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Dimension of Miracles ([Gollancz SF]) Hardcover – February 1, 1969


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Product Details

  • Series: [Gollancz SF]
  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Littlehampton Book Services Ltd (February 1969)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0575001992
  • ISBN-13: 978-0575001992
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,815,640 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Praise for Robert Sheckley:

''Sheckley has long been considered one of the genre's leading humorists.'' --New York Times Book Review

''Mr. Sheckley--as might be expected of a writer who can wring praise from as diverse a group of peers as Kingsley Amis, Harlan Ellison, John le Carre, and J. G. Ballard--has an engagingly madcap manner all his own.'' --Wall Street Journal --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

ROBERT SHECKLEY (1928-2005) was a Hugo-and Nebula-nominated American author. First published in the science fiction magazines of the 1950s, his numerous, quick-witted stories and novels were famously unpredictable, absurdist, and broadly comical. In 2001 he was given the Author Emeritus honor by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Sheckley certainly knows how to keep his readers interested.
John Peter O'connor
In this wonderful novel, which is essentially an expansion of shorter pieces, all his gifts are on full display.
William Timothy Lukeman
This is one of the best works of absurdist SF I have ever read.
creighton smith

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

22 of 24 people found the following review helpful By John Peter O'connor on January 28, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Carmody is an ordinary, unremarkable Earthman. One day he discovers that there is a galaxy wide civilisation, unknown to humans and he has won a prize in the galactic lottery. He is taken away from the Earth and given his prize which turns out to be a taking but opinionated source of advice. Armed only with his prize, he sets out on a hilarious journey across the galaxy. On the way, he meets many strange people including the man responsible for building the planet Earth in the first place.
The prize's advice is not always much use. When Carmody is confronted by a Tyrannosaurus Rex, the prize can only suggest turning into a plant or singing hymns!
The book races along at a frantic pace. Every couple of pages brings a new situation and a lot of humour. Sheckley certainly knows how to keep his readers interested.
If you think that this sounds a lot like "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" by Douglas Adams, you are right but this book was written a decade earlier and it is funnier.
Sheckley has written many other novels and short stories and they are all very funny indeed so, if you enjoy this book, you will find a lot more to enjoy there.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By E. Martin Olson on May 29, 2003
Format: Hardcover
This is one of the wittiest, craziest, most profound books I have ever read. It's a cosmic mind-youknowwhat with a strange bittersweet ending. I have had hilarious times hearing friends discuss Sheckley's concepts in DIMENSION, in his other two brilliant books MINDSWAP and JOURNEY OF JONES, and in his lean-and-mean short stories. Rudy Rucker (before he wrote his weirdly mean-spirited Saucer book), told me Mindswap was one of the books that inspired him to write sf. Dimension was the one that inspired me. If you like James Branch Cabell, Vonnegut, Bradbury at his tightest, Ambrose Bierce at his loopiest, and Chesterton at his craziest and most profound, if any of this means anything to you, you will LOVE this brilliant satire about the creation of earth, the alternative world of dinosaurs, the most hellish city ever built, why God's incompetence is his greatest quality, and why, ultimately, You Can't Go Home Again. This, my friends, is one of the great satirical fantasies of science fiction.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By jgray@atvideo.com on January 10, 1998
Format: Hardcover
Mr. Carmody is just your average working American who finds one afernoon that he's won the Galactic Sweepstakes by an Alien who escorts him to Galactic Central to collect his prize. Once there he is faced with the task of finding his own way back to Earth. Where earth is, isn't the only problem there is also "when" and "which" in a universe that contains an infinite variety. Enroute, Carmody must deal with beings ranging from the omnipotent to the incompetent with hilarious yet thought provoking results. Sheckley's subject matter is somewhere between "Alice in Wonderland" and "The HitchHicker's Guide to the Galaxy". His writing is not quite as good as Carol but better than Adams. Both Lewis Carol and Robert Sheckly try to say something important (even if it is obscure) while Douglas Adams is mostly irreverent comments on the absurdities of life. Both light and deep, and certainly funny, "Dimension of Miracles" is a very good read.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By peter hunt on September 9, 2002
Format: Hardcover
This is a wonderful book. I first read it in 1968, and it presaged brand labels on the outside of clothing, a media culture, and a number of other things. And it's really funny. My copy is falling apart, I've loaned it out so many times. Thus far, each person who has read it has loved it. I'm happy to be able to obtain another copy.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Slo-Hand on May 11, 2007
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
There was always something about Robert Sheckly's writing style that appealed to me. His chapters were short and usually very to the point so he had already waded through the tendency for authors to ramble and over edit themselves and I was spared having to read all that to get to the good stuff. It isn't surprising that Sheckly was known as a master of the short story. 'Dimension of Miracles' is not a short story but it feels like a short story that got gratuitously extended to novella length. Nevertheless it's still classic Sheckly. He knew science in a superficial way but yet enough to keep his stories believable. He is a nihilist philosophically speaking so if you take your religion or your science very seriously he might offend you. He also can come across as smug because he sees humor in irony and those little ironies continually pop up in his writing. Concretely a paleontologist might be put off by a talking T-Rex who lived 100 million years ago because they were ruthless predators that evolved perhaps 2 million years before the dinosaur extinction. In an Ed Whitten parrallel brane Universe perhaps they talked and were civilized but .... prepared for the big Sheckly ironic ending which I won't give away. I'm still trying to figure out why Carmody's prize was so valuable which ofcourse is just another Sheckly irony !
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful By M. Resnick on September 8, 1999
Format: Hardcover
In the 1960s, Robert Sheckley, the funniest writer ever to grace the field of science fiction, created a kind of humor that could only function as science fiction. DIMENSION OF MIRACLES is his absolute masterpiece, a book that has not been equalled in the 30+ years since its first appearance.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By M-I-K-E 2theD on March 14, 2011
Format: Hardcover
As can be expected from a silly science fiction book, there aren't laughs from cover to cover. More realistically, the first quarter is pretty good producing a good amount of laughs and head shaking. The half has some giggles but nothing more. At the end, it's an odd smile and an occasional shrug. Needless to say, the steam of hilarity is quickly dissipated in the steep chimney of story telling... but it was still easy enough and stomachable enough to finish off in one morning.

Like other silly science fiction books (Norstilia, Arrive at Easterwine, etc.), a major crutch the author uses is spontaneity, which sometimes manifests as just ridiculous randomness. Sheckley, however, keeps a close tab on his randomness and the silliness doesn't stray too far into juvenile absurdity. Puns are another unfortunate staple of what some authors consider to be funny novels. Again, Sheckley is self-disciplined only allowing one glaring pun on the words `cards' and `way'.

Aside from being a silly novel, it feels like Sheckley put lot of his personal credo in the pages. It's really quite an impressive list, however blatant some of it is: free will/human error, creation/death, conceptions/reality and touches on religious hypocrisy, law of diminishing returns and law of predation. Further, Sheckley has some interesting and thoughtful ideas about the differentiating between sanity and insanity, the boredom an omniscient being would experience and how waste could be a memorial to our needs.

Far from being one of the worst humorous science fiction stories out there (I think the short story `E van S' by Piers Anthony takes THAT prize), Dimension of Miracles is a thoughtful exposé of an intelligent man's personal philosophy, a comical feature of a witty man's humor and a keen unfolding done by the hand of one man's literary experience. Four stars is a little high for this but I'll round it up from 3.5.
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