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And He Built a Crooked House

3.9  ·  Rating Details ·  842 Ratings  ·  31 Reviews
A clever architect designs a house in the shape of the shadow of a tesseract, but it collapses (through the 4th dimension) when an earthquake shakes it into a more stable form (which takes up very little room in our 3-dimensional space.)
ebook, 78 pages
Published February 1940 by The Heinlein Archives
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(showing 1-30)
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Lyn
Jul 29, 2016 Lyn rated it liked it
A very early Heinlein short story, this tells the tale of a mathematics-minded architect who has an idea to build a house based upon a tesseract.

No doubt many science fiction readers said something like “ah! a tesseract, RAH is having fun with a fourth dimension.”

Down at the shallow end of the gene pool, amidst the knuckle draggers, the Cheetos eaters and the liberal arts majors, I nodded noncommittally and went to my friends at Wikipedia and found this helpful guide:

"In geometry, the tesseract
...more
Apatt
Sep 21, 2015 Apatt rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, pre-80s-sf
One of my all-time favorite short stories. And He Built a Crooked House is about a house built in the shape of a tesseract:

When the architect of the house, the owner of the house and his wife go to have a look around they find that an earthquake from the previous day has caused parts of the house to be folded into the fourth dimension; leaving only one room visible and accessible. Unwisely they enter the house and major dimensional weirdness ensues.

The warping of space and dimensions remind me o
...more
Manny
Sep 21, 2015 Manny rated it liked it
Like most geeky kids of my generation, I learned the word "tesseract" from this story. Interstellar is not an acceptable substitute. If STEM skills are decreasing, I wouldn't be surprised to find a direct causal relationship.
Nandakishore Varma
Feb 07, 2016 Nandakishore Varma rated it liked it
This is a mathematical concept presented as a story - a bit like Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions. Here the theme is the king, and there is very little story and characterisation - however, it is an enjoyable short read for geeks and SF aficionados.

The story involves a Tesseract or a Hypercube - which is a cube in the fourth dimension. Like a cube in 3D, which has six square faces in different two-dimensional planes, a tesseract has eight cubical "faces" in eight different three-dimensiona
...more
Stephen
3.5 stars. Classic Heinlein short story about an architect named Quintus Teal who designs and builds a "four dimensional" house shaped like a tesseract (i.e., the four-dimensional analogue of a cube). Keeping a visual of the house while reading is a bit confusing but the story itself is a lot of fun.

Aries
Feb 13, 2015 Aries rated it liked it
Shelves: ebooks-queue

A clever architect designs a house in the shape of the shadow of a tesseract, but it collapses (through the 4th dimension) when an earthquake shakes it into a more stable form (which takes up very little room in our 3-dimensional space.)

Shannon Looper
Sep 30, 2010 Shannon Looper rated it it was amazing
Awesome tale of the forth dimension. Read this and Flatland in the same day and then start looking around for higher order interactions. :-)
Jordan
Jan 31, 2012 Jordan rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi, short-stories
I actually had to read this for a Calculus class my freshman year of college. It was probably the only good part of the class. At the time I hadn't ever read anything before by Heinlein, but this was definitely a nice intro to him. I don't remember too much of the story other than the concept of a tesseract house, but that alone was really amazing and worth it.
Mikel Maine
Dec 11, 2013 Mikel Maine rated it really liked it
This is a short book but WORTH the read for anyone interested in higher dimensional theory.

It is written in a playful narrative and explores the idea of a house built on a tesseract.

