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Spaceland (Tom Doherty Associates Book) Paperback – 4 Jul 2003

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Product details

  • Paperback: 306 pages
  • Publisher: TOR; First edition (4 July 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0765303671
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765303677
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 1.7 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,198,114 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Inside This Book

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First Sentence
My idea for handling December 31, 1999, was that Jena and I should fix a nice meal, drink champagne, watch TV, and stay clear of the Y2K bug. Read the first page
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By P. Western on 29 Mar. 2004
Format: Paperback
Rucker's fun novel about Joe Cube's encounters with four-dimensional space and the creatures who live there is full of sardonic humour and mathematical play. Nor does he neglect the fundamentals: there's a zippy adventure plot (with the fate of our 3D universe at stake) and fully realised, believable main characters. Recommended.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful By E. A. Sykes on 7 Sept. 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I read spaceland having just read flatland.

I was expecting to find a popular physics book with a story acting as a tool for explaining complex ideas. Instead I found mainly a vacuous story steeped in cliche with the odd bit of physics thrown in.

I was hoping that this book might help me imagine the 4th dimension, but I found that it didn't give anything more than Flatland.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 28 reviews
30 of 30 people found the following review helpful
Interesting yet confused 6 Mar. 2004
By Dr. Zoidberg - Published on
Format: Paperback
A sequel, of sorts, to Edwin Abbott's classic novel, 'Flatland'. Joe Cube is a high tech executive waiting for his company to be IPOed. One night, while playing with his company's product (a TV screen that turns standard television broadcasting into a 3D image), Joe is contacted by Momo, a creature from the fourth dimension. Momo 'augments' Joe, giving him the ability to see into the fourth dimension, and also the ability to see into our dimension using a four dimension perspective. This gives Joe the unique ability of seeing inside people and objects, naturally, Joe tries to use this to make money... Momo only asks (demands, to be more exact) that Joe start a company that will create a specific product that she will supply. The plot gets complicated when another race of four-dimensional creatures, the Wackles, seem intent on stopping Joe. What is going on? Try the book and see.

