I Always Thought Martin Sheen Was a Bit Two-Dimensional

By Sean Carroll | January 25, 2007 12:15 pm

From Angela Gunn comes news of Flatland: the Movie. And also, unconnectedly, Flatland: the Film. So, two different animated versions of Edwin A. Abbott’s classic “Romance of Many Dimensions” available for your DVD player. The Movie has the bonus that Martin Sheen is voicing the protagonist, but the Film has the advantage that it’s already available.

the Movie

Flatland the Film

Of course, as Angela points out, you could just read the original. It’s a favorite among physicists, especially those who work on extra dimensions. What they never seem to remember is how the book ends — protagonist A. Square, who has claimed to have proof that extra dimensions exist, is imprisoned for life on charges of heresy. Hmmm.

  • Yvette

    It looks like something straight out of “Square One,” the math program that aired on PBS years ago when I was growing up.

  • Choas Qubit

    I am a bit disturbed by the treatment of women. Someone needs a smack down (i.e the author).

  • http://snews.bnl.gov/popsci/contents.html Blake Stacey

    I believe Edwin Abbott’s original aim in making women lines (instead of full-bodied polygons) was to satirize the Victorian sexism of his day.

  • http://theeternaluniverse.blogspot.com Joseph Smidt

    I’ve always wondered what words a higher dimensional creature would use to describe a higher dimension if such a creature existed.

  • http://aeolist.wordpress.com Ponder Stibbons

    Blake Stacey is right, the treatment of women was a satire. As was the imprisonment of the “heretic” protagonist.

  • anonymous

    In the book there’s a legend about an “irregular circle” who tried to bring colour to flatland, but then his revolution was stamped out by the forces of colourlessness. Since he was obviously satirizing 18th century England in the book, I always figured Abbott was referring to Lord Byron (circle=aristocrat, irregular because Byron was so eccentric [not to mention deformed], colour=romanticism). Who’s with me?

  • Membrane

    The trailer for Flatland the Movie seems to have a female hexagon…

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Cosmic Variance

Random samplings from a universe of ideas.

About Sean Carroll

Sean Carroll is a Senior Research Associate in the Department of Physics at the California Institute of Technology. His research interests include theoretical aspects of cosmology, field theory, and gravitation. His most recent book is The Particle at the End of the Universe, about the Large Hadron Collider and the search for the Higgs boson. Here are some of his favorite blog posts, home page, and email: carroll [at] cosmicvariance.com .


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