I'm a little confused with the whole idea of matter warping the 'fabric of space.' I'm a sophmore in high school and I'm just in Algebra 2 and pre-calc, so a strict mathematical definition isn't exactly what I'm looking for. In fact, the only knowledge I have about this is based on illustration and brief description. There are two main things I'm confused about. The Paper Model It seems like a lot of the illustrations I see for distorted space are shown as warped pieces of paper, or malleable surfaces. I was watching that thing on string theory via the NOVA website the other night and it used the image of the sun as a heavy ball on a trampoline. This confused me because it illustrates space as sitting on one invisible surface. Are illustrations such as these used to show only one of the infinite amount of planes affected by the matter depicted? If so, that makes sense. But that brings me to my next question... 'In' or 'Out'? Here I have two seemingly contradictory images of how matter affects the space around it. The first is a very common illustration and one I already mentioned, the ball on a trampoline illustration. To me, this is showing matter stretching space out around it (the lines curving under the ball to slide around it). I have a different picture in a book, though. I'm sorry that I can't find anything online resembling it, but it's an image in book called Big Bang: The Story of the Universe by Heather Couper and Niegel Henbest (page 39). It's an illustrated, layman's guide to the Big Bang. Anyway, for those who don't have (access to) it, it shows an illustration of a cube with a massive object in the middle. The object seems to distort the cube by sucking in the space around it (obviously, the space closest to the object is more distorted and the cube shape is gradually reformed as you move away from the object), whereas in the other drawing, the object seemed to distort space in the opposite direction. The cube model makes more sense to me, but considering the fact that both models seem to be valid/used a lot, I'm assuming that they really are compatible and that the problem is just my understanding of them. NOTE: If you'd prefer to just explain the subject in general without directly addressing my specific questions, that's fine (but I'd appreciate it if the questions were answered somewhere in the explanation). Suggested reading for someone at my level would be nice, too. Thanks!