# Ask Slashdot: Mathematical Fiction?

#### Soulskill posted about a year and a half ago | from the it-was-an-arbitrarily-lit-and-stormy-night dept.

278
An anonymous reader writes *"Neal Stephenson's 1999 Cryptonomicon was a great yarn. It was also a thoroughly enjoyable (and too short) romp through some mathematics. Where can I find more of that? I should say that I don't want SF — at least none of the classic SF I read voraciously in the 70s; it's just not the same thing, and far too often just a puppet-theatre for an author's philosophical rant. Has any author managed to hit the same vein as Stephenson did? (Good non-fiction math-reads are also gratefully accepted. What have you got?)"*

## George Orwell (4, Funny)

## Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41757267)

After all, 2+2=5

## Too short? (1)

## noahwh (1545231) | about a year and a half ago | (#41757313)

As I recall Cryptonomicon is well over 1000 pages long.

## Re:Too short? (2)

## The Moof (859402) | about a year and a half ago | (#41757335)

## Re:Too short? (0)

## Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41757611)

I think you should interpret that as "in my opinion, although the book was over a thousand pages, the parts covering mathematics were too light and too few".

Yes, I am captain Obvious, stating the obvious since 1986.

## Re:Too short? (1, Insightful)

## mcvos (645701) | about a year and a half ago | (#41757885)

But every one of those pages is interesting and exciting, unlike his other books, which tend to lose pace and focus after a brilliant start.

## Tons of math fiction (5, Informative)

## Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41757321)

http://kasmana.people.cofc.edu/MATHFICT/

## Fadiman compilations (0)

## Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41757323)

Have you seen "Fantasia Mathematica" and "The Mathematical Magpie", both edited by Clifton Fadiman? Lots of fun.

## Romney's Budget (4, Funny)

## Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41757329)

It's great mathematical fiction.

## Re:Romney's Budget (-1)

## Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41757441)

As if things are going to be any better under Obama.

I hope you partisan bitches are held accountable if this nation collapses. I really really would love to see your bullshit lies try to stop the retribution that would be sure to come.

## Re:Romney's Budget (3, Insightful)

## Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41758059)

you partisan bitches

Wow! Projection.

## A favorite of mine (-1, Offtopic)

## MyLongNickName (822545) | about a year and a half ago | (#41757337)

A favorite of mine [google.com]

## Re:A favorite of mine (-1)

## Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41757413)

Boring!

## Greg Egan (5, Informative)

## Edward Coffin (256305) | about a year and a half ago | (#41757339)

## Re:Greg Egan (2)

## vux984 (928602) | about a year and a half ago | (#41757865)

Yeah, I was thinking Greg Egan as well; Schild's Ladder in particular, along with Permutation City pop to mind.

And much of the work under the moniker of "Hard SF" might appeal to the submitter, since it tends to be backed by real math, physics, and chemistry and often delves into the details.

## Re:Greg Egan (5, Informative)

## Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41758209)

Egan's latest, "Clockwork Rocket", is probably his most mathy work to date. It takes place in a different universe (dubbed "Orthogonal") with its own distinct physics: the speed of light is different for different colors; gravity is an inverse-linear force as opposed to inverse-square; and don't even ask what's going on at the subatomic level (are there even atoms in this universe? It's not quite clear this early in the trilogy...)

Anyway, the book's got diagrams and everything, so if math and physics are your thing, you'll have lots of fun with this one.

## Re:Greg Egan (1)

## Owyn (934) | about a year and a half ago | (#41758287)

Came here to second that. Greg Egan's Diaspora is really mathy and quite good. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diaspora_(novel) [wikipedia.org]

## Re:Greg Egan (0)

## Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41758369)

Yep, third'ed. Greg Egan is one of the best authors of scientifically possible fiction.

http://gregegan.customer.netspace.net.au/

## Try Neal Stephenson (1, Interesting)

## Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41757341)

> Has any author managed to hit the same vein as Stephenson did?

Yes, he's called Neal Stephenson: Baroque Cycle is certainly not too short, and Anathem is beautifully mathematical.

