a list compiled by Alex Kasman (College of Charleston)

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The Call of Cthulhu (1928)
H.P. Lovecraft
(click on names to see more mathematical fiction by the same author)

Contributed by Jody Trout

This is the most famous story by Lovecraft, which spawned it's own sub-genre and RPG, called the Cthulhu Mythos. It concerns the investigations of Prof. Francis Wayland Thurston as he investigates the estate and events leading to the bizarre death of his grand-uncle Prof. George Gamell Angell of Brown University. It seems Prof. Angell's anthropological research uncovers a cult connected to a vast, alien city submerged beneath the Pacific and composed of some strange non-Euclidean geometry, where "the angles are all wrong". Entombed in this alien city is a horrid alien octopoid race and their monstrous master, Cthulhu, who are waiting for the time "when the stars are once again right" to reclaim the earth as their own.

Contributed by Gregg Geist

I don't really remember much explicit math here; however, Lovecraft definitely solved the Drake equation, at least heuristically, and calculated how much time would pass between the arising of species. Then he uses this, correctly, to justify terrible incomprehensible alien invasions and magic - in a 1920's novella. it's really quite amazing. He also correctly describes the appearance of a hyperdimensional city quivering in and out of our hyperplane. He is also the only author I have read that used "centillions" to number something. It was bad, of course. It's too bad "Call of Cthulhu" isn't actually that great a story.

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Works Similar to The Call of Cthulhu
According to my `secret formula', the following works of mathematical fiction are similar to this one:
  1. The Dreams in the Witch-House by H.P. Lovecraft
  2. Through the Gates of the Silver Key by H.P. Lovecraft / E. Hoffmann Price
  3. Mysterious Mysteries of the Aro Valley by Danyl McLauchlan
  4. The Atrocity Archives by Charles Stross
  5. The Midnighters (Series) by Scott Westerfield
  6. The Mathematics of Magic by L. Sprague de Camp / Fletcher Pratt
  7. Vampire World (Trilogy) by Brian Lumley
  8. To Walk the Night by William Sloane
  9. Plane and Fancy by P. Schuyler Miller
  10. The Ghosts by Lord Dunsany
Ratings for The Call of Cthulhu:
RatingsHave you seen/read this work of mathematical fiction? Then click here to enter your own votes on its mathematical content and literary quality or send me comments to post on this Webpage.
Mathematical Content:
2/5 (5 votes)
Literary Quality:
3.67/5 (6 votes)

GenreScience Fiction, Fantasy, Horror,
MediumShort Stories, Available Free Online,

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Exciting News: The 1,600th entry was recently added to this database of mathematical fiction! Also, for those of you interested in non-fictional math books let me (shamelessly) plug the recent release of the second edition of my soliton theory textbook.

(Maintained by Alex Kasman, College of Charleston)