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a congress of convoluted conworldery
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 10, 2017 10:31 pm 
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I came across this YouTube video and had an idea.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iiWKq57uAlk

Imagine a world in a universe with a fourth spatial dimension. Three-dimensional folks experience their world the same way we experience ours, but sometimes strange beings appear out of nowhere, beings whose forms constantly change and who can control people's minds or abduct them to the spirit world.

These beings, which are intelligent photosynthesizers who roam four-dimensional space and communicate with one another through electro-chemical signals transmitted through antennae, appear to the folks of my conworld one three-dimensional cross-section at a time. They also sometimes commune with them by placing their antennae directly into their brains, the same way you or I could reach into the center of a square in Flatland. They don't even have to show themselves to do this.

This sort of inter-species telepathy usually results in (mild to severe) madness, but throughout the ages, some three-dimensional folks have learned to travel beyond their 3D plane. This gives them the ability to (apparently) teleport, kill people by squeezing their windpipes shut from the inside (or, you know, curing illnesses), and spy on people who think they're completely alone.

Of course, this is all happening before mathematicians propose a fourth spatial dimension. Those who go there just know it's somewhere else. This is also such a rare occurrence that most people dismiss such stories as fairy tales.

What do people think? Is this an interesting form of "magic"/"supernatural" beings to you all? Do math/physics people have issues with it?


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 11, 2017 8:15 am 
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Well, chemistry would be entirely different on the fourth dimension. Tons of interactions that can't exist in ours would exist. In fact, they would have different elements: all of our elements decidedly exist in three dimensions. You'd basically have to invent an entirely new physics, chemistry and biology for the fourth dimension's interactions. (I'm not a physics person, but I have friends who are)

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 11, 2017 8:20 am 
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mèþru wrote:
You'd basically have to invent an entirely new physics, chemistry and biology for the fourth dimension's interactions.


Of course! I hadn't thought of that. What if I just said that there were different physics, chemistry and biology, that neither I nor the people in the 3D version of the world understand? Is that unsatisfying, or mysterious?


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 11, 2017 8:59 am 
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sam wrote:
What if I just said that there were different physics, chemistry and biology, that neither I nor the people in the 3D version of the world understand? Is that unsatisfying, or mysterious?
Then don't say that they have processes such as photosynthesis. We can't tell if that exists in their world. You should avoid describing the 4th dimension and its deziens because as you said, you and I can't comprehend it. The only things you should detail are that which the three dimensional beings perceive. All of this is assuming you want to make a realistic work, of course.

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ìtsanso, God In The Mountain, may our names inspire the deepest feelings of fear in urkos and all his ilk, for we have saved another man from his lies! I welcome back to the feast hall kal, who will never gamble again! May the eleven gods bless him!
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 11, 2017 9:18 am 
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mèþru wrote:
You should avoid describing the 4th dimension and its deziens because as you said, you and I can't comprehend it. The only things you should detail are that which the three dimensional beings perceive. All of this is assuming you want to make a realistic work, of course.


Yeah, good point. So let's leave it at: they seem to be intelligent, they appear as strange, form-changing blobs to 3D people, they can "abduct" the 3D people, or communicate with them "telepathically". When 3D folks do learn to travel outside of their own 3D plane and return, they still sort of hover around the "edges" of their world, and they come back unable to describe the 4th dimension or its residents very well. In fact, they probably think of it as some kind of "spirit world" rather than a fourth dimension at all.


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 11, 2017 9:23 am 
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How would the creatures be able to communicate though? How would they know how to read the human brain, or for humans to understand their alien speech, (which ether use different sets of elementary particles that can move in four dimensions or some complex string theory stuff)

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 11, 2017 9:34 am 
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mèþru wrote:
How would the creatures be able to communicate though? How would they know how to read the human brain, or for humans to understand their alien speech, (which ether use different sets of elementary particles that can move in four dimensions or some complex string theory stuff)


So, the ones who figure out how to communicate with humans are few and far between, and presumably this is some sort of arcane/occult thing for them, but describing their culture isn't really my goal.

As for how they actually do it, imagine you saw an intelligent square in a flat world. If your "language" is based on chemical/electrical impulses, then the 2D workings of the square-brain are a (relatively) simple code to crack. Again, few of them (care to) do this, and sometimes humans just seem to "go crazy" as a result.


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 11, 2017 10:34 am 
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Do some reading on Dragon Age; its magic utilizes a similar (albeit less science-y) concept wherein magic is employed by accessing the world of dreams called the Fade. The Fade is mutable whereas the waking world is static, but mages are individuals who can effect changes in the waking world by altering the Fade. It's one of the more fascinating magic systems I've encountered.

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 11, 2017 1:59 pm 
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Zaarin wrote:
Do some reading on Dragon Age; its magic utilizes a similar (albeit less science-y) concept wherein magic is employed by accessing the world of dreams called the Fade. The Fade is mutable whereas the waking world is static, but mages are individuals who can effect changes in the waking world by altering the Fade. It's one of the more fascinating magic systems I've encountered.


