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2.0 out of 5 stars
Unimaginative and nowhere near Flatland,
By
This review is from: Flatterland: Like Flatland Only More So (Paperback)
The book advertised as a sequel to Flatland but lacks everything Flatland has.
There is basically no plot, except some bare bone stuff to lead from one explanation of dimensional concepts to the next (what is intended to hold the semiessays together is Vikkie Line a grandgrandchild of Abotts A.Sphere from Flatland ... Vikkie emerges into Spaceland and meets SpaceHopper who explains things line ndimensions or nfractional dimensions, etc.) The explanations are bit like essays, their style somewhere between childlike and the stuff you read in mass market science magazines. Now and then the auther manages some invent some witty and funny play of words, especially when it comes to the characters, so you can't help but smile in a couple of places. So the book may be ok if you are not from a technical profession and looking some easy to read math and science articles, e.g. to read a chapter on the bus each day, and if you do not expect any useful plot. But nontheless, the book comes nowhere near Flatland. Compared to that it makes the impression of just having been stiched togeteher from a couple of magazine essays.
2.0 out of 5 stars
Disappointed  it left me flat,
By Bernie "Bernie" (Richardson, TX USA)  See all my reviews
This review is from: Flatterland: Like Flatland Only More So (Paperback)
I enjoyed Flatland and Sphereland, so I received this book as a gift. It will be for sale, in mint condition, momentarily. The second half of the book will remain unseen by me, because I simply could not bring myself to continue.
Flatland was interesting and entertaining both mathematically and for its social satire. Sphereland was also interesting and entertaining. But Flatterland tries too hard. In the inroduction the author says he had the idea for explaining multiple dimensions using a similar approach to the earlier books, and then developed those ideas into this book. Sounds like a good idea, but the book lacks the wit to keep it interesting. And in some places lacks adequate explanations of concepts. I can imagine that somoene already familar with the concepts and enamored of the topic might think the author did a clever job of explaining someting that they have had difficulty explaining themselves. But, for someone who doesn't work in the field and hasn't had the challenges of explaining the concepts this book is nether fascinating nor interesting and only sometimes achieves the goal of explaining. It is mostly boring, although the introduction is interesting and explains a possible satirical reference to the origin of A. Square's name that would have probably eluded anyone not from London. On page 32 there is the assertion that a cube of side 1.06 can fit through a cube of side 1. There is an illustration to demonstrate that. The illustration is not clear and I believe it has errors in it. Unfortunately there is no information to find other sources that explain this obscure factoid. On page 72, in the chapter explaining fractals he makes the assertion that if you take one segment of a snowflake and fit together four copies you will have an area three times the size. This turns out to be an important assertion for his example, but it sure ins't obvious and there is no explanation of why that assertion might be true. But, by now these comments are probably as boring and of diminishing interest as the book itself. You and I both have better ways to spend our time.
5.0 out of 5 stars
A very thoughtprovoking book,
By
This review is from: Flatterland: Like Flat Land Only More So (Hardcover)
"Flatterland" is a very thoughtprovoking book by Ian Stewart. It is the sequel to "Flatland". I would call it a mathematical fiction book. It is about a girl from Flatland, a 2D world. She is called Victoria Line (all women on Flatland are lines). She goes on a journey through many different dimensions and universes with a being called the Space Hopper. She learns much about math on the way.
One of my favorite universes was Platterland, a 2D hyperbolic universe. While in Platterland she learns many things about hyperbolic geometry, including that straight lines appear to be curved, squares can have five sides and five right angles, and things shrink as they get closer to the edge of the universe! Another one of my favorite universes was Topologica, a 3D topologic universe. While there Victoria learns about topology and how twoholed doughnuts can turn into coffee cups! She also meets Moobius, a cow shaped like a Möbius strip (a 2D shape with only one side), who gives milk in Klein bottles! Klein bottles are bottles in which the top curves around and goes back into the bottle! Throughout the book there are many funny puns, right down to the name of the main character. Victoria Line is a subway line in London! The puns go very deep. One pun is about two people called Twindledum and Twindledumber. They are named after Tweedledum and Tweedledee from Lewis Carroll's "Through the LookingGlass"! Another character is called the Hawk King, named after Stephen William Hawking! I really enjoyed reading this book. I highly recommend it to anyone who likes math and knows a little bit about it or just enjoys reading funny books! It helps if you have read "Alice in Wonderland" and "Through the LookingGlass". Many of the puns come from them. This book is definitely not for young kids though, some parts were way over my head. All in all, I understood most of itand it was great!
