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Flatterland: Like Flatland Only More So

3.68 of 5 stars 3.68  ·  rating details  ·  1,078 ratings  ·  80 reviews
The brilliant "sequel" to one of the all-time classics of popular mathematics
ebook, 320 pages
Published August 1st 2008 by Basic Books (AZ) (first published 2001)
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Jun 07, 2007 Richard rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people interested in science and maths
I heard about this book from a friend who is a freelance proof reader. She'd read it and admitted that most of it had gone straight over her head. However she did recommend it highly.

I picked up a copy at the same time as Flatland and read the two books one after the other.

Whereas the first book was about a flat being being shown life in three dimensions, Flatterland shows the adventures of a person being taken into a world of many non-euclidian dimensions. The space it talks about is often well
Andrew Breslin
This was entertaining and educational, but it wasn't really a work of fiction. It was a long parable illustrating fascinating ideas about geometry. Very well-written and thought provoking, but there was no actual story.

I've always loved Kurt Vonnegut's succinct and brilliant advice to would-be crafters of fiction: "All your characters must want something, even if it's only a glass of water." The characters here don't want much of anything, other than to be used as tools by the author to illustr
Nov 30, 2009 David rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to David by:
I have noticed people putting this on their "to read" shelves and wishlists. I hope they are not as disappointed as I was, but greatly fear that disappointment is likely, almost inevitable. For the reasons in my review below - "Flatland" is a hilarious romp, wittily and successfully executed. This book, with its oh-so-clunky title, is most emphatically not.

This book takes as its starting point Abbott's "Flatland", the quirky 19th century mathematical classic which imagines life in a 2-dimensio
I almost didn't get through this. It starts off well, but then it turns into a dialogue. That would be fine, if not for the fact that the author periodically tries and fails to connect it back to the characters and the world of Flatland. Flatland the book is a political satire in addition to a scientific text; this book abandoned all but a shell of the politics while pretending it was still there. I would have rather had a book which didn't try to have a plot or characters, and did a better job ...more
Koen Crolla
Stewart is far too pleased with his own jokes and can't write dialogue for shit, even allowing for the limits the subject matter places on the narrative. That narrative often obscures that subject matter unnecessarily, as well; if I hadn't already been familiar with pretty much everything covered, I doubt I would have had the patience to tease meaning from his prose.
If you have more patience than I do, though, I guess Flatterland is a fine enough introduction to non-Euclidian geometries, the var
Absolutely lovely book.
I learned so much at the time.
Don't know what was retained, though. Review
In 1884, an amiably eccentric clergyman and literary scholar named Edwin Abbott Abbott published an odd philosophical novel called Flatland, in which he explored such things as four-dimensional mathematics and gently satirized some of the orthodoxies of his time. The book went on to be a bestseller in Victorian England, and it has remained in print ever since.
With Flatterland, Ian Stewart,
Based off of the Book "Flatland" written by Edward A. Abbott, one of my all-time favorites, i stumbled upon this book scavenging the library. Curious, i checked it out and began to read. The main character, Victoria Line, is the great great granddaughter of the main character of the original book, Albert Square. A main difference between the two books is the obvious time-periods in which the books were written. "Flatland" was written in 1884 and the language was often difficult, but this book, h ...more
Not a bad introduction to some important maths and physics concepts, however a basic understanding of maths/physics and a terrible sense of humour will make this a more enjoyable read. The blurb states that this book is 'an endless stream of ingeniously funny wordplay' and while ingenious could well apply in a number of cases funny is far less applicable. I'm proud of my awful sense of humour, and can happily sit through a whole Tim Vine stand-up comedy set without cringing... but this tested my ...more
Zoha Trabelsi
"ويبقى الرعاع البؤساء من المثلثات متساوية الساقين لا تنتظمهم خطة ولا يتقدمهم زعيم، فإما يكون مصيرهم السقوط دون مقاومة، أمام فرقة من إخوانهم يحتفظ بها الكاهن الأكبر لمواجهة الأزمات المشابهة، أو ينتهي بهم الأمر إلى الانهيار الداخلي بفعل الأحقاد و الشكوك التي تتفنن جماعة الكهنة في إثارتها بين صفوفهم، فيقتتلون فيما بينهم ويهلكون أنفسهم بأيديهم. يسجل تاريخنا ما لا يقل عن مائة وعشرين محاولة للتمرد إلى جانب الإنتفاضات الصغرة التي يصل عددها إلى مائتين وخمسة وثلاثين، وقد آلت كلها إلى نفس المصير."

