Transmission of human malaria is a complicated dynamic process that involves populations of humans, parasites, and vectors. The first mathematical models of malaria are now more than a century old, and they are still a useful conceptual synthetic description of transmission, but they fail in some important ways. To address some of those failures, malaria transmission models have now been extended to consider malaria immunity, superinfection, and heterogeneous biting, among other factors. These extensions of the basic theory often arise from field studies in a single place, but tests of the theory come comparing standard measures of malaria taken from many places across the transmission spectrum. Several good models now exist that describe these basic patterns across the spectrum from low to high endemicity. The future of malaria modeling will involve applying these models to make decisions about real systems and finding new ways to test the underlying causes of the patterns.