a list compiled by Alex Kasman (College of Charleston)

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Straw Dogs (1971)
Sam Peckinpah (Director)

Dustin Hoffman stars as an astrophysicist in this violent Peckinpah film. Before the violence starts, Hoffman's wife plays a trick on him by changing some signs (+/-) in an equation he is working with. The mathematical content of the film is primarily in Hoffman's performance: the way he looks while trying to figure out what is wrong with the equation and when he finally figures it out...that's mathematics.

Contributed by John E. DuBois

The mathematical mind is central to the main character and informs the entire content of the movie. Thus, while there is not much overt math, math is important in the film because of its role in character development of the astro-physicist. A man with a beautiful wife and a 'beautiful mind' finds himself defending both in a cruel and ugly reality.

Contributed by John C. Konrath

Outside of the fact that Dustin Hoffman plays a mathematician, there is little mathematics in this film. The main character demonstrates a knowledge of siege tactics which may be attributed to logical reasoning, but this is a bit of a stretch. Overall, I found the movie lacks originality. It is dominated by sex and violence instead of thoughtfulness and intelligent dialogue. I do not recommend this movie.

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Works Similar to Straw Dogs
According to my `secret formula', the following works of mathematical fiction are similar to this one:
  1. The Bishop Murder Case by S.S. van Dine (pseudonym of Willard Huntington Wright)
  2. Mailman by J. Robert Lennon
  3. The Hollow Man by Dan Simmons
  4. Torn Curtain by Alfred Hitchcock (Director)
  5. Brain Dead by Charles Beaumont (writer) / Adam Simon (director)
  6. Archive (Travelers, Season 3 Episode 8) by Ken Kabatoff / Brad Wright
  7. Killing Time by Frank Tallis
  8. Infinitely Near by Anthony Cristiano
  9. Excision by Richard Bates Jr (Director and Screenwriter)
  10. Solid Geometry by Ian McEwan
Ratings for Straw Dogs:
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:
2.25/5 (4 votes)
Literary Quality:
3.33/5 (6 votes)

MotifEvil mathematicians, Anti-social Mathematicians,
TopicMathematical Physics,

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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)