MATHEMATICAL FICTION:

a list compiled by Alex Kasman (College of Charleston)

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An Episode of Flatland (1907)
Charles H. Hinton
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Hinton, whose biography is a little too weird for me to believe and whose essays on the fourth dimension (see for example A New Era of Thought) leave me wondering how much he really believed that the fourth dimension was the key to unifying humanity, wrote this short story based on Abbott's Flatland. It is now available on-line at Eldrich Press's Hinton site.

Contributed by Andrew

The story, from my recollection, is more based on a human's observations of the Flatland world than anything else.

Contributed by Sarah-Marie Belcastro

Pretty boring (like much of Hinton's writing), and not much in the way of math. Actually, this was the least boring of all of Hinton's fiction that I've read. Some of the characters believe that they can save their planet from disaster by using the 3rd dimension, but how they would accomplish this in practice is not revealed in the narrative. No 3D creatures come to save them... the text ends with nothing resolved.

Contributed by Marcus L. Rowland

Just to let you know - I have a complete version of Hinton's An Episode of Flatland on my web site, not the abridged version found on most sites.

I'm also the author of a Flatland Role Playing Game published in PDF and sold in aid of Doctors Without Borders. Any publicity you feel able to give it would be appreciated.

More information about this work can be found at eldritchpress.org.
(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 An Episode of Flatland
According to my `secret formula', the following works of mathematical fiction are similar to this one:
  1. The Next Dimension by Vladimir Karapetoff
  2. Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions by Edwin Abbott Abbott
  3. Sphereland: A Fantasy About Curved Spaces and an Expanding Universe by Dionys Burger
  4. Technical Error by Arthur C. Clarke
  5. The Appendix and the Spectacles by Miles J. Breuer (M.D.)
  6. The Cube Root of Conquest by Rog Phillips
  7. The Extraordinary Hotel or the Thousand and First Journey of Ion the Quiet by Stanislaw Lem
  8. Surfing through Hyperspace by Clifford Pickover
  9. And He Built a Crooked House by Robert A. Heinlein
  10. Message Found in a Copy of Flatland by Rudy Rucker
Ratings for An Episode of Flatland:
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:
2.75/5 (4 votes)
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Literary Quality:
3.25/5 (4 votes)
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Categories:
GenreScience Fiction, Didactic,
MotifHigher/Lower Dimensions,
TopicGeometry/Topology/Trigonometry,
MediumShort Stories, Available Free Online,

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(Maintained by Alex Kasman, College of Charleston)