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It's been about 25 years since I read a story in an anthology. The only details I remember from it are that a guy is told that if, while walking down a road (or something similar), he mentally forces himself to think of dimensions opposite of what they are (down is up, left is right, etc.), he will be able to move into another dimension. He succeeds, but that's all I remember of the story.

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3 Answers 3

up vote 5 down vote accepted

"The Gostak and the Doshes" by Miles J. Breuer, M.D.. There's a review at Alex Kasman's Mathematical Fiction site. The full text is available at Wikisource.

If you read it in an anthology around 1985, that could have been The Arbor House Treasury of Science Fiction Masterpieces (which was republished in slightly abridged form as Great Tales of Science Fiction), or perhaps Amazing Stories: 60 Years of the Best Science Fiction.

"According to fiction writers, to switch into the t dimension, some sort of apparatus with an electrical field ought to be necessary. It is not. You need nothing more to rotate into the t dimension than you do to stop the moon and make the trees move as you ride down the road; or than you do to turn the cubes upside down. It is a matter of relativity."

I had ceased trying to wonder or to understand.

"Show me!" was all I could gasp.

"The success of this experiment in changing from the z to the t co-ordinate has depended largely on my lucky discovery of a favourable location. It is just as, when you want the moon to ride the tree-tops successfully, there have to be favourable features in the topography or it won't work. The edge of this building and that little walk between the two rows of Norway poplars seems to be an angle between planes in the z and t dimensions. It seems to slope downward, does it not?—Now walk from here to the end and imagine yourself going upward. That is all. Instead of feeling this building behind and above you, conceive it as behind and below. Just as on your ride by moonlight, you must tell yourself that the moon is not moving while the trees ride by. Can you do that? Go ahead, then." He spoke in a confident tone, as though he knew exactly what would happen.

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HOLY CRAP THAT'S IT!! (sorry for the caps, but I've been trying to figure this out for years!) –  Larry G. Wapnitsky Jun 8 at 18:39

This sounds to me like a Roger Zelazny story, but I'm not quite sure from your description. It could be one of the short stories he wrote in the Amber universe, but it actually makes me think of "Roadmarks", which would be a short book rather than a short story. Hope that helps.

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just looked at the summary...doesn't ring a bell. thanks, though –  Larry G. Wapnitsky Sep 15 '11 at 14:45
Roadmarks has walking down a road, but no “down is up” business that I can remember. Amber has interdimensional travel, but no “up is right” either. –  Gilles Sep 15 '11 at 20:07

Sounds a bit like Elsewhen from Robert Heinlein, but there are probably too many differences for it to be the one you're looking for.

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I'm a big Heinlein fan, and when I started reading that story a few years ago I thought it was it. Unfortunately not. –  Larry G. Wapnitsky Oct 13 '11 at 13:50

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