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The Planiverse: Computer Contact with a Two-Dimensional World

4.19  ·  Rating Details ·  312 Ratings  ·  34 Reviews
When The Planiverse ?rst appeared 16 years ago, it caught more than a few readers off guard. The line between willing suspension of dis- lief and innocent acceptance, if it exists at all, is a thin one. There were those who wanted to believe, despite the tongue-in-cheek subtext, that we had made contact with a two-dimensional world called Arde, a di- shaped planet embedded ...more
Paperback, 247 pages
Published October 12th 2000 by Copernicus Books (first published January 1st 1983)
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Koen Crolla
Nov 21, 2015 Koen Crolla rated it really liked it
A lot of people have written sequels and homages to Flatland , and most of them only managed to live up to the original by virtue of that original not being very good to begin with. When people call Planiverse ``a worthy successor'', though, they are doing it a disservice.

The Planiverse started its life as (what has consistently been called) a monograph titled Two-Dimensional Science and Technology, and much of the book's quality can be credited to Martin Gardner's picking up and advertising th
May 21, 2007 Jlawrence rated it it was amazing
Simply one of the best and most detailed/well-thought-out alternate worlds ever presented in print. From the computer simulation (oh, how I wanted to play with exactly such a program) through which the protagonists make contact with a complex, living two-dimensional world, to the many illustrations detailing that world's flora, fauna, architecture, engineering, and art: a delight. Plus Yndred's a cool fellow.
Maurizio Codogno
Sep 16, 2015 Maurizio Codogno rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: math, novel
Non so se la versione pubblicata nel 2000 e ripubblicata nel 2013 di questo libro sia più aggiornata rispetto all'originale del 1983 che mi sono comprato di seconda mano. Ma in fin dei conti già questa prima versione è molto interessante, perché porta alle conseguenze estreme quanto Edwin Abbott Abbott scrisse in Flatland. Quel libro era in effetti nato come una satira contro la società vittoriana, e gli abitanti bidimensionali non erano certo tratteggiati biologicamente oppure nella loro compet ...more
David Hibberd
May 30, 2015 David Hibberd rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Readers interested in computers, science, and technology.
This is a brilliant description of life in a two-dimensional world. The concept is that through the use of a computer simulation the instructor and his students gain contact with one of the inhabitants of the world. It is that contact that gives the details about the 2D world.

What makes this such a fascinating book are the many illustrations. From simple things like how do the inhabitants get past each other when traveling in opposite directions to complex issues such as the construction of thei
Sep 01, 2012 Miel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Such an addictive, wild journey of a book! Why this doesn't have more of a cult following, I will never understand.

While it isn't entirely flawless, I couldn't help but give it 5 stars. A book has not excited me this much in a very long time.
Jun 06, 2015 Peter rated it really liked it
A delightful exploration of an alternate universe which had me looking at our 4 dimensions in a whole new way
Jun 22, 2010 Sinjin rated it it was amazing
This book taught me to appreciate the third dimension.
Oct 14, 2016 Adina rated it it was amazing
I think this is probably one of my all-time favorite books. It’s a novel with a plot, but it also goes super in-depth into how everything would work in a 2-dimensional world. And I mean everything - biology, astrophysics, chemistry, weather, transport and traffic, painting, musical instruments, writing, computers, everything. To go along with the fascinating worldbuilding there is a pretty gripping plot about a 2-dimensional being who befriends some 3-dimensional university students and takes ...more
Paul Weimer
Feb 08, 2009 Paul Weimer rated it it was amazing
The Planiverse: Computer Contact with a Two Dimensional World by AK Dewdney

The setting is a graduate program in the early 1980's. Computers are mainframes, time and resources are precious, and programs are primitive at best.

A group of students led by their professor decide to model a two dimensional world--with the deptyh and horizontal axis rather than the horizontal and vertical axes of Flatland. It starts as an exercise in pure physics, mathematics and computer science, until their model som
Aug 08, 2015 Joseph rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
My mind rebelled at the obvious, to me at least, flaws in the logical premise of the book. I know this is fiction, but you have to draw the line somewhere. Straight from the prolog we get off on the wrong foot. The 2D world is in a computer. I am fine with that. The computer is in a high school. What? The world has been created by the students programing it. Your kidding right? When the 2D world encouters a 2D being that communicates with the students and teacher they see a graphical change to ...more
Takes the mind-blowing qualities of its inspirations, Edwin Abbott Abbott's classic Flatland and Charles Hinton's "An Episode of Flatland," and takes them to the next level. (Sorry. Couldn't resist.) Instead of generally exploring worlds of lesser and greater dimensionality than our own, Dewdney seeks to create a two-dimensional world with internally consistent rules of physics, chemistry, biology, and technology, and succeeds admirably. That he is also able to tell a funny, touching story abo ...more
Jason Mills
Nov 02, 2009 Jason Mills rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: scientists, puzzlers, computer geeks
This purports to be an account of a computer programming project to simulate of a two-dimensional world. 'Somehow' the software makes contact with a 'real' two-dimensional universe. Our author is able to communicate with one of the inhabitants via the keyboard as this flat fellow goes on an exploratory semi-mystical journey through his squashed world.