قمع فتنة
This, like the book it follows, was weird.

But the weird was for different reasons.
The first half of the book went by fine. Topology, Projective Spaces, Hyperbolic Spaces, fine.

Then Ian Stewart switched to mathematical-physics. I may be starting to develop a sort of understanding for the subject (at least a layman's understanding), but it still makes my head hurt.

I found the fact that time travel is mathematically, though not necessarily PHYSIC-ly possible, to be interesting. Once you get into q
Austin Wright-pettibone
I enjoy much of Stewart's writings, and Flatterland is no exception. The explanations provide a nice introduction to some higher level math concepts. Where Stewart faltered a bit is in attempt to mimic Abbott in pushing progressive ideas around women in society. I felt he couched himself in fairly outdated ideas that ironically reinforced traditional gender roles. Normally, I wouldn't mention this in a review of a book fundamentally about math; however, since Stewart makes a point to talk in len ...more
In a line: Not as good as it could have been but probably worth reading anyway.

You are probably well aware that this book is about abstract mathematics and specifically higher dimensions so I will not go into a detailed list of subjects covered by the book. On the other hand, I will cover what the book fails and succeeds to achieve.

If you haven't read Abbott's original Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions , I suggest reading that first. That book beautifully opens the reader's mind to the con
Alex Brown
After reading the original, I had dreams about Flatland. I'd been delighted by the maths and annoyed by the seemingly sexist and classist tone.
Only picking up Flatterland a year later did I learn my annoyance was unjustified, I'd missed it was satire.
This book is varied. sometimes it takes a complex mathematical concept and makes it simple or fun, sometimes it takes a simple concept and makes it compex (easy to understand graphs explained through taxis on city blocks was just awful), always it u
The main issue I have with this book is that, in relation to the concepts presented, I found it 'too much, too soon'. While the themes themselves were extremely interesting, half of it flew over my head - there were just too many concepts, too many 'spaces', and too many theories to take in at once if you don't have some background knowledge on these topics already.

As far as the story telling goes, the main character is A. Square's granddaughter, which will continue his journey many years later.
I used Flatland and the first few chapters of this book when I taught Calculus. :)

The first half of this book was 4 stars, no question. About the time it got into the theory of general relativity, it started zipping along way too fast and lost the storyline. The fun mathematical playfulness turned into an infodump with reeeeeallly bad math jokes. Really, really bad math jokes. Indescribably bad math jokes.

That said, I loved the first half. The book suffered for having been written almost 12 year
Oct 24, 2009 Kent rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: my sister
Recommended to Kent by: boffie
from Boffie for Christmas 2008

I read Flatland (everyone should), and it was about 100 pages of interesting mathematical/sociological critique, written in 1884 in the style of Jonathan Swift. There were significant differences in the Flatland societal strata among classes and between men and women. So I thought this book was going to be a novel expanding on those differences, just 100 years later.

Instead, it was a book about mathematics and physics 100 years later. And a lot has happened in mathe
The good points of this spiritual sequel to Edwin Abbott's Flatland, aside from simply making more people aware of Flatland, is it's approachable story and lots of clever word-play, and many allusions to Lewis Carroll.
Where it falls short is its attempt to be a lighthearted introduction to the more complicated math and physics of the last hundred years. Like most works of this genre, it tends to cavalierly explain away complicated counter-intuitive concepts as simply being true without bothering
I'm on a mission to read all of the Flatland derivative works and this was the first (though I also read a short story and watch a couple short films online while I was finishing this. At first I struggled with Stewart because he seemed so pun-obsessed. I like a good pun as much as the next person but it was just really overkill. Eventually, I got over that distraction and started to really appreciate what he was doing here. I won't pretend I understood even a third of the mathematical concepts ...more
O... M... G... I loved loved this book. I read this shortly after reading The Fabric of the Cosmos (by Brian Greene) and everything make perfect sense. I'd say both books complemented each other.

