MATHEMATICAL FICTION:

a list compiled by Alex Kasman (College of Charleston)

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It was the Monster from the Fourth Dimension (1951)
Al Feldstein
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Contributed by Lapo Fanciullo

I found a story from a Weird Science issue of 1951 (i believe it's # 7) titled It Was the Monster From the Fourth Dimension. It's written and drawn by Al Feldstein.

It is about a farmer whose farm is haunted by a creature resembling a floating piece of raw meat: the creature can change in shape and size and even disappear (a cow vanishes along with it). The farmer asks for advice to his brother, a scientist, who understands the creature is actually a four-dimensional being intersecting our three-dimensional world: the changes on shape and size depend on which part of the body is intersecting our universe and the cow was transported in the fourth dimension (the situation is explained by comparing it to a three-dimesional being passing through a two-dimensional world, in a Flatland-like fashion, though the book is never mentioned). In the end, the scientist is able to travel into the fourth dimension and somehow kill the alien, but he himself dies in doing so.

Unfortunately, the depth of narration is that of 1950s comic books and the consequences of a fourth spatial dimension are not well exploited, perhaps not fully understood, by the author (most notably the alien is shown to hurl itself against a closed door instead of entering the room through the fourth dimension).

Contributed by Lapo Fanciullo

Thanks to Wikipedia I can confirm this story is the first from #7. I'm not certain the story deserves the 2/5 I gave it as "literary quality" (it quite shows its age), but I'm a great fan of retro sci-fi.

(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 It was the Monster from the Fourth Dimension
According to my `secret formula', the following works of mathematical fiction are similar to this one:
  1. 1963 by Alan Moore
  2. Off Day! by Al Feldstein (writer) / Jack Kamen (artist)
  3. Tre per zero by T. Sclavi (writer) / B. Brindisi (artist)
  4. The Adventures of Topology Man by Alex Kasman
  5. Big Numbers by Alan Moore / Bill Sienkiewicz
  6. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle
  7. Simpsons (Episode: Homer3) by John Swarzwelder / Steve Tomkins / David S. Cohen
  8. Donald in Mathmagic Land by Hamilton Luske (director)
  9. The Boy Who Reversed Himself by William Sleator
  10. Plane People by Wallace West
Ratings for It was the Monster from the Fourth Dimension:
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:
3/5 (1 votes)
..
Literary Quality:
2/5 (1 votes)
..

Categories:
GenreScience Fiction, Children's Literature,
MotifAliens, Higher/Lower Dimensions,
TopicGeometry/Topology/Trigonometry,
MediumComic Book,

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(Maintained by Alex Kasman, College of Charleston)