Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions
I started Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions about a week ago. It landed on my book list after I heard it mentioned on one of my favorite television shows, The Big Bang Theory. At the time, I had no idea that it was written in 1884 by a Theologian who dabbled in mathematics. But since it was only 127 pages, I figured I had little to lose.
The first half of Flatland was tedious for me, but you simply cannot enjoy the second half without it. Halfway through this book, I was ready to give up. The author gave me every impression that he was a heartless bigot with little regard for woman. I’m so glad that I didn’t shelve this one. After reading it in its entirety, I realize that no small degree of genius was behind Edwin Abbot’s writing.
While playing at mental gymnastics with basic geometry, Mr. Abbott leads you through an adventure. Once you’ve engaged your imagination to put you into the two dimensional world of Flatland, he challenges your assumptions of reality. Eventually you find that the bigotry, sexism and disdain for the “irregular” are viewed as products of a society of limited dimension. The fears and foibles of society are explored in this context, as if it were a two dimensional world, with limited capacity for intelligent thought.
Taking you to Lineland, Spaceland, and even Pointland, the author does a marvelous job at making you wonder what more is there to life that you simply cannot see. Ultimately, this book makes a wonderful gospel without a religious pretext.
I enjoyed Flatland and recommend it.