
The Accidental Time Machine (2007) 
 Joe Haldeman 

A few mathematical ideas are tossed around casually in this light and entertaining science fiction story about a lab assistant who realizes before his boss that the device they are working on can be used... (more) 


After the Fall, Before the Fall, During the Fall (2012) 
 Nancy Kress 

The last 26 humans alive resort to kidnapping children from the past in order to save themselves from the oppressive aliens who keep them in "The Shell". Mathematics enters in the form of Julie Kahn,... (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) 


Alone with You in the Ether: A Love Story (2022) 
 Olivia Blake 

A bipolar artist and an obsessive mathematician who meet by chance get to know each other (and themselves) better through the course of six conversations. Although the artist already has a boyfriend,... (more) 


Another Cock Tale (1975) 
 Chris Miller 

A tale which is best avoided, but documented here for completeness. It is an utterly tasteless, juvenile story designed to evoke titterings among teenagers. One could laugh if it were a funny dirty joke... (more) 


Arcadia (2016) 
 Iain Pears 

As this clever novel is intentionally a hodgepodge of genres, it is a bit difficult to describe. It involves a British spy brought back from retirement in the 1960s to find a mole, a mathematician in... (more) 


Archive (Travelers, Season 3 Episode 8) (2018) 
 Ken Kabatoff / Brad Wright 

Math plays a major role in this episode of the Netflix series "Travelers". Following the show's usual format, the episode begins with a person in the present day going about his normal activity when... (more) 


The Arrows of Time [Orthogonal Book Three] (2014) 
 Greg Egan 

Egan's "Orthogonal Trilogy" concludes with the final part of the journey of the Peerless and its crew of scientists, mathematicians and engineers hoping to find a way to save their homeworld from destruction.... (more) 


Atomic Anna (2022) 
 Rachel Barenbaum 

I loved this plot from the moment I heard about it: A teenage math genius learns through comic books left for her by her mother that her grandmother who invented time travel needs her help solving some... (more) 


The Better Mousetrap (2008) 
 Tom Holt 

The Better Mousetrap is the fifth book in Tom Holt's
series that began with The Portable Door. The first
four books told the adventures of Paul Carpenter, a fairly
boring nobody who joined 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 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) 


Cap and Gown (2011) 
 Eric Flint 

Richard Leamington has an impact on mathematics at Cambridge University in the 17th Century despite his multiple sclerosis. Although Leamington himself is a fictional character, many of the other characters... (more) 


Catch the Lightning [Lightning Strikes Vols. III] (1997) 
 Catherine Asaro 

A 17 yearold girl from Los Angeles finds herself in a sexual/romantic relationship with a notquitehuman timetraveller in this book which continues the author's "Skolian saga".
The story is actually... (more) 


The Central Tendency (2003) 
 Daniel Kaysen 

In the first portion of this short story, a teenager and the aunt who took her in when her parents died enjoy doing math together. However, when the girl begins to get advanced training from Cambridge... (more) 


The Circle of Zero (1936) 
 Stanley G. Weinbaum 

Thanks to Vijay Fafat for pointing out this story (with only a little math in it). A character speculates that the laws of probability predict that anything will happen in an infinite amount of time,... (more) 


Conceiving Ada (1997) 
 Lynn HershmanLeeson


Bizarre, lowbudget film in which a female computer programmer from the 20th century accesses the memories of Ada Lovelace, the 19th century mathematician and daughter of the poet Lord Byron. The film... (more) 


The Curve of the Snowflake (1956) 
 William Grey Walter 

A beautiful and brilliant woman organizes a team of scientists (and a mathematician) who together make fusion energy efficient and invent a flying submarine...and perhaps a timemachine as well. When... (more) 


A Deadly Medley of Smedley (2003) 
 Feargus Gwynplaine MacIntyre 

Paradox Patrol officer Julie Anne Callender, with the help of her brother
Gregorian and her uncle Newgate, track down yet again the timecrime master
of evil Smedley Faversham (and atrocious punmeister)... (more) 


Dear Abbey (2003) 
 Terry Bisson 

This novel, which has not received many good reviews and appears only to have been published in Britain, involves a math professor who is a terrorist for environmentalist causes. (That the author chose... (more) 


Dispel Illusion (2019) 
 Mark Lawrence 

This third book in the "Impossible Times" series continues telling the story of math prodigy Nick Hayes and the bizarre time loop he experiences/causes. Many of the chapters in this book take place in... (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) 


