Would you live in a crooked house?

Short version:

Your super-genius friend QUERCUS SHOSANNA (Inventor of the no-paradox time machine from a recent thread) has designed and constructed a tesseract house like that in the Bob Heinlein short story “… And He Built A Crooked House”. She assures you that the house has none of the disastrous flaws of the one in the short story, and you have every reason to be confident of her talents and judgment. If you want more details, check the spoiler box:


Quercus rings you up one day to invite you to lunch at her new house so she can make you a business proposition. She is a lot more sensible than the typical hyper-genius; in Reid Richards’s place, she would have made octtuple sure her starship was properly shielded against radiation no matter how close the commies were to beating her to Alpha Centauri, and she’d have gotten the fuck away from Victor von Doom 30 seconds after meeting him.

You join Quercus on her hovercycle and fly to the house, a cube 30 meters on each side, with multiple entrances on each. The house was built by the construction robots that made Quercus her first fortune, but that is just the tip of the iceberg. The house comprises eight interior compartments each the same dimensions as the exterior shell. Quercus, you see, has replicated the achievement (but not the disaster) of Robert Heinlein’s short story “… And He Built A Crooked House,” designing & constructing the house as a three-dimensional projection of a tesseract, then causing it to extend into a fourth spatial dimension, thus transforming the external shell into the cube you saw from outside. This was done deliberately rather than accidentally as in the Heinlein story, and accomplished via physics, not magic; she even shows you the research used to enable the transformation, though frankly her math & physics are far beyond you. The important thing is that she assures you that the house is entirely stable in all spatial dimensions, something she has verified by living inside it for a year.

Quercus explains all this while giving you a tour of the house, showing off not only the fact that it is much larger than one might expect — on the inside, it is a good mile walk from the front door to the back— but also that the house is full of the amazing automation, entertainment, & power tech that made Quercus her 2nd, 3rd, & 4th fortunes. Living in this house is like living in Buckingham Palace without the guilt over class exploitation.

Which brings us to the business proposition. Quercus needs to demonstrate that a normal person, not involved in the design or construction of this structure, can successfully live in it. The fact that she herself has been doing so for a year doesn’t prove that; with her super-brain, she may be compensating for difficulties of navigation and whatnot unconsciously. Thus she would like you to help her test it out for a while. One of the eight compartments is unfurnished except for the automation freeing residents of housekeeping chores. This compartment, which you will recall is 30 x 30 x 30 meters in dimension, itself has several stories and multiple rooms inside. Quercus will continue to live and work in one of the other compartments, but since it is a good longwalk on the inside from her place to yours, it won’t be like y’all are suddenly becoming roommates. The house is close enough to where you live now so that your current life won’t be disrupted, and she will pay you handsomely for helping her out, as well as covering all utilities. say the word and she will pay to have your furniture shipped to this apartment or just buy new stuff if you prefer.


Would you take Quercus up on this opportunity? Why or why not?

What’s my monthly cost, mortgage, taxes, insurance & possibly HOV vs. the reimbursement? How much property do I need to take care of? How’s the parking situation? Is there a garage? It appears the square footage would be huge, over 50,000 square feet and as high as 90,000.

If it is reasonable, I see no reason why not. I’m looking to move anyway. It seems to be a no brainer.

If cheap, yes. If not, no.

I built a crooked house at the Morningstar Ranch commune. It (the house) collapsed and slid ominously into another dimension. Took a roast chicken with it, too. :smack: I no longer trust X-dimension tricks, especially when violating building codes. That’s the easy part of crooked houses: finding a crooked building inspector. They’re common.

If the rent is no more than my current residence yes, in a heart beat. Actually, I’d like to negotiate low or no rent for the first year because, after all, I am working for in the sense of demonstrating a (supposedly) normal human can exist just fine the place.

Of course I want a TARDIS.

I thought this was going to be about a real crooked house. My friends lived in a house which had over time settled unevenly. They nicknamed it Cthulu House because there were no right angles.

Several parts of my old house are decidedly crooked. I kinda like it!

I wouldn’t trust anyone named Quercus. Like Cretans, they’re all incapable of telling the truth.

Considering my genius friend has become an ultra-billionaire from her successful inventions, I’d like to negotiate a deal. I would be willing to test-dwell in this new contraption in return for:

A) A percentage (10? 1? 15?) of her profits from successful inventions in which I was somehow involved would be diverted to my Limited Liability Corporation (which is designed to limit my liability if something I successfully tested gets on the market, makes profits, and subsequently goes horribly wrong – a la the Heinlein tale).

B) First right-of-refusal on invitations to test future inventions.

Toys in the Attic I am Crazy…
…–Roger Waters (Pink Floyd)
The Trial
…The Wall

So, just to be clear, I’m being offered a chance to live in a large unfurnished mansion with (presumably) no windows. It’s located in a box with a lot of doors on it, but as long as I only pay attention to my own door it’ll be like I have the whole box to myself. There are weird physics that support the space, but they’ve been stable for over a year and, also, they’re not my problem. (Plus frankly the entire space outside the box runs on weird physics too. I mean, gravity?? What the hey??)

Also, the bathrooms clean themselves.

More also, it appears it will have reverse rent - she’ll be paying me to stay there.

I’m not really seeing the downside here. So sure! I’ll move in. I’ll only be using a tiny fraction of the space to live in, mind you, and another tiny fraction of the space for storage, but I should be able to live quite comfortably in there, and even plug in my subwoofer without bothering the neighbor(s). So yeah, sign me up!

(begbert2 is never heard from again. Quercus, having bought her safety with a bribe to the outer gods, lives in the house for another year before seeking another ‘tenant’.)

The tesseract house itself is fine. But the alligator pit in the basement is bothersome.

What about the brightly colored power tools?

I once lived in a 5th floor pre-Civil War apartment in NYC. The floor was noticeably slanted, the low point at the door. Whenever I came home, I had to be careful not to step on all the cat toys that had rolled toward the door.

Other than that, I’d love to live in Heinlein’s crooked house.

Is the place cat-proof? Because I’d hate to be chasing my Pixel and have her suddenly vanish into the 8th Dimension.

I’m really not seeing the downside, here.

Though I’m not clear on how you get a mile from the front door to the back-- It should be at most 120 m, less than a tenth of a mile.

And actually, there might be one downside. Assuming that gravity is consistent as you go from one cube to another, and that the topology of the cube connections is in fact that of a 4-D hypercube, this place will have Escherian staircases: The direction of gravity in a room will depend on the path you took to get to the room.

Or maybe that’s another upside. I’m not sure.

I’d ask to be able to go in and check it out for a short period, and then decide from there. If it can actually frustrate normal people, then I wouldn’t want to live there, as my frustration tolerance is lower than average these days. But if it feels fine, I’d probably give a whirl–though I’d prefer if I could negotiate a way leave if it becomes a problem. I’d even give her the ability to claim it was because of my mental illness and not actually reveal my failure until after she tested someone else who is more “normal.”

I already live in a crooked house, vintage 1904, even after a complete renovation a few years before we bought it in 2009. The walls are not plumb and the floors are not level. My six and a half foot bookcases touch the wall at the top and are a solid inch out from the bottom. If I leave the upright vacuum sitting on an east-west orientation, it rolls southward across the dining room floor. My refrigerator back right corner has to be rolled up onto shims or the thing won’t sit straight. I could go on.