's ``Plus+ Magazine''.... (more) 


Matrices (2016) 
 Steven Nightingale 

One of 64 fantastical short stories in the collection "The Hot Climate of Promises and Grace", this one concerns a mathematician who fills matrices with real objects instead of numbers. The results are... (more) 


Maxwell's Equations (2005) 
 Alex Kasman 

James Clerk Maxwell was the 19th century theoretician who discovered electromagnetic waves. He is often described as a "physicist", but I would argue that he was a mathematician. Certainly some of his... (more) 


Mozart on Morphine (1989) 
 Gregory Benford 

A mathematician nearly loses his life to appendicitis. While
sedated in the hospital, he describes the loony stuff that flits through his
head, and how it relates to the subjective and personal processes... (more) 


Music of the Spheres (2011) 
 Ken Liu 

The short stories in the anthology Mirror Shards all focus on augmented reality (AR), the idea that our perception of the world around us will be fundamentally changed by the use of advanced technology.... (more) 


The Nature of Smoke (1996) 
 Anne Harris 

Science fiction thriller combining genetic engineering and chaos theory.
The math is not presented in a way that conveys any real meaning to the
reader, but perhaps some feeling for the beauty of math... (more) 


Nena's Math Force (2005) 
 Susan Jarema 

This picture book for children, which is available for free online and also in print, tells the story of a girl who is upset when her math teacher requires the class to do arithmetic without a calculator.... (more) 


A New Golden Age (1981) 
 Rudy Rucker 

In this story, and in our world as well, mathematicians lament the
fact that legislators cannot sufficiently appreciate mathematics and
that this adversely affects the funding of their science. To address
this... (more) 


Ninefox Gambit (2016) 
 Yoon Ha Lee 

In a desperate attempt to retake the Fortress of Needles from the heretics who have taken it over, the mathematically talented Kel captain named Cheris is promoted to the rank of general and mentally... (more) 


NUMB3RS (2005) 
 Nick Falacci / Cheryl Heuton 

This TV crime drama (premiered January 2005) follows the adventures of a pair of brothers, one a mathematics professor and the other an FBI agent, as they combine forces to solve mysteries.
Cool effects... (more) 


The Number Devil [Der Zahlenteufel] (1997) 
 Hans Magnus Enzensberger 

"The title may be translated as The
Counting Devil, or maybe The Number Devil, and it has a subtitle that
translates to 'a pillowbook for everyone
who is afraid of math'. Enzensberger is a respected... (more) 


Nuremberg Joys (2000) 
 Charles Sheffield 

A mathematician is on trial for war crimes, regarding
his role in developing an absolutely horrendous killing
weapon based on sophisticated new physics. Guilt or
... (more) 


The Object (2005) 
 Alex Kasman 

This is a mathematical horror story, written by someone who doesn't like horror stories. Since I'm the author, I can honestly (and humbly) admit that the result is kind of weird.
The plot concerns... (more) 


The Ore Miner's Wife (2003) 
 Karl Iagnemma 

A miner who spends his spare time secretly working on geometry problems arouses the suspicions of his God fearing wife when she comes upon his cryptic writings and follows him to a meeting with a visiting... (more) 


Permafrost (2019) 
 Alastair Reynolds 

The daughter of the mathematician whose research led to a practical method for timetravel is sent back in time to save the world in this creative science fiction novella.
Although I describe the work... (more) 


PopCo (2004) 
 Scarlett Thomas 

Alice was raised by her grandparents, a mathematician and a cryptographer, and now uses what she learned from them to make mathematical puzzles for children. Her employer, the giant toy company "PopCo",... (more) 


Problem in Geometry (1954) 
 T.P. Caravan 

As the title suggests, this story by Charles Carroll Muñoz (writing under his usual pseudonym) uses a contrived science fiction scenario to set up an interesting problem in differential geometry whose... (more) 


Psychohistorical Crisis (2001) 
 Donald Kingsbury 

In the far future, a group of "psychohistorians" controls the fate of humanity using the mathematical theory of "the founder" in this unauthorized "sequel" to Asimov's Foundation series. Kingsbury's lengthy... (more) 