This sounds like a very cool premise and it really is. The author truly captured the feeling of a 4D universe, a 3D universe from a 4D perspective, as well as a one dimensional and a two dimensional universe. The book is worth reading if only for this.. or perhaps, only for this: The book suffers from the worst characterization I've ever read in a book. The characters are completely unbelievable, obnoxious, annoying, self-contradicting. They are ridiculous. It feels like a cartoon of a cartoon. Maybe that was the purpose? I've never read any other book by the author, so I can't really say if it's his style. It's a pity, because the book could've been so much better. At the end I couldn't stand any of the characters (including the protagonist). Another weakness is the plot itself: Until the middle of the book it's really quite a good story, but then the quality goes downhill from there.. Shame. I'm giving the book 4/5 stars, but if I could, 3.5/5 would be more appropriate.
18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
Space Falls a Little Flat 4 Mar. 2007
By doomsdayer520 - Published on
Format: Paperback
I'm a big fan of Rudy Rucker, and the sheer power of his imagination continually blows the reader's mind. Unfortunately, this novel overdoes the imaginative science at the expense of a readable story. Granted, the backdrop of this novel is quite fascinating, as the misguided dot-commer protagonist Joe Cube finds himself in the fourth dimension. Rucker does an amazing job with prose, because he himself is exploring what 4D would look like to us spacelanders who are hopelessly stuck in 3D. It's also true that Rucker has engagingly built upon the influential "Flatland" by Edwin Abbott, which concerns a 2D person in our third dimension. But while the science of this novel is mindbending, and the 4D characters and their climactic battle are freaky, you eventually get the impression that Rucker was so interested in exploring his concept that he didn't get around to a useful plotline or likeable characters. The personalities of the characters and their interactions are either stereotypical or implausible, and the love story subplot is poorly constructed and dangerously close to sappy treacle. Rucker also dabbles briefly in some pseudo-religious big thoughts that go nowhere, and the storyline wraps up very awkwardly with implausible resolutions for everyone involved. Of course, this book is still a fine display of Rucker's remarkable imagination, but the story is what matters. And here that story is disappointingly two-dimensional. [~doomsdayer520~]
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Nice mix of math with humor and saving the universe 22 Jun. 2002
By booksforabuck - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Joe Cube's marriage is in trouble and he's frustrated with his life. On the turn of the Y-2-K, none of his fantasies of disaster are coming true. What does happen, however, is even weirder. A fourth dimension woman slides into his life, gives him a fourth dimension skin and a third eye at right angles to the three dimensions of "spaceland" and sets him up with a can't lose business opportunity--cellphones that can communicate without interference by transfering their messages through fourth dimension space. Even with his marriage down the tubes, Joe thinks he is on something. Better, with his third eye, he can see the upcoming cards in Las Vegas blackjack. The opportunities are without limit.
Joe soon learns that the fourth dimensional actors are far from united. The three dimensional Spaceland of normal space separates two fourth dimension universes that would war on one another if the Spaceland barrier were to vanish. Meanwhile, back on earth, Joe is having trouble finding another woman, and gangsters are after him.
Author Rudy Rucker has created a light and fun novel with a bit of a message, a bit of math, and some intriguing drawings of Flatland space and linear space. Joe, with his worries about his marriage and women, his dreams of making millions in an IPO, and his increasing addiction to a fourth dimension drug makes a sympathetic anti-hero who is finally given a chance to save the universe--and trundled off to jail for doing so.
SPACELAND is a thought-provoking and amusing tale with a bit of a slanted--maybe even fourth dimension--moral to it.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Not quite top-drawer Rucker, but clever and fun. 4.6 stars 21 Jan. 2006
By Peter D. Tillman - Published on
Format: Paperback
This is a clever takeoff on Flatland, starring Joe Cube, done up in the inimitable Rucker style. Joe, an employee of a Silican Valley startup, gets a visit from Momo, a pushy broad from 4D Klupdom, with a business proposition that he absolutely, positively can't refuse. Momo gives Joe an enhancement, a third eye that can see in the fourth dimension -- and a whole stack of hyperspace cellphone antennas. Can you guess that Momo doesn't have Spaceland's best interests at heart?

Not quite top-drawer Rucker, but clever and fun. Recommended.

Book's HP at first link, per house rules

Happy reading--

Peter D. Tillman
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
A sprightly homage to Abbott 24 Sept. 2003
By Royce E. Buehler - Published on
Format: Paperback
Spaceland isn't the first attempt to honor Abbott's classic "Flatland", it won't be the last, and it probably won't be the best. And it isn't, by a fair stretch, Rudy Rucker's best novel. But it's a rollicking comic strip of a ride. It's every bit as good at teaching neophytes about the fourth dimension as its model, and (dare I say it?) in prose that's far less tedious. (For one thing, Rucker's hero Joe Cube unabashedly explores the sexual possibilities of every dimension he enters. Don't assign this text for extra credit to your sixth grade math class.)
It's superior to most other updates of "Flatland", in that it captures the full flavor of the original, which was one third math instruction, one third humane philosophical musing, and one third sharp social satire. As a professional mathematician, and perhaps the best popularizer of math around today in nonfiction, Rucker is more than equal to the first task. The war between the sort-of-animals living on one 4D "side" of our universe, and the Loki-like sort-of-plants dwelling on the other, takes on a nearly theological dimension before it's through, although it's a zany kind of Pixar-production theology drawn in primary colors. Rucker's satirical target is less timeless than the simple bead that Abbott drew on heirarchy and stratification: Silicon Valley society at its frenetic dot-com peak. Better read it now while it's still funny - but it sure is comical now.
What Rudy Rucker does best is to take a premise, build consequences on it, then tease out meta-consequences and meta meta consequences in a dizzying tower of speculation. His fiction can be pretty mind blowing. He doesn't build his tower all that high in this effort. But maybe he just didn't feel it was fitting, in a tribute, to upstage old Edwin too far.
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