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Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions Paperback – February 20, 2016
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|Paperback, February 20, 2016||
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If you're about to read this excellent book for the first time, you'd be robbing yourself of the experience by trying to follow this garbled, text-only version. If you're already a fan, you'll just find this edition frustrating. So, whether or not you've read Flatland before, please spend the $1 for a nice, edited version with the illustrations included: Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions (Illustrated)
"This scarce antiquarian book is a facsimile reprint of the original. Due to its age, it may contain imperfections such as marks, notations, marginalia and flawed pages. Because we believe this work is culturally important, we have made it available as part of our commitment for protecting, preserving, and promoting the world's literature in affordable, high quality, modern editions that are true to the original work."
This could not possibly be further from the truth. This edition is so horribly modern and so absolutely not a facsimile reprint of the original as to make that description laughable. None of the original artwork is present. Instead it has been replaced with someone's horrible attempt at reproducing the pictures using nothing but ASCII characters.
If you're a fan of Flatland and want a nice hardback volume for your collection, this volume is not for you. If you've never read Flatland and will be reading it for the first time (which is when the illustrations are of the most value) this volume is not for you. Unless you just want to buy a book to use as firewood, this volume is not for you.
I have never returned a book to Amazon before - but will be doing so with this one.
I read this book a couple years ago on the recommendation of a friend (who loaned me her copy) and I loved it! I thought it was a brilliant little satire of a society that puts too much emphasis on class and I thought that the idea of a two-dimensional being doubting the existence of a third dimension was hilarious. I laughed at how, in the second dimension, the number of sides one had would determine class, with Isosceles triangles being the lowest class and equilateral triangles being the class immediately above them- I laughed at the brief history of Triangle Civil Rights and upward mobility. This book is full of little things like that, but as it is a short book I won't give too many examples. In short, I was laughing constantly at jokes surely only a nerd like myself could love.
The only thing about this book is that there really isn't a story- the first two thirds lays out the premise of life in the second dimension (the previously mentioned class system and triangle civil rights, how everything in the second dimension looks like a straight line and how they compensate for it, how their society views and treats women etc.) with the last part serving as "the story" - the two-dimensional narrator's interactions with a third dimensional being and the resulting revelations. Or as I half-jokingly put it- "The story of a square who wanted to be a cube." When it comes down to it, the story really only serves as a vehicle for the premise of life in the second dimension. That being said, I highly recommend reading this book- just not this edition.
So, the first sentence of this review, I described the cover as having a pair of owl eyes on it; looking back, those eyes should have been the first indicator that something was not right- there are no birds or any real sort of wild animal in Flatland, and this cover seems like it would be better suited for a story that takes place in the jungle- or perhaps for a suspense novel; however none of this occurred to me until after I had placed the order.
I had read several reviews on Amazon about editions of this book that did not contain illustrations, so the first thing I did when I received my copy was to check the illustrations- having read this book before I knew that the handful of illustrations were simple, hand-drawn diagrams of shapes and occasionally arrows to indicate motion (as this book takes place in a world where everything is literally just a 2D shape, that makes sense- all the illustrations look like diagrams you would expect to find in a 19th century Geometry textbook); you can imagine my surprise when the illustrations were detailed (though poorly reproduced and black and white) depictions of religious scenes from various faiths. I'm not kidding, I think somebody working for the publisher forgot to do quality control at the last step and the image files for this book got swapped with the image files for a book about religion. I flipped through the book very briefly just to make sure- I saw the Baptism of Christ, I saw Shiva, I think I saw Joseph Smith and Brigham Young in there somewhere but I did not see the simple, hand-drawn diagrams of Flatland. I then put the book down in disgust and began the return process.
Very good book, very bad edition.
Every character is happy in his "limited" universe. They do not want to hear anything about other possible things. When they have been exposured such explanations they got angry!
Every character lives in his universe "a dimension missing". In Lineland every character can see a point which has zero dimension in a universe of one dimension which is lenght. Every character is capable to deduct missing dimension by thinking, dreaming,... In Lineland every character is aware of the others length which they have never seen...
It is similar in Flatland, there are squares, triangles, circles,... but all they can see is a flat line and they need to touch eachother to check the shape.
A square tried to enlighten a line but failed. They hated each other. A sphere tried to enlighten a square, first he pissed off and then sphere pushed him to other dimension.... That is a shock. The shift has happened by force! Square enlightened more than expected hence he queried sphere about the fourth dimension. This time sphere pissed off.
We belong to our universes and provided a force majeur we are capable to adopt ourselves to a new paradigm.
Unfortunately this is not a voluntary process.
I suggest Thomas Kuhn for those readers who interested in "paradigm shift".
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Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions is a timeless book that imbues the reader with an important sense of perspective.Read more