Perhaps the most basic way the word dimension is used in literature is as a hyperbolic synonym for feature, attribute, aspect, or magnitude. Frequently the hyperbole is quite literal as in he's so 2-dimensional, meaning that one can see at a glance what he is. This contrasts with 3-dimensional objects, which have an interior that is hidden from view, and a back that can only be seen with further examination.
Science fiction texts often mention the concept of dimension, when really referring to parallel universes, alternate universes, or other planes of existence. This usage is derived from the idea that to travel to parallel/alternate universes/planes of existence one must travel in a direction/dimension besides the standard ones. In effect, the other universes/planes are just a small distance away from our own, but the distance is in a fourth (or higher) spatial (or non-spatial) dimension, not the standard ones.
One of the most heralded science fiction novellas regarding true geometric dimensionality, and often recommended as a starting point for those just starting to investigate such matters, is the 1884 novel Flatland by Edwin A. Abbott. Isaac Asimov, in his foreword to the Signet Classics 1984 edition, described Flatland as "The best introduction one can find into the manner of perceiving dimensions."
The idea of other dimensions was incorporated into many early science fiction stories, appearing prominently, for example, in Miles J. Breuer's The Appendix and the Spectacles (1928) and Murray Leinster's The Fifth-Dimension Catapult (1931); and appeared irregularly in science fiction by the 1940s. Classic stories involving other dimensions include Robert A. Heinlein's —And He Built a Crooked House (1941), in which a California architect designs a house based on a three-dimensional projection of a tesseract, and Alan E. Nourse's Tiger by the Tail and The Universe Between (both 1951). Another reference is Madeleine L'Engle's novel A Wrinkle In Time (1962), which uses the 5th dimension as a way for "tesseracting the universe" or in a better sense, "folding" space to move across it quickly. The fourth and fifth dimensions were also a key component of the book The Boy Who Reversed Himself, by William Sleator.
Read more about this topic: Multidimensional
Other articles related to "literature":
... One Canada Square previously appeared in the Virgin Missing Adventures novel Millennial Rites in which the top floor was the headquarters of a yuppie who inadvertently turned London into a "dark fantasy" kingdom in which he was a powerful sorcerer, with the tower as his citadel and the Past Doctor Adventures novel The Time Travellers, in which it was the headquarters of the British Army in an alternate timeline ... One Canada Square also features prominently in an early issue of the Grant Morrison comic series The Invisibles, in which Dane MacGowan is encouraged to jump from the top by his mentor, Tom O'Bedlam, as an initiation rite that will allow him to see beyond reality and join The Invisibles. ...
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Famous quotes containing the word literature:
“One of the necessary qualifications of an efficient business man in these days of industrial literature seems to be the ability to write, in clear and idiomatic English, a 1,000-word story on how efficient he is and how he got that way.... It seems that the entire business world were devoting its working hours to the creation of a school of introspective literature.”
—Robert Benchley (18891945)
“Most literature on the culture of adolescence focuses on peer pressure as a negative force. Warnings about the wrong crowd read like tornado alerts in parent manuals. . . . It is a relative term that means different things in different places. In Fort Wayne, for example, the wrong crowd meant hanging out with liberal Democrats. In Connecticut, it meant kids who werent planning to get a Ph.D. from Yale.”
—Mary Kay Blakely (20th century)
“Views of women, on one side, as inwardly directed toward home and family and notions of men, on the other, as outwardly striving toward fame and fortune have resounded throughout literature and in the texts of history, biology, and psychology until they seem uncontestable. Such dichotomous views defy the complexities of individuals and stifle the potential for people to reveal different dimensions of themselves in various settings.”
—Sara Lawrence Lightfoot (20th century)