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Spaceland: A Novel of the Fourth Dimension Hardcover – June 1, 2002

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Books; 1st edition (June 1, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0765303663
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765303660
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 5.8 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,979,432 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews Review

The product manager for a Silicon Valley startup, Joe Cube thinks the best way to enter the new millennium is to stay safely home with his wife and watch the year 2000 come in on an experimental television/interactive device "borrowed" from work. His wife, however, is less than pleased. And after Jena passes out from too much New Year's imbibing, Joe discovers the undertested device has opened a gateway to a new universe: he is contacted by a fourth-dimensional woman named Momo....

Usually, tribute novels are like movie remakes: a bad idea. However, this tribute to Edwin A. Abbott's classic novel Flatland works wonderfully. This is because Spaceland is written by Rudy Rucker, a Silicon Valley professor of mathematics and computer science who is also a hard-SF writer with the most gonzo sensibility in science fiction.--Cynthia Ward

From Publishers Weekly

Like a Mbius strip, that mathematical curiosity in which one surface is produced by twisting judiciously then joining two ends of a ribbon, Rucker's new hard SF satire tweaks the dot-com Y2K subculture into a hilarious tribute to Edwin Abbott's Flatland (1884). Kencom techie Joe Cube fatally miscalculates how his increasingly dissatisfied, yuppie, dingbat wife, Jena, really wants to celebrate the millennial New Year's Eve. Joe should have remembered that Jena likes sex even better than he does. Instead he brings her two Dungeness crabs, a bottle of Dom Perignon and some really cool electronics, an experimental three-dimensional TV. This indigestible combination fizzles Joe's stab at romance, but the electronics sizzle, hurling Jena into the arms of Joe's skuzzy engineer pal, Spazz, and propelling Momo, a siren-voiced denizen of the fourth dimension, into Joe's life. For her own nefarious purposes, Momo cons Joe into helping her people, the Kluppers, against their mortal enemies, the Dronners. Only Joe's three-dimensional reality, Spaceland, separates the two warring races. Combining valid mathematical speculation with wicked send-ups of Silicon Valley and its often otherworldly tribespeople, Rucker achieves a rare fictional world, a belly-laugh-funny commentary on the Faustian dilemma facing a lumpish 21st-century tech-addicted everyman: What is the real price in human relationships, in love and friendship and compassion, of those cutesy little user-friendly gadgets that happen to materialize so innocently on our desks?
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

More About the Author

Rudy Rucker is a writer and a mathematician who spent 20 years as a Silicon Valley computer scientist. He's a contemporary master of science-fiction, and received the Philip K. Dick award twice. His 37 published books include novels and non-fiction books such as THE FOURTH DIMENSION. His cyberpunk series THE WARE TETRALOGY and his novel of the fourth dimension SPACELAND are favorites. His memoirs NESTED SCROLLS and ALL THE VISIONS offer uniquely skewed insights into our times. Recent books include COMPLETE STORIES and the novels TURING & BURROUGHS and THE BIG AHA. His new reprint collection TRANSREAL TRILOGY includes his classic novels THE SECRET OF LIFE, WHITE LIGHT, and SAUCER WISDOM. More info at

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

29 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Zoidberg on March 6, 2004
Format: Paperback
A sequel, of sorts, to Edwin Abbott's classic novel, 'Flatland'. Joe Cube is a high tech executive waiting for his company to be IPOed. One night, while playing with his company's product (a TV screen that turns standard television broadcasting into a 3D image), Joe is contacted by Momo, a creature from the fourth dimension. Momo 'augments' Joe, giving him the ability to see into the fourth dimension, and also the ability to see into our dimension using a four dimension perspective. This gives Joe the unique ability of seeing inside people and objects, naturally, Joe tries to use this to make money... Momo only asks (demands, to be more exact) that Joe start a company that will create a specific product that she will supply. The plot gets complicated when another race of four-dimensional creatures, the Wackles, seem intent on stopping Joe. What is going on? Try the book and see.

