Archive | October 2013

Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions

I felt like like I’d uncovered buried treasure when I came across this under a pile of books at a book sale yesterday.

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It was so unexpected, at first I was incredulous. I was like, Can it be? Yes! ‘Flatland’! No, wait. Is it? Written by Edwina?! Huh? ‘Flatland’ wasn’t written by a woman. 😦 Are there two books called ‘Flatland’?! Since I was in “scanning mode”, I’d missed the space between the “n” and the “a” and read “Edwina”. I was about to put it back in the pile, but decided to first read the outline on the back, which, to my delight, confirmed that it was indeed the Flatland I was hoping for.

It was really the last book I’d expected to find, so that made my discovery all the more delightful! I even gave a little squeal and shared my joy with all bystanders (about five were directly affected 🙂 ). I really couldn’t help it. I’ve been wanting to get my hands on a hard copy of this book for, somewhere in-between, five to ten years now.

If you’ve never heard of Edwin A. Abbott’s Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions here an overview taken from the back of my book.

With wry humor and penetrating satire, Flatland takes us on a mind-expanding journey into a different world to give us a new vision of our own.  A. Square, the slightly befuddled narrator, is born into a place limited to two dimensions–irrevocably flat–and peopled by a hierarchy of geometrical forms. On a tour of his bizarre homeland like that taken by Gulliver, A. Square spins a fascinating tale of domestic drama and political turmoil, from sex among consenting triangles to the intentional subjugation of Flatland’s females. He tells of visits to Lineland, the world of one dimension, and Pointland, the world of no dimension. But when A. Square dares to speak openly of a third, or even a fourth, dimension, his tragic fate climaxes a brilliant parody of Victorian society.

An underground favorite since its publication in England in 1884, Flatland is as prophetic a science fiction classic as the works of H. G. Wells, introducing aspects of relativity and hyperspace years before Einstein’s famous theories. And it does so with wonderful, enduring enchantment.

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Mere Coincidence?

So, Tom, you know how yesterday, on the phone, I told you that I just started studying this book on philosophy and you told me all about your travels, including how you saw the world-famous Book of Kells, in Ireland? (Sadly, I’d never heard of the Book of Kells before, and also didn’t understand, at first, what you meant by it being an “illuminated” manuscript. You very kindly explained it all to me.)

Well, today I pulled out the book I’m studying, A Beginner’s Guide to Ideas, and imagine my surprise, when I flipped it open to this. It just happens to be the only page in the book with parts of medieval illuminated Latin texts and I swear I’ve never seen or opened up to it before.

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And then, to top it off, for the first time in over two weeks, I pulled out my George MacDonald: An Anthology (Edited by C. S. Lewis) to read a quote or two. I picked up where I had last left off, and this just happened to be the first quote:

And if we believe that God is everywhere, why should we not think Him present even in the coincidences that sometimes seem so strange? For, if He be in the things that coincide, He must be in the coincidence of those things. Annals of a Quiet Neighborhood by George MacDonald

Mere coincidence? Perhaps a touch of providence… 🙂