a list compiled by Alex Kasman (College of Charleston)

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The Square Root of Pythagoras (1999)
Paul Di Filippo / Rudy Rucker
(click on names to see more mathematical fiction by the same author)

Contributed by "William E. Emba"

Pythagoras has been granted the magical power of five numbers. Along the way he discusses his theorem, the five Platonic solids, and his general philosophy about numbers and the universe. But he entertains doubts, and discovers that sqrt(2) is irrational.

First appeared in Science Fiction Age v8 #1, November 1999 and was reprinted in collections of each author: Gnarl! by Rucker and Neutrino Drag by Di Filippo. As of October 2012, it is also available for free at Rudy Rucker's Website.

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Works Similar to The Square Root of Pythagoras
According to my `secret formula', the following works of mathematical fiction are similar to this one:
  1. The Pythagoras Problem by Trevor Baxendale
  2. Pythagoras the Mathemagician by Karim El Koussa
  3. Mersenne's Mistake by Jason Earls
  4. Pythagoras' Revenge: A Mathematical Mystery by Arturo Sangalli
  5. The Smithsonian Institution by Gore Vidal
  6. Arcadia by Iain Pears
  7. Mandelbrot the Magnificent by Liz Ziemska
  8. Description of a New World, Called The Blazing World by Margaret Cavendish
  9. The Fairytale of the Completely Symmetrical Butterfly by Dietmar Dath
  10. Doctor Who: The Turing Test by Paul Leonard
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GenreHistorical Fiction, Science Fiction, Fantasy,
MotifReal Mathematicians,
MediumShort Stories, 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)