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The Plattner Story (1896)
Herbert George Wells
(click on names to see more mathematical fiction by the same author)

Contributed by "William E. Emba"

Gottfrieb Plattner disappears after an explosion for nine days. Upon return, he recounts a strange tale of a parallel world. More mathematically interesting, he discovers that he is now left-handed, and his internal anatomy has apparently inverted left and right. This is attributed to the fourth-dimension."

Contributed by Anonymous

This short story is about unexplicable but observed peculiarities in the main character, Plattner. His body organs are flipped and the extent of the math in the story is the explanation that it's impossible for that to happen if moving only in three dimensions. Just as we can flip a piece of paper (assuming it's 2-d) through three dimensions and reverse the picture, one can turn around in a fourth dimension and turn his insides about. Not much explanation is given, and readers are led to believe this is all occuring in a dream world. Also, curiously, eyes are mentioned many times through the story. This might have to do with the fact that the story is explained in terms of what Mr. Plattner saw. Overall there isn't much math in this story, but it's still one of the major ways to understand the story. So I gave it a 2 on mathematical content.

Contributed by antonio carlos motta

It plattner story is fantastic. does think a 4-dimensional universe with two distict torsion (left-handed and right-handed) that generates the connexion of space-time in continuos space-time each one with limit of speede that transform reflection from oriented to non-oriented through of reversion rotational( PARITY AND REVERSAL TIME) that defines slow down in time and contraction in rods.

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Works Similar to The Plattner Story
According to my `secret formula', the following works of mathematical fiction are similar to this one:
  1. The Balloon Hoax by Edgar Allan Poe
  2. Technical Error by Arthur C. Clarke
  3. The Heart on the Other Side by George Gamow
  4. Left or Right by Martin Gardner
  5. The Image in the Mirror by Dorothy Leigh Sayers
  6. Turnabout by Gordon R. Dickson
  7. The Time Machine by Herbert George Wells
  8. Topsy-turvy (Sans Dessus Dessous) by Jules Verne
  9. The Remarkable Case of Davidson's Eyes by Herbert George Wells
  10. The Cube Root of Conquest by Rog Phillips
Ratings for The Plattner Story:
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 (4 votes)
Literary Quality:
3.75/5 (4 votes)

GenreScience Fiction,
MotifHigher/Lower Dimensions,
MediumShort Stories, Available Free Online,

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Exciting News: The 1,600th entry was recently added to this database of mathematical fiction! Also, for those of you interested in non-fictional math books let me (shamelessly) plug the recent release of the second edition of my soliton theory textbook.

(Maintained by Alex Kasman, College of Charleston)