Pythagoras Eagle & the Music of the Spheres (2003) 
 Anne Carse Nolting 

A very wellwritten, highly mathematical novel for 5th — 6th graders. Three children — Shawna, Adin and Tavia — are math aficionados and are trying to crack the Beale Ciphers, a set... (more) 


Quicksilver: The Baroque Cycle Volume 1 (2003) 
 Neal Stephenson 

This long novel from the author of Cryptonomicon does for 17th Century mathematics what that earlier novel did for the 20th century. Namely, it deifies some great historical mathematicians (this time... (more) 


Randall and the River of Time (1950) 
 Cecil Scott Forester 

Charles Randall meets two people who change his life while he is on leave from fighting in World War I: a patent lawyer for whom he designs an improved flare and the seductive wife of a fellow soldier.... (more) 


Recess (Episode: A Genius Among Us) (2000) 
 Brian Hamill 

This episode of Disney's Saturday Morning cartoon "Recess" is clearly a parody of the film "Good Will Hunting". I hope this doesn't lower anyone's opinion of me...but I personally liked it better than... (more) 


Return from the Stars (1961) 
 Stanislaw Lem 

This book contains some of the
most realistic sounding fictional mathematics I have ever read, as
well as some very high praise for mathematics (from a fictional
character). In this book, an astronaut... (more) 


Risqueman (2009) 
 Mike Wood 

A brilliant (and beautiful) French mathematician is distressed by governmental misuse of her algorithm which accurately predicts accidents and disasters that previously were only determined probabilistically.... (more) 


Round the Moon (1870) 
 Jules Verne 

This early science fiction novel about space travel (published originally in French, of course) contains two chapters with explicit (and very nice) mathematical content.
In Chapter 4 (A Little Algebra)... (more) 


The Sabre Squadron (1966) 
 Simon Raven 

Daniel Mond, a British PhD candidate in mathematics, finds himself in mortal danger after traveling to Göttingen in the 1950s to analyze papers by the deceased German mathematician Dortmund.
I had... (more) 


The Simplest Equation (2014) 
 Nicky Drayden 

Mariah is a Stanford University math major who has lost her interest in the subject of mathematics. She is initially annoyed when Kwalla takes the seat next to hers in class. Kwalla is an alien with... (more) 


Slightly Perfect / Are you with it? (1941) 
 George MalcolmSmith (Novel) / Sam Perrin (Script) / George Balzer (Script) 

Eggheaded actuary Milton Northey Haskins quits his job upon learning that his company has lost money due to his misplaced decimal point and he joins a carnival in the 1941 novel Slightly Perfect. This... (more) 


Sorority House (1956) 
 Jordan Park (Cyril M. Kornbluth and Frederik Pohl) 

Sorority House is a lesbian pulp novel written in 1956 by Cyril M. Kornbluth (19231958) and Frederik Pohl (1919 ) under the pen name "Jordan Park". The main character is a mentally unstable young... (more) 


The Square Root of Summer (2016) 
 Harriet Reuter Hapgood 

In this young adult novel, a mathematically inclined teenager who ignores the sad events she does not want to remember learns to deal with them by literally revisiting her past through wormholes.
There... (more) 


Starman Jones (1953) 
 Robert A. Heinlein 

These adventures of Max Jones, a boy who runs away from Ozark home and works his way up the ranks of a starship is a nice example of classical science fiction as well as being a bit mathematical.
The... (more) 


Sticks (2002) 
 Joan Bauer 

Fifth grader Mickey Vernon gets help from his "math whiz" friend in beating a bully at pool in this novel for children. Some reviewers complained that the plot was slow and that the harping on 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) 


Timescape (1979) 
 Gregory Benford 

On the positive side, we have a clever idea that shows some of the flavor of
modern mathematical physics, some positive comments about mathematics and
mathematical namedropping, and even some mathematical... (more) 


