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Encyclopedia > Flatterland

Flatterland is a 2001 book by mathematician and science popularizer Ian Stewart about non-Euclidean geometry. It was written as a sequel to Flatland, an 1884 novel that discussed different dimensions. Ian Stewart, FRS (b. ... Behavior of lines with a common perpendicular in each of the three types of geometry The term non-Euclidean geometry (also spelled: non-euclidian geometry) describes hyperbolic, elliptic and absolute geometry, which are contrasted with Euclidean geometry. ... The cover to Flatland, 6th Edition. ...

Warning: plot spoilers follow below.


Almost 100 years after A. (which we find out stands for Albert) Square's adventures in Spaceland that were related in Flatland, his great-great-granddaughter, Victoria Line (Vikki), finds a copy of his book in her basement. This prompts her to invite a sphere from Spaceland to visit her, but instead she is visited by the "Space Hopper" (a character looking somewhat like the "Space Hopper" children's toy with a gigantic grin, horns and a spherical body). The Space Hopper, more than being able to move between Flatland and Spaceland, can travel to any space in the Mathiverse, a set of all imaginable worlds. After showing Vicky higher dimensions, he begins showing her more modern theories, such as fractional dimensions and dimensions with isolated points. Topology and hyperbolic geometry are also discussed, as well as the Projective "Plain" (complete with intersecting "lions") and the quantum level. Hopper and Victoria also visit the Domain of the Hawk King to discuss time travel and the Theory of Relativity. Cover of Rudy Ruckers Novel, Spaceland. ... A space hopper Popular UK design of Space Hopper A space hopper, also known as a skippyball, kangaroo ball, bouncer, hop ball, or a hoppity hop, is a rubber ball with handles which allow one to sit on it without falling off. ... In mathematics, a set can be thought of as any collection of distinct things considered as a whole. ... A fractal is a geometric object which can be divided into parts, each of which is similar to the original object. ... In topology, a point x of a set S is called an isolated point, if there exists a neighborhood of x not containing other points of S. In particular, in an Euclidean space (or in a metric space), x is an isolated point of S, if one can find an... A Möbius strip, a surface with only one side and one edge; such shapes are an object of study in topology. ... Lines through a given point P and hyperparallel to line l. ... The term intersection can mean: a road junction, where two roads intersect each other, such as a roundabout intersection; in mathematics, the set in which two or more other sets intersect each other; see intersection (set theory); a movie; see Intersection (movie). ... In physics, a quantum refers to an indivisible, and perhaps, elementary entity. ... Stephen William Hawking, CH, CBE, FRS (born 8 January 1942) is a theoretical physicist. ... Time travel is a concept that has long fascinated humanity—whether it is Merlin experiencing time backwards, or religious traditions like Mohammeds trip to Jerusalem and ascent to heaven, returning before a glass knocked over had spilt its contents. ... Two-dimensional analogy of space-time distortion described in General Relativity. ...


Ian Stewart often includes puns and topical references in his popular writing, and "Flatterland" is no exception. For example, the heroine's name, Victoria Line, is a line on the London Underground, while her great-great grandfather's name is the fictional Albert Square in London, from the BBC soap opera EastEnders. Hawk King is a simple pun on the surname of the famous astrophysicist Stephen Hawking, whose research includes the Theory of Relativity. Vikki, while traveling in the Topological Dimension, also meets a two-sided cow named Moobius (derived, of course, from the Möbius strip) who sells her milk in Klein bottles (the strip and the bottle both being two-sided topological figures). The Victoria Line is a line of the London Underground, coloured light blue on the Tube map. ... This article is about the British underground transport system. ... Albert Square is the fictional location of the British soap opera Eastenders. ... EastEnders is a popular BBC television soap opera, first broadcast on BBC1 on 19 February 1985[2] and continuing to date. ... Spiral Galaxy ESO 269-57 Astrophysics is the branch of astronomy that deals with the physics of the universe, including the physical properties (luminosity, density, temperature, and chemical composition) of celestial objects such as stars, galaxies, and the interstellar medium, as well as their interactions. ... Stephen William Hawking, CH, CBE, FRS (born 8 January 1942) is a theoretical physicist. ... A Möbius strip made with a piece of paper and tape. ... The Klein bottle immersed in three-dimensional space. ...


  • ISBN 0-333-78312-3 Original hardback from Macmillan
  • ISBN 0-7382-0442-0 Hardback edition by Perseus
  • ISBN 0-7382-0675-X Paperback edition by Perseus
  • ISBN 0-330-39377-4 Mass-market edition by Pan

  Results from FactBites:
Flatland (2235 words)
It always seemed the "canonical sequel" to me. Flatterland is also a sequel to Flatland both in terms of plot and intent, and definitely a product of the early 21st Century.
Flatterland takes a "radical" sequel approach; it's a "hip and with it" 21st Century sequel; the protagonist isn't a lone scribe but a teenage girl who emails friends on the InterLine and gripes about her parents.
The story moves quickly and is a wide-ranging overview of different geometries and even questions like "what the heck is a geometry anyway?", as well as diving into notions like space-time, quantum mechanics, etc. Rather than a gentle analogy or investigation by the characters, a helpful guide gives lessons about each new facet of mathematics.
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