Since Edward Abbott penned his original Flatland at the tail end of the 19th century, many modern mathematicians have found themselves unable to resist the urge to put pen to paper in various forms of imitation most notably includiing Ian Stewarts Flatterland, Dewdney's Plainiverse and this entry by Rudy Rucker.
And contrary to some other reviewers who thought that Rucker's Fourth Dimensional treatment paled in comparison to his underlying story, I must confess that I thought the reverse.
In this story, Rucker chose as his protagonist a dot commer named Joe Cube whose comely wife Jena was at various points in the book leaving him, cheating on him and ultimately, well, that would give away the ending. However the point is that Rucker wrote such a complete and convincing portrait of his Jena that you couldn't help yourself but eagerly turning the pages past all the Four D stuff to find out whether Joe would be able to save his marriage and in the end I found myself much more concerned about that than...well...even the fate of the 3D universe which we supposedly inhabit.
The reason I say we supposedly inhabit the 3D universe is because we actually are fourth dimensional creatures. And while viewed from a full fourth dimensional perspective it's true that we would probably more resemble a centipede with a baby at the one end and a (if we're lucky) vibrant geriatric at the other end and while it's also true that we see only slices of this fourth dimensional perspective, I nonetheless still consider it a misnomer to refer to us a "merely" existing in 3D.
Now that being said, Rucker found some exciting and stimulating ways in which to move his story along and to graphically depict the look and feel of 3D. For those alone, he deserves a five star rating (particularly when he retours all the dimensions in a fashion reminiscent of the original Abbott himself).
But for those who like story with their plot, read and it and see if you too get caught up for Cube and join me in rooting for him to save something even more precious than mathematical reality...his marriage.
Spaceland Hardcover – 1 June 2002
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- Publisher : Forge (1 June 2002)
- Language : English
- ISBN-10 : 0765303663
- ISBN-13 : 978-0765303660
- Dimensions : 13.26 x 2.98 x 24.13 cm
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About the Author
Rudy Rucker is a mathematician, computer scientist, professor and writer who has twice won the Philip K. Dick Award for best SF paperback original, and has published a number of successful popular books on mathematical subjects, including The Fourth Dimension and Infinity and the Mind. He lives in Los Gatos, California.
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Flatland "cubed"Reviewed in the United States on 4 December 2007
One person found this helpful
Michael and Julie
Slapdash attempt to bring life to higher dimensionsReviewed in the United States on 11 July 2012
Mathematician Rudy Rucker is a nice, unselfish, sharing kind of guy. In White Light, Third Edition , for example, he passed on his favorite mnemonic for the first several digits of pi: "How I need a drink, alcoholic of course, after the heavy lectures involving quantum mechanics." ("How" = 3, "I" = 1, etc.) In "Spaceland," what Rucker wants to share with you is the ability to wrap your brain around spatial dimensions, from single points (1), to lines and planes (2), our everyday world of solids with height, width, and depth (3), up to a 4-dimensional world in which people, places, and things have our 3 dimensions plus one. Rucker strives to stretch your brain through the medium of a silly and contrived story that involves four foolish and unsympathetic humans who live and work in Silicon Valley, two weird 4-dimensional aliens, and a plot to destroy Spaceland -- our 3-dimensional world. More than a geometry lesson but less than a well-developed novel, "Spaceland" is likely to disappoint most readers.
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Typical Rudy Rucker, but that's a good thing.Reviewed in the United States on 16 April 2014
This book has everything a Rudy Rucker novel needs: mathematics, bizarre drugs, some sex, Silicon Valley culture, a funky New Age-type spiritualism where All Is One, and references to Santa Cruz. I love math, so I enjoyed the four-dimensional adventures of Joe Cube (of course Joe Cube works in Silicon Valley) a lot. I've read Flatland, also Rudy's book on the fourth dimension, so I'm primed on all these concepts. I don't know how well it plays if you don't have the background. While Rudy Rucker paints a pretty good picture of California/Silicon Valley culture, his characterizations are somewhat shallow. His characters always feel the same. Any one of them could have been in any of his books. And I'd give three stars for that, but I've a soft spot for his fiction because it's always so FUN. You know, FUN. Why I read books in the first place. If I wanted Shakespeare, I'd read Shakespeare. So four stars for Dr. Rucker.
capturingReviewed in the United States on 25 April 2014
after reading flatland: a romance of many dimensions and flatterland, this book was surprisingly different. It brings the original edwin abbott ideas to a more human level and tells a story rather than educates you. The story is very good once you get into it and rudy rucker really makes you hate/love the characters. The verbage can be a bit childish and abstract... but hey, have you read flatland?
Excellent book! Kindle version is full of spelling errors, though...Reviewed in the United States on 17 December 2014
Loved this book since it first came out. I cringe at some of the dialogue of the 20-somethings and wonder if we were indeed that superficial back then. But, I digress. The book is well worth it. Avoid the kindle version at all costs unless you have a high tolerance for spelling errors. It's nice that the Kindle version has the illustrations, but the bad proofreading makes me wonder if the book author didn't review things before submission.
One person found this helpful