Friday, June 26, 2015

Reading Through the Classics: Flatland

TITLE: Flatland
AUTHOR: Edwin A. A Abbott
GENRE: Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Parody
PAGES: 118
SUMMARY ON GOODREADS: "Imagine a vast sheet of paper on which Lines, Triangles, Squares, Pentagons, Hexagons, and other figures, instead of remaining fixed in their places, move freely about, on or in the surface, but without the power of rising above or sinking below it … and you will have a pretty correct notion of my country and countrymen."

Narrated by A. Square, Flatland is Edwin A. Abbott's delightful mathematical fantasy about life in a two-dimensional world. All existence is limited to length and breadth in Flatland, its inhabitants unable even to imagine a third dimension. Abbott's amiable narrator provides an overview of this fantastic world-its physics and metaphysics, its history, customs, and religious beliefs. But when a strange visitor mysteriously appears and transports the incredulous Flatlander to the Land of Three Dimensions, his worldview is forever shattered.

Written more than a century ago, Flatland conceals within its brilliant parody of Victorian society speculations about the universe that resonate in Einstein's theory of relativity as well as the current "string-theory" of nature.

This odd little book. I don't remember where I first stumbled upon it, but it was on my TBR list and info said it was short, so I picked it up. It's a parody first and foremost. It's sort of written like a guidebook. It actually reminds me a lot of Diane Wynne Jones' A Tough Guide to Fantasyland (which is brilliant btw). It's interesting mostly in how it shows some of the issues going on in society back then and that authors using books to comment on these issues in fantasy is certainly nothing new. I highly recommend looking at the notes in the front. They're actually pretty interesting because it goes into the history of this story and Edwin Abbott's life. 
I'm not sure who, I'd recommend this one for. Hardcore sci-fi fans maybe? Those interested in parody fiction? It's not a terribly well known classic so I'm not sure how widely available it is. My library system only had one copy and this system incorporates ten libraries. 

No comments:

Post a Comment