Doctor Who: The Turing Test (2000) 
 Paul Leonard 

Mathematician Alan Turing appears as a primary character in this unusual Doctor Who novel, and narrates the first third of it. (The other two thirds are narrated by authors Graham Greene and Joseph Heller... (more) 


Drode's Equations (1981) 
 Richard Grant 

When this story takes place, the fictional "Drode's Equations" have been
lost for so long that they have become practically mythological. And so
the historian protagonist is surprised to find them in... (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 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) 


Fermat's Lost Theorem (1994) 
 Jerry Oltion 

This is a neat little story which plays on the fancy that one has found a very simple proof for Fermat's last theorem...if only one can write it down before the epiphany passes. A young mathematician... (more) 


Gödel geht [Gödel's Exit] (1991) 
 Andreas Findig 

Kurt Gödel's reflection steps out of the mirror and joins him at his table in a cafe. (That may seem weird, but the author assures us that such fantastical things are always happening in Vienna.) Since... (more) 


Gödel Incomplete (2013) 
 Martha Goddard (Writer and Director) 

A 21st century physicist repeatedly travels back in time for short visits to the 20th century as a result of her experiments at the Large Hadron Collider. For completely unexplained reasons, she always... (more) 


How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe (2010) 
 Charles Yu 

Fans of mathematical fiction are likely to love the selfreferential nature of this novel about a timemachine repairman whose future self travels back in time to give him a novel about a timemachine... (more) 


In the Courts of the Sun (2009) 
 Brian D'Amato 

A modern descendant of the Mayans and his former mentor (a game theorist) realize that the famous Mayan prediction that the world will end in the year 2012 is based on some seemingly reasonable math, and... (more) 


Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny (2023) 
 James Mangold / Jez Butterworth/JohnHenry Butterworth/David Koepp 

I finally saw this final installment of the Indiana Jones movies and was surprised that there was a mathematical aspect to it. In hindsight, I realize that the reason I did not hear about it is that it... (more) 


Infinities (2002) 
 John Barrow 

This play, written by Cambridge cosmologist John Barrow, has been produced and performed in Italy (Milan and Valencia). It is made up of five separate vignettes several of which touch on the deep mathematics... (more) 


The Invention of Ana [Forestillinger om Ana Ivan] (2016) 
 Mikkel Rosengaard 

A Danish writer visiting New York becomes obsessed with the life story of Ana Ivan, a Romanian artist that he meets. She tells him about two lovers, about her parents' lives under the autocratic rule... (more) 


I’ll Follow The Sun (2014) 
 Paul Di Filippo 

An American math student in Canada in 1964 obtains help from his math professor, Chan Davis, to avoid being drafted into the military during the Vietnam War, which had already killed his uncle. The math... (more) 


The Janus Equation (1980) 
 Steven G. Spruill 

In an alternate reality where John Kennedy survived the assassination attempt and replaced all national governments with five allpowerful corporations, an awardwinning mathematician tries to invent a... (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 Kingdom of Ohio (2009) 
 Matthew Flaming 

CheriAnne Toledo, the daughter of the King of Ohio, uses her mathematical skills (and the assistance of Nikola Tesla) to build a device that is supposed to be able transport people instantaneously from... (more) 


The Last Starship from Earth (1968) 
 John Boyd 

A mathematician named Haldane IV and a poet named Helix fall in love and try to learn the truth about the famous 19th century mathematician Fairweather I. Unfortunately, both of these things are against... (more) 


The Light of Other Days (2000) 
 Arthur C. Clarke / Stephen Baxter 

Using the WormCam (a camera sent through a wormhole in spacetime), it is
possible to witness any event that is taking or has taken place in the
universe. This makes privacy essentially an obsolete... (more) 


Limited Wish (2019) 
 Mark Lawrence 

In this sequel to One Word Kill, math prodigy Nick Hayes develops the theory of time travel that his future self used to go back in time to meet himself in the first book. The idea, which sounds neat... (more) 


A Little Mathematician  Katie (2002) 
 Tadashi Miura 

A sweet little book by an author who wanted to be a math teacher and hopes he can "introduce the joy of learning mathematics to every student in this world through this story".
A little girl named Katie... (more) 


Location, velocity, end point (2022) 
 Matt Tighe 

A timetraveler tries to reach the right point in spacetime to save his young son from a horrible disease. However, the computations he needs to achieve this goal are frustrated by some analogue of Heisenberg's... (more) 


The Loom of God: Mathematical Tapestries at the Edge of Time (1997) 
 Clifford Pickover 