If the original Flatland was a treatise on dimensionality of objects (with some not-so-subtle sexism and political subtext), this Flatterland book was more about: how would the world look in an alternate universe? What is a hyperbolic topology and what does it look like from the inside? Are we in one? A
A cute sequel to Edwin Abbott Abbott's educational classic 'Flatland'. Stewart picks up the story with Vicky Line, a granddaughter of the visionary A. Square from the original. Living in a more liberal, hippie-like time than her grandfather, she finds his old diary. Although her parents forbid her to indulge in those absurd ideas that got her ancestor imprisoned, she cannot resist youthful curiousity. Like her grandfather, she is also visited by a creature from a higher dimension, this time not ...more
Steven Felicelli
couldn't keep reading, despite my desire to understand the math/physics - I know he was trying to construct a bridge to a lay readership, but to me, it was a brick wall - Stewart's a brilliant mathematician and a laboredly clever storyteller - he really embarrassed himself with this 'tale'
The vehicle for illustrating higher spatial dimensions via a two-dimensional being falls a little flat here compared to the original version of Flatland. That said, it does a reasonable job of explaining things like non-flat geometries and wormholes. The references to actual people and things here in our world are a bit too tongue-in-cheek for my taste and at times I distinctly felt infantilized by the author's narrative.
Sarah Locke
I am a sucker for a fun novel, especially when it is related to mathematics. I liked how it was tied to Flatland, but could stand on its own as well. I could have done without some of the stuff at the end, but I was mainly reading it for the math anyway.
Tyler Hunt
This book was an absolutely great book in terms of making you think. The book has a lot of do with detentions which is very interesting. You don't need to know math to love the idea of a forth spaceal dimension.the book was a blast to read.
Mar 18, 2009 Daniel rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Daniel by: Dr. Darrin Frey
Shelves: fiction, fantasy, science
A worthy "sequel" to Flatland, explores dimensions and peoples that ol' Edwin Abbott couldn't have dreamed of back in 1884. This book, by a mathematician scientist, truly captures the essence of the perspective shattering style of Abbot, although it lacks much of Flatland's sweeping social statement. Regardless, this is a laudable follow-up to one of my favorite books. Be sure to read it (after reading Flatland, naturally).
Ami Iida
Mar 19, 2015 Ami Iida rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: math
Shelves: math
Book that will help you to think about the dimension,
it is a Math Book.
This document is to convert the thinking of your head.
Flatterland succeeds in part as a sequel to Flatland. While Flatland succeeded as both a novel and a gateway to think mathematically, Flatterland only really succeeds mathematically. If you want to fully explore more ideas of geometry, then I would heartily recommend Flatterland. However, I would not expect to read a great novel at the same time. (By the way, one quirk with this book is that people's names are written as one word with only the first letter capitalized, i.e. Alberteinstein. This ...more
This is not a perfect homage to Abbott's Flatland. If you go in thinking that, you will find it to be an abomination. There is a tape recorder in the first pages! You can't have a tape recorder in flatland! Even though I love Ian Stewart I threw this book out the window and didn't go back for years...but then I did go back and did love it. Just don't compare Stewart's figurative Flatland to Abbott's very serious Flatland. Steward took some creative license and I got over it. The rest of the book ...more
This book takes a very light hearted look at many concepts in modern mathematics that might escape the non-mathematician (yes even if you have a bachelors in mathematics).

The pictures included can be of great help with some of the fuzzier descriptions in the book, but overall Stewart does a great job summarizing the concepts clearly.

I would have given 4 stars, but the style lacked. A middle aged mathematician probably shouldn't write from the perspective of a teenage girl (or line); although Cha
I enjoyed the book 75% of the way because I understood the mathematics that they were talking about. I believe it helps to have some understanding of the actual maths that they talk about. But otherwise, I think he does a good job in putting in a way that others will understand it. Near the end, they talk about quantum mechanics, which threw me off a bit. Other than that, I did enjoy the book overall. I did feel that there wasn't any motive for them to go from place to place because a book shoul ...more
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Ian Stewart is an Emeritus Professor and Digital Media Fellow in the Mathematics Department at Warwick University, with special responsibility for public awareness of mathematics and science. He is best known for his popular science writing on mathematical themes.
--from the author's website

Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name. See other authors wit
More about Ian Stewart...
Does God Play Dice?: The New Mathematics of Chaos Letters to a Young Mathematician In Pursuit of the Unknown: 17 Equations That Changed the World Why Beauty Is Truth: A History of Symmetry Professor Stewart's Cabinet of Mathematical Curiosities

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