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Dianne Salerni : Writer of Teen and Middle Grade Fiction | Multi-Dimensional Adventures

Multi-Dimensional Adventures

At some point in high school (or possibly middle school) I stumbled across the book Sphereland by Dionys Burger. It’s a mathematical adventure in geometry – and yes, I know that sounds terrible, but it’s really a lot of fun. I re-read the book countless times.

Sphereland is a sequel to an earlier book, Flatland, by Edwin Abbott Abbott, which was both a satire of Victorian society and an exploration of geometry. Since the plot of Flatland was summarized at the beginning of Sphereland, I didn’t need to read the original.

Both books tell the story of a Square living in a 2-dimensional universe, a plane, in fact. This is a diagram of the Square’s home.


The Square is visited by a Sphere from Spaceland, a 3-dimensional realm. At first the Square can only see flat cross-sections of the Sphere as it passes through the plane of his world.

Sphere in Flatland

Eventually, the Sphere lifts the Square out of Flatland, and across the span of the two books, they visit Lineland, Pointland, and are in turn visited by an Over-Sphere from the fourth dimension.


These books started my lifetime fascination with multi-dimensional fiction. I eventually did read the original Flatland, as well as The Boy Who Reversed Himself by William Sleator and Spaceland by Rudy Rucker. I’m currently reading Flatterland: Like Flatland, Only More So by Ian Stewart.

I even wrote a manuscript, BRANEWORLD, which received positive praise on submission, but also some excellent critical feedback which led me to re-think my approach to the topic. Now, I’m 15k into a new WIP and re-visiting the multi-dimensional universe with new characters and a completely new story.

Do any of you have a lifetime fascination with a topic which you’ve written about – perhaps more than once in an attempt to do it justice?

18 Responses to Multi-Dimensional Adventures

  1. Tiana Smith says:

    I’ve always wanted to write a tongue in cheek fantasy like Patricia C. Wrede’s Enchanted Firest Chronicles. I just started another one, so we’ll see how it goes. Let me know if you need betas for your project – I loved Braneworld!

    • DianneSalerni says:

      You betcha!
      I have another completed manuscript as well, not yet ready for viewing. Characters need to be merged, plot streamlined, inconsistencies cleared up. I’ll give a holler when that one’s polished up and in need of a fresh eye!

      You know I’m happy to do the same for you any time!

  2. Interesting concept. I bet kids learn as they read and they don’t even know it.
    The idea of life in a galaxy far away is a steady theme in mine.

  3. These sound like amazing books. I loved geometry, so I should read these and re-connect with it.

    It sounds as if you’re writing up that proverbial storm!

  4. A “mathematical adventure in geometry.” Oddly enough, that sounds very appealing to me. Then again, I’m currently rereading a book called, “The God Particle,” which I described to a friend as the BEST book on physics I’ve ever read. She looked at me as though I had three heads, and said, “You’re really weird.”

    Maybe so. Still, the books you’re describing sound terrific. You have the ability to entertain and teach at the same time, so I’m sure the books you’re working on now will hit the mark.

    Me? I’m way too interested in way too many things. Makes zeroing in on a single subject kinda iffy. If anything, I like to write about the human condition, about the meaning of friendship and love, and about the importance of humor. Huh. I guess maybe that IS a theme… 🙂

  5. RO says:

    When I hear about books like this, I’m impressed at the thought process that the writer has, and to actually put it in writing so it makes sense. Very neat stuff. My fascination are with topics that no one likes to discuss, and would be homelessness and domestic violence. Most people believe that being homeless translates to those we see on the street digging from trashcans, but that’s only a small portion. If you are sleeping on someone else’s couch with no place to call your own, that’s also being homeless. Also, it never ceases to amaze me how often victims are blamed for being abused either physically or verbally. to do it justice, I blog. Will I ever write a novel about either? Probably not. I’ll leave that to the truly gifted novelists like yourself. Great topic that makes you think! Hugs…RO

  6. J E Oneil says:

    OMG that sounds so cool. Why have I never heard of this book before? And I really want to read your MS someday.

  7. I’d never thought of writing like this before. I think some kids really into math might find this helpful to enjoying their writing. Though I can’t help thinking some kids might be turned off by the geometry.

  8. mshatch says:

    I know I wouldn’t be able to write a story like that, but I sure enjoy reading them! I loved a wrinkle in time and its sequels.

  9. Al Past says:

    I used to have a fascination for the “birthday problem.” How many people, picked at random, do you need to have a 50% chance that two of them will have the same birthday? Heheheh.

  10. Wow, that’s way too technical for me! Hats off to you for attempting it.

    My books all tend to deal with the sins of our past. I’m troubled by the horrible things people are capable of doing to each other, and with every book, I keep poking at it–like a tongue always coming back to prod a loose tooth.

  11. Anna says:

    What a brilliant idea for a series. 🙂

    Anna from elements of emaginette

  12. I’ve never heard of those books, but they sound awesome! I love unique concepts and alternate worlds. Truthfully, when I started writing a series about time manipulation, I didn’t realize it was an issue I was subconsciously digging. Of course this phase is almost over. Time to move on to other mind-bending concepts, eh?

  13. ChemistKen says:

    I’ve always liked the idea of having invisible companions, so I’m incorporating them into my stories.

  14. Sherry Ellis says:

    Sounds like a novel idea for a book!

  15. I have always had a fascination with stories like The Stand, where the entire world is wiped out and only a few are still living. Which is why I liked your book so much–I love stories about people roaming the world alone. Why is that? Weird, huh! I don’t think I’ll be writing about it, though, since I mostly do girly books! I guess I could write a book about girls trapped in a shopping mall overnight. Hmmmm…

  16. Joanne Fritz says:

    Fascinating stuff! I didn’t do well in Geometry, so I doubt I’d ever write a book like that. Don’t give up on Braneworld. I enjoyed it, even if I found bits of it confusing (which I’m sure you’ve fixed by now).

    The only thing my novels have in common is a theme of coming to terms with death (or in some cases, a disappearance). Sounds like a downer, I guess. 🙂

  17. I remember my ex-stepmom telling me about Flatland many years ago, and it sounded like a fascinating concept. I like stories that help the reader see from another point of view, especially one that’s so incredibly different from our own.

    As for stuff I keep going back to in books… yes, very yes. >_< I have two characters who've starred (in various incarnations) in about half of the books I've written. I've also been trying to get an interplanar adventure to work for a long time, and hoping my current book manages that. Then there are my attempts at writing Earth post-magical apocalypse… the less said about those the better.