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Summary

Abbott used the fictional two-dimensional world of Flatland to offer pointed observations on the social hierarchy of Victorian culture. However, the novella's more enduring contribution is its examination of dimensions, for which the novella is still popular amongst mathematics, physics, and computer science students. Several films have been made from the story, including a feature film in 2007 called Flatland. Other efforts have been short or experimental films, including one narrated by Dudley Moore and a short film with Martin Sheen titled Flatland: The Movie.

Public Domain (P)2012 Trout Lake Media

What members say

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Ben
  • CHELMSFORD, United Kingdom
  • 01-10-13

Very thought provoking!

If you could sum up Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions in three words, what would they be?

Incredible, was quite entertaining. Very different take on a story, using math, shapes and dimensions to explore reality and society.

The first few chapters were rather complicated and required some concentration, but once you get your head around the basics it's an easy going and very enjoyable story.

What did you like best about this story?

Loved the new approach to highlighting issues and features of society and reality. Really gets you thinking about our existence in physical dimensions and the possibilities of the unknown.

Would you be willing to try another one of Alan Munro’s performances?

Although I enjoyed the book, it's not the best reading. Very deep and monotone voice. I wouldn't specifically avoid another but I wouldn't hunt one down either.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Nope, the voice made it hard to concentrate on the technical bits, especially when tired! :P

Any additional comments?

I'm not a mathematician or physicist, however I think the fundamental principles of the main characters' reality are wrong? If they are two-dimensional beings - they should exist only in two-dimensions... The main character describes how he can only see the two dimensions of length (X) and distance (Z) but then goes onto describe objects having a thickness, a height (Y) of some sort. He sees objects as "lines", but if he were in a true 2D space he would not be able to perceive the side of objects and therefore no edge or slice to be see. It seems they actually live in a three-dimensional space where one dimension (height, [Y]) is fixed at a slither, although this dimension is small and uniform for all objects, it is by no means a two-dimensional existence.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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creativity and thought provoking

but difficult to follow at times plus narrator mate not best for this book. overall intersting considering it age.

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Interesting but dated

boring narration.
theories and ideas after a while become suffocating.
some very old fashioned and backwards ideas.
the author clearly is struggling with his own perception of his life.

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Note from an oddly shaped (possibly sharp) triangle

This is just nuts. I hung about thinking about my odd shape and quickly realised this gentleman is possibly scared of women, or triangles or both. It's fascinating but I'm not sure I totally get it. I will try again next time I feel crazy.

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  • Heather
  • 07-11-12

Great Story, Terrible Narrator

What made the experience of listening to Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions the most enjoyable?

The story is fantastic! I love stories which expand the imagination and encourage the reader to consider the world from different perspectives.

What other book might you compare Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions to and why?

It may seem strange, but I couldn't help thinking of Lewis' "The Great Divorce" because both books encourage on to stretch the imagination and consider possibilities from perspectives not usually presented. It's as if the authors have found new scenic overlooks which offer the viewer a new and greater perspective.

Would you be willing to try another one of Alan Munro’s performances?

His voice is pleasant, but I found it frustrating to hear him say "thirty-two" or "thirty-three" when he should have said, "three squared" and "three cubed". He didn't know how to read mathematical notation.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes.

Any additional comments?

Great story, but I'd try a different narrator.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

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  • Darwin8u
  • 10-12-12

Upward, not Northward

I give Abbott props for prophetically working out some of the fundamentals of the fourth dimension and dimensional progression 30 years prior to Einstein's general theory of relativity. As a satire, however, while it loosely follows a very Swiftian formulation (Flatland = England; Lineland = Lilliput; Spaceland = Brobdingnag), it isn't as well developed as Gulliver's Travels.

Still, Abbott plays a very significant role in the development of science fiction as a reasonable way to address and criticize current social problems. Abbott wrote the novella Flatland during a period of women's suffrage and a rigid class-based hierarchy. In someways, that makes Flatland as relevant, revolutionary and prophetic a piece today as it was when published in 1884.

My biggest critique of the narration is that Alan Munro would occasionally stumble when presented with mathematical expressions like 3² (three to the second power) 3³ (three to the third power). He would simply read these as thirty-two or thirty-three. Since I was reading along with the book, I saw the error, but if I was only listening, it would have been a little confusing.

25 of 27 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Mark Elgersma
  • 24-07-18

32 and omniscience

This story is good. Problem is, the narrator doesn't know how to pronounce a lot of the words, and it gets distracting. surprising to say the least for an audible production. for example, omniscience was said as "omni-science" and "3 squared" was read as 32. Find a different version if you can.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • sascha krohn
  • 10-01-18

awful narrater and recording - great story

narrater has a very deep voice and reads at very uneven speed, constant pauses.
that plus the old outdated vocabulary make it hard to follow and enjoy the story.
i wished there was a more modern adaptation of this almost 200 year old masterpiece...

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Evan Plante
  • 25-08-18

A canonical book read tediously

This book is a must read for people who are wrestling with concepts that are outside of their world... and will likely remain outside of their possible experiences. Physicalist atheists come to mind... but limited field thinking can happen to anyone about anything that has a metaphysical or presently unknown component. The material in the book is enjoyable, but it is by its nature tedious. Unfortunately, it was narrated tediously and acted poorly. It was like Munro didn't bother to read ahead. He frequently ended sentences before they actually ended. That being said, it's a short book, and I enjoyed going through it again. The ideas are worth the pain.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 21-01-18

Story From a Different Time

I've noticed some older stories just don't translate well into audible form for me. More often than not they are just too heavy on description. They are noy bad books. Sometimes they are even great books, but for me at least, they need to be read, not listened to. This is one of those books. It sounded like a dry report describing a strange world, and I need something a little more engaging on my work commute.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 09-01-18

Great book

One of the most interesting thought experiments I’ve seen. I really feel like I understand the 4th dimension a little better because of the prospective it offers. A good read for anyone who likes to learn and think and also doesn’t mind not completely understanding.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Maxwell Bileschi
  • 01-10-17

good book, disjointed narrator.

The story introduces interesting ideas about perspective, but the narrator spoke with such odd pauses that it was often distracting.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Tonto
  • 18-07-17

Classic treatise on the power of imagination

a little windy in its ironic treatment of eugenics and politics at the start. After one gets to leave this behind and deal more particularly in the realities of lower and higher dimensional universes is when the real magic happens.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 19-04-17

Great Story

Great timeless satire on social hierarchy and reflection on the limitations and importance of perspective. Enduring story. Narration suits perfectly.