There is a large population that loves math. Understanding mathematical concepts and figuring out how to solve puzzling equations often brings smiles to their faces. They breathe life into the subject and look at more non-conventional ways to teach math, so that the next generation loves it as much as they do.
Interestingly, most of these math lovers aren’t hardcore mathematicians who spend time breathing numbers. Some of these people are also wonderful storytellers. When you think of it, mathematics and its principles have underlying applications in many fantasy novels.
Keeping this in mind, on World Book Day, we have curated a list of top 5 sci-fi and fantasy novels that are a must-read for all of you whether you’re an adult or a child. Introducing these books to your kids at a young age will spark their curiosity about math and look beyond how the subject is taught in a classroom.
1. ‘FLATTERLAND’ BY IAN STEWART
This book is an extension of the original ‘Flatland’ book by Edwin Abbott. ‘Flatterland’ is its sequel that explores the origins and shape of the universe.
It offers a well-written storyline that takes its readers through landscapes like space land and fractal forests, offering vital morsels of mathematics including the geometry of higher dimensions, Euclidean theories, mysteries of space and time, and tri-dimensional journey of a square, circle, and sphere.
2. ‘THE PARROT’S THEOREM’ BY DENIS GUEDJ
This is a story that depicts the history of mathematics in a creative and innovative manner. The French novel revolves around the life of a family where the father-figure receives a collection of math books from his friend from him.
These books are around Fermat’s Last Theorem and Goldbach’s Conjecture, which the friend has dedicated his life to understanding. The book’s fresh perspective keeps the readers engaged and takes them through a delightful journey of history and mathematics.
3. ‘NINEFOX GAMBIT’ BY YOON HA LEE
Popularly known as ‘A Tale of Math, Madness and Massacres in Outer Space’, this is the first book in the ‘Machineries of Empire’ series by Yoon Ha Lee.
The science fiction book explores the story of Kel Cheris who is a captain in the military attempting to retake the Fortress of Scattered Needles from the heretics who have taken it over.
Kel uses her mathematical skills and equations to plan and execute her mission. The book is filled with mathematical terminologies and discussions on math abilities, making it the perfect vacation read for math enthusiasts.
4. ‘THE INCREDIBLE ADVENTURES OF PROFESSOR SHONKU’ BY SATYAJIT RAY
This book, slated as one of the greatest sci-fi series written in the history of Indian literature, follows Professor Shonku on his endless adventures in everything that is science-related.
The book is a set of journal entries by the Professor which revolves around his inventions, with detailed explanations from a mathematical and scientific point of view.
The engaging and compelling storyline is a great mix of adventure, mystery, entertainment and maths!
5. ‘THE NUMBER DEVIL’ BY HANS ENZENSBERGER AND TRANSLATOR MICHAEL HEIM
Known as a mathematical adventure, this book is one for the young geniuses who are curious about mathematics.
The book follows Robert who isn’t very keen on math but ends up getting acquainted with Number Devil in his dreams, who takes him on the journey of triangular numbers and infinity.
The plot brings together the dreamlike logic of ‘Alice in Wonderland’ and the geometry of ‘Flatland’ making it perfect for math lovers who want to marvel at what numbers and shapes can do in a fantastical world.
Books that integrate math applications in their plot help open doors to new perspectives and improve cognitive ability to solve complex problems.
Math concepts fused together with fiction create the perfect mix of entertainment and learning. Enjoy exploring math by adding a few of these sci-fi books to your kids’ reading lists and advancing their knowledge of math in fiction.
– Article by Manan Khurma, Founder and Chairman at Cuemath