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Spaceland: A Novel of the Fourth Dimension (Tom Doherty Associates Books) Paperback – July 4, 2003
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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 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Again, I was hoping for a somewhat modern, exciting spin on Flatland and what I got was a bunch of unlikable people and an extra dimension.
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.
Most recent customer reviews
1. The "non fiction" parts on the fourth spatial dimension (and Flatland descriptions) were...Read more