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Article in Category:Adult Nonfiction

Enjoy great reading while learning a little more about the natural world and mathematics.

Entertaining for its anecdotes of eccentric scientists, odd creatures, and adventurous expeditions, the book also provides a solid picture of the importance of taxonomy in science, and how it is changing with new techniques. This is a grown-up version of From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil Frankenweiler.
What it would be like living in an unusual space often serves authors well. Arthur Clarke's Rendezvous with Rama imagines existence in a huge cylinder where "up" is toward the center, and two of the cardinal directions run straight while two run in a curve. Ian Stewart builds on Edwin Abbot's classic Flatland, which, by analogy with a two-dimensional world, imagined what life might be like in more than three dimensions. Abbott also had social issues in mind. Stewart's book presents a series of worlds in much weirder, non-Euclidean geometries, and in which women's social status has been completely transformed. The book combines real geometric understanding, humor, and progressive social commentary.