a list compiled by Alex Kasman (College of Charleston)

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Convergent Series (1979)
Larry Niven

According to the liner notes, Niven received an undergraduate degree in mathematics. Mostly the degree has only apparently inspired his titles (note also the book called "The Integral Trees") without noticeably affecting the content. The story Convergent Series, however, has at least some of the flavor of mathematics (though I think it would more appropriately be titled "Convergent Sequence".)

Contributed by Ron Wax

"Niven's Convergent Series takes a standard plot of a young man who has sold his soul but introduces a converging sequence to beat the demonic fiend at the game. He turns the ages old horror story into a comedic escape.

This story appears in the Niven collection of the same name and also appears in Rucker's "Mathenauts" collection.

Contributed by Jimbo Jones

Niven is famous for actually doing the math to figure out that a large structure (Ringworld) would require a greater tensile strength than ordinary matter can provide. (He's almost equally famous for going back and writing a sequel to fix the problem when a bunch of MIT students did more calculations and determined that the Ringworld's orbit would be unstable.)

More information about this work can be found at
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Works Similar to Convergent Series
According to my `secret formula', the following works of mathematical fiction are similar to this one:
  1. The Devil and Simon Flagg by Arthur Porges
  2. Hell of a Fix by Matthew Hughes
  3. Mathemagics by Patricia Duffy Novak
  4. The Babelogic of Mathematics by Vijay Fafat
  5. Cantor’s Dragon by Craig DeLancy
  6. Conjure Wife (Dark Ladies) by Fritz Leiber
  7. Prost, der Faust-Tragödie (-n)ter Teil [Prost: the (-n)th Part of the Faust Tragedy] by Kurd Lasswitz
  8. The Power of Words by Edgar Allan Poe
  9. The Incredible Umbrella by Marvin Kaye
  10. Probabilitea by John Chu
Ratings for Convergent Series:
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:
2.2/5 (5 votes)
Literary Quality:
3.6/5 (5 votes)

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)