Aphelion Review # 11

Flatterland: Like Flatland, Only More So

By Ian Stewart

Review by Dan L. Hollifield

Type of music/work: Fantasy novel.

Ian Stewart
Published by Perseus Publishing, www.perseuspublishing.com

General impressions of the album/book:

Thos book succeededs both as a story and a primer on multi-dimentional theories. It reads like an Asimov "science for young adults" textbook. Great stuff!


Ian Stewart has made me wish he'd been one of my teachers in school. I would have learned so much more. This book taught me more about higher dimentions than I ever thought existed, and I enjoyed every minute of it. Stewart's story of a young girl stumbling upon a disgraceful family secret and then venturing out on a voyage of discovery gives him the perfect means to slip the mathematics into the narrative painlessly, he even manages to add subtle social commentary upon our own lives and times. Its been my experience that books like this are not usually done this well.

I really enjoyed reading this book. I hope that as science progresses, Mr. Stewart will write a sequel. I think that this one is destined to become a classic, just like its inspiration: E. A. Abbot's "Flatland", published in 1884.

His characters are interesting and the dialogue is witty. The story flows smoothly despite the technical subject matter. I've always enjoyed believeable aliens, and Mr. Stewart's are very believeable. Sentient shapes is a new one on me, but a very interesting concept none the less. "Flatterland" ought to be in every school library, both as a textbook and as entertainment. Its a wonderful cross of both.

Background info:

The bio in the back of the book says that Mr. Stewart is a Professor of Mathematics at the University of Warwick and further states that he's written over 60 books. His bio leads one to think that he's pledged his life to making Math more accessable to everyone. His work in this area has garnered him several awards. All-in-all I'd say that he enjoys his work and is very good at it. And it seems that the world will be a better place for it.

Review Copyright 2001 by Dan L. Hollifield

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