a list compiled by Alex Kasman (College of Charleston)

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Mathe-Matti (2022)
Anuradha Mahasinghe

A collection of mathematical fiction short stories published in the country of Sri Lanka by Sayura Books. Unfortunately, I do not read Sinhalese and so have not been able to enjoy it myself, but the author wrote with a summary of each story:

Contributed by Anu Mahasinghe

Very recently I, published an anthology of Mathemetical Fiction in Sinhalese, named 'Mathe-Matti' (In Sinhalese,'Matti' means stupid girl :)

I thought you might be interested in the contents, and here they are:

  • (Mathematti): A motherless teenage schoolgirl in a rural village starts reading popular mathematics books in her attempt to cope with loneliness, eventually starts fooling her peers using mathematical fallacies and paradoxes, to the dismay of her teacher. The story explores the historical contribution of mathematical paradoxes to the development of scientific thought as well, via an absurd dream she sees on Zeno’s encounter with the Socratic school.
  • (Oliana’s state): Oliana, a woman of Polynesian origin whom the author knew in Auckland, connects via WhatsApp after 8 years. The author finds that her country has abandoned the decimal system and converted to binary, renaming the island state as the Republic of Binaria. Oliana justifies the move, showing evidence from multiple sources including the writings of Leibniz that binary provides a much better computational base than decimal, also claiming that the ancient Polynesians used binary not only as a number base but as a way of thinking as well. The author is skeptical about the legitimacy of her claims and tries to disprove her.
  • (A tale of irrationals): This story revolves around the historical rise and fall of the Pythagorean brotherhood, who once held the political authority of Croton. In particular, it focuses on the Pythagoreans’ aversion to irrational numbers, through a fictitious character of a young female monochord player who joined the brotherhood and secretly admired musical notes expressible only through irrational numbers.
  • (The depressed cubic): In a surrealistic setting of a mental hospital, a psychiatrist encounters different patients that resemble historical figures of Tartaglia, Cardano and Omar Khayyam. He too suffers from hallucinations, and falls into an infinite loop in his dreams. In his attempt to overcome this, he learns about the historical development of the solution to the depressed cubic equation, in particular the rivalry between Tartaglia and Cardano. He later finds Omar Khayyam’s geometric solution to the same equation, and compares it with Khayyam’s poetry and finds a way to get over the annoying dream.

Contributed by Dawson Preethi

Dr. Anuradha has made an excellent effort to bring historical folklore and creative substance together to create a new kind of folklore based on mathematical notions. I really enjoyed his work, and I would love to write an in-depth review for this work.

(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 Mathe-Matti
According to my `secret formula', the following works of mathematical fiction are similar to this one:
  1. Do Androids Dream of Symmetric Sheaves?: And Other Mathematically Bent Stories by Colin Adams
  2. L.A. Math: Romance, Crime and Mathematics in the City of Angels by James D. Stein
  3. Reality Conditions: short mathematical fiction by Alex Kasman
  4. Fantasia Mathematica : Being a Set of Stories, Together With a Group of Oddments and Diversions, All Drawn from ... by Clifton Fadiman (editor)
  5. Number Stories: Learning Arithmetic Through the Adventures of Ralph and His Schoolmates by Alhambra G. Deming
  6. Imaginary Numbers : An Anthology of Marvelous Mathematical Stories, Diversions, Poems, and Musings by William Frucht (editor)
  7. Mathematically Bent by Colin Adams
  8. Mathenauts: Tales of Mathematical Wonder by Rudy Rucker (editor)
  9. Intoxicating Heights (Höhenrausch. Die Mathematik des XX. Jahrhunderts in zwanzig Gehirnen) by Dietmar Dath
  10. Racconti Matematici by Claudio Bartocci (Editor)
Ratings for Mathe-Matti:
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:
5/5 (1 votes)
Literary Quality:
5/5 (1 votes)

MotifMental Illness,
TopicAlgebra/Arithmetic/Number Theory, Logic/Set Theory,
MediumShort Stories, Collection,

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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)