Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions

Read by Ruth Golding

(4.6 stars; 149 reviews)

Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions is an 1884 science fiction novella by the English schoolmaster Edwin Abbott Abbott. As a satire, Flatland offered pointed observations on the social hierarchy of Victorian culture. However, the novella's more enduring contribution is its examination of dimensions; in a foreword to one of the many publications of the novella, noted science writer Isaac Asimov described Flatland as "The best introduction one can find into the manner of perceiving dimensions." As such, the novella is still popular amongst mathematics, physics and computer science students. (Summary by Wikipedia) (4 hr 13 min)


1 - Part 1, Sections 1 - 3 22:51 Read by Ruth Golding
2 - Part 1, Sections 4 - 5 27:49 Read by Ruth Golding
3 - Part 1, Sections 6 - 7 25:06 Read by Ruth Golding
4 - Part 1, Sections 8 - 10 29:58 Read by Ruth Golding
5 - Part 1, Sections 11 - 12 20:25 Read by Ruth Golding
6 - Part 2, Sections 13 - 14 27:39 Read by Ruth Golding
7 - Part 2, Sections 15 - 17 35:46 Read by Ruth Golding
8 - Part 2, Sections 18 - 20 44:22 Read by Ruth Golding
9 - Part 2, Sections 21 - 22 19:37 Read by Ruth Golding


Upwards but not Northwards

(4 stars)

Abbot's work describes a fantasy world descibed in geometry. It is a notably early work of its sort admired, amongst others, by Isaac Asimov. The satire is clear: Flatland is somewhere that women are 'invisible', the ruling classes have no use for 'feeling', and where irregularity is frowned upon. A lesser echo to this is the one-dimensional 'Lineland', given a smaller section of its own, where vistas and understanding are even more circumscribed, or the extreme limitations of 'Dotland' (the solipsisms of which make up some of the most memorable moments in the book). The book is written by one who has temporarily escaped, after being introduced to the merits of a regular, 3 dimensional universe (or 'Spaceland') by a helpful visitor. The merits of Abbot's book are that it more and more suggests to the reader a open mind towards the perception of things as they appear to be, as well as introducing the notion of a multi-dimensional reality. Reader Ruth Golding is, as usual excellent, dryly ironic when she needs be, with typically clear diction and enunciation. Her choice here makes for a complete contrast to another work of fantasy she has done (and which I can also recommend) Jefferies' 'After London' - swopping the natural world for the mathematical.

A Classic & Well-Read !

(5 stars)

This short story is a classic for many math students trying to visualize or at least grasp more than our 3 visible space dimensions (actually 4 dimensions in space-time. This story is overshadowed by a heavy critique of the social and power "cast system" in England along with the position of women at the time (although the satire about women sometimes doesn't sound like satire.) The reader has a voice I could listen to forever. She could read a cookbook and I would listen. Like Goldilocks said, "it was just right!".

Satire, yet Meaningful! Well read, too!

(5 stars)

I can remember reading this as a 10 year-old, but back then I couldn't grasp the obviously satirical meanings behind seemingly trivial things. Now, however, I can appreciate this work of art as it was truly meant to be: a satire, yet not a meaningless one. It's educational, mostly about the three (well, technically four) dimensions. It does have some "epic tale" moments as well, such as when the square was exposed to Spaceland, yet it has its chuckles too. Very well read by Ruth Golding, five stars for sure! Just as a note - Some of the "satire" about Flatlands women goes on for too long, and talks of stuff like a temper, poor memory, and no hope of social advancement, Abbott perhaps shows his old-time failures when talking of women.

Superb Performance

(5 stars)

Abbott's book is a bit dry and hard going at the beginning, during which time he is providing necessary background and orientation to the core story, but what could be tedious listening is wonderfully ameliorated by Ruth Golding's excellent performance. Her intelligent, smooth, and deliberate delivery, soothing vocal resonance, flawless articulation (standard British accent), and restrained but vibrant emotion compelled me to keep listening. By the time she gets to Abbott's main tale, I was rapt, thoroughly in her spell. I don't think I could have gotten as much out of this bizarre mathematical novel by reading it silently as I did having Ms. Golding perform it for me.

Classic book, solid recording

(3 stars)

The British-sounding female reader does a good, mostly pretty expressive reading. There are detailed descriptions of all the diagrams and pictures, which is a nice touch. The text itself is explicit enough that I almost felt I didn't need the pictures.

Excellent reading, entertaining book

(5 stars)

Thank you Ruth for an excellent reading. The characters of A Square and the Sphere came through beautifully. The tale itself is part social satire, part mathematical treatise. Both parts are interesting, entertaining and informative.

(4 stars)

On the new series The Orville the Captain made reference to this book. this book helped to give a better understanding of the episode. The reader did a great job and I enjoyed this book.

Outside the box

(5 stars)

I love listening to this reader and often choose books based on this alone. Flatland is an interesting tale ultimately reminding this reader of the importance of perspective.