## flatland (5, Informative)

## Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41757389)

flatland, a romance of many dimensions;

(http://www.geom.uiuc.edu/~banchoff/Flatland/)

## Hofstadter (5, Insightful)

## Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41757407)

I found Douglas Hofstadter's "Gödel, Escher, Bach" to be at least as engaging as any Stephenson-esque fiction I've ever read.

## Re:Hofstadter (5, Interesting)

## Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41757501)

Hostadter also wrote "Metamagical Themas" - both the book and the articles in Scientific American for some time. Those two books were some of the best reads I've ever enjoyed.

## Re:Hofstadter (0, Offtopic)

## Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41757515)

Spoiler: they all die in the end.

## Re:Hofstadter (2)

## ReverendLoki (663861) | about a year and a half ago | (#41757549)

I was thinking the same. Keep in mind, it's not fiction (there are fictional elements in it, more like fables to illustrate the points made), and it's more like a general essay/introduction to logic, paradox, intelligence and what it means, recursion, and similar topics. You may find yourself covering topics you are already familiar with, depending on your experience, but it's still a good read.

You can read a better summation on Wikipedia [wikipedia.org]

## Re:Hofstadter (1)

## Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41757741)

And in Mathematical Themas he actually has a speculative math story, though it's very short. The premise is a world where pi is exactly three, but I won't spoil the ending.

## Flatland: A Romance Of Many Dimensions (2, Informative)

## Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41757425)

Well over a hundred years old and well ahead of it's time.

## Re:Flatland: A Romance Of Many Dimensions (0)

## Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41757587)

## Re:Flatland: A Romance Of Many Dimensions (0)

## Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41758121)

I love Flatland too, and Sphereland is a great follow-up. It's written by a different author, but it uses the same style to tackle a more complex subject.

## Surreal (1)

## Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41757445)

You may enjoy "Surreal Numbers: How Two Ex-Students Turned on to Pure Mathematics and Found Total Happiness. " Donald Knuth, 1974. Dixit wikipedia: "This book is a mathematical novelette, and is notable as one of the rare cases where a new mathematical idea was first presented in a work of fiction." (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Surreal_number)

Enjoy.

## The Story of O (5, Funny)

## Anne_Nonymous (313852) | about a year and a half ago | (#41757449)

The Story of O by Pauline Reage is the fascinating account of the discovery of the number in ancient Mesopotamia.

## Re:The Story of O (0)

## Seraphim_72 (622457) | about a year and a half ago | (#41758027)

Truely you are a well read person quite deserving of mod points I sadly cannont give.

## Not fiction but... (3, Informative)

## Empiric (675968) | about a year and a half ago | (#41757451)

...Tracy Kidder's Pulitzer winner -reads- like good fiction.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Soul_of_a_New_Machine [wikipedia.org]

In terms of "dramatizing math", I'd have to give it the nod even over Cryptonomicon.

## "A Subway Named Mobius" (4, Insightful)

## Animats (122034) | about a year and a half ago | (#41757453)

"A Subway Named Mobius" [youngmathwizards.com], from 1950.

## on the non-fiction side (5, Informative)

## new death barbie (240326) | about a year and a half ago | (#41757481)

Godel, Escher, Bach, by Douglas Hofsteder

The Mind's I, co-edited by Douglas Hofsteder and Daniel Dennett

One, Two, Three... Infinity by George Gamow

Flatland, by Edwin Abbott Abbott (okay, this one is fiction)

anything by Martin Gardner

## Flatland: A Romance Of Many Dimensions (0, Interesting)

## Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41757485)

Over a hundred years old and well ahead of it's time.

## Goldbach's conjecture (1)

## expatriot (903070) | about a year and a half ago | (#41757505)

Uncle Petros and Goldbach's Conjecture: A Novel of Mathematical Obsession http://www.amazon.com/Uncle-Petros-Goldbachs-Conjecture-Mathematical/dp/1582341281 [amazon.com]

## Oo oo! I've got one! (1, Funny)

## RedBear (207369) | about a year and a half ago | (#41757509)

How about the Romney/Ryan economic recovery "plan". It's gotta qualify as mathematical fiction.

