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The Planiverse: Computer Contact with a Two-Dimensional World Paperback – October 4, 2013

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Editorial Reviews


The Planiverse ... stretches our imagination by introducing a new and different kind of world. In the process, it changes the way we look at our own. -- Discover Magazine

A worthy successor to Flatland. -- Thomas Banchoff, Nature

It's not everyone who gets to design a universe from scratch. But A.K. Dewdney has done just that. -- The Boston Globe

Once you have been captivated by the two-dimensional Ardean world, the problems facing its difficult technology haunt you, begging for more solutions. Arde easily becomes a puzzle without end. -- Erik Sandberg-Diment, The New York Times

About the Author

A.K. Dewdney is a mathematician, computer scientist, astronomer, engineer, and biologist. A member of the computer science department at the University of Western Ontario for 27 years, he retired in 1997, only to be appointed professor of Zoology at the same university in 1998 in recognition of his important biological work. Dewdney is the author of 11 books. He has been increasingly involved in environmental issues, mainly the habitat loss created by the expansion of human populations. Currently, most of the author's spare time is taken up by his work in a natural area close to his home, a 100-acre complex of forest and ponds. He and his wife are managing an ambitious bio-inventory of the area and have logged over 1,000 species.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 247 pages
  • Publisher: Copernicus (October 12, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0387989161
  • ISBN-13: 978-0387989167
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.6 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #213,722 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

21 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Marco A on March 21, 2001
Format: Paperback
I have to admit, I read this book primarily so that I could selfishly affirm what I thought of as my theory: that in two dimensions, gravity would be proportional to the inverse of distance, as opposed to the inverse square law we know and love. I was surprised and overwhelmed that Dewdney includes this observation as one among many, of which others are much more important. Dewdney crafts this discussion of two-dimensions by setting up a fictional university scenario and aside from addressing the implications of a 2D world, also adds the implications and disbelief that a discovery of this kind might cause on earth. The story is one for anyone who has thought about differences in dimension, and truly made me think about how simple, yet complex our world would seem to a four dimensional being. Dewdney even includes an appendix of distinct ramifications of two-dimensions on different fields of science. (Maybe the fact that every reviewer so far has given this book five stars means something... GO READ IT!)
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Jedidiah Carosaari VINE VOICE on April 30, 2003
Format: Paperback
When I was in high-school I had a very intelligent and immensely helpful English teacher, who taught me much of what writing skill I possess today. He came in highly excited one morning, to share with us about a new book he'd come across. Evidently, they had, through a computer, discovered an entirely new reality, that was two-dimensional! And this was an actual event, cutting edge stuff.
Well, a few days later, he came in, quite chagrined, to tell us that, as he read further through the book, he realized it was a work of fiction. But his description had been interesting enough to motivate me to read the book.
The Planiverse's reality is that real, and supported by that much scientific and mathematical principle- Dewdney has done his research, to bring us one of the most delightful what-ifs I've found. Imagine reality just like ours, but take out the third dimension. Everything is well supported, every area of life covered, and the drawings immensely helpful. You truly begin to feel for all the characters in the book. But it's not just an exercise in mathematical possibility. It is a rich story, telling of spiritual journey and insight, as Yendred travels to find his answers. And I still remember the ending as grippingly and eerily numinous, as we realize how closely the Planiverse and our Universe are connected, and how limited we are in comparison to the Eternal.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 16, 1997
Format: Hardcover
Once every hundred years or so, a new reality is discovered. In 1884 Edwin Abbott's classic, Flatland, captured readers' imaginations with and ingenious excursion into a two-dimensional society. Now, a century later, Dr. Alexander Keewatin Dewdney, a theoretical computer scientist, takes us on an exciting journey through and an amazingly complex, self-consistent two-dimensional universe. The Planiverse combines science and speculation, technology and metaphysics, in an astonishing work of the imagination that is elegant, witty, and wonderful. Dr. Dewdney created a hypothetical two-dimensional universe as an exercise for his computer science students. They developed a program called 2DWORLD to model a detailed, although somewhat primitive, planet. then one day in May 1980, something extraordinaty happened. One of the creatures began to use a word not in the computer's vocabulary--YNDRD. And as the simple graphics generated by the program grew more detailed, a strange four-armed creature appeared, surrounded by a bizarre alien landscape. Somehow, the 2DWORLD program had conected with a real two-dimensional world. the creature who appeared became known as yendred, a youthful inhabitant of Arde, a planet somewhere inside the planiverse. And so began a fantstic odyssey into a two-dimensional world--as Dr. Dewdney and his students followed Yendred on a journey across Arde, sharing his adventures, learning his history, and discussing his philosophy. With over 125 illustrations and diagrams generated from Arde, The Planiverse is a record of that contact period--the computer-aided exploration of a new reality--complete with its own physics, chemisty, biology, philosophy, and civilization. Join Yendred and Dr.Read more ›
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 23, 1996
Format: Paperback
This book is simply amazing. It tells the story of
YNDRD, a two-dimensional being who makes contact with
people on Earth through a computer program based on a
hypothetical 2-D world. The tale is written as a summary of
the computer-aided correspondence between Prof. Dewdney and
his colleagues and the so-called "planiverse", with excerpts
of the dialogue as it was received on the computer print-out.
Immense detail is given to the descriptions of the way of
life on the two-dimensional planet, including technology,
government and law, music, sports, science, and even religion.
Religion was, in fact, one of the aspects which gave me
extra admiration for the book and its author, because it
explores not only the religion of the Nsana (as the flat
people call themselves), but religion in general, giving insight
into a scientific and somewhat objective view of religion.
The story and its forays into alien culture are heightened
in effect by the great illustrations, and the technical
sections which go into the most detail about 2-D life.
I say again, this book is simply amazing, and conclude
with a recommendation to all interested in bizarre creatures,
science, or just really good books.
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