
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) 


Along Came Polly (2004) 
 John Hamburg (Writer and Director) 

[This film] stars Ben Stiller as riskassessing Actuary Reuben Feffer and Jennifer Aniston as love interest Polly Prince. Because Feffer must know the risks inherent in many situations, he becomes inhibited... (more) 


And Be a Villain (1948) 
 Rex Stout 

Rex
Stout and his seventy some Nero Wolfe novels are generally regarded as
amongst the greatest mystery novels ever written. They read as fresh today
as when the series started in 1934, and they... (more) 


The Banana Girls (2017) 
 Karim F. Hirji 

This rare example of African mathematical fiction was written by a Fellow of the Tanzania Academy of Sciences who previously won awards for his work on the statistical analysis of small sample discrete... (more) 


Been a long, long time (1970) 
 R.A. Lafferty 

It's a very wellwritten humorous tale (as expected if you're familiar with Lafferty). The mathematical content is a literal interpretation of the six typing monkeys. The angel Boshel, as a punishment,... (more) 


Bellwether (1996) 
 Connie Willis 

A statistician studying the causes of fads and a chaos theorist studying the behavior of animals write a joint grant proposal for a project involving sheep. That may not sound like a winning book summary,... (more) 


A Calculated Life (2013) 
 Anne Charnock 

This novel is about a brilliant mathematical modeler who works for big business finding correlations (such as that corporate reports tend to use nautical terminology when they are in trouble, even if they... (more) 


The Catalyst [The Strange Attractor] (1991) 
 Desmond Cory 

Mathematics professor John Dobie gets caught up in a truly mindboggling
mystery when one of his former students, his wife's best friend, and then
his own wife wind up dead, and the police consider him to be a prime
suspect.
This is the first, my personal favorite, of the three "Professor Dobie
Mysteries" written by British author Desmond Cory. (See also "The Mask of Zeus" and " (more) 


The Center of the Universe (2005) 
 Alex Kasman 

This short story was intended to serve two different purposes. On the one hand it is a glimpse into the lives and interactions of mathematics graduate students. And, on the other, it addresses the philosophical... (more) 


Chronicles of a Comer (1972) 
 K.M O'Donnell (aka Barry N. Malzberg) 

A short story about a statistician who believes in the
second coming of Christ and looks for it in the statistical
correlations between the events and people's reactions to
those events (e.g. "14%... (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) 


The City of Devi (2013) 
 Manil Suri 

Manil Suri, the author of this erotic, dystopian, Indian adventure, is a professional mathematician. And so, it is not surprising that there is some mathematics in it. However, there really is not much... (more) 


Coincidence (2013) 
 J.W. Ironmonger 

This book begins with the discovery of a threeyear old girl named Azalea, alone at a seaside fairground and goes on to show us that her life is filled with surprising coincidences. When she grows up... (more) 


The Coincidence Engine (2011) 
 Sam Leith 

A tongueincheek, easyread, quite enjoyable romp of a story about a reclusive mathematician named “Bancharski”, a play on the names of mathematicians Banach and Tarski (unfortunately, BanachTarski... (more) 



The Countess Conspiracy (2013) 
 Courtney Milan 

This is a romance novel set in Victorian England in which the heroine is a biologist studying inheritance and the hero is her friend who publishes and presents her work in his name. The story begins... (more) 


Damned Souls and Statistics (2011) 
 Robert Dawson 

A statistician sells her soul to the devil in exchange for guaranteed tenure, but redeems herself by creating a cleverly useless confidence interval.
I like the part about the realization during her... (more) 


Dark as Day (2002) 
 Charles Sheffield 

Alex Ligon, though unbelievably rich, chooses to work voluntarily at a government
agency where his predictive models for the future of the human race (based,
he claims, on the principles of statistical... (more) 


The Dark Side of the Sun (1976) 
 Terry Pratchett 

This humorous science fiction novel tells the tale of Dom Salabos, who believes he is destined to become "Chairman of the Board of Widdershins and heir to riches untold", but his allies familiar with pmath... (more) 


De Impossibilitate Vitae and Prognoscendi (1971) 
 Stanislaw Lem 

This is a philosophical discourse (intended as a parody, but I swear
I've read serious papers that were very much like it) in which the
author argues that probablity theory makes no sense since it is... (more) 


