a list compiled by Alex Kasman (College of Charleston)

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The Dark Side of the Sun (1976)
Terry Pratchett
(click on names to see more mathematical fiction by the same author)

This humorous science fiction novel tells the tale of Dom Salabos, who believes he is destined to become "Chairman of the Board of Widdershins and heir to riches untold", but his allies familiar with p-math (short for probability math) are certain his destiny is to be murdered before getting the chance.

(quoted from The Dark Side of the Sun)

As with the first Theory of Relativity and the Sadhimist One Commandment, so the nine equations of probability math provide an example of a deceptively simple spark initiating a great explosion of social change.

Probability math predicts the future. So says the half-educated man. A thousand years ago he would have mouthed "E equals MC squared" and believed he had encompassed the soaring castle of mathematical imagination...

As Sub-Lunar pointed out in those early years, p-math depended on a certain innate mental agility. Many superb practitioners were also incurably insane, possibly because of that very fact.

Fans of Pratchett's popular Discworld series complain that this early novel is inferior, but as I prefer its emphasis on science and math over fantasy, I actually like it better. (There is no dark side, you know...)

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Works Similar to The Dark Side of the Sun
According to my `secret formula', the following works of mathematical fiction are similar to this one:
  1. Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
  2. Pyramids by Terry Pratchett
  3. Men at Arms by Terry Pratchett
  4. Annals of Klepsis by R.A. Lafferty
  5. Foundation by Isaac Asimov
  6. Psychohistorical Crisis by Donald Kingsbury
  7. In The Country of the Blind by Michael Flynn
  8. Bellwether by Connie Willis
  9. Doctor Who: The Turing Test by Paul Leonard
  10. The Anomaly [L'Anomalie] by Hervé Le Tellier
Ratings for The Dark Side of the Sun:
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:
2.5/5 (2 votes)
Literary Quality:
3.5/5 (2 votes)

GenreHumorous, Science Fiction,
MotifFuture Prediction through Math,

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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)