Unlike Edwin Abbott's classic (and dull) Flatland A Romance of Many Dimensions, this 2D world is a sideways cross-section: our hero and his friends
Jul 26, 2016 Kate rated it it was amazing
Of course this book begs comparisons to Flatland...though not as well known as that famous romp through a world with only two dimensions, I believe this book is much better. Dewdney put a lot of thought in the way a civilization must necessarily be set up in a two-dimensional world - how will the laws of physics affect these creatures and their world? How can a two-dimensional creature have a digestive tract without being cut in half? How to pass each other in the street? How to build a dwelling ...more
Jun 19, 2013 Greg rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Whereas Flatterland was a sequel to Flatland and, likes its predecessor, focuses Moreno geometry and physics, Dewdney explores what a two-dimensional world would be like for sentient creatures similar to humans. It's predecessors (at least the two I previously mentioned) dismiss these questions outright but Dewdney takes them on and really pushes my thinking about these concepts even further. At times I felt the detail of the fiction was a little unnecessary but mostly I found the story of ...more
Subin Sahu
Oct 30, 2013 Subin Sahu rated it liked it
This is science-fiction with lots of science in it. It has really interesting description of physics and engineering of two dimensional world. Interestingly the book also gives you ways to imagine how the four dimensional world would behave. But the downside of the book is that it doesn't have enough story in it (may be because things are so limited in 2D world). Anyway anyone interested in science shold find this book interesting.
Nov 20, 2010 adllto rated it liked it
Shelves: literature, sophies
A fascinating book which may be literature but also speculative science and even philosophy. What would a world that functioned in only two dimensions really look like? How would the flora and fauna develop and if there was intelligent life how would they think and what would their spirituality be like. You need go no further than Planiverse.

I'm sad to get rid of this book because of it's uniqueness but the decluttering has to continue. I'm glad to have had a last read.
Sep 20, 2013 Neven added it
Shelves: abandoned
Even though I find the concept of this book super interesting, the book itself just bored me immensely. The same happened with Flatland, the original "two-dimensional universe" narrative. In both cases, I found the framing gimmick gimmicky, the prose tedious, and the math of the thing explained dryly and without clever insight. Maybe it's just me.
Fred D
Oct 03, 2008 Fred D rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
Absolutely fascinating book. The most detailed, plausible description of a 2-D world I have ever read. I was fascinated by all the descriptions of how biology worked in a 2-D world, as well as physics, geography, and engineering. A bunch of computer geeks somehow make contact with a 2-D creature in another universe through their computer. Again, utterly fascinating.
Kirsten Zirngibl
Sep 17, 2015 Kirsten Zirngibl rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
I loved this book overall. The narrative framing was effective, and the storytelling lubricated the exposition/world building just enough for consistent engagement. There were many little "aha" moments within it, and you can tell it was a ton of fun to develop. It resonated a lot more than Flatland. Recommended with any fan of world building!
Oct 04, 2015 Andrei rated it it was amazing
Flatland done right.

A.K. Dewdney creates a detailed 2-dimensional world told in a charming academic setting.

The book starts out written in the dry style of a technical report but finds
its soul in
(view spoiler)
Adrian Herbez
Sep 04, 2008 Adrian Herbez rated it it was amazing
I've read this twice, and enjoyed it thoroughly both times. A. K. Dewdney is great- right up there with Martin Gardner for making math, science, and (more specific to him) computer science interesting and fun.
Sep 26, 2012 J. rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-i-own
The physical discussions of 2d systems, the biology and mechanics, are really fascinating. Even the sociology and civilization are interesting, but a lot of the framing storyline, about Dewdney and his graduate students, isn't particularly compelling.
Mar 17, 2016 Bigpapa44 rated it it was amazing
It is just so interesting that I just couldn't let this book go off my hands until finish it. And it feels so true even the writer said it is just a novel. very fantastic!!
Oct 10, 2010 Jacquie rated it it was amazing
I enjoy eclectic books that are grounded in science, mathematics, and nature and which show great imagination on the part of the author -- this is one such book!
Tariq Mahmood
Oct 31, 2013 Tariq Mahmood rated it did not like it
Shelves: cutting-edge, techy
It is probably a good scifi book, bit unfortunately I am not a big fan of the genre, hence the average rating....
Casimir Liber
Feb 17, 2016 Casimir Liber rated it really liked it
I read this book over 30 years ago in school. I loved the drawings and the 2d universe in it, and found the characters endearing. Alot. Ultimately, to me it's just a really nice book.
Kes rated it really liked it
Jul 27, 2012
Junkyardbaby rated it it was amazing
Mar 24, 2015
David rated it liked it
May 13, 2012
Joseph Peterson
Joseph Peterson rated it really liked it
Oct 06, 2014
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Alexander Keewatin (A.K.) Dewdney is a professor of computer science at the University of Western Ontario, a mathematician, environmental scientist, and author of books on diverse subjects.

Wanderers of cyberspace may discover something about my life as a mathematician and computer scientist, environmental scientist, conservationist, and author of books and articles.

The name "Keewatin" is an Ojibw
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