The Planiverse

“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 modelling 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 Sufi fable, written by a member of the Chishti order, 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.

A’K. Dewdney: The Planiverse –
Computer contact with a two-dimensional world;
ISBN 0-387-98916-1.