I read this when I was really young. I don't remember much, just that the main character gets lost or finds his way into this different world, somehow he settles down and marries one of the creatures, and feels somewhat contented. Then somehow he is thrusted back into his own world and desperately wants to return to this other world and back to his creature wife.

It's more fantasy rather than science fiction. The world felt very 'dark crystal'.

It's been years since I read it. Sorry, can't be more specific.

  • This seems a bit vague. Any detail at all would be useful.
    – AJL
    Sep 7, 2016 at 10:16
  • Could this be Pol Anderson's Three Hearts and Three Lions? Or perhaps the first John Carter story by Edger Rice Burroughs? Unfortunately this is a very common trope. Do you remember any further details? What is the wife's race? What does she normally wear/
    – NomadMaker
    May 17, 2021 at 19:46
  • Any chance it was: Magic Kingdom for Sale--Sold! by Terry Brooks?
    – JonSG
    May 17, 2021 at 20:17

2 Answers 2


This is a very common trope and there must be hundreds of stories that match. The first story of this type that I remember was Submicroscopic by Captain S. P. Meek, which I read in Asimov's anthology Before the Golden Age.

The protaganist, Courtney Edwards, builds a shrinking machine. He shrinks himself and discovers a submicroscopic world where he meets and falls in love with a princess called Awlo. He is returned to his own world by force by his dastardly rival in love, and in the sequel Awlo of Ulm he returns to reclaim his bride.


Or possibly an earlier one was "Random Quest" by John Wyndham which begins its tale in 1926 In the story he does mention Hitler which makes it more likely as written post war I would think and the story wasn't published in his own name until an anthology in 1961 which makes dating it difficult. However, Wyndham started publishing short stories in 1925 as John Beynon or John Beynon Harris, initially to American science fiction magazines (JW is British), like Wonder Stories.

In this story the protagonist, a physicist, is involved in a laboratory accident and wakes up in a parallel universe - like earth but different, for example India is still part of the colonies. After some confusion and time has past (its unclear how long but certainly months), he accepts the new world (what else can he do) and falls in love with a woman eventually coming to enjoy the life (spoiler alert) before suddenly the laboratory event reverses itself and he wakes up back in his own (original) world, heartbroken because he has lost his one true love. I wont spoil the rest of the love story.

Sounds close