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Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions


Updated on Dec 31, 2017   •   Edwin A. Abbott   •   books  •  fiction  •  non-fiction

Although this 1884 book reeks of rampant sexism or appears to openly denigrate females even in a 2-dimensional world, it provides a comprehensive way to visualize vector spaces and subspaces. These mathematical abstractions form bases for higher studies in linear algebra and other relevant fields, and I was curious when my current linear algebra book, Linear Algebra Done Right by Sheldon Axler, recommended Flatland to its readers. Flatland sets up the author’s world in a 2-dimensional planar space where the residents are flat shapes and lines. The book also reeks of rampant classism as different classes of the society are depicted by their shapes, and regularity or a person’s figure determines their status and class in the society. Apart from old-school sexism and classism, this is a great fiction/non-fiction piece to understand dimensions and vector spaces. The author did a good job on adding humor to mathematical shapes and solids, and I think he did a good job on visualization and introspection before writing this book. This 110-odd page book is worth reading.