SF writers make up monsters for a kids' writing program

Matt sez, "Hey, I just worked with an absolute horde of great science fiction/fantasy writers to come up with a bestiary of imaginary beasts for Wofford's Shared Worlds program. It's a two week camp for young people with an interest in pursuing sci fi/fantasy writing. The kids are going to actually illustrate the creatures this summer."

Here's the one I wrote for Matt, inspired by Rudy Rucker's awesome novel Spaceland:

The Hyperman exists in four spatial dimensions. When it protrudes into ours, you see it as a series of slices (imagine that you are sticking your face through a sheet of paper, being observed by a two-dimensional flat person drawn on the page) -- the tip of the nose, the bridge, the face, the head, the back of the head.

The Hyperman can go from anywhere to anywhere by taking strides through four-space. If it brings a three-dimensional object, say, a book, into the fourth dimension and rotates it on the 4D axis, it comes back into three-space with all the type backwards. If it does this with a piece of cake, it comes back with all its sugars reversed, so that you can eat it without gaining weight (but you might get explosive diarrhea).

If you want to learn more about what a 4D person is like, read Rudy Rucker's Spaceland.

Other contributors include Michael Bishop, Elizabeth Bear, Ed Greenwood, Toby Buckell, Jay Lake, Nancy Kress and Kathe Koja. SHARED WORLDS Presents... A Fantastic Bestiary (Thanks, Matt!)


  1. Good idea, but the 4-D geometry is just a little bit off. You wouldn’t necessarily see Hyperman as a series of slices (though it is possible); a 4-D sphere (technically a 3-sphere) would still look like a ball, it would just be able to grow and shrink on its own.
    Oh, and Hyperman would be able to poke your internal organs without touching your skin, or put things in your stomach or whatever.

    Also, about the cake thing, while that’s true for sugars, starches, and proteins, not all fats are chiral. There could still be some calories, just not nearly as many.


    1. Yeah, the only way I figure you would see a 4-D person as series of 2-D slices would be if it were actually a 3-D person existing in 4-D space. This is analogous to how if there were a 2-D person in 3-D space, it would intersect with a 2-D space as a series of lines (either that, or if it happened to intersect while parallel, the entire body would suddenly appear then disappear).

    2. Btw also about the food/mirror image thing: I’m told that’s what Alice was asking when she wondered if looking glass milk was good to drink. I have no idea if chemists in Lewis Caroll’s time even knew about chirality, but my organic chem professor really like Alice in Wonderland.

  2. First came across that whole “inversion” thing reading Roger Zelazny’s Doorways in the Sand published back in 1975 …

    And going in the opposite dimensional direction is the classic 1884 novel Flatland by Edwin Abbott Abbott …

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