a list compiled by Alex Kasman (College of Charleston)

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Unlocked (2012)
Courtney Milan
(click on names to see more mathematical fiction by the same author)

Contributed by Christina Sormani

In this novella the heroine's mother is an amateur astronomer computing the orbit of a comet. She has no recognition from professional astronomers. She is invited by her fellow upper class ladies in England to present her work so that they can openly mock her. The two pivotal scenes in the story occur during these lectures. After the first lecture, the daughter and heroine of the tale is completely humiliated, while her mother is blithely unaware of the amusement she has been for the other ladies. They invite her to give a larger public lecture in a hall with plans to ridicule her. The amateur astronomer agrees despite her daughter's warnings because she is hoping for just anyone to ever listen to her work. I will not say what happens at the second talk. All the mathematics mentioned in the talks and subsequent questions (when mathematical) do make sense mathematically. There is no discussion of astronomy or telecopes, just elliptic orbits and deviations from them. The author has in fact completed an undergraduate math degree at UC Berkeley. Yet the author tells the story from the point of view of a heroine who is not trained in mathematics quite successfully. She captures the exuberance and love for mathematics that the heroine has.

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Works Similar to Unlocked
According to my `secret formula', the following works of mathematical fiction are similar to this one:
  1. The Countess Conspiracy by Courtney Milan
  2. A Perfect Equation (The Secret Scientists of London) by Elizabeth Everett
  3. A Season of Flirtation by Julia Justiss
  4. The Lady's Guide to Celestial Mechanics by Olivia Waite
  5. Eternal by Lisa Scottoline
  6. Resistance is Futile by Jenny T. Colgan
  7. Lady Claire is All That by Maya Rodale
  8. The Bed and the Bachelor by Tracy Anne Warren
  9. A Study in Seduction by Nina Rowan
  10. Duke with Benefits (Studies in Scandal) by Manda Collins
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GenreHistorical Fiction, Romance,
MotifFemale Mathematicians,
TopicMathematical Physics,

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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)