a list compiled by Alex Kasman (College of Charleston)

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The Equationist (2018)
J. D. Moyer

An odd but mathematically gifted child named Niall understands the people around him by identifying their central "equation". I have put the word in quotes because it seems that what he is really thinking about is not an equation but the graph of a function. For example:

(quoted from The Equationist)

Niall’s mother was a wavy line. At the peak of each wave, Lori Skinner started writing epic historical fiction novels, or made plans to remodel their house (and once began the remodel herself, with safety goggles and a sledgehammer). At the trough of each wave, his mother spent most days in bed and cried a lot, while his father heated microwave dinners and installed drywall.

(quoted from The Equationist)

The most disturbing thing was that his father’s life was no longer a predictable square root function.

As you might expect, this simplistic and ridiculous way to understand people does not work terribly well, at least at first. In the story, it begins to work better once Niall applies it to himself and once he realizes that he can change people's "equations".

Published in the January-February 2018 issue of Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction.

(Note: This is just one work of mathematical fiction from the list. To see the entire list or to see more works of mathematical fiction, return to the Homepage.)

Works Similar to The Equationist
According to my `secret formula', the following works of mathematical fiction are similar to this one:
  1. A Desirable Middle by Susan Sechrist
  2. Tracking the Random Variable by Marcos Donnelly
  3. The Geometry of Love by John Cheever
  4. An Invisible Sign of My Own by Aimee Bender
  5. The Woman Who Shook the World-Tree by Michael Swanwick
  6. The Writing on the Wall by Steve Stanton
  7. I’ll Follow The Sun by Paul Di Filippo
  8. The Whole Mess by Jack Skillingstead
  9. The Robot's Math Lessons by Yoon Ha Lee
  10. The Mandelbrot Bet by Dirk Strasser
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GenreScience Fiction,
MotifProdigies, Anti-social Mathematicians,
MediumShort Stories,

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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)