The Devil You Don't (1970) 
 Keith Laumer 

The devil (who is not such a bad guy after all) seeks help from a quantum physics expert to fight off some aliens (who are not so evil either) that happen to disrupt the "Randomness Field". This disruption... (more) 


Diary of a Bad Year (2007) 
 John Maxwell Coetzee 

J.M. Coetzee has a Nobel Prize in literature (2003) and an undergraduate degree in mathematics (University of Cape Town, 1961). It is therefore not too surprising to find him included in my list of mathematical... (more) 


Drop (2008) 
 Lisa Papademitriou 

A mathematically talented high school student uses what appears to be psychic powers to beat the casinos in this novel for young adults. However, with the help of a math professor she begins to realize... (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) 


The Estimator (Georges) (2007) 
 Lynn Margulis 

Georges Standon computes the probabilities of unlikely events for a living, especially those relating to outer space, but this does not prepare him for the complications in his personal life when an old... (more) 


Fifty Million Monkeys (1943) 
 Raymond F. Jones 

The story is set sometime around 12,000 AD. The use of interstellar rockets over 15 years creates a "polarization of space" which leads to a "Pioneer anomaly"like deviations in flight paths of spacecraft.... (more) 


The Gigantic Fluctuation (1973) 
 Arkady Strugatsky / Boris Strugatsky 

This is an oddly funny story about a man who becomes the "focus point of all miracles in the world", a "gigantic fluctuation". He somehow appears to attract extremely improbably but possible statistical... (more) 


The Grand Wheel (1977) 
 Barrington J. Bayley 

This is primarily space opera, but with a mathematical element in
the fictional discovery of randomatics: a science which shows that
the Gambler's Fallacy is true under certain conditions, enabling
random... (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) 


Hard Times (1853) 
 Charles Dickens 

A suggestion for a novel to be added to your website Mathematical Fiction:
In Charles Dickens's "Hard Times", poor schoolgirl Sissy Jupe is struggling in an educational system
that is obsessed... (more) 


Hell of a Fix (2009) 
 Matthew Hughes 

When an actuary's exclamation upon hitting his thumb with a hammer summons a demon, he unwittingly causes a general strike of the workers in Hell. With the help of a theologian with a bizarre theory to... (more) 


The Helpline (2019) 
 Katherine Collette 

In this work of fiction, an antisocial character who believes that all of life's questions can be answered by mathematics discovers that there's more to life than numbers. In this particular version... (more) 


Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (1979) 
 Douglas Adams 

Everyone ought to read this trilogy of four (or is it five now?) books that brilliantly combine science fiction with the drollest of British humor. Despite my high regard for it, I've not added it to... (more) 


Imperativ (1982) 
 Krzysztof Zanussi 

It is about a mathematician (a probability professor) in existential crisis about the nature of necessity and chance.
(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) 


Incident on Simpac III: A Scientific Novel (2018) 
 Doug Brugge 

In this science fiction novel, human colonization of extrasolar planets is guided by "synthesis", mathematical algorithms that make determinations about the best course of action in the future based on... (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) 



Into Darkness (1992) 
 Greg Egan 

Creepy story about a man who volunteers to rescue people from a
wormhole that randomly appears in cities, killing anyone who is not
able to make it to the center of the spacetimedistortion before it
disappears.... (more) 


The Investigation (1959) 
 Stanislaw Lem 

In investigating a bizarre case of missing  and apparently resurrected bodies  an investigator at Scotland Yard consults mystics, philosophers, and (most significantly to the book as well as to this... (more) 


Jurassic Park (1990) 
 Michael Crichton 

Although there is really not much mathematics in this SF thriller at all, the
mathematician (played in the
film by
Jeff Goldbloom) has an important role as the only
person smart enough to recognize... (more) 



Ladies' Night (2017) 
 Robert Dawson 

A card sharp known as "Lady Jane" attempts to swindle a statistician visiting Las Vegas for a conference. The plot twists and turns as it mentions things like the Monty Hall Problem, Game Theory, and... (more) 


The Last Casino (2004) 
 Pierre Gill (director) /Steven Westren (screenplay) 

A fairly amateurish movie about a Math professor who is an expert cardcounter and ipso facto, banned from most casinos. So he trains 3 math graduates to count cards and work as a team to fleece casinos... (more) 


The Law (1947) 
 Robert M. Coates 

In this story, the "law of averages" ceases to apply (so that, for instance, everyone in Manhattan decides to drive across the Triborough Bridge on the same evening). As a result, it is necessary for... (more) 


The Lottery in Babylon [La lotería en Babilonia] (1941) 
 Jorge Luis Borges 

In what is clearly a metaphor for the apparent randomness of life (and the theological implications that follow), the great Argentinian writer Borges crafts a tale about the all important lottery in a... (more) 


Luck be a Lady (2009) 
 Dean Wesley Smith 

A seriously bizarre story about how
Laverne, the Goddess of Luck, has gone missing, and superheroes Poker
Boy, Front Desk Lady, and Screamer go looking for her, only to discover
that the Bookkeeper... (more) 


Machines Like Me (2019) 
 Ian McEwan 

There are many ways to describe this book without mentioning mathematics: It is a romance between Charlie (a slacker who dabbles in daytrading) and Miranda (the law student who lives in the apartment... (more) 


Moriarty by Modem (1995) 
 Jack Nimersheim 

A cyberversion of Sherlock Holmes is created to track down an accidently
released cyberversion of Moriarty. The big clue involves both the binomial
theorem and binomial variables.
Published in... (more) 


Mother's Milk (2005) 
 Andrew Thomas Breslin 

Lawyer Cindy Kichlklug takes on the dairy industry (with the aid of a quirky mathematician) in this witty SF satire.
The "conspiracy theory" in the book is well put together. It tightly combines so... (more) 


Mozart and the Whale (2005) 
 Petter Næss (Director) 

A romance about two people with Asperger's Syndrome based on a true story. I have not seen the film, but understand that the male character is obsessed with numbers and statistics but works as a cab driver.... (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 at the Races (1999) 
 Leonard Michaels 

In Michaels' third Nachman story, we learn that the UCLA mathematician enjoys attending horse races  apparently his only emotional outlet besides his mathematics research. There is discussion of the... (more) 


No Chance (2001) 
 Guy Hasson 

While playing poker, a math professor and a biology professor discuss the manyworlds interpretation of quantum physics, with the mathematician offering what he sees as a mathematical argument proving... (more) 


The NonStatistical Man (1956) 
 Raymond F. Jones 

In this short story, insurance adjuster Charles Bascomb comes up against his greatest enemy: intuition. The story presents mathematics (especially statistics and logic) as one way man can deal with reality.... (more) 


NullP (1951) 
 William Tenn 

The story extrapolates to great lengths (including a complete overthrow of humanity by smartly evolved canines) a simple principle: what might happen if we found a perfectly average man who had quantitative... (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) 


Odds Against Tomorrow (2013) 
 Nathaniel Rich 

Mitchell Zukor is a statistician and probabilist whose area of expertise is the prediction of disasters. To many people, including the reporter/narrator, this makes him a humorous and pathetic number... (more) 


Off Day! (1953) 
 Al Feldstein (writer)/ Jack Kamen (artist) 

Believe it or not, this Weird Science story is essentially a lecture on the law of large numbers.
A very worried college professor tells his class he's just witnessed the failure of one of the most... (more) 


Percentage Player (1958) 
 Leslie Charteris 

A really hilarious and confusing tale which has to be read very slowly to get the full gist, as it happens in almost every single probability problem one tries to solve. How many times have you been... (more) 


Perry Rhodan 2638: Zielpunkt MorpheusSystem (2012) 
 Marc A. Herren 

The longrunning German science fiction series Perry Rhodan recently ran a contest whose winner, a certain Martin Felten, was included in issue number 2638 as a space actuary and inventor of a fivedimensional... (more) 


The Pi Man (1959) 
 Alfred Bester 

I found this work in an anthology of Alfred Bester short stories "The Dark Side of the Earth". It is an ironic story of a man that calls himself the Pi Man (irrational) that tries to set a pattern... (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) 


Probabilities (1995) 
 Michael Stein 

Sixteen year old Will Sterling is the protagonist of this "coming of age story" that throws just a little math in with the usual teenangst and sexual exploration.
The author is very good at letting you... (more) 


Probability Storm (1977) 
 Julian Reid 

Julian Reid takes the concept of statistical anomalies to a fantastic extreme in a slapstick fantasy comedy written in a very witty and conversational style, replete with puns and smartcracks. A tavern... (more) 


Pröfung läuft: Eine Erzählung in n Testabschnitten (2018) 
 Dietmar Dath 

This short story which appeared in the January 2018 issue of the German magazine Konkret is more about politics/economics than math, but it features frequent high level discussions of mathematical logic... (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) 


The Rock (1996) 
 Robert Doherty 

"Five peopleincluding an Australian Air Force computer operator, a Mexican engineering professor, a New York housewife, a Colombian Special Forces officer, and an English mathematicianare invited to... (more) 


The Romanian Gambit: A Statistical Spy Novel (2020) 
 Elliott Ostler 

This espionage novel attempts to teach the reader about statistical analysis.
Alex:
The Romanian Gambit, A Statistical Spy Novel (2020) by Elliott Ostler, is now available on Amazon, and IMHO belongs... (more) 


Rosencrantz & Guildenstern are Dead (1967) 
 Tom Stoppard 

This brilliant, weird play, retelling the story of Shakespeare's Hamlet
from the point of view of two "throw away" characters, unfortunately has
very little mathematics in it. However, every few days... (more) 


San (2000) 
 Lan Samantha Chang 

A short story in the collection "Hunger" about a girl who becomes interested in mathematics (especially probability) when her gambler father deserts his family. She does not succeed as a college student and learns in the end that in both math and life, it is the mysteries (and not their solutions) which are of real interest.
(more) 


She is Not Invisible (2013) 
 Marcus Sedgwick 

In this young adult thriller, a blind teenager and her younger brother search for their missing father, a successful author obsessed with coincidence and the number 354. Although the approach is more supernatural and numerological than mathematical, there is also some flavor of probability and discussion of such things as Benford's Law.
(more) 


Silent Cruise (2002) 
 Timothy Taylor 

In an open forum on mathematics at the BIRS Website, Canadian author Taylor does a great job of explaining why I am listing this short story here:
[In this story] I introduce [the characters]
Dett... (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) 


Statistician's Day (1970) 
 James Blish 

An aging novelist and Nobel Prize winner gives what he knows is
his last interview. But rather than take questions, he has rather
pointed ones of his own, based on his twenty years of statistical
analyses... (more) 


The Statistomat Pitch (1958) 
 Chandler Davis 

This pulp science fiction story by "Chan Davis" features a discussion of the use of mathematics and a computer for the purposes of stock trading. As Vijay Fafat explains below in his post, while this... (more) 


The Stochastic Man (1975) 
 Robert Silverberg 

This is a tautly written story of political intrigue involving 3 central figures: a student of statistics, Lew Nichols, who invents the field of predictive stochastics, a seemingly clairvoyant and eccentric... (more) 


Teen Patti (2010) 
 Leena Yadav (Director) 

This Bollywood film features Ben Kingsley as a math professor whose theory of probability allows him (and a team of student helpers) to win huge sums of money gambling. The plot sounds suspiciously similar... (more) 


Tetraktys (2009) 
 Ari Juels 

A thriller in which a classicist with expertise in cryptography helps to track down a Pythagorean cult that has apparently discovered the ability to factor large integers quickly and therefore can break... (more) 


To The Power Against (2007) 
 Carrie Smith (writer) / Stephanie Lantry (Artist) 

Probability and the number 235 (which appears on each cover, sometimes cleverly hidden) each play a role in this interesting but still somewhat amateurish comic book series from Conjoined Comics.
Our... (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) 


Twisted (2004) 
 Jonathan Kellerman 

One of the main characters is a graduate student pursing a Ph.D. in biostatistics, who notes to police detectives that coincidences in the circumstances of several murders are statistically significant,... (more) 


A Very Good Year (1984) 
 Jack C. Haldeman (II) 

A very short fantasylike story about Statistics. A senior statistician for Dept of Acccident Prevention describes how the law of averages appears to have failed when applied to mortality rates. In particular,... (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) 


What Are the Odds? (2006) 
 Justin Spitzer (writer) / Matthew Tritt (director) 

Two extremely nerdy strangers who keep running into each other in New York City are surprised to learn that they both "study applied mathematics" and are attending the same conference on "stochastic processes... (more) 


The Year of the Jackpot (1952) 
 Robert A. Heinlein 

A statistician notices trends in everything from war and famine to women unexpectedly stripping off their clothes in public. He concludes that the year 1954 is going to be an exceptionally bad year. ... (more) 


Zero (2009) 
 Buzz Mauro 

An awkward, middleaged math teacher stumbles (quite literally) into a sexual relationship with an unusual young woman.
The character occasionally thinks in mathematical terms. Towards the beginning,... (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) 
