Read The Planiverse: Computer Contact with a Two-Dimensional World by A.K. Dewdney Online


The year is 1981, and in the computer lab of a large university a group of graduate students and their professor are hard at work on the departmental mainframe, graphically modeling an imaginary two-dimensional world. The project is going well, extraordinarily well, when one student suddenly notices that the world they are building on-screen is...inhabited!" "So begins A.The year is 1981, and in the computer lab of a large university a group of graduate students and their professor are hard at work on the departmental mainframe, graphically modeling an imaginary two-dimensional world. The project is going well, extraordinarily well, when one student suddenly notices that the world they are building on-screen is...inhabited!" "So begins A. K. Dewdney's tale of discovery and communication with the two-dimensional civilization of Arde. Since its original publication in 1984, The Planiverse has developed a kind of cult readership, following in the footsteps of Edward Abbot's nineteenth-century classic Flatland. As a kind of mental puzzle or brain-teaser, it challenges and delights, inviting readers to imagine just how a two-dimensional world might actually work. But the book is also a fable, serving as a cautionary tale about the difficulties of communication from one totally alien world to another, and suggesting that it is not only Yendred and his fellow 2-D Ardeans who cannot imagine dimensions beyond those they see....

Title : The Planiverse: Computer Contact with a Two-Dimensional World
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780671463632
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 267 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Planiverse: Computer Contact with a Two-Dimensional World Reviews

  • Koen Crolla
    2018-11-14 21:52

    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 that monograph in Scientific American; dozens of clever people, including physicists, geologists, and engineers, wrote in with elaborations, corrections, and suggestions, almost all of which apparently made it into the novel.The story itself isn't all that interesting—it lacks Flatland overt satire, which is probably for the best; when Stewart tried to include a feminist message in Flatterland, it just came off as ham-fisted and patronising—but it doesn't really need to be. Flatland's asshole sphere is traded for a bunch of college students and a teleprinter (which is adorable), its top-down view for a more interesting side-scroller, and its endless confusion over dimensions for an exploration of the physical implications of a two-dimensional world.The result is a compelling novel which I'm surprised hasn't been made into a short film or video game yet. Apparently it inspired Creatures (dude, remember Creatures?), but I don't think that counts.Actually, if anyone wants to do the art for a game, I'm up for the programming side of things.

  • Jlawrence
    2018-11-27 19:55

    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.

  • Sinjin
    2018-11-16 20:59

    This book taught me to appreciate the third dimension.

  • Peter
    2018-11-29 16:42

    A delightful exploration of an alternate universe which had me looking at our 4 dimensions in a whole new way

  • Maurizio Codogno
    2018-11-20 00:00

    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 competenza tecnica. Qui invece Dewdney fa un lavoraccio, aiutato da tantissima gente che si era appassionata agli articoli sul planiverso pubblicati nella rubrica dei giochi matematici di Martin Gardner. La trama del romanzo è un po' deboluccia, ma in realtà essa è solo un modo per mostrare, sfruttando un personaggio bidimensionale di nome Yendred, cosa si può fare in un mondo a due dimensioni. Il punto chiave è che non c'è abbastanza spazio, in tutti i sensi: un essere vivente non può per esempio avere un tubo digerente dalla bocca all'ano, perché si troverebbe diviso in due parti. Eppure l'ingegnosità degli ardeani, gli abitanti di quel mondo, permette loro di fare praticamente quello che facciamo noi, solo in modo diverso. Leggere il libro permette di capire che non sempre ciò che siamo abituati a fare è l'unica soluzione possibile, e dunque ci amplia i nostri spazi.

  • David Hibberd
    2018-12-11 22:46

    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 their underground dwellings all are covered.Of the thousands of books I have read during my lifetime, The Planiverse ranks among my top three. Perhaps that is why I am reading it for my third time.This is an excellent read, especially for the science minded readers.

  • Miel
    2018-11-11 00:54

    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.

  • Stoa
    2018-11-21 21:06

    Flatland for speculative fiction fans, instead of Victorian-era satire. Two-dimensional biology and physics are given amazingly detailed treatments. Really interesting read even for a general audience. Wish it was much longer.

  • Tom Palmer
    2018-11-14 00:44

    I found this to be a totally absorbing look into life in two dimensions. Far more detailed and thought out than, "Flatland", The Planiverse follows characters across their flat environment and explains how all their structures work. I found an epiphany at the end when one of the characters finds a way to leave the 2-D landscape and enter the 3-dimensional world.

