Who namely known author used the concept of being bigger on the inside first? A holodeck is bigger on the inside, the TARDIS is, on Diskworld the Home of Death and Rincewind's Luggage are, Hermione's handbag is... Or think of this beautifully crafted excample from ENT "Future Tense"

Timeship: Bigger on the inside too

It's a known trope, and can be traced back to 1001 nights.

But who was the first known author to use the concept for speculative fiction?

  • 1
    @DVK Thanks for the edit! I hope things are clearer that way. Indeed I'm looking for the name of an author.
    – Einer
    May 18, 2014 at 13:09
  • You could argue that every story that deals with infinite space are subtropes, because if they are in our world, they must be visible. I don't know the first story that deals with infinite size though. May 18, 2014 at 14:47
  • @SebastianSchmitz I agree with your reasoning - to a degree: It's not what I intended to ask but I agree it's what I actually did ask. Anyway: If you you come up with an early infinte-size-story I'll surly consider it a legit answer (and would be interested to read it)!
    – Einer
    May 18, 2014 at 15:54
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    I would argue that a holodeck isn't bigger on the inside, it just looks like it is
    – user20310
    May 18, 2014 at 20:16
  • Of the examples you give, the TARDIS is by far the oldest, since it dates back to the first season of Doctor Who, which aired in 1963.
    – N. Virgo
    May 19, 2014 at 3:40

4 Answers 4


Charles Howard Hinton (1853-1907), a mathematician and writer, was a big influence on dimension based speculative science fiction work. He wrote several short stories and essays that laid out a lot of the scientific framework for dimensionality in literature. Some of these were based on the concepts of Flatland (1884), which was 2 dimensional, and expanded on them.

Hinton's intention in his writing, fiction and non-fiction, was to provide a stronger scientific basis for the concept of extra-dimensional space since this was becoming a common topic in the mid-to-late 1800's.

  • 4
    Thanks for this answer! Carroll and Wilde are more describing "doorways" - don't they? I mean Alice is not really inside the rabbit hole... The Hinton-hint (no pun intended) is just great! If no-one comes up with something pre-dating that, this is the right answer, I guess!
    – Einer
    May 18, 2014 at 15:11
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    @Einer I agree, I would remove the first paragraph entirely, since it is just wrong and detracts from an otherwise quite good answer!
    – o0'.
    May 18, 2014 at 21:15
  • I've modified it, although Alice in Wonderland ( and Through the Looking Glass) dealt with a number dimension bending topics beyond just the rabbit hole. Exactly what those worlds are, Carroll left it up to the dreams of his readers.
    – jfrankcarr
    May 18, 2014 at 23:31

Not sure if earliest, but Master and Margarita by Bulgakov used the trope. The publication date is 1966 but the novel itself was writrten between 1928 and 1940.

It's not easy to find which year he included the idea of "Using the familiarity with 5th dimension to turn a small Soviet apartment into Voland's ballroom" but 1940 is the upper limit.

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    Sounds like a novel I should know about. I certainly have some catching up to do! Thanks!
    – Einer
    May 18, 2014 at 13:23

In Jaroslav Hasek's "Good soldier Svejk" (cca 1923), chapter 4:

... and the other explained to me that inside the globe there was another globe much bigger than the outer one.


The Wardrobe in CS Lewis "The Lion The Witch and the Wardrobe" predates the TARDIS by some time. Lewis also uses a device rather akin to wormholes to jump into different worlds with different time flow rates in "The Magician's Nephew", breathtaking ideas given how long ago they were written.

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    And in neither case are they objects that are bigger on the inside, they are doorways to another world.
    – KSmarts
    Feb 24, 2015 at 22:27

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