## but they don't really give any numbers (1)

## swschrad (312009) | about a year and a half ago | (#41757835)

so it's quantum mathmetical fiction.

## No, it's Superstring Theory fiction . . . (2)

## PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | about a year and a half ago | (#41758159)

. . . economic recovery will occur, but only in other dimensions that most folks won't be able to sense and experience.

And since Superstring is the Unified Theory, it applies to both political parties.

## Re:Oo oo! I've got one! (4, Funny)

## Oh Gawwd Peak Oil (1000227) | about a year and a half ago | (#41758147)

I took a number out of the Romney/Ryan economic recovery plan, and multiplied it by itself to see what would happen. I got a negative number. Why would that be?

I took another number and multiplied it by itself, and got another negative number. In fact,

everynumber I took from that plan and multiplied by itself, I got a negative number!How could that be?

## Re:Oo oo! I've got one! (1, Troll)

## ScentCone (795499) | about a year and a half ago | (#41758271)

I would like to see the math basis for borrowing and taxing the economy into prosperity, though. Especially the part on taxes. The

actualmath says that if you taxed rich people at 100% of their earnings, it wouldn't even close the government's spendingdeficitpast the month of May in a given year. So, some math fiction that gets creatively around that unpleasant detail would be good reading indeed.## Ready Player One (1)

## Jim Hall (2985) | about a year and a half ago | (#41757527)

I know you asked for

math-reads, but you also asked for books likeStephenson. I just finished reading Ready Player One [amazon.com] which I found to be a lot like Gibson and Stephenson, but better. (For example, RPO actually has anending.) It has a good cyberpunk feel, and a realistic world. The way he described the dystopian near-future society reminded me of Stephenson'sDiamond AgeorSnow Crash, or Gibson'sVirtual Lighttrilogy.## Re:Ready Player One (1)

## Bill Hayden (649193) | about a year and a half ago | (#41758045)

I just finished reading Ready Player One [amazon.com] which I found to be a lot like Gibson and Stephenson, but better. (For example, RPO actually has an

ending.)Regarding Stephenson's inability to write an ending, amen! He's one of my favorite writers, but he can't tie up a book to save his life. Diamond Age was the worst -- great book, but virtually nothing is resolved at the end. I'd never heard of Ready Player One, but it sounds great and I've already got it on order. Thanks!

## Oh, you want mathematical _fiction_ (4, Funny)

## John Hasler (414242) | about a year and a half ago | (#41757531)

I thought you wanted fictional mathematics and was going to point you to arXiv.

## Three non-fiction suggestions (0)

## Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41757541)

"Everything and more", by David Foster Wallace.

"Mechanizing Proof", by Donald Mackenzie.

"Dreaming in Code", by Scott Rosenberg.

## Neverness by David Zindell (2)

## shadowdelta (2759725) | about a year and a half ago | (#41757543)

## Re:Neverness by David Zindell (1)

## mprinkey (1434) | about a year and a half ago | (#41757735)

This. The whole series is very well done and deeply engaging. But it is dense. It might be best described as fictional mathematical physics, but it is not your typical SF...even hard SF.

## The Spade of Reason by Jim Cowan (1)

## Picass0 (147474) | about a year and a half ago | (#41757553)

Originally published in “The Year’s Best Science Fiction” in 1997

http://www.spadeofreason.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/Spade-of-Reason.pdf [spadeofreason.com]

## The Man Who Loved Only Numbers (0)

## Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41757569)

The story of Paul Erdos - It's Non-Fiction, but is one of my favorite mathematics oriented books.

Amazon link:

http://www.amazon.com/Man-Who-Loved-Only-Numbers/dp/0786884061

## Recommended Non-fiction maths books (0)

## Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41757571)

I can't think of many mathematical fiction books apart from Flatland, which I assume you heard of, and is rather a thin tome anyway. I'd mostly suggest mathematical biographies as the way to go:

The Man Who Loved Only Numbers - The biography of Paul Erdös

The Music of the Primes - by Marcus du Sautoy

Genius - the biography of Richard Feynman - author James Gleick(?)

