Education / Minutiae / Science · January 23, 2007

Flatland the movie! Yippee!

I can’t believe it, the 1884 book “Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions” is going to be a movie, and although it’s just an educational movie, it looks like it is going to be pretty good!

The story of “Flatland” is that of a two dimensional world, and is narrated by a square as he explains life without a third dimension. The book is written by Edwin A. Abbott who lived in London during the Victorian period. Like other great Victorian era text it can be read on multiple levels, and at the same time it carries a lot of Victorian era baggage; such as the natural thought of naturally inferior classes of people, and of course the writing can be a bit stuffy.

But the book reads so well! Abbott’s description of the Square’s first encounter with the three dimensional Sphere is a wonder of analogy. The Sphere can see inside the Square, examine the Square’s “guts” so to speak. It reminds me of a Science Fiction book I once read where 4th dimensional aliens preformed ‘surgery’ on 3 dimensional humans without the need to break the skin – they just ‘reached’ inside through another dimension.

You can order the book “Flatland” through Amazon, or you can read it online for free from Project Gutenbert. The trailer for “Flatland the Movie” looks great, and it seems that the movie is going to be fairly true to the book (although it looks as if females are not represented by lines.)

If you are into geometry, mathematics, or are just a geek like me, you’ll enjoy the book. I read it first when I was in my early 20’s, but I think I would have enjoyed it just as much in my teens.