1.0 out of 5 stars
Does the flatness of a book determine is value?,
By J. Nellis (Long Beach, CA United States)  See all my reviews
This review is from: Flatterland: Like Flat Land Only More So (Hardcover)
I wish I would have read something else by Ian Stewart before this book as I am sure that anything else he has written must be better than this. The mathematical context is fair but is a hodgepodge of mathematical musings having little to do with the original Flatland, like the title implies. Often the textual explanation absolutely requires a drawing or equation before the concept is tackled. In this way the book is poorly laid out with diagrams coming after the concept has been read (publishers fault and completely confusing to the reader). The chapter on fractals seems to be first draft filler. Perseus publishing should hold most of the blame for this text being in print.
The most troubling part of this book is the neverending cutesy play on words and banal dialog that hurts the readers train of thought in trying to grasp a concept more than it helps. If you don't feel embarrassed for the writer when coming across such passages you are likely still in elementary school. By the end of the book you will be able to foresee these passages dotted between the 'meat' of the text so as to avoid them outright. This book could have been written in a quarter of the space since the other three quarters reminds me of bad puppet theater.
3.0 out of 5 stars
A Geometrical Travel Guide,
By Mary P. Campbell "math geek" (Flushing, NY USA)  See all my reviews
This review is from: Flatterland: Like Flat Land Only More So (Hardcover)
Though =Flatland=, by Edwin Abbott^2 100 years ago, was exclusively about 2 things: satirizing Victorian English society and explaining a 4th Euclidean dimension, Ian Stewart's =Flatterland= is about all sorts of geometries that mathematicians play in: finite projective geometries, in which there are a finite number of points and lines, interacting in specific ways; discrete binary geometries, which described digital encoding and the errorcorrecting codes used in things such as CDs and DVDs; hyperbolic geometry, in which there are and infinite number of line parallel to a particular line, all going through the same point (as opposed to the usual one parallel line); and on and on and on.
However, as a math grad student, I found the treatment too shallow, the puns too egregious (especially when I saw them coming) and too unrelenting (though now I've got plenty of math jokes to add to my arsenal), and some of the descriptions are somewhat confusing  the only reason I knew what was going on is that =I knew= all these subjects from mathematics before. And, being a physics major in my undergrad life, I wasn't thrown off by the veering into modern physics topics. This book is more like a travel brochure  letting you know what exciting sights are to be found in the strange lands of Geometry  but not giving you much of an experience of what's there. I think this book would be a great gift for a child who's interested in math  sure, they won't understand alot of it (and they'll miss many of the puns), but then my favorite math book, =Godel, Escher, Bach=, was given to me when I was 12, and I grew into it over the years through rereading it and learning more stuff in school. I can see this book as inspiring kids to learn more about strange concepts in math, but it would be nice to have a list of followup books for doing some =real= exploring as opposed to this travel guide. (I recommend Rudy Rucker's book =The 4th Dimension= for those who want to do more thinking about the 4th dimension). If you're a math teacher, this book can come in handy in providing was to visualize some very odd concepts in math. And, again, there's the puns that you can try out on your class. For those interested in getting a feel for what math is about, there's actually a great secret revealed inside the book  just what makes something a geometry. The answer doesn't seem evident when one compares the odd spaces and places visited by Victoria Line and the Spacehopper, but it does become clear. I will not give that secret away, but I will give another secret away that is also shown by the book  yes, mathematicians love to play with their math.
4.0 out of 5 stars
A Pleasing Guided Tour to Higher Dimensions,
By Tatsuo Tabata "tttabata" (Sakai, Osaka Japan)  See all my reviews
This review is from: Flatterland: Like Flat Land Only More So (Hardcover)
The heroine Vikki Line is a greatgreatgranddaughter of the narrator A. Square of Edwin Abbott's classic book, "Flatland." The teenaged Flatlander heroine goes to a tour to higher dimensional worlds guided by a Space Hopper. She visits the Fractal Forest, Topologica, Platterland, Cat Country, the Domain of Hawk King, etc., and learns, together with the reader, about many concepts of modern mathematics and physics. The author Ian Stewart, a winner of the Royal Society's Michael Faraday Medal for furthering the public understanding of science, writes the story in the style of "Alice in Wonderland" by using enjoyable wordplay and putting exotic and cute creatures he invented to familiarize the difficult concepts.