A group of time travelers journey back to the time of Pythagoras in an effort to see the origins of mystical mathematics. The journey continues as they explore numerous links between mathematics, nature and mysticism. Concepts featured: pentagonal numbers, perfect numbers, oblong numbers, the golden ratio, and fractals. Religious implications are also discussed.
(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 Map of Tiny Perfect Things (2021) 
 Lev Grossman 

This short film is based on a short story by Lev Grossman is a repeatthesameday romcom that uses 2D projections of a tesseract as a plot point! I liked it even if it’s a little handwavy, and math... (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) 


Mimsy Were the Borogoves (1943) 
 Lewis Padgett (aka Henry Kuttner and Catherine L. Moore) 

Far in the future, humans have not only improved their digestive tracts
(eliminating the appendix and shortening their large intestine) and invented a time machine, but they have also invented educational
toys... (more) 


Nanunculus (1997) 
 Ian Watson 

A mathematician wishes to commit suicide, but is pestered by an automated visitor from the future programmed to make certain that the mathematician discovers the key to time travel before he does.
Appears in the collection The Great Escape
and first published in Interzone January 1997.
(more) 


Newton's Gift (1979) 
 Paul J. Nahin 

Time traveller Wallace John Steinhope believes that he will be able to help
his hero, Isaac Newton, avoid the tedium of computation by bringing him an electronic
calculator that can do simple arithmetic.... (more) 


Nice Girl with Five Husbands (1951) 
 Fritz Leiber 

A man is unwittingly swept by a time wind 100 years
into the future. He and the people he meets in the
futureincluding the nice girl of the titletalk
at cross purposes, but no one realizes... (more) 


The Number of the Beast (1979) 
 Robert A. Heinlein 

Engineer and physicist Jacob Burroughs invents a time machine which lets
him travel to what we might consider "alternate universes". The underlying
mathematics involves the notion that there are in... (more) 


Numbercruncher (2013) 
 Si Spurrier (writer) / PJ Holden (artist) 

A recently deceased mathematician "cracks the recirculation algorithm" and thus is able to control his own reincarnation in the hope of being able to spend more time with the woman he loves. It ends up... (more) 


Numbers Don't Lie (2005) 
 Terry Bisson 

This novel is actually just a compilation of three Wilson Wu short stories ("The Hole in the Hole", "The Edge of the Universe" and "Get Me to the Church on Time") which were previously published in Asimov's... (more) 


Occam's Razor (1956) 
 David Duncan 

This story involves the concept of discontinuous time embedded in a sort of “MetaTime”. Essentially, Duncan proposes the idea that True Reality evolves along MetaTime which is broken up... (more) 


One Word Kill (2019) 
 Mark Lawrence 

Nick Hayes, a math prodigy with leukemia in the 1980's, meets his future self in this first book of the "Impossible Times" trilogy from Amazon's publishing arm. The consistent time loop that this creates... (more) 


Oracle (2000) 
 Greg Egan 

The protagonist, Robert Stoney is a british mathematician who worked on German codes during WW II, was greatly affected by the death of a close friend, and was later persecuted for his homosexuality. ... (more) 


The Outside (2019) 
 Ada Hoffman 

The way this science fiction novel conflates technology and religion is more interesting than anything it does with mathematics. The "gods" in the book are advanced artificial intelligences and "angels"... (more) 


Panda Ray (1996) 
 Michael Kandel 

This science fiction novel is about a dysfunctional family of superbeings (aliens? mutants? humans from the future?) in modern America. It reminds me a bit of the writings of Stanislaw Lem, which is not... (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) 


The Planck Dive (1998) 
 Greg Egan 

This short story describes a bizarre experiment in which researchers are cloned (quantum cloning, not the genetic kind; these researchers aren't "fleshers") and sent into a black hole. Their goal is to... (more) 


Presque Vue (2021) 
 Tochi Onyebuchi 

A character deals with the voice in her head (which seems to like to do math), her aging parents, and her daughter.
I am grateful to Aidan Tompkins for bringing this short story to my attention, but... (more) 


PreVision (1936) 
 John Pierce 

The story hangs its hat on a clever observation made long ago by many physicists, including Einstein, about the nature of solutions of Maxwell's equations. Since the equations are timesymmetric, they... (more) 


Pure Math (1992) 
 John Timson 

A mildly funny and fairly predictable time travel story involving a standalone time loop created by information sent back in time. Jacob Appel is a “Nobel Laureate and the man acknowledged by nearly... (more) 


