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Flatland: A Journey of Many Dimensions, The Movie Edition

Edwin Abbott with Thomas Banchoff and The Filmakers of Flatland
Princeton University Press
Publication Date: 
Number of Pages: 
[Reviewed by
Suzanne Caulk
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I have to admit, that when I heard about the popular movie version of Flatland, I was both excited and skeptical. I was skeptical because I could not fathom how they would faithfully portray the book, and excited, because a popular movie about mathematics is exciting. I was very pleased by the result.

As we all know, Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions  by Edwin A. Abbott is a book about A. Square, who experiences a variety of dimensions. His journey gives us the perspective of what it is like when a two dimensional figure, who is only familiar with two dimensions and less, experiences the third dimension. The book invites the reader to reflect on what it would be like for us, the inhabitants of (three-dimensional) Space, to experience a fourth dimension, and hopefully we are invited to stretch our minds beyond that.

The movie Flatland: A Journey of Many Dimensions was very well done. It faithfully represents the book with updates to make it more modern. The length is just right — long enough to give you the whole story and short enough to keep it from becoming tiresome. Even though it is very visual and appears to be about geometry, it maintains the satire of the original book.

This is a good hook to get undergraduates more interested in mathematics. It is something that today’s media-savvy students can relate to, and it is sophisticated enough to avoid their disdain. It is a great tool to use to help students expand their geometrical intuition, approaches to problem solving and it gives them a sense that mathematics is an adventure. Flatland, The Movie Edition , includes a lovely hard-cover book with the original novel and the script of the movie as well as a DVD of the movie. It would make a nice gift for a student or fan of mathematics or satire.

Suzanne Caulk is an assistant professor of mathematics at Regis University in Denver, CO. She is very interested in modular forms. You can email her at

Introduction Thomas Banchoff ix
Part I: This World 13
Part II: Other Worlds 49
Finding Flatland Seth Caplan 91
Imagining Flatland Jeffrey Travis 93
The Visual Design of Flatland: The Movie Dano Johnson 97
Screenplay 107
Movie Credits 163
About the Contributors 167