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Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions by…

Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions (1884)

by Edwin A. Abbott, Edwin A. Abbott

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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English (127)  Italian (6)  French (2)  Swedish (1)  Portuguese (1)  Dutch (1)  All (138)
Showing 1-5 of 127 (next | show all)
A weird book to rate, the premise is great, the world building is great, but it's not a fun book, I didn't find it boring neither, but the storytelling is bland for the most part, great idea, mediocre execution.

I'm still giving it 4 stars because it's a great idea, and the satire is in point, there were many paragraphs that could have been shorted or eliminated but every chapter aggregated something worthwhile, but the idea was at moments hammered down too hard, and repeated one time too many.

Still I enjoyed, would recommend to people interested in this type of thing, be it in the mathematical or satirical way, but would definitely not recommend as an entry point to those things.

I'll remark the fact that on Flatland women were more intelligent once upon a time, and then a Circle decided the had to be treated as purely emotional beings and stop educating them and then through generations they degraded into this nonsensical (at least these is how they are portrait ed although some things would hint they aren't so much) creatures and they blame the woman's nature and not the lack of education! And the Squares (and other middle and upper class figures) see nothing wrong with that, they are brainwashed, and they don't know it, they like it even, atrocious, I loved it, I certainly don't know what the Circles are allegory of, since I don't know that much about 1880's life in England, but I can imagine I guess.

The are other things like that, with the Criminal classes for example, and wouldn't everyone be much more happy if everyone was taught Sight Recognizing?

I really liked the satire of this, it was so poker faced. ( )
  Rose98 | Jun 22, 2018 |
Flatland is a clever book. It may be about two dimensions, but it works on more than one. Like a lot of the best science fiction, it allows us to imagine a world unlike ours while telling us something about the world like ours. At the same time Abbott through his obtuse (lol) narrator, A. Square, is telling us about this fantastic two-dimensional world he's constructed, he's also telling us something about our world; there's a lot of commentary on Victorian gender packed in here, for example. For example, the greatest men actually have what are technically feminine characteristics-- so a law has to be passed to make it clear that that characteristic is good in a man, but bad in a woman (55). Oddly, like in Bulwer's The Coming Race from a decade prior, women in the world of Flatland have enormous destructive power (27-8). There must be some kind of metaphor going on that I can't quite unpack; in Flatland, apartments are designed to prevent women from exercising their power (31), and that has to be some kind of commentary on the Victorian home, surely?

The best part of the book in my mind is surely the story of the Sphere who lords his extra dimension over A. Square, but cannot conceive of a four-dimensional world where he himself is less powerful. A. Square can extrapolate by analogy even though he has never seen such a world, but the Sphere cannot. To draw a connection to another late Victorian science fiction work, it puts me in mind of what Wells did in The War of the Worlds: the Martians were to the English as the English were to the Tasmanians, but until the Martians came, no one could conceive of a power with that relationship to us. By giving us a world with fewer dimensions than our own, Flatland prompts us to imagine that there must be a world out there with more, and that is its greatest cleverness.
  Stevil2001 | May 12, 2018 |
The life of a regular Square is disrupted when a visitor from another dimension arrives in his house. His interactions with this "Space" extra-dimensional alien, plus a visit to the alien's home world, change his perceptions in many ways, with varying results when he returns to his own land and try's to tell others about what he's seen and learned. Both a social satire and an unique geometry lesson. ( )
  RivetedReaderMelissa | Mar 22, 2018 |
This was weird. I know it’s supposed to be a sort of satire on Victorian society, and I also think there’s an element of “keep an open mind and try other perspectives” — the Square seeks to educate the King of Lineland and the King of Pointland, but doesn’t realize that there’s a Third Dimension, and the Sphere can’t fathom anything beyond the Third Dimension. But I don’t think I really got the humour. I’ll have to find a physical copy of the book and read the introduction and/or afterword to learn more about the context in which it was written. ( )
  rabbitprincess | Dec 14, 2017 |
Deservedly a classic of popular mathematics, Flatland makes the problem of multiple dimensions into a comprehensible adventure of sorts. It's a great concept and something everyone should read about at some point.

However, there are much better books today from which you could learn the basics of Flatland. Being a product of the late 19th century, the book is saddled with stuffy, annoying prose; outdated and distracting satire; and only a marginally interesting "plot".

If you've heard about the book in the context of a work which covered the same ideas of how to think about dimensionality and other presumably unthinkable concepts, you can probably skip Flatland, as not much else about it is worthwhile. ( )
  mrgan | Oct 30, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 127 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (62 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Abbott, Edwin A.primary authorall editionsconfirmed
Edwin A. Abbottmain authorall editionsconfirmed
Bradbury, RayIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dewdney, A. K.Introductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Edelmann, HeinzCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hoffmann, BaneshIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jann, RosemaryEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kalka, JoachimTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Langton, JamesNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lightman, Alan P.Introductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Smith, ValerieIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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The Inhabitants of SPACE IN GENERAL
This Work is Dedicated
By a Humble Native of Flatland
In the Hope that
Even as he was Initiated into the Mysteries
Of THREE Dimensions
Having been previously conversant
So the Citizens of that Celestial Region
May aspire yet higher and higher
To the Secrets of FOUR FIVE OR EVEN SIX Dimensions
Thereby contributing
To the Enlargement of THE IMAGINATION
And the possible Development
Of that most rare and excellent Gift of MODESTY
Among the Superior Races
First words
I call our world Flatland, not because we call it so, but to make its nature clearer to you, my happy readers, who are privileged to live in Space.
Last words
Disambiguation notice
The Annotated Flatland has substantial commentary by Ian Stewart and so is a separate work.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 048627263X, Paperback)

Flatland is one of the very few novels about math and philosophy that can appeal to almost any layperson. Published in 1880, this short fantasy takes us to a completely flat world of two physical dimensions where all the inhabitants are geometric shapes, and who think the planar world of length and width that they know is all there is. But one inhabitant discovers the existence of a third physical dimension, enabling him to finally grasp the concept of a fourth dimension. Watching our Flatland narrator, we begin to get an idea of the limitations of our own assumptions about reality, and we start to learn how to think about the confusing problem of higher dimensions. The book is also quite a funny satire on society and class distinctions of Victorian England.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:22:34 -0400)

(see all 9 descriptions)

A science fiction classic. The narrator is A. Square, whose flat, middle-class life is suddenly given an exciting new shape by his encounter with a sphere. The sphere introduces A. Square to the joys and sorrows of the third dimension, and the reader is drawn into the deligtful subtleties and irrepressible logic of multidimensional thinking.… (more)

» see all 17 descriptions

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Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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