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Flatland by Edwin A. Abbott
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by Edwin A. Abbott

80 ratings, 13 reviews

Edwin Abbott Abbott's satirical 1884 novella Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions, is "on the surface" an examination of multiple dimensions. Its author, writing anonymously as "A Square" takes us on a fantastical trip to a completely flat, two-dimensional world whose inhabitants are geometric shapes. These shapes think that the "planar" world of length and width are all that exist, until one shape discovers the existence of a third physical dimension, which ultimately is expanded to the concept of a fourth. As a given shape, one's class and intelligence is determined by one's number of sides. Men are depicted as polygonal, while women are straight lines (now hang on a minute!)….

Flatland illustrates marvelously the difficulty a person or group might have seeing a greater reality, or different reality, than its own. In this world of "plane geometry" with "Euclidian Geometric" shapes, each dimension can only perceive the one below it - so if one has evidence of a third, what about a fourth? Flatland has so many dimensions to it - mathematical, philosophical, social, religious - that it's hard to believe it's only 82 pages. But don't let size fool you: to grasp every element of the book will take a close reading. A brilliant exploration of higher dimensions while satirizing the social hierarchy of the Victorian caste system.

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Helen Warner

March 06, 2014

I really enjoyed the visionary tale of dimensions and space; especially how viewpoints can either suppress or extol the higher and more creative thinking of those who seek out knowledge outside of conventions!


Heather-Lin Brannon

January 04, 2014

What an interesting allegory! I listened to the audio version; the narrator was superb and i found I had very little trouble following the descriptions of the diagrams included in the book.


Harmke Van Dijk

December 26, 2013

Good story, often very funny. I like some of the explanations about the worldview of the people in different dimensions, it really helped me to understand it. That said: it is a story, not a math textbook. Read it as such.


John Lange

October 15, 2013

Love it


Ravin Maclean

April 04, 2013

I think this book is great. The author is very smart. Now this isnt a book that everybody would read but i think everybody should at least read this once in there lifetime


Amareese Tolibas

December 28, 2012



Nathan Goedeke

August 21, 2012

Wonderful book, so glad its digital now! Definetly surrpasses The Time Machine in describing dimensions great and small. Also leaves us thinking philosophicaly: are there worlds and beings that we cant experiance or explain? Are we all like the point, thinking we are god when actually we are nothing? Remember, Edwin Abbott was an ordained reverend as well as a mathmatician, which is probably why the book makes reference to the Gospel of Three Dimensions, and skeptics that become fanatical persecuters.


Син Макинтир

July 17, 2012

A romantic peak into the idea of opening your mind, Flatland takes you to a different, 'lesser' world and boggles your mind with the supposition of dimensions both higher and lower than our own. If you can forgive Abbot's style -a standard way of writing back then-, you will find yourself enthralled with the ideas he puts before you. 4/5, a short quick read, but still full of great ideas~


John Luckie

April 08, 2012

Hard work but fun.


DM Parker

February 21, 2012

No one explains multi-dimensionality better, more easily or with more of a sense of fun (plus a plot) than Edwin Abbot Abbot. A fun, fascinating, easy read.


Alex Martin

January 06, 2012

Much as Flatland tackles our understanding of dimensions, it is in itself multidimensional. In the social attitudes of Flatlanders we may recognise a commentary on the attitudes of the author's day, and some which persist to the present. On another level, Flatland asks us to consider ideas beyond our experience and understanding. This novel may well be a brilliant way to introduce a novice to thinking about higher dimensions and its conclusions are applicable to not only to philosophical questions but also the deepest mysteries of the universe, tackled by scientists and armchair enthusiasts alike. If anything, Flatland will lead you to consider just how you would react, should some higher-dimensional truth be revealed to you. If you are enthused by the possibility of... more, then this book is for you. X, Y, Z...?


Warwick Allison

December 07, 2011

Leads the reader through a learning experience that almost seems too familiar due to the dating of the story.


Noah Smith

November 13, 2011

I hope you like math and can understand multidimensional travel.