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A Victim of Higher Space (1917)
Algernon Blackwood
(click on names to see more mathematical fiction by the same author)

Contributed by Vijay Fafat

This is another of the John Silence tall-tales, this time involving a man who learns to visualize 4-dimensional space and then starts slipping in and out of the hyperspace. As he describes it,

"This room we now sit in, Dr. Silence, has one side open to space--to higher space. A closed box only seems closed. There is a way in and out of a soap bubble without breaking the skin."


“Certain people, certain human atmospheres, certain wandering forces, thoughts, desires even--the radiations of certain combinations of colour, and above all, the vibrations of certain kinds of music, will suddenly throw me into a state of what I can only describe as an intense and terrific inner vibration--and behold I am off! Off in the direction at right angles to all our known directions! Off in the direction the cube takes when it begins to trace the outlines of the new figure, the tessaract! Off into my breathless and semi-divine higher space! Off, inside myself, into the world of four dimensions!"

(quoted from A Victim of Higher Space)

"The audacious speculations of Bolyai, the amazing theories of Gauss--that through a point more than one line could be drawn parallel to a given line; the possibility that the angles of a triangle are together greater than two right angles, if drawn upon immense curvatures--the breathless intuitions of Beltrami and Lobatchewsky--all these I hurried through, and emerged, panting but unsatisfied, upon the verge of my--my world, my higher space possibilities--in a word, my disease!"

Originally pubilshed in Day and Night Stories (1917).

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Works Similar to A Victim of Higher Space
According to my `secret formula', the following works of mathematical fiction are similar to this one:
  1. The Pikestaffe Case by Algernon Blackwood
  2. Into the Fourth by Adam Hull Shirk
  3. Gold Dust and Star Dust by Cyrill Wates
  4. A Modern Comedy of Science by Issac Nathanson
  5. The Mobius Trail by George Smith
  6. The Professor's Experiments - The Dimension of Time by Paul Bold
  7. Through the Black Board by Joel Rogers
  8. The Vanishing Man by Richard Hughes
  9. The Universe Broke Down by Robert Arthur
  10. The Shape of Things by Ray Bradbury
Ratings for A Victim of Higher Space:
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:
2/5 (1 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)