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The Land of No Shadow (1931)
Carl H Claudy

Claudy's regular characters, the brilliant Alan Kane and the brawny Ted Dolliver, journey into the fourth dimension in this pulpy SciFi story. The tennis balls that journey into this trans-dimensional gateway return inverted, while a person who does so returns only as a mirror image, with left and right inverted. (Lucky for him!)

This story came to be listed in this database with the assistance of two helpful site visitors. The first was Donald Coe, who had a vague recollection of a story but was unable to remember the title or author. What he said was:

Contributed by Donald Coe

Here is what I can recall about the short story: The story is told in first person. It opens up with the narrator telling that he has a watch that runs backwards and his heart is now on his right side. He then talks about how this came to be. His friend was very brilliant (said he was one of the few people who understood Einstein’s theory of relativity) And Abbot’s book “Flatland” was discussed. His friend constructed a portal through the 4th dimension and in to a parallel universe. The two men threw tennis balls through the portal. The balls bounced back! However it was inside out the red rubber inside was on the outside and the fuzzy surface was on the inside! The two men got their 38 automatics and other gear and passed through the portal. I believe in separate trips. However at one point they went together. At any rate, one way or another they found themselves on a shore of a sea. At one point, they saw a strange creature that changed shape. The brilliant friend explained that the creature had four dimensions. Thus when it passed through our own three dimensions it changed shape. Just like a sphere passing through a plane in flatland. At another point in the story one of the men falls asleep and wakes up in a pit. When he manages to get out the two men figure out that to the fourth dimensional creature the construction of a pit is no more of a problem than for a three dimensional creature to draw a circle around a flatlander. In the end something terrible happens and the brilliant friend is trapped on the other side.

From this description, Mike Gannis was able to identify it as "The Land of No Shadow by CH Claudy. He wrote:

Contributed by Mike Gannis

I first read this story in an anthology when I was about eleven years old. Even then it seemed odd to me that when the rubber balls returned through the portal they were turned inside-out, but when the narrator returned he was only reversed right-to-left. The topology of the explanation seemed fishy, and I thought the explorer was darned lucky that *he* didn't return inside-out ...

Thank you Mike and Donald!

There have been at least two versions of this story published, and I am not certain whether both of them read the same one. It first appeared in February 1931 issue of American Boy and then was adapted into a novel as part of the Adventures in the Unknown series in 1933. Apparently, that series also appeared in comic book form, but I have been unable to determine if this story was so adapted. Does anyone know if "The Land of No Shadow" was made into a DC comic?

Contributed by Hank Davis

What I think is the short (magazine) version of "The Land of No Shadow" was reprinted in an sf (not, please, "sci-fi") anthology titled The Year After Tomorrow, edited by three people, of whom Lester del Rey was probably the real editor, published by John C. Winston as the only anthology in their Winston series of juvenile books. (What would now be called YA books.) All the other Winston Juveniles, IIRC, were novels.

More information about this work can be found at
(Note: This is just one work of mathematical fiction from the list. To see the entire list or to see more works of mathematical fiction, return to the Homepage.)

Works Similar to The Land of No Shadow
According to my `secret formula', the following works of mathematical fiction are similar to this one:
  1. Technical Error by Arthur C. Clarke
  2. The Appendix and the Spectacles by Miles J. Breuer (M.D.)
  3. Plane People by Wallace West
  4. Star, Bright by Mark Clifton
  5. A Subway Named Moebius by A.J. Deutsch
  6. The Next Dimension by Vladimir Karapetoff
  7. An Episode of Flatland by Charles H. Hinton
  8. The Library of Babel by Jorge Luis Borges
  9. Blinding Shadows by Donald Wandrei
  10. The Dangerous Dimension by L. Ron Hubbard
Ratings for The Land of No Shadow:
RatingsHave you seen/read this work of mathematical fiction? Then click here to enter your own votes on its mathematical content and literary quality or send me comments to post on this Webpage.
Mathematical Content:
2/5 (1 votes)
Literary Quality:
4/5 (1 votes)

GenreScience Fiction,
MotifHigher/Lower Dimensions,
MediumNovels, Short Stories,

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Your Help Needed: Some site visitors remember reading works of mathematical fiction that neither they nor I can identify. It is time to crowdsource this problem and ask for your help! You would help a neighbor find a missing pet...can't you also help a fellow site visitor find some missing works of mathematical fiction? Please take a look and let us know if you have seen these missing stories anywhere!.

(Maintained by Alex Kasman, College of Charleston)