It is really helpful for anyone trying to imagine in the fourth dimension and helps explain what it would physically be like to travel along a hypercube's curve.
Harkonen
Mar 26, 2011 Harkonen rated it it was amazing
My favorite short story be Heinlein! I reread this short almost every year. If you haven't go out and get this right now!
Kevin
Feb 23, 2013 Kevin rated it it was amazing
Shelves: scifi
This is the short story that got me hooked on Heinlein, truely one of the masters of science fiction.
Joe
Apr 25, 2013 Joe rated it it was amazing
One of Heinlein's best short stories.
Simona Vesela
Oct 23, 2016 Simona Vesela rated it it was amazing
A great story. I am starting to identify a certain trope, which I really enjoy. Someone does something more or less innocent and due to some hypothesised physics law, the fabric of space gets altered in what feels like a fatal/unrepairable outcome. The space is what we take for granted, which makes it surreal.
I plan to read it again to really try to understand the 4D geometry of the thing.
Jerry Jose
Jan 02, 2017 Jerry Jose rated it really liked it
Explanation of 4 dimensional Tesseract like Carl Segan, apt usage of alloys and constructional elements like a materials engineer, and Heinlein expostulating with himself through an architect and his client.

I won't be surprised If Mark sites this mathematical fiction as inspiration material for the infamous House of Leaves. Or even for Tardis.
Purple Osprey
Sep 15, 2016 Purple Osprey rated it really liked it

Delicious old favourite.
Alana
Oct 03, 2015 Alana rated it liked it
Shelves: sci-fi, short-story
I first heard the term "tesseract" from Madeleine L'Engle's A Wrinkle in Time which gives surprisingly easy descriptions of such a complex idea, making it palatable for a children's book. This story takes the idea of folding space, but puts it in the form of a house that could be quite large, but occupy very little space, because it exists in multiple planes at once. Listening to the description is a bit mind-twisting (pardon the pun), but the story itself is interesting, if a bit creepy. Heinle ...more
Frank
Dec 12, 2014 Frank rated it it was ok
Shelves: mind-breaking
Well overall good, this story seemed to fail me with it's imagery and thought process. The idea there's a tesseract house is interesting, but it doesn't seem like it was the intended design for the main character. And in addition the house itself is confusing in a way that could be made far clearer. Heinlein is a master at times describing complex objects or theories. His other short stories are great. But this one seems to have fell flat on me.

Yes it was a hard idea to deliver on, but at the s
...more
Joel Gomes
Sep 13, 2013 Joel Gomes rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviewed, kobo-reads
"And he built a crooked house" foi o meu primeiro conto de Heinlein. Depois de ter lido alguns dos romances, herdados do meu progenitor, decidi experimentar os contos. Se o conceito da história é possível ou se faz sentido do ponto de vista científica é coisa que não me interessa minimamente. Interessa é que me manteve entretido. Mas não queria morar numa casa assim.
Vilém Zouhar
Jul 27, 2016 Vilém Zouhar rated it really liked it
I first heard of this short story in a lecture about tesseracts. It took me a year to finally dive into it. If you find yourself in the same position - don't hesitate, it's really short. It doesn't take more than an hour to get through and it's worth it. The story is original and truly captivating.
Adam Smith
Nov 01, 2011 Adam Smith rated it it was amazing
Shelves: classics
An interesting tale about a 4D house and the people trapped inside it. Very unique and well crafted, especially considering how long ago it was written. A must read for tesseract fans and anyone interested in 4th dimensional physics.
George Kraft
Feb 23, 2012 George Kraft rated it it was amazing
One of my favorite short stories of all time. Sparked some lively discussions in my high schoo geometry class and an attempt to design 4 dimensional chess with 8 active boards at a time.
Kanu Bhagwat
Short but gives you a lot of fodder for visualisation. Tricky to grasp but a fun challenge and story in the exercise in imagining the 4th dimension.
Darren E
Darren E rated it liked it
Jul 30, 2013
Bob Lanstrum
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Simon J. McNeilly
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Stephen Chiarelli
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Robert Anson Heinlein was an American novelist and science fiction writer. Often called "the dean of science fiction writers", he is one of the most popular, influential, and controversial authors of "hard science fiction".

He set a high standard for science and engineering plausibility and helped to raise the genre's standards of literary quality. He was the first SF writer to break into mainstre
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