Some topics are treated in a manner to give the reader good understanding, but others are described only superficially. There are simple errors in giving a number for fractal dimension and describing the behavior of the decoherence time. (I leave it to the reader as exercises to spot them.) The author explains the particle nature of the photon by the uncommon use of the process of electronimpact photon emission, while the orthodox explanation uses the inverse process, i.e., the photoelectric effect. In spite of these minor defects, this is a joyous read for holidays. The heroine is depicted as such a clever, adventurous and charming linear being (near the end of the story she comes to know that she is something superior to a line) that I think how I would have been happy if I had had a girlfriend like her in my youth. Her guide and tutor, the Space Hopper, often shows a big grin, reminding us of the popular physicist and good lecturer Richard Feynman. In the short last chapter, the reader feels it important that more of us, "Planiturthians," become aware of the possible tendimensional reality of our physical universe, which Vikki learned at the final stage of her tour. Thus, I would like to recommend this book to every curious mind.
5.0 out of 5 stars
Flatterland  another timeless classic.,
By
This review is from: Flatterland: Like Flat Land Only More So (Hardcover)
When I first struggled with the concepts of multidimensional space a friend recommended I read "Flatland" by Edwin A. Abbott. It was a best seller during the reign of Queen Victoria and I didn't expect to find it in a high street store. However, much to my delight, I found it in the mathematics section next to a book called "Does God Play Dice" by Ian Stewart. I bought them both and they had a profound effect on my choice of career. In "Flatterland" both my favourite subject and author have been combined in one book. Ian's style, both humourous and informative, brings the flatland characters into the context of this millennium and opens the readers mind to the rich complexity of the world of mathematics. The adventures of Victoria Line carries the reader through the book in an effortless ease. Ian is a winner of the Faraday Award, for the public understanding of science. His unique style carries the reader from chapter to chapter on a voyage that will enhance the readers understanding of some of the most challenging concepts and problems in mathematics. It may be a record for a sequel (over 100 years) but, having read it with the same enthusiastic delight as "Flatland" and "Does God Play Dice", it is not hard to picture a high street store 100 years from now with "Flatterland" still on the best seller list.
Dr. G. Keith Still (Head of Mathematical Modelling  Starlab, Brussels)
2.0 out of 5 stars
Pretty weak,
By A Customer
This review is from: Flatterland: Like Flat Land Only More So (Hardcover)
While an interesting introduction to many aspects of modern geometry and physics, this book actually has diddlydoo to do with Flatland. Beyond a few superficial trappings, there is very little about the twodimensional world, and our twodimensional protagonist, Victoria Line, is constantly thinking, speaking and acting in ways far more reminescent of a threedimensional being. Which makes sense, really  after all, the book is intended to introduce a lot of geometrical ideas to threedimensional humans, right? Right. So then why bother setting it in Flatland in the first place. (Other than to attract a larger set of potential buyers by pretending to be a sequel, that is. For a true sequel  one which succeeds not only in introducing the reader to 20th century geometry and physics, but also in enlarging the social world created by Abbott AND in actually depicting a twodimensional being  stick with Burger's "Sphereland".)
5.0 out of 5 stars
Flatterland, a remarkable sequel to a remarkable book.,
By A Customer
This review is from: Flatterland: Like Flatland Only More So (Paperback)
When I first read Flatland (the original) I was deeply inspired and fasinated by the 4th dimensional ideas it brought up. When I picked up a copy of Flatterland, I had hoped for an interesting read with maybe a few new concepts at best, but I certainly got more than I bargained for. Flatterland takes you on a journey through much more than just the 4th dimension (which is interesting enough already.) He takes you through nonEucludean dimensions, the world of 1.25 dimensions, theoretical dimensions, and even a world of infinite dimension. Ian Stewart brilliantly plays on words and makes you laugh at every step of the way. The ideas brought up are so fasinating and cutting edge, that it definately deserves more than one reading, and better still, they are explained in detail so that even the most complex concepts are easily understood. This book is clever, amusing, and perhaps even brilliant. I highly recommend it.
3.0 out of 5 stars
Good teaching tool,
By A Customer
This review is from: Flatterland: Like Flatland Only More So (Paperback)
I've used Flatland and Sphereland in my High School PreCalculus class. They're both entertaining books, but also ones that are a bit elementary for the class. I would say they are written for entertainment first, enlightenment second. Flatterland is NOT the same type of book. I have never been an Ian Stewart fan, but I do like this book. While the first two books are easy enough for a 7th grade student to understand, the topics in this book will require most high school students to be walked through the material. It's not an easy read. I will use this book with some of my students in the future, but only those that enjoy a challenge. It's true that the book tries to cover too much, but I think you should view it as a survey of modern mathematics. In my opinion, this is some of the best writing I've seen from Stewart, but definitely not up to the literary level set by Flatland and Sphereland.

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Flatterland: Like Flatland Only More So by Ian Stewart (Paperback  April 18 2002)
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