Main Alien Geometries Discussion

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11:16:05 AM Mar 3rd 2018
Should we add a new folder for Music Videos?
02:21:04 PM Sep 15th 2011
Set up a image link page:, I don't know how to set up tabs though.
10:04:54 PM Oct 22nd 2010
Oddly shaped real-life buildings are not an example of the trope.

  • The Experience Music Project Building in Seattle has walls with extremely strange curves, and a few other odd bits of geometry. Here is a picture of it.

  • A very minor (and subtle) real-life example of this is downtown Juneau, Alaska; due to the buildings being constructed on old mining claims, there are almost no buildings with more than two right angles, and a significant percentage with none at all, giving the downtown a very Haunting of Hill House effect.
09:11:57 PM Oct 22nd 2010
Real-life streets that bend to intersect when most streets are in a grid pattern is not an example of this trope.

  • Forget Kramer's problems with First and First: at one point in the West Village it's possible to stand on the intersection of Fourth and Tenth Streets, two streets that theoretically ought to be parallel lines half a mile apart. (The West Village is, however, an entirely human geometry and only damages the sanity when you are trying to navigate through it in a hurry.)
    • San Francisco has multiple different street grids at various angles, some of which also gradually bend. So 3rd Street and 16th Street ought to be parallel but instead intersect at a right angle. Meanwhile, 7th Street and 16th Street intersect at roughly a 45 degree angle.
09:10:22 PM Oct 22nd 2010
Non-rectilinear construction is not enough for this trope.

  • Referenced in Shirley Jackson's The Haunting of Hill House. Every angle in the house's construction is off, if only by a few degrees; a few degrees is enough, however, for the human eye to notice that something (in fact, everything) is wrong.
    • Strictly speaking, this is not an example of "true" alien geometries, as it is described as being quirky but physically possible. The effect is much the same, however.
07:57:40 PM Oct 22nd 2010
edited by Camacan
Dropping this comment from the Lovecraft entry: impossible colors are not alien geometry.

  • An extreme example occurs in The Colour Out of Space (Lovecraft always insisted on the non-US spelling), where a horror from space causes an impossible colour (that everyone can actually see) to appear on nearby objects.
    • An impossible colour is also a plot device of some importance in the surreal novel The Third Policeman by Brian O'Nolan.
    • This is mocked by Terry Pratchett in his Discworld books, where octarine—the eldritch color of magic itself, which usually indicates that reality is crumbling at the seams—is described as "greenish-yellow purple".

Dropping this example for the sample reason:

  • Not geometry per se, but since The Colour Out Of Space has already been mentioned: Impossible colors really exist, for a given value of "existence". The eye has three different kinds of receptors which correspond broadly to red, green, and blue, and their sensitivities overlap. No light source will stimulate only one type, so if something does, you'll see a color that does not and cannot physically exist.
    • If you want to see an imaginary color, look at this for 30 seconds. Green isn't normally that bright.
03:20:41 PM Oct 19th 2010
You know, this trope could actually be feasible IRL, given all the theories scientists have about space being curved inwards on itself and whatnot.
08:46:40 PM Oct 19th 2010
What do you mean?

The main messing of space is general relativity, but that requires ridiculous amounts if mass. There's also stuff about some dimension that loops around after a Planck length, but that's not really long enough to be useful.
09:41:12 PM Apr 27th 2010
I reverted the trope description involving the triangle. Triangles do exist in spherical geometry (though you probably couldn't very easily transcribe that to a two-dimensional, Euclidean space). Perhaps you'd like to offer another reason? Otherwise it should stay as it is.
09:35:17 PM Apr 18th 2010
Someone add Zork and Adventure and a few other Infocom games.
10:21:46 PM Mar 7th 2010
edited by Malph
How do you make a triangle with angles that add up to more than 180 degrees? I'm just confused as to how that exactly works (I tried to picture it, as the article said, but ended up with a normal obtuse triangle).
12:25:50 PM Mar 8th 2010
It's only possible in non-Euclidean geometry - on the surface of a sphere, for example.
12:08:10 PM Aug 18th 2010
You can even have a triangle whose angles add up to 900 degrees. On a sphere, the outside can also be the inside. Flatten the part where the triangle is, and you've got 900 degrees exactly.
01:00:54 AM Nov 10th 2016
Note that in a positively curved space, where triangles exceed 180°, in a sense you have *less* room, in that the area (or volume) within a given distance increases more slowly than the square (or cube) of the distance. For a really roomy world you want to go hyperbolic (negative curvature), though hyperbolic space *looks* small when you're in it.
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