The Planiverse: Computer Contact with a Two-Dimensional World by A. K. Dewdney. Review by Troy, age 12.
The Planiverse is about computer contact with a 2 dimensional (2D) world. It all starts when a lab professor creates a program called 2DWORLD that simulates a 2D world. His students, while running and modifying the program, discover that they have created a link to a 2D world that is inhabited by strange creatures called Nsana. They spend several months studying a certain Nsana called Yndrd ("Yendred"). They learn many things about what could happen in a 2D world such as magnetism, chemistry, astronomy and even religion. After following Yendred for one month, disaster strikes - they must work at night because the populace of the university thinks that a 2D world could invade theirs and the link is dangerous.
The story is told so creatively you could think it is real. The artist's drawings help you picture things that might be impossible otherwise. There's an action sequence where there's this thing that can fly in the air, by trapping air pockets underneath its body, and it falls on top of Yendred and his traveling buddy, kills his traveling buddy, but Yendred takes a bottle of "hrabx" (2D helium) and fills the monster's stomach with it so that it explodes. Yendred then goes on with a wounded hand and gets rescued by an elderly Nsana couple. They nurse him back to health and send him on his way. He then meets a Nsana that can transcend into the 3rd dimension, and adapts his religion. The link then breaks up because Yendred wishes it to. Meanwhile word gets out and the students and professor get a lot of publicity.
I recommend the book for ages 9 to adults because it uses some scientific language and has some intense action sequences. I rate it 9 out of 10 because there are some boring spots, but overall it is extremely interesting.
Reviewed 5/25/04 Also see reviews at http://math.cofc.edu