  • Paul Weimer
    2018-12-11 17:39

    The Planiverse: Computer Contact with a Two Dimensional World by AK DewdneyThe 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 somehow connects to a real two-dimensional world, and an inhabitant, YNDRD, who can hear them in his mind.And with YNDRD as our guide, we begin to learn about himself and the two dimensional Planiverse that makes his home...Its a classic for good and many reasons. Dewdney's characters, with the exception of a little unnecessary and half-baked melodrama, are easily recognized academic types, jealous of their prize, and eager to learn more and more about the world they have inadvertently contacted. The Planiverse is a marvel of a gedankenexperiment--how could an inhabitable two-dimensional world exist and what would it be like? YNDRD goes on what is ultimately a spiritual quest (the novel can be thought of, really as a sufi story)--so there is a fair dollop of philosophy mixed in with the science.So we get to see a wide swath of his world, his beliefs and his life,and learn about it all as he makes his journey. Although the technology has changed over time, the novel can comfortably be thought of as taking place in the early 1980's rather than as a contemporary novel. Once upon a time, computers really were this primitive. There are lots of asides and text boxes exploring some of the concepts touched upon, as well as appendices that give the Planiverse even more depth. It's an amazing book and definitely suited to those who would want to think about the implications and puzzle of a two-dimensional world. The narrative itself is pretty basic and straightforward--but the universe, man, is where this novel shines. Dewdney's conceit in making the novel at first seem like a first hand account of a real event gives it verisimilitude, and the level of detail, as said above, sells it. Highly Recommended.

  • Joseph
    2018-11-18 16:51

    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 the image of the being. So a spell was just cast because there is no way for that to happen, I don't care how good you are at programing.They made a working climate. No they made a fake climate that ignores physics. The inhabinates of the world live underground, in homes that could not be built according to the weather they created without flooding. See if you dig a hole you have to put the material you remove somewhere. Where you put it becomes a dam and there is no way to take down the dam without killing yourself. Trust me I gave this some thought and there is no way to get this done.That is just 2 chapters into the book. I just can't bring myself to read more of this crap.

  • Jason
    2018-11-15 22:55

    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 about the computer science professor and his students who discover this alien world just adds to the enjoyment. Highly recommended for those who like expanding their minds, and especially for those seeking to create their own fictional worlds.

  • Jason Mills
    2018-11-11 01:05

    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 live on the edge of a disc-planet and have to walk over the top of each other to get past.The book is peppered with panels showing how technology could be made to work in this peculiar world, and this, along with the light-hearted tongue-in-cheek charm of the story, makes the book a delightful box of curiosities to the scientific mind.

  • Kate
    2018-11-17 00:39

    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 that can be easily maneuvered through? This book asked and answered questions before I even thought of them, and truly expanded the way I thought about the 2nd - and of course, the 3rd and 4th - dimension, as well as tackling ideas about philosophy, evolution, and intelligent ingenuity.If you were intrigued by Flatland, read this book. Your imagination will thank you.

  • Adina
    2018-11-15 23:02

    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 them along with him on a spiritual journey he’s making across his planet. I can’t recommend this book enough.

  • Greg
    2018-11-19 21:52

    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 Yendred to be engaging and thought-provoking.

  • Subin Sahu
    2018-12-11 00:06

    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.

  • adllto
    2018-11-17 20:48

    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.

  • Neven
    2018-11-25 16:40

    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
    2018-11-26 19:36

    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
    2018-11-14 16:45

    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!

  • Andrei
    2018-12-11 22:06

    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 findsits soul in(view spoiler)[Yendred's journey to find the knowledge beyond thought. (hide spoiler)]

  • Adrian Herbez
    2018-11-11 20:56

    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.

  • J.
    2018-11-15 20:37

    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.

  • Frik Lange
    2018-12-10 16:38

    Interesting dimension

  • Bigpapa44
    2018-11-17 17:04

    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!!

  • colleen
    2018-11-23 18:03

    read 06.14.85

  • Mary Tierney
    2018-12-09 00:05

    A homage to Flatland, another romp through life in a two dimensional world

  • Jacquie
    2018-12-03 18:38

    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
    2018-12-10 21:05

    It is probably a good scifi book, bit unfortunately I am not a big fan of the genre, hence the average rating....