A Different World

Author: David Henson

When earth passed through the Great Inter-dimensional Anomalous Wave, everything went blurry. After things cleared up 56 hours later, it was a different world.

Great Grandpappy Goose was one of the last to remember when the world had three spatial dimensions. He said everything about living in 2D was hard to get used to — having height and width but no depth, needing to hop over things rather than go around them, the impossibility of knots. It all seems normal to me, but then I’ve never known anything other than our 2D existence.

I’ve read about 3D life in the history sheets— books as they were called back then when there was thickness — whatever that was. But much as I try, I can’t visualize a third dimension. Was it curled above? twisted below? wrapped inside? Where did it go when a person moved about? Did they pull it behind them like a chain?

Some artists are inspired by the concept of three dimensions. They paint their visions of 3D trees, horses, nudes. I find it all a bit creepy. Scientists have described a 3D reality using endless formulas and equations only they can understand. I once saw an engineer’s conceptual blueprint of a three-dimensional bridge and got dizzy just looking at the drawing.

I hadn’t thought about the whole 3D thing for a long time till I saw Great Grandpappy Goose a few weeks ago. He was especially agitated trying to make me understand how things used to be. Maybe he sensed his end was near, and that he wouldn’t have another chance. He showed me his front, which narrowed till he disappeared for an instant before his back widened into view. Then he reversed the process till he was facing me again.

“And,” I said. “what’s your point?”

Grandpappy held up his hands as if I were aiming a flatshot at him. “Try to imagine, son. There used to be more to us than length and width. We also went from front to back, like this.” Grandpappy moved his arm up and down. “No, not like that, like this.” Up and down again. “Drat … Depth, son. Everyone had it. Everything. It was so much better. Please tell me you understand.” His voice quivered.

I thought for a moment. “Yes, Great Grandpappy Goose, I do.” I didn’t really understand, still couldn’t get my head on three dimensions. But Great Grandpappy’s passion had convinced me that having length and width without depth diminished our world.

I miss Great Grandpappy Goose, but am thankful to still have Granny Gander. I’m visiting her tomorrow. Granny Gander never lived in a 3D world but does remember other things that disappeared before I was born. I’m certain she’ll lament how the world’s worse off now that there’s yes and no without something called maybe, black and white without gray, right and wrong without doubt. This time when Granny Gander starts reminiscing, I’m going to put down my flatgame.


  1. scifiordie

    Love it. I’ve been watching some old Carl Sagan videos about ‘flat landers’ and this was right in that alley. I for one like my three spatial vectors and would miss one of them terribly. Though I’m glad depth went, I couldn’t imagine adjusting to having only depth and width for example.

    • xdhz8

      Thanks for commenting. I’m glad you liked the story.

  2. Glenn Leung

    Several months off 365 and I return to this amazing story. I really like that tidbit of a last paragraph!

    • xdhz8

      Thank you so much, Hari. Hope you are well and staying safe!

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