Flatland : A Romance of Many Dimensions (Dover Thrift Editions).

Imagine being aware of only two dimensions. Come on, play the game with me. You are a two dimensional shape, perhaps you are a circle. You are only aware of that which is on the same plane as you are. You know of north, south, east and west, but up and down are beyond your comprehension. That is the premise of Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions.

Now imagine I place my fingertips on the plane of your awareness. How do you perceive my hand? To you, it is merely five separate circles. No matter how I try to explain that those five circle are my fingertips, the concept of my three dimensional hand eludes you.

What if, there is a fourth physical dimension? What if you and I are much like the two dimensional circle who can’t perceive the third dimension.

The Elegant Universe: Superstrings, Hidden Dimensions, and the Quest for the Ultimate Theory

While this mental game greatly amuses me, I’m beginning to think there really are more dimensions than meet the eye. While Flatland is fiction, “The Elegant Universe”
is science non-fiction and it too purports that there may be as many as nine physical dimensions. I’m having a harder time wrapping my mind around the concepts in “The Elegant Universe”…but even if I only partially get the concepts…I feel compelled to expose myself to these theories. If indeed there are nine dimensions, I want to experience them. Perhaps I can even join the Adventures of Buckaroo Bonzai across the 8th Dimension!


  1. If you can look past some of his weirdness when it comes to the opposite sex, you might want to check out Rudy Rucker’s Spaceland. Though I haven’t read it, I did go see him read from a chapter and have my wife argue with him about amazon.com second-hand books. When he gets into the detailed descriptions on par with those of Flatland, it does really get interesting!

    I personally like Geometry, Relativity and the Fourth Dimension for an interesting and fun read, but I also usually stick to non-fiction when reading math and physics. :-)

    P.S. Good movie, have you seen it with commentary?

  2. Jon, one of my favorite moments in the book is when a 3D object touches a 2D object in its middle. Let me see if I can draw a word picture.

    Flatland “Person-A” is a 2D circle
    Spaceland “Person-B’ is a 3D human

    Person-B touches Person-A in the center of the 2D circle. Person-A literally feels as though Person-B has reached inside him and poked him internally. Because in Person-A’s world…no one has EVER been able to touch him from above or below.


    Okay…so I promise not to do anything wifey would find objectionable…but I may enlist her help in poking you when you need it!

  3. Shawn…I’m headed to amazon right now to buy the dvd with commentary. I haven’t watched the movie since I was in college…but we still make references to it…like the inevitable “John Bigboote”…and interdimensional travels.

    Now enough movie talk…tell me where you landed!

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