This sounds like a very cool premise and it really is. The author truly captured the feeling of a 4D universe, a 3D universe from a 4D perspective, as well as a one dimensional and a two dimensional universe. The book is worth reading if only for this.. or perhaps, only for this: The book suffers from the worst characterization I've ever read in a book. The characters are completely unbelievable, obnoxious, annoying, self-contradicting. They are ridiculous. It feels like a cartoon of a cartoon. Maybe that was the purpose? I've never read any other book by the author, so I can't really say if it's his style. It's a pity, because the book could've been so much better. At the end I couldn't stand any of the characters (including the protagonist). Another weakness is the plot itself: Until the middle of the book it's really quite a good story, but then the quality goes downhill from there.. Shame. I'm giving the book 4/5 stars, but if I could, 3.5/5 would be more appropriate.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By doomsdayer520 HALL OF FAME on March 4, 2007
Format: Paperback
I'm a big fan of Rudy Rucker, and the sheer power of his imagination continually blows the reader's mind. Unfortunately, this novel overdoes the imaginative science at the expense of a readable story. Granted, the backdrop of this novel is quite fascinating, as the misguided dot-commer protagonist Joe Cube finds himself in the fourth dimension. Rucker does an amazing job with prose, because he himself is exploring what 4D would look like to us spacelanders who are hopelessly stuck in 3D. It's also true that Rucker has engagingly built upon the influential "Flatland" by Edwin Abbott, which concerns a 2D person in our third dimension. But while the science of this novel is mindbending, and the 4D characters and their climactic battle are freaky, you eventually get the impression that Rucker was so interested in exploring his concept that he didn't get around to a useful plotline or likeable characters. The personalities of the characters and their interactions are either stereotypical or implausible, and the love story subplot is poorly constructed and dangerously close to sappy treacle. Rucker also dabbles briefly in some pseudo-religious big thoughts that go nowhere, and the storyline wraps up very awkwardly with implausible resolutions for everyone involved. Of course, this book is still a fine display of Rucker's remarkable imagination, but the story is what matters. And here that story is disappointingly two-dimensional. [~doomsdayer520~]
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By booksforabuck VINE VOICE on June 21, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Joe Cube's marriage is in trouble and he's frustrated with his life. On the turn of the Y-2-K, none of his fantasies of disaster are coming true. What does happen, however, is even weirder. A fourth dimension woman slides into his life, gives him a fourth dimension skin and a third eye at right angles to the three dimensions of "spaceland" and sets him up with a can't lose business opportunity--cellphones that can communicate without interference by transfering their messages through fourth dimension space. Even with his marriage down the tubes, Joe thinks he is on something. Better, with his third eye, he can see the upcoming cards in Las Vegas blackjack. The opportunities are without limit.
Joe soon learns that the fourth dimensional actors are far from united. The three dimensional Spaceland of normal space separates two fourth dimension universes that would war on one another if the Spaceland barrier were to vanish. Meanwhile, back on earth, Joe is having trouble finding another woman, and gangsters are after him.
Author Rudy Rucker has created a light and fun novel with a bit of a message, a bit of math, and some intriguing drawings of Flatland space and linear space. Joe, with his worries about his marriage and women, his dreams of making millions in an IPO, and his increasing addiction to a fourth dimension drug makes a sympathetic anti-hero who is finally given a chance to save the universe--and trundled off to jail for doing so.
SPACELAND is a thought-provoking and amusing tale with a bit of a slanted--maybe even fourth dimension--moral to it.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Peter D. Tillman VINE VOICE on January 21, 2006
Format: Paperback

This is a clever takeoff on Flatland, starring Joe Cube, done up in the inimitable Rucker style. Joe, an employee of a Silican Valley startup, gets a visit from Momo, a pushy broad from 4D Klupdom, with a business proposition that he absolutely, positively can't refuse. Momo gives Joe an enhancement, a third eye that can see in the fourth dimension -- and a whole stack of hyperspace cellphone antennas. Can you guess that Momo doesn't have Spaceland's best interests at heart?

Not quite top-drawer Rucker, but clever and fun. Recommended.

Book's HP: [...]


Happy reading--

Peter D. Tillman
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