That's so cool! I just read about it, and it seems similar to what I'm going for, except that my version isn't also an afterlife, and people don't enter it mentally, but physically. Also, there isn't a genetic predisposition to access it, like in Dragon Age. One literally has to be taught, and humans aren't nearly as good at teaching other humans as the four-dimensional beings, so magic is pretty rare.

Thanks for the Dragon Age tip. It's good inspiration for what kind of lore would spring up around that type of magic.


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 11, 2017 2:25 pm 
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No problem. I wish the games would live up to the lore they've built around them. ;)

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 11, 2017 5:27 pm 
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I have once encountered the argument that in a universe with any number of spatial dimensions other than three, atoms and planetary systems would be unstable because there won't be an inverse square law (e.g., in 4D, you have inverse cube instead), and thus life as we know it couldn't exist. But I should perhaps stop before God kills another catgirl.

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PostPosted: Thu May 04, 2017 10:46 am 
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Explored in Jacek Dukaj's „Zanim noc”.

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PostPosted: Sat May 06, 2017 8:29 am 
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Polaco, el wrote:
Explored in Jacek Dukaj's „Zanim noc”.

Can you tell me a little about it? I don't know (Polish?).


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PostPosted: Sat May 06, 2017 12:59 pm 
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(The following is a short summary of „Zanim noc”. I am omitting the descriptions of the life during the war, the protagonist's family life and the titular “night”, when possible.)

It is a story set during the WW2. The protagonist, Trudny, is a Pole who makes deals with both Nazis and the Polish resistance, in order to protect his family. He buys a house in a former Jewish district.

Then, it turns out to be a haunted house. Whispers out of nowhere start talking in Yiddish. Human corpses are found in the attic. The measurements of the house appear inconsistent.

A “flesh” appears. “Like a naked heart of a monster, a fist with fingers out of a dragon's guts, a swarm of rotting veins, a parasitic polyp. Pulsating. Breathing. […] Seemingly too dense, too heavy. Why should the Earth attract it, why should it fall to the ground?”

Trudny gets a priest perform an exorcism, but then one of the walls of the house bends and disappears, leaving a large hole. Then it reverts, leaving not a slightest trace of the hole.

Trudny enters the attic and sees all the items moved to the other side. He finds a hidden room and remains of a male's clothes. He also finds two books: one of them is a notebook in Hebrew. The other book is in Latin.

Trudny discovers the past of the house: before he moved there, it had been used as a provisional prison. One night, orphans from the ghetto were transported and they went locked up in the house for a night. The next day the house was found closed shut and the two Nazi guards were found massacred. Unable to get in, they gassed the inside of the house. After they did that, the house went open, as if it hadn't been barricaded at all. Some of the orphans were found paralyzed (as expected), some of them horribly disfigured (turned inside out), most of them not found at all.

Following a discussion about children being the perfect monsters (not restricted by morals), an Ahnenerbe member visits Trudny with a Yiddish specialist. The German gets killed by unseen means, and the whispers tell the Jew it is a gift for Trudny. During the autopsy, the German is found empty inside, having no lungs or intestines.

Then the monster comes to Trudny's children and tells them it will do the same to them if they only try to leave the house. It blackmails Trudny into cooperation.

Trudny finds another Jew that could translate the notebook. Turns out Sznic, the author, used the other book (a medieval spellbook) to become a superhuman / a god / a devil. He got the spellbook from a cabalist. He was hiding in a room and performing the experiments using the book, but the descriptions were incomplete and something interrupted him.

Trudny meets the previous owner of the book, which tells him Sznic used the book to enter the fourth spatial dimension and was seeking revenge. Later, Trudny has a talk with his friend, a rationalist, about higher dimensions. His friend gives him a book: Charles Howard Hinton's "What is the Fourth Dimension?"

Trudny comes back home with the Latin manuscript and Hinton's booklet. Announcing he's ready, he sits in his room. Something grabs his legs and shoulders, he feels he's falling upwards and flying downwards. He can't see his room anymore and he has trouble breathing, as if in the mountains. “Sheets of dark matter and meaty clouds, and spongy, white trees, and the oily rain […]. One eye blink was enough for the world seen by [Trudny] to change its shape. Was he really moving that fast? Or was it just the fact that he was moving?”

He sees an empty space, but he can't see a source of light. Then he's been moved towards a dark void, he protests, he is returned to his room. He confronts the monster, it turns out to be Sznic, the notebook's author. He was observing the protagonist from his very first moment in the house. He was preparing Trudny for being his accomplice. He also protected him from the children, who — being monsters now — tried to kill him.

Turns out, when the house was being gassed, Sznic managed to save most of the children by bringing them “up”, to the fourth dimension. However, they were so young they've forgotten their life as human children and instead perceive humans as toys (not realizing they're trying to kill sentient beings).

Also, when Sznic himself was „ascending” to the fourth dimension, he made a mistake, condemning himself to being trapped in the house forever. He needs Trudny to gain the fourth dimension and liberate Sznic, or else Sznic will kill his children.

