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Notes from the Underground (1864)
Fyodor Dostoevsky
(click on names to see more mathematical fiction by the same author)

Contributed by "William E. Emba"

Part I involves an unnamed rather crazed and unreliable narrator (generally known as "the Underground Man") raving and rambling against life, the universe, and everything. A few times, he rails at the scientifically established fact that free will is an illusion (because everything follows mathematically from initial conditions) and that responsibility thus does not exist. In particular, the Underground Man particular tries to think through the consequences of the eventual discovery of the ultimate formulas that describe all forthcoming human action.

Part II is the actual story, regarding the sequence of events that made the Underground Man the man he is today. His narration is still unreliable, but is primarily concerned with the events in question (and no mathematics).

An unidentified translation is online at Mathematically minded passages are in part I, sections VII and VIII of the above. (Unfortunately, various translations differ in regard to the subdivisions, and even the paragraphing, so it's not possible to give absolute references.)

More information about this work can be found at
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Works Similar to Notes from the Underground
According to my `secret formula', the following works of mathematical fiction are similar to this one:
  1. War and Peace by Lev Tolstoy
  2. The Power of Words by Edgar Allan Poe
  3. The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky
  4. Mrs. Warren's Profession by George Bernard Shaw
  5. The Odd Women by George Gissing
  6. Hard Times by Charles Dickens
  7. Young Archimedes by Aldous Huxley
  8. The Gold-Bug by Edgar Allan Poe
  9. Round the Moon by Jules Verne
  10. Geometry in the South Pacific by Sylvia Warner
Ratings for Notes from the Underground:
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:
1.33/5 (3 votes)
Literary Quality:
5/5 (3 votes)

MotifFuture Prediction through Math,
MediumNovels, 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)