Chaos - a book on chaos theory and fractals, also by James Gleick

The Code Book - Simon Singh

Fermat's Last Theorem - Simon Singh

Gödel, Escher, Bach - Douglas Hofstadter

A Beautiful Mind - The biography of John Nash

A New Kind of Science - Stephen Wolfram (bit of a doorstep, this one!)

Of these, the Music of the Primes is probably the one I most recommend because it details the historical approach towards the Riemann hypothesis. Over the centuries, many mathematicians have taken a crack at this problem - and made the occasional advance here and there - so it's a really good set of name checks for other mathematical biographies to track down. Gives you an overview of the entire field of mathematical endeavours over the centuries.

Finally, some other names to look out for - Alan Turing, Euler, Gauss and possibly some of the Greeks. Here's a passable list of 'greatest mathematicians' http://fabpedigree.com/james/greatmm.htm and I don't see much in that list to quibble over.

## Doxiadis (0)

## Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41757577)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apostolos_Doxiadis

Not sure if it's what you are looking for but I read both the book and the comic and I enjoyd them and happily recommend it

## Knuth! (0)

## Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41757581)

Surreal Numbers: How Two Ex-Students Turned on to Pure Mathematics and Found Total Happiness

## Robert J. Sawyer (1)

## sasquatch21 (184936) | about a year and a half ago | (#41757589)

I would recomend Robert J. Sawyer's Calculating God or Factoring Humanity.

## Re:Robert J. Sawyer (1)

## sackbut (1922510) | about a year and a half ago | (#41758357)

## Anathem (1)

## rknop (240417) | about a year and a half ago | (#41757631)

Also read "Anathem" by Stephenson. Mathematics plays a prominent role, although it's not as explicitly explored as it is in "Cryptonomicon". There are also passing references to things from general relativity (or, at least, a common formalism for tensor analysis) that you will not realize are there unless you've done some advanced undergraduate (or even graduate) Physics courses....

## Try Borges's short stories (2)

## Shaterri (253660) | about a year and a half ago | (#41757645)

While not often directly mathematical, several of Jorge Luis Borges's short stories are interesting efforts on his part to grapple philosophically with many of the concepts of infinity:

The Library of Babelmost famously, but also great stories likeThe Book of Sand,The Aleph, and evenDeath and the Compass. They won't necessarily tickle you in the same way that Stephenson's work did, but they're still a fine jumping-off point into fascinating and deeply philosophical mathematics.## anti-recommendation (1)

## retchdog (1319261) | about a year and a half ago | (#41757647)

don't bother with anything by rudy rucker. except

the hacker and the ants, or maybewhite lightif you're desperate.anyway, someone mentioned greg egan; i'll second that in general. i don't know exactly what you mean by "mathematical" that would exclude 70s hard sf; greg egan might be too close to that or not. i don't know.

and although it barely qualifies, stanislaw lem's

the investigation[wikipedia.org] was very interesting to me; the description at wikipedia is accurate and as spoiler-free as it could be. actually, anything by stanislaw lem; his stories usually involve flights of bizarre logic, like a science-fiction lewis carroll.## Re:anti-recommendation (1)

## mfnickster (182520) | about a year and a half ago | (#41757749)

Oh, I don't know... I loved Rucker's "Software" trilogy, but it's not about math at all.

If you like pondering infinities,

White Lightis a lot of fun (but be sure to readThe Divine Comedyfirst).I haven't read Bruce Sterling's

Involution Ocean,but a friend of mine highly recommended it to me.## Non-Fiction (1)

## Antipater (2053064) | about a year and a half ago | (#41757665)

Another great non-fiction is

Inviting Disasterby James Chiles. It's an engineering book, not a math book, but I think it's still cool in the same vein. Every chapter recreates the events of a famous or influential disaster (nitroglycerin plants explode, buildings collapse, reactors melt down, etc.) and examines the engineering and human decisions that caused or exacerbated the problem. It's been a while since I read it, but IIRC it had great discussions on Three Mile Island, Challenger, and the 2000 Concorde crash.## Re:Non-Fiction (1)

## codeAlDente (1643257) | about a year and a half ago | (#41757879)

## Re:Non-Fiction (0)

## Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41758025)

Agreed. When it comes to Math(s) all the best stuff is non-fiction. Well written titles are just as entertaining and far more informative. I'd suggest also suggest:

Anything by Marcus du Sautoy, especially The Music of the Primes and Finding Moonshine.