To Hold Infinity (1998) 
 John Meaney 

Meaney's first novel, which only saw its US release in 2006, is not quite as mathematical as some of his later books, but the foundations are there. We encounter "muspace" (additional spatial dimensions... (more) 


Torn Curtain (1966) 
 Alfred Hitchcock (Director) 

Professor Armstrong (Paul Newman) pretends to defect to the other side
of the iron curtain to learn of the secret "star wars"like defense
plan discovered by the brilliant (by his own account) Dr. Lindt.
Fiancee... (more) 


Train Brains / The Runaway Train (Donald Duck) (1956) 
 Carl Barks 

Donald Duck's nephews  Huey, Dewey and Louie  are trying to earn a merit badge in engineering for the Junior Woodchucks by working out a complicated problem involving toy trains.
"We'll never be... (more) 


Turbulence (2010) 
 Giles Foden 

A British meteorologist is stationed in Scotland during World War II not to simply run a weather station (which is his cover), but to get to know the brilliant Wallace Ryman and learn to use his mathematical... (more) 


Turing (A Novel About Computation) (2003) 
 Christos Papadimitriou 

The four vertices of an unlikely love "rectangle" are (a) a dying, maverick cryptographer, (b) a pregnant Internet wiz, (c) a romantic middleaged Greek archaeologist and (d) Turing, an artificially intelligent... (more) 


Turjan of Miir (The Dying Earth) (1950) 
 Jack Vance 

The classic fantasy novel "The Dying Earth" is actually more like a collection of short stories, separate vignettes that share some common features but stand entirely alone. The first of these stories... (more) 


Twentyseven Uses for Imaginary Numbers (2009) 
 Buzz Mauro 

A teenage boy's discovery of the joys of Euler's formula coincides with the awakening of his homosexual desires. The author's mathematical understanding is very good, and the story reminded me of young... (more) 


Two Moons (2000) 
 Thomas Mallon 

A historical novel set in Washington DC of the late 19th century in which
astronomers and the Naval Observatory (aided by the "computer" Cynthia May)
deal with scientific and political matters of the... (more) 


The Ultimate Analysis (1944) 
 John Russell Fearn 

This one is a hurriedly thrown together mishmash of mathematical statements which make no sense when examined individually but taken together, form a breathless pulp story about a mathematician who... (more) 


Unreasonable Effectiveness (2003) 
 Alex Kasman 

"Unreasonable Effectiveness" reminds me of a classic Arthur C. Clarke style
short story. It has exactly enough mathematics done correctly and a twist that
boggles the mind at the end. To be fair... (more) 


The Visiting Professor (1994) 
 Robert Littell 

Lemuel Falk, a ``randomnist'' from the Steklov Institute in Russia
gets a visiting position at a chaos research institute in Upstate New
York in this academic farce. He meets a drunkard who studies... (more) 


Voyage of the Shadowmoon (2002) 
 Sean McMullen 

Emperor Warsovran plans to take over the world with Silverdeath, a magical weapon buried centuries ago for fear that its power would be misused. Silverdeath unleashes circles of fiery destruction obeying... (more) 


The World We Make (2022) 
 N. K. Jemisin 

Readers of the first novel in the series, The City We Became, have already met Padmini Prakash. She loves pure math and hates New York City, but due to familial pressures is preparing to be a Wall Street... (more) 


The Young Arithmetician (1856) 
 Anonymous 

One of those “moral values” booklets which used to be published way back when (well, all the way back in 1856, in this case). A very lightweight story about a sixteenyear old girl, Laura (daughter... (more) 


Zero Sum Game (2018) 
 S.L. Huang 

Cas Russell is violent and amoral. She is also really good at math. Her understanding of physics and quick work with vectors allows her to do things like ricochet a tossed cell phone just right to knock... (more) 


Zombies and Calculus (2014) 
 Colin Adams 

The story opens with a math professor teaching his class on a seemingly ordinary day when a student who has arrived late turns out to be the first of a wave of flesh eating zombies who are running amok... (more) 
