The story is told by a narrator who relates to us the tale of a discoverer named A. Square, who became famous for his discovery of a new world: a place called "Flatland." Abbott's purpose is to illustrate several different dimensions of the concept of dimension; the world of Flatland is a satire on Victorian culture, which Abbott caricatures by using Flatland as a platform for satire.
The main character of the book is a square named A. Square. The very first lines of the book describe A. Square's awakening: one morning, upon waking up, he sees a mysterious figure standing beside him:
"Then – and then – I tried to scream – and tried and tried again – but no sound or syllable came from my lips. I felt that I was now indeed done for
Immediately after A. Square's first encounter with the sphere, he notices that he is strangely drawn to it. This is the very first time that A. Square has ever seen a sphere, and he is perplexed:
"A Sphere! Good Heavens!...How very odd!"
Shortly thereafter A. Square, the sphere and a triangle all become trapped inside a large hole of a certain woman named A. Square. After this incident, the sphere and A. Square become friends.
"I never knew the hours fly so swiftly – with him – by my side – by my side – always, always!"
In the end, the sphere from the beginning of the book leaves Flatland, and A. Square is left alone to contemplate the memories of their time together.
The main theme of the book is the concept of dimension. The very first line of the book, "Lineland, Flatland, and Spaceland" indicates the three main dimensions that appear in the book:
"Lineland – Where living beings have no thickness – Where they have length but no breadth – Where they may move forward and backward – but can not Non-Lineland – Where they have length and breadth – but not thickness – Where they can move on from any point – but can not move either back or Non-Lineland – Where they have all the three dimensions – which they can Non-Lineland – Where they can move in any direction through space – Where they have a breadth, a length, and a thickness – Where they have a Front and a Back – Where they have a Up and a Down – Where they have a Within and a Without – Where they have a – Where – Where – Where – But I can not describe... it is beyond my power."
"Flatland" was first published in 1884. There are two versions of the book, one published by Penguin Books in 1960, and another published by Dover Publications in 1992.
if you liked End of childhood and other stories, Flatland, and Death s end the three body problem.