Phillip Ball's Critical Mass

Already mentioned, Hofstadter's GEB is an absolute must read.

Dava Sobel's Latitude is a great page turner but it does focus on science history, but there's plenty of good math in it.

In the same vein, there was another about geomagnetism that eludes me, maybe someone can fill that one in.

## The greatest one of all (3, Interesting)

## Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41757687)

I can't believe nobody here has posted this yet...

One of the most underrated books ever written is Alice in Wonderland. No, it's not "just" an absurdist children's tale. The author, "Lewis Carroll," was really the mathematician and logician Charles Lutwidge Dodgson -- and some mathematicians claim that almost everything that happens in the book is an allegory of a mathematical theorem or algorithm of some kind. I'm not qualified to say, but it is a marvelous work, and some people have written mathematical footnotes for it.

## Re:The greatest one of all (0)

## Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41757949)

I've read the story, but I don't recall there being any math in Alice's world. Some parts of the book may be related to mathematics in some way, but if so it's pretty buried.

## Re:The greatest one of all (0)

## Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41758113)

Not explicit math. Allegories of mathematical theorems or logic. Of course it's "buried" -- it's ostensibly a children's book.

## Easy (4, Funny)

## DHalcyon (804389) | about a year and a half ago | (#41757745)

## The Gold Bug by E.A.P. (0)

## Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41757753)

It's been a while since I've read it, and I don't remember how much math was in it, but the premise of the story is that a guy stumbles upon a cryptogram from Captain Kidd and works on deciphering it so he can find Kidd's legendary lost stash of treasure. And Poe's always fun to read.

## Uh (1)

## johnsnails (1715452) | about a year and a half ago | (#41757759)

## More computer than math but ... (1)

## cab15625 (710956) | about a year and a half ago | (#41757781)

## Non-Fiction Math (0)

## Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41757791)

"Zero: The Biography of a Dangerous Idea"

## Wow!! no one has said these. (1)

## Foo2rama (755806) | about a year and a half ago | (#41757797)

The Ghost from the Grand Banks by Arthur C Clark - extensive subplot around chaos and fractal theory.

You can also make an argument about the Foundation series from Asimov being math based. The entire series is predicated on using math to predict the future and Humanities actions.

## Re:Wow!! no one has said these. (2)

## NEDHead (1651195) | about a year and a half ago | (#41757985)

Difference Engine sucked at every possible level.

## Rudy Rucker (0)

## Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41757805)

He's great! Gets pretty wacky though. How about "Mathematicians in Love"?

## Snow Crash was utter tripe (0)

## Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41757823)

Sorry, you lost me there. I read Snow Crash and it was a terrible book. Unless Cryptonomicon was at least 300 times better than Snow Crash, *anything* is better than reading Neal Stephenson, except perhaps all the fiction written by El Ron.

But, as other posters have mentioned, Martin Gardner is quite entertaining, and non-fiction, to boot!

## A few suggestions (1)

## Dan Morenus (179942) | about a year and a half ago | (#41757829)

Prime Obsession: Bernhard Riemann and the Greatest Unsolved Problem in Mathematics, by John Derbyshire

Very engaging account of the history of the Riemann Hypothesis, which is central to prime numbers especially but if proven is known to imply a great number of other results. Got into enough actual mathematics to be a great read for me.

The Equation That Couldn't Be Solved: How Mathematical Genius Discovered the Language of Symmetry, by Mario Livio

Recounts a lot of the history of the development of group theory and its application to proving that general quintic equations do not have algebraic solutions. Much lighter on the math and heavier on the human interest which was okay with me as there are some pretty colorful characters involved.

