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Literature / Murderous Maths

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Murderous Maths is a series of books written by Kjartan Poskitt to make kids learn maths, and it might just have succeeded. The characters it uses include Riverboat Lil, the Evil Gollarks, Professor Fiendish, the gang of crinimals led by Blade Bocelli... the list goes on, in the name of demonstrating various principles and equations. The books are filled with plenty of gags, as it is with many of Poskitt's books. Despite this, some fairly high-level maths (for kids' standards, anyway) is covered in a fairly lighthearted style.

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The books in the series are:

  • Guaranteed to Bend your Brain (aka Murderous Maths)
  • Guaranteed to Mash your Mind (aka More Murderous Maths)
  • Awesome Arithmetricks (aka The Essential Arithmetricks) (basic functions, manipulating equations, long division etc.)
  • The Mean and Vulgar Bits (fractions and averages)
  • Desperate Measures (measurements and shape formulas)
  • Do You Feel Lucky? (probability)
  • Savage Shapes (polygons and formulas for various parts of shapes)
  • The Key to the Universe (number property equations, Fibbonachi etc. right up to irrational transcendental numbers and imaginary numbers)
  • The Phantom X (algebra and graphs)
  • The Fiendish Angletron (trigonometry)
  • The Perfect Sausage (formulas for just about everything, mostly shapes and physics)
  • The 5ecret L1fe of Code5 (patterns and logic)
  • Easy Questions, Evil Answers (formulas, problem solving, paradoxes etc.)
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  • The Murderous Maths of Everything (a bit of all of the above)

This series of books provides examples of:

  • Alien Invasion: The Gollarks try this several times, so they can tip over all the wastebaskets on Planet Earth. Gasp!
  • An Axe to Grind: Urgum the Axeman.
  • Arch-Enemy: Professor Fiendish to the reader.
  • Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence: The titular machine in The Fiendish Angletron plots an unrestricted tan wave at 90 degrees to escape from its creator's money-making scheme.
  • Back from the Dead: Pythagoras. The reason why is so he can stand trial and prove that his theorem works without using any calculations In Vicious Circles.
  • Big Eater: Porky.
  • Bloodless Carnage: The gangsters have attacked each other many times, yet somehow the only casualties come from among the ranks of Luigi's furniture.
  • Buffy Speak: Dolly Snowlips claims to have a "hot cooking-machine what-d'ya-call-it job", which in English is known as an "oven".
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  • Disproportionate Retribution: At one point, the two barbarians, Urgum the Axeman and Grizelda the Grizzley, nearly end up killing each other over Grizelda's cat visiting Urgum's window box.
  • The Dreaded: Gangsters who will cheerfully maul the hell out of each other given half a chance are terrified of Ma Butcher and Long Jake.
  • Exact Words: To teach excluded angles, one of Blade's quests for money involves finding the coffin of fabled gangster Bluetooth Fonetti, who set up his own funeral to hide a stash of gold he stole in his coffin. Dolly begrudgingly gives them instructions on how to find it. They come up with a diagram which follows the instructions to the letter...except that Dolly knows they actually screwed up considering on how Bluetooth wrote the directions to his burial site. The book then draws a more-technical diagram which reveals why: There's two possible locations where the coffin is buried.
  • Harmless Villain: Both Professor Fiendish and the Gollarks. The former always conducts a plan to either swindle you out of your money or just For the Evulz. The latter make continuous threats to destroy humanity, but they've failed so many times that it's pretty much become a Running Gag met with a Dull Surprise.
  • Hell Hole Prison: One is mentioned in More Murderous Maths.
  • Hidden Depths: As much as a dumbass Binky Smallbrains is, he has a penchant for fixing playing card hands without anyone noticing usually for jokes.
  • Lethal Chef:
    • Dolly Snowlips, as it turns out, cannot cook.
    • Pongo McWhiffy is the prime example of the series. He tends to cook generally unappetising burgers where one line was so disgusting that an entire chapter in The Phantom X was dedicated to calculating trajectory based on how far and high his taste-testers threw them in disgust. Blue ketchup anyone?
  • Little Green Men: The Gollarks fit this trope exactly.
  • Mad Scientist: Professor Fiendish.
  • Meaningful Name: Pongo McWhiffy. Professor Fiendish. Rodney Bounder.
  • My Hovercraft Is Full of Eels: The Gollarks (yet again) attempt to destroy humanity by getting help from another alien race called the "Ploog Warriors". Problem is, they speak different languages, requiring an interpreter between them. All the Ploogs' translation attempts fail along with it taken Up to Eleven when the Gollarks enlist the help of several other species with individual languages which would require more interpreters between all of them than warriors. This ultimately causes the entire plan to botch within a few minutes when they all can't understand the Gollarks' directions and crash into each other.
  • Oh, Crap!: The gangsters' reaction in Vicious Circles, at the prospect of having to eat some of Dolly's cooking.
  • Paper Tiger: The Gollarks sic a Battle Cruiser on humanity at one point. It's huge, looks ominous, packed with offensive weaponry, frequently referred to as The Dreaded, and can apparently move at a top speed of "180 glomps per mnult". So what went wrong? It's revealed that a "glomph" is only a few kilometres and a "mnult" is 3 days. Turns out that it's slower than an average snail and tastes like lettuce. Hang on, is that a swarm of snails over there?
  • Shaped Like Itself: Chainsaw Charlie's chainsaw-shaped suitcase, as it turns out, contains a chainsaw-shaped chainsaw. Didn't see that one coming.
  • The Pig Pen: Pongo McWhiffy, whose defining trait is being perpetually surrounded by flies and well, fitted with a first name and a surname concerning bad smells.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Possibly the Evil Gollarks. Definitely Binky.

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