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—And He Built a Crooked House by Robert Heinlein

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—And He Built a Crooked House

by Robert A. Heinlein

• Word count: 7589
• Page count: 20

—And He Built a Crooked House is a science fiction short story from one of the big names among classic science fiction authors: Robert Heinlein. First published in 1941, this story explores the idea of using mathematics and the fourth dimension to build a new type of house.

—And He Built a Crooked House follows the exploits of a mathematically inclined architect who builds a house in the shape of an unfolded tesseract. The house is ultra-modern and on the cutting edge of technology, and things go smoothly until he and his clients enter the house and find it very different than they expected.

I don’t think of a house as an upholstered cave; I think of it as a machine for living, a vital process, a live dynamic thing, changing with the mood of the dweller—not a dead, static, oversized coffin. Why should we be held down by the frozen concepts of our ancestors? Any fool with a little smattering of descriptive geometry can design a house in the ordinary way. Is the static geometry of Euclid the only mathematics? Are we to completely disregard the Picard-Vessiot theory? How about modular system?—to say nothing of the rich suggestions of stereochemistry. Isn’t there a place in architecture for transformation, for homomorphology, for actional structures?

—And He Built a Crooked House was first published in 1941 in Astounding Science Fiction, and has been reprinted in the 1959 collection The Unpleasant Profession of Jonathan Hoag.

You can read —And He Built a Crooked House online for free at the old Scifiction.

If you are interested in learning more about the author, Robert Heinlein, check out this cool page of little known facts, or read the Wikipedia article about him.