Trudny disrobes (remembering the remains of Sznic's clothes in the attic) and recites the spell. It helps him attain the missing four-dimensional mass and build it around the existing three-dimensional nervous system. “He woke up and saw, even though he didn't have eyes: twenty impossible monsters, pierced through, from overdown to underup, by the flat solid of the building.” (“Overdown” and “underup” is how he calls the new directions.) Then, he liberates the monsters.

“Sznic himself right after being released headed somewhere underup; similarly most of the children. Some, however, stayed for some more time around the space taken by Earth. That morning, sixteen people disappeared from the city without a trace in an unknown way. Nevertheless, in many other cases, there were traces.”

Some days passed and Trudny observed the world under/over him. He tried to write a letter to his wife, but discovered it's hard to grasp a three-dimensional pencil with a four-dimensional limb. He also has yet to re-learn how to produce sounds as a four-dimensional organism.

Finally, he learns how to bend his four-dimensional flesh so that a part of it will look like his original body to three-dimensional humans — a „człowiekoid” (lit. “human-o-id”). With that, he returns to his wife. He also uses his „człowiekoid” to get his revenge on his former rivals and associates.

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PostPosted: Sat May 06, 2017 7:24 pm 
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WeepingElf wrote:
I have once encountered the argument that in a universe with any number of spatial dimensions other than three, atoms and planetary systems would be unstable because there won't be an inverse square law (e.g., in 4D, you have inverse cube instead), and thus life as we know it couldn't exist. But I should perhaps stop before God kills another catgirl.

The extra dimension(s) do not have to be as large as the other 3, and not all matters need to have access to them. IIRC some physicists speculated that gravitrons may have access to another very thin dimension to explain why gravity is unexpectedly weak. (e.g. a magnet can exert more electromagnetic traction than the entire Earth can exert gravitational traction) This allows gravity to decay rapidly following inverse cube law at distances shorter than the 4th dimension's width, but revert to inverse square law at distances longer than the 4th dimension's width.


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PostPosted: Sun May 07, 2017 4:17 am 
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Well, you could mix a simple adaptation of 3D laws into 4D (I leave the details for you) with a kind of Ancient Egyptian Duat. There's one writer, Rick Riordan, who created among other things a trilogy about still existing Egyptian gods and magic, I liked his interpretation of ancient beliefs. You could see what he thought up.

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PostPosted: Wed May 10, 2017 10:12 am 
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Pole, the wrote:
(The following is a short summary of „Zanim noc”. I am omitting the descriptions of the life during the war, the protagonist's family life and the titular “night”, when possible.)


That's so cool. That's a movie? Or a book? It makes me want to check it out, as a Jew and a 4D conworlder.

ˈd̪ʲɛ.gɔ kɾuˑl̪ wrote:
Well, you could mix a simple adaptation of 3D laws into 4D (I leave the details for you) with a kind of Ancient Egyptian Duat. There's one writer, Rick Riordan, who created among other things a trilogy about still existing Egyptian gods and magic, I liked his interpretation of ancient beliefs. You could see what he thought up.


I had no idea this series existed. I loved the Percy Jackson series as a kid, but didn't know Riordan branched out into other pantheons. The idea of a "spirit world" is definitely one I want to toy with in various cultures' mythologies about the fourth dimension.


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PostPosted: Wed May 10, 2017 12:12 pm 
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The trilogy is called the Kane Chronicles, and the first book is called The Red Pyramid. There are two short​ story tie-ins with the Percy Jackson series, and its clear the occupy the same universe.

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PostPosted: Wed May 10, 2017 12:34 pm 
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If you're interested, there's also two other series closely linked with Percy Jackson (he's a main character in one that also includes the Roman gods--The Heroes of Olympus--but just has been mentioned so far in the new one that's still ongoing, The Trials of Apollo), and a series with Norse gods (Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard).

They're all pretty fun; I prefer the Greek god books (specifically, The Heroes of Olympus), but I enjoy the others as well.

I have definitely spent more time reading Rick Riordan's books than most twenty-somethings. :wink:

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PostPosted: Wed May 10, 2017 2:24 pm 
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Quote:
That's so cool. That's a movie? Or a book? It makes me want to check it out, as a Jew and a 4D conworlder.

That's a short novel, it was a part of Dukaj's „Xavras Wyżryn …” book.

You can check it out by spending a few years learning Polish, or alternatively by grabbing a digital copy of the book and performing an automatic translation. Or you can pay a professional translator, but I'm not sure if it will violate the copyright or not.

Quote:
Well, you could mix a simple adaptation of 3D laws into 4D (I leave the details for you) with a kind of Ancient Egyptian Duat. There's one writer, Rick Riordan, who created among other things a trilogy about still existing Egyptian gods and magic, I liked his interpretation of ancient beliefs. You could see what he thought up.

I've remembered now that I've seen something similar in Wright's “Orphans of Chaos” trilogy. It's in English, so it should be much more accessible.

(Worth checking out, anyway.)

(As opposed to Dukaj's ”overdown” and “underup”, the fourth dimension is color-coded here.)

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