Flatland 03

Flatland - an unfinished String City manuscript

Being the third in a series charting the writing of a new fantasy detective story.

I need to consider what the city looks like when it’s reduced to just two dimensions. What happens to all the people? What do they look like from my gumshoe hero’s 3D perspective? Logically, a vast amount of information will have been lost. Maybe they look like MRI scans, just cross-sections. But of what part of the body? And how can they go on living in this state? If you tread on them, do they squeal?

So many questions!

The 2D people/buildings etc could just be placeholders, with the 3D information being stored elsewhere (ie by the villain). Or they could have all the 3D info mapped down into 2D. Sort of splurged out, or condensed.

In his novel Flatland, Edwin Abbott describes the arrival of a 3D observer (a Sphere) into the 2D world of his protagonist A. Square (all his characters are geometric shapes). The Sphere is able to look down on, and therefore see inside, the Square – all his internal organs are visible. Conversely, the Square perceives the Sphere only as a cross-section, one that appears constantly to change size as the Sphere descends through the 2D plane in which the Square lives. I love these opposing viewpoints. I’d like to bring something of them into my own Flatland.

This story is a good opportunity to really muck about with dimensions.

Enough thinking in isolation. The next job is to start writing – see what some words look like on the page, let the story take shape.

Read the complete Flatland diaries:

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