a list compiled by Alex Kasman (College of Charleston)
A space-operatic story which implements Edwin Abbott's world of Flatland. A perfectly flat comet strikes earth at a glancing angle and sheers off a very small part, including a few people, who discover that the comet is inhabited by two-dimensional, centipede-like creatures. Standard mathematical explanations of the third dimension as extrapolation of two dimensions along a third perpendicular direction follow:
|(quoted from Plane People)|
Dr. Adolph Strauss, Astronomer: "In fact, I am not a plane figure but a solid, made up of an infinite number of circles, squares and other geometric figures placed on top of one another. I am a creature called Man")
Before long, an internecine war is triggered in the 2-D kingdom by the appearance of the 3-D entities. The creatures learn to appreciate and build into the third dimension because they have a slight extension in that direction. After considerable melodrama, the halcyon state of affairs is restored and the humans hope to be able to build rockets to head back to earth. Presumably, the comet carried some part of our atmosphere as well for the poeple to breathe but how the comet has any gravity or life is unexplained; there is a brief mention of "the centrifugal" force due to the comet's rotation, which the author apparently believes can hold people on to the surface. A very standard pulp affair.
First published: Astounding Stories, Nov 1933
Also available in: Famous Science Fiction #5, Winter 1968
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