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I have a strong recollection of reading a short story sometime in the '70s (maybe in Analog magazine) roughly about a man who was living in some kind of experiment run by aliens, in which the same day was repeated over and over... (shades of Groundhog Day) - until he accidentally passed out under a metallic boat hull in his garage, and he was able to then realize he was in this experimental world where the same day repeats.

I think the title contained the word "Tuesday" (or some other day of the week); IIRC the author mentioned that he considered using the title "The Ides of March" but decided against it.

Sound familiar to anyone?

marked as duplicate by Ward, Null Apr 24 '16 at 3:33

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up vote 23 down vote accepted

This is, in all likelihood, "The Tunnel Under the World" by Frederik Pohl, which has previously been asked about and answered at least twice before. The detail with the boat combined with the overall shape of the plot pretty much clinches it, as cited in this question's accepted answer (originally provided by user Hypnosifl):

The biggest surprise was the upside-down boat hull that blocked the rear half of the cellar, relic of a brief home workshop period that Burckhardt had gone through a couple of years before. From above, it looked perfectly normal. Inside, though, where there should have been thwarts and seats and lockers, there was a mere tangle of braces, rough and unfinished.

Please see that question for additional details and confirmation.

  • Wow! Yeah, that really sounds right, though I'll have to re-read the story to see if it fits. The Wikipedia article summary definitely seems right. I forgot about the town's explosion and the perpetrator of the 'experiment', though that seems very familiar! Seems my memory may be fading a bit. Awesome, thanks! – Inactivist Apr 20 '16 at 4:43

Never mind! See update at bottom of post.

Otis's answer suggests that you are remembering "The Tunnel Under the World" by Frederik Pohl, which was originally published in Galaxy Science Fiction, July 1955. That is quite a famous story; you can read it at the Internet Archive or Project Gutenberg or listen to a reading at Librivox or listen to the X Minus One radio play from 56-03-14. That story was also the answer to this old question and this one.

I'm sure Otis is right; the part about the boat clinches it, that is from "The Tunnel Under the World". Also, the story begins "On the morning of June 15th . . .", so it could have been titled "The Ides of June". However, there is another story which fits some of your data points better than the Pohl story: there is a day of the week in the title, it was an Analog story, and its magazine appearance was somewhat closer to the 1970s. Could it be that you read both of those stories and have conflated them?

The story I'm thinking of is "All Day Wednesday" by Richard Olin, originally published in Analog Science Fact & Science Fiction, March 1963; you can read it at Project Gutenberg. There is no boat, but like Pohl's story it's about an endlessly repeating day:

Ernie shook his head again. "Wait a minute. Let me get my head clear—O.K., now you say everybody is in some kind of trance. Why?

"I tried to make you see it today. The world is stuck. It's stuck in this God-forsaken one day! We don't know why. Some of us—just a few—have known it all along. But even we can't remember what caused it."

"You mean it's happening everywhere?"

"Yes. Or not happening, I guess you'd say. We're not getting reports from overseas . . . not any that are any different from the first Wednesday. So it must be the same over there. It's the whole world, Ernie."

[. . . .]

Ernie laughed scornfully. "You've got a good deal. Why louse it up? What do you stand to gain?"

Jory shook his head. "You're wrong, Ernie. For one thing, everything is slowly running down. Miners go to the same part of the mine each day and send out nothing but empty cars. The same thing is happening all across the country, in farms, in factories, in hospitals—"

Ernie got up. "Keep talking," he said.

"Hospitals are hideous these days, Ernie. Don't go near a surgeon. All he can do are the same operations he performed on the first Wednesday. If you're the wrong height, the wrong weight, or just there at the wrong time, he'll cut you to pieces.

"Homes burn to the ground. And nobody tries to get out of them. The fire department is no good. It's stuck in that first Wednesday.

Update. You must have read "The Tunnel Under the World" in the 1975 collection The Best of Frederik Pohl. From Pohl's afterword titled "What the Author Has to Say About All This":

In 1954 Lester del Rey and I were writing a novel in collaboration, and it was taking forever. [. . .] So one day, when we were on the third draft of chapter six, or possibly the sixth draft of chapter three, I announced I needed a vacation, and I took a week off and wrote "The Tunnel Under the World." (I didn't call it that. I called it "The Ides of June," and I still like that title better, but it seems a little late, now, to change it back.)

  • Interesting! It does sound like a conflation, but I don't see any collections over at ISFDB that include both. Pohl's story came before Olin's, but is much more widely collected -- I wonder if the preface of "Tunnel" in one of the many post-1963 collections in which it appears appears makes reference to "All Day". – Otis Apr 19 '16 at 14:40
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    @Otis Looks like "All Day Wednesday" was a red herring. Evidently the OP read "The Tunnel Under the World" in The Best of Frederik Pohl which came out in 1975. I updated my answer. – user14111 Apr 19 '16 at 23:11
  • Yeah, I may have conflated two stories, I did read quite a lot of Pohl's works back then - though I have strong memories of the boat hull blocking the 'reset' signal (for lack of a better term) thus allowing the subject to escape the endless cycle... and another strong recollection of a day of the week in the title, though again, that may be due to my failing memory. I'll go read the referenced stories and see if anything jogs my memory. Thanks, all! – Inactivist Apr 20 '16 at 4:36

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