a list compiled by Alex Kasman (College of Charleston)

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God Doesn't Shoot Craps (2006)
Richard Armstrong

Danny Pellegrino is a con artist who joins up with inventor/genius Virgil Kirk to market a mathematical get-rich-quick scheme which, amazingly, actually works.

The gambling scheme which Kirk calls "Win by Losing" is based on Parrondo's Paradox, a real result in the branch of mathematics called "game theory". It is not actually a paradox in the literal sense (not like Russell's Library Paradox), but rather just a surprising and unexpected result. The point is that it is possible to combine two games with a low probability of winning into a single game in which one is more likely to win than lose. You can see how it might be possible to turn this into a "win by losing" scheme such as Kirk supposedly develops in this novel. However, it is not likely that there are any such applications of Parrondo's Paradox as there are some very strong assumptions one must make about the two games and the way they are linked together. (In other words, don't expect that you can do this with the games offered by casinos!)

But, the result has seen at least theoretical application within physics and mathematical biology. So, the description in the book (where Kirk encounters the idea while reading up on quantum physics) is plausible...and could possibly be the author's source and inspiration!

Contributed by Anonymous

Intriguing plot, albeit rather implausible. Recommended, with some reservations. (It contained much more than I really wanted to know about massage parlors and topless joints.)

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Works Similar to God Doesn't Shoot Craps
According to my `secret formula', the following works of mathematical fiction are similar to this one:
  1. Only Say the Word by Niall Williams
  2. Improbable by Adam Fawer
  3. The Spoilers by Desmond Bagley
  4. Numbers by Dana Dane
  5. Percentage Player by Leslie Charteris
  6. The Gift of Numbers by Alan Nourse
  7. Case of Lies by Perri O\'Shaughnessy
  8. Gambler's Rose by G.W. Hawkes
  9. The Grand Wheel by Barrington J. Bayley
  10. Powerball 310 by K.T. Reid
Ratings for God Doesn't Shoot Craps:
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:
3/5 (1 votes)
Literary Quality:
3/5 (1 votes)

TopicReal Mathematics,

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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)