The Pythagoras Problem (2019) 
 Trevor Baxendale 

A short story involving the 13th Doctor, a female, and (a drunken) Pythagoras, with his daughter, Myia. The piece deftly uses the idea that certain types of geometric patterns act as magical talismans... (more) 


Ripples in the Dirac Sea (1988) 
 Geoffrey A. Landis 

A time machine story based on a combination of Hilbert's Hotel analogy and the "Fermi Sea". We read of the travels of the main character to the ancient past, to the San Francisco earthquake and to the... (more) 


River of Gods (2006) 
 Ian McDonald 

A science fiction novel about artificial intelligence, politics, cellular automata, climate change and alternate universes that takes place in India of 2047. Math plays only a very small role in this... (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) 


The Shiloh Project (1993) 
 David R. Beaucage 

This is a Christian science fiction novel with mathematical undertones written by an author with a doctorate in mathematics. In it, a Jewish math teacher falsely accused of sexually abusing a student... (more) 


The Smithsonian Institution (1998) 
 Gore Vidal 

In the year 1939, a 13 year old orphan known only as "T." is recruited into a secret project to build a nuclear weapon
after he is recognized by his algebra teacher as a math genius. From that description,... (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) 


Stamping Butterflies (2004) 
 Jon Courtenay Grimwood 

A "going back to change the timelines" SF story involving a reclusive rock star, a suspected terrorist being subjected to harsh tactics by US intelligence, and the young Chinese emperor who rules thousands... (more) 


Star, Bright (1952) 
 Mark Clifton 

How would you feel if your daughter could make deep mathematical
discoveries, even when she was a toddler? If you were the parent of
little Star in this story, you'd feel a combination of pride and... (more) 


Strange Attractors (1990) 
 William Sleator 

Timetravel story for young adolescents with a little bit of chaotic
dynamical systems thrown in. The plot follows Max, a high school student
with an interest in math and science, as he becomes involved... (more) 


The Men who Murdered Mohammed (1958) 
 Alfred Bester 

A timetravel story in which Henry Hassel travels back in time to change the past (specifically, to kill his wife who has cheated on him), but finds that none of the usual timetravel tropes apply. In... (more) 


Through the Black Board (1943) 
 Joel Rogers 

The tagline of the story says:
“Unexpectedly Tossed into the Fourth Dimension, Little Mathematics Professor Noel Gouf Has an Amazing Chance to Solve All of His Persona! Problems While Time Stands... (more) 


The Time Axis (1949) 
 Henry Kuttner 

This was published as an Ace paperback in 1965. I don't think I have a copy of the paperback in my collection, but I have the original magazine publication, in the January 1949 issue of Startling Stories.... (more) 


The Time Machine (1895) 
 Herbert George Wells 

This famous early science fiction novel opens with a clever (and, if you
think ahead to the role of Minkowski Space in special relativity,
prophetic) lecture on "the fourth dimension". Of course, discussions... (more) 


The Time Ships (1995) 
 Stephen Baxter 

This sequel to H.G. Wells' classic "The Time Machine" updates the story with some quantum mechanics and general relativity that were not available to Wells in 1895.
Our narrator returns to the distant... (more) 


Time Travel for Love and Profit (2021) 
 Sarah Lariviere 

Nephele Weather's nerdy tendencies made her an outcast at school. Since her "only superpower is math", she decides to discover the equations of time travel so that she can repeat her freshman year and... (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 Say Nothing of the Dog (1998) 
 Connie Willis 

Travelling through time, as we all know, is a dangerous business. One small change in the past and you could mess up the future! In this science fiction novel, Willis proposes a (vaguely mathematical)... (more) 


The Woman Who Shook the WorldTree (2012) 
 Michael Swanwick 

A mathematical prodigy (she derived her own version of calculus to compute volumes when she was only seven years old, and by age 18 she had three PhD.s, including one in a field she had invented) teams... (more) 


A Wrinkle in Time (1962) 
 Madeleine L'Engle 

In this classic children's adventure story,
"time travel is explained as a tesseract, a five dimensional figure. By
traveling along the tesseract, one bypasses the space in between."
Usually,... (more) 


The Writing on the Wall (2005) 
 Steve Stanton 

When he was eight years old, David was visited by an image of his future self, causing him to write mathematical formulas on the wall. (Unfortunately, his parents paint over it before he has a chance... (more) 


Ylem (1994) 
 Eliot Fintushel 

Another Fintushel BigBangAndBack TotallyWeird adventure,
the plot concerns a business conflict in the helium market.
Somebody dickered with the primordial nucleosynthesis, and
... (more) 
