What Mad Universe

What Mad Universe

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What Mad Universe

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What Mad Universe is a science-fiction novel, written in 1949 by the American author, Fredric Brown.


Keith Winton is a journalist for a science-fiction review. With his glamorous co-worker girlfriend, Betty, he visits his friends one day in their elegant estate in the Catskills, unfortunately on the same day as an experimental rocket is to be launched. Betty has to go back to New York. Keith is alone in his friends' garden, deep in thought, when, suddenly, the engine of the rocket (whose launch has been a failure) crashes and explodes on his friends' residence, taking him to a strange but deceptively similar parallel universe. Wild-eyed, Keith is astonished to see how credits have replaced dollars; is amazed when he encounters some scantily-clad pin-up girls who are, at the same time, astronauts; is driven to stupor when he encounters his first Arcturian. But it is when he tries to get back to his usual world when he finally understands his problem, if not the solution.


What Mad Universe is full of humour, mostly stemming from the description of the culture shock that the protagonist feels, and the strange things that are in the universe, like knitting machines that open the way for a voyage in space. A half-serious, half-humorous take on modern society and the reality of our world, its light-hearted style would be built on by subsequent books, most notably his 1955 work, Martians, Go Home.


The novel has been named amongst the capstones of...
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