Fermat's Enigma: The Epic Quest to Solve the World's Greatest Mathematical Problem, by Simon Singh

Covers the history surrounding Fermat's Last Theorem. I read it quite a while ago so I'm hazy on the details but it was written after the theorem was proven and I think devotes two chapters to the story of the proof. This is the story of the proof, not an explanation as such a thing would be way beyond the realm of popular literature.

## Re:A few suggestions (0)

## Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41758247)

I read some book by Simon Singh and did not enjoy it that much (The Code Book)

Can't really tell why, because that was interesting.

About prime numbers, I've read the one from Marcus du Sautoy, The Music of Primes, and enjoyed quite much. Even though I wasn't very good at advanced maths, it was understandable and explained such as I felt like I understood the underlying of the prime numbers.

## Richard Powers (0)

## Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41757841)

Check out Richard Powers.

## Roger Penrose (0)

## Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41757855)

Roger Penrose's books, "The Emperor's New clothes?" and I forget the second volume were good.

Hard going though. very dense (or I was...) I could only read a chapter at a time...

## 9 examples (1)

## e**(i pi)-1 (462311) | about a year and a half ago | (#41757869)

## Diaspora, by Greg Egan (1)

## dr_leviathan (653441) | about a year and a half ago | (#41757901)

The science fiction novel called

Diasporaby Greg Egan had some interesting mathy sections. It wasn't rigorous, as I recall, but it certainly went into more "depth" than your average sci-fi story.## I just got outvoted in the Star Trek captain poll (1)

## PingXao (153057) | about a year and a half ago | (#41757907)

I guess I'm in the minority here, too, since I didn't like Cryptonomicum at all. It was OK but at this point I don't even remember what the plot was, never mind the characters.

## Trying to remember (2)

## NEDHead (1651195) | about a year and a half ago | (#41757965)

I read a story the premise of which involved a computer that was designed to create/discover new mathematical theorems. At some point there was found to be an issue in some areas of research, and it was ultimately concluded that another similar effort was being made elsewhere in the universe, and the two efforts were at odds. Essentially the math became 'true' instantly/everywhere when it was first proven, but with different starting points/assumptions the two mathematical realms were in conflict. Don't remember the name/author, and I would love to know (assuming anyone recognizes it from my poor description) to reread and recommend.

## Re:Trying to remember (3, Informative)

## mdenham (747985) | about a year and a half ago | (#41758289)

That would be "Luminous", by... hey, Greg Egan again. Good story, if kind of short.

If you want to stick in that general direction of things, BTW, the short story collection

Dark Integers and Other Storieshas that plus four other more or less loosely-related (I believe only one actually qualifies as a sequel to Luminous) stories. Probably your best bet for sticking to math-related fiction.## The Last Theorem (1)

## rloper (109395) | about a year and a half ago | (#41758017)

Arthur C. Clarke and Frederik Pohl's "The Last Theorem" is interesting with a mathematician as the protagonist.

## Mathenauts (short story anthology) (0)

## Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41758019)

http://www.amazon.com/Mathenauts-Mathematical-Wonder-Rudy-Rucker/dp/0877958904/ref=sr_1_sc_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1351115690&sr=8-1-spell&keywords=mathnauts --amazon link if you want to buy it online, or go find it in your local bookstore.

It's an anthology of math themed stories. Like most anthologies, quality varies, but there are several quite good ones in there.

## Martin Gardner (1)

## sehlat (180760) | about a year and a half ago | (#41758037)

Martin Gardner wrote a number of awesome mathematical short stories. His "No-sided Professor," "The Devil and Simon Flagg" and others remain classics.

Also, Raymond Smullyan's puzzle books can be seen as mathematical/logical "journeys" and you're invited to tag along.

## Math Sci-Fi Anthology (0)

## Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41758073)

Look at: Mathenauts: Tales of Mathematical Wonder

Rudy Rucker (Editor)

## Back in print... (1)

## Seraphim_72 (622457) | about a year and a half ago | (#41758097)

Fantasia Mathmatica [amazon.com] It was out of print forever but should be on the shelf of everyone who loves math or teaches math.

## Here ya go (0)

## PPH (736903) | about a year and a half ago | (#41758109)

## I think (4, Interesting)

## M0j0_j0j0 (1250800) | about a year and a half ago | (#41758131)

You may like 50 shades of Grey, it has the number 50 on it.

## Math books (0)

## Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41758155)

The Man Who Loved Only Numbers: The Story of Paul Erdos and the Search for Mathematical Truth by Paul Hoffman (Jul 15, 1998)

The Man Who Knew Infinity: A Life of the Genius Ramanujan by Robert Kanigel (Jun 1, 1992)

Any Martin Gardner book

A Beautiful Mind

The Annotated Alice: The Definitive Edition by Lewis Carroll, Martin Gardner and John Tenniel (Nov 17, 1999)

Proofs from THE BOOK by Martin Aigner, Günter M. Ziegler and Karl H. Hofmann (Oct 28, 2012)

## AwEsome 7p! (-1)

## Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41758171)

## The World of Mathematics (1)

## westlake (615356) | about a year and a half ago | (#41758189)

"A Small Library of the Literature of Mathematics from A'h-mose' the Scribe to Albert Einstein, Presented with Commentaries and Notes by James R. Newman."

Four volumes. Reprinted in paperback by Dover. But the hardcover originals are worth tracking down. Put them on a shelf with "Mathematics and the Imagination." There is nothing to be found which will give you more pleasure.

## Short stories (0)

## Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41758277)

If short stories are ok I would second the suggestion for Borges, and add that Ted Chiangs short stories have a similar philosophical and mathematical bent to them, especially "Division by Zero," which can be read online. If you'd rather read on dead-tree, it's included in a book of his short stories

You might also check out a short story called "The Axiom of Choice", not by Ted Chiang, but in a very similar vein. It's been read on one of my favorite podcastes (actually fantasy fiction oriented, mostly) Podcastle:

http://podcastle.org/2012/06/05/podcastle-211-the-axiom-of-choice/

## Re:Short stories (0)

## Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41758313)

Er.. what I meant to say is that his short story collection is called "Stories of your life and others,"

## Non-fiction (1)

## robkill (259732) | about a year and a half ago | (#41758299)

http://www.amazon.com/Fermats-Enigma-Greatest-Mathematical-Problem/dp/0385493622 [amazon.com]

Morris Kline' s book "Mathematics, the Loss of Certainty" on how the discovery of geometries where perpendicular lines intersect in more than one point (ellipsoidal and hyperbolic) led to the efforts to determine whether Mathematics as we know it is consistent. Leads up to Goedel's Incompleteness Theorem.

http://www.amazon.com/Mathematics-Loss-Certainty-Galaxy-Books/dp/0195030850/ [amazon.com]

## The Practice Effect (0)

## Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41758333)

Flatland, as was already-mentioned is excellent (and short).

The Practice Effect by David Brin fits the bill, I think, as well.

## Count to a Trillion (0)

## Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41758335)

By John C Wright. New series, plenty of math.

## Robert Anton Wilson (2)

## supergringo (1476731) | about a year and a half ago | (#41758343)

## Funny you should ask... (4, Informative)

## EPAstor (933084) | about a year and a half ago | (#41758361)

Here's an excellent source of mathematical fiction... Alex Kasman's curated list of mathematical fiction [cofc.edu]! I highly recommend it.

Also, a story I discovered through this list, which was truly spectacular: Ted Chiang's "Division by Zero". Freely available here [fantasticmetropolis.com].

## My favourite piece of mathematical fiction: (0)

## Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41758385)

i = sqrt(-1)

## Here you go... (0)

## fahrbot-bot (874524) | about a year and a half ago | (#41758393)

(Good non-fiction math-reads are also gratefully accepted. What have you got?)

The Romney/Ryan budget plan is a good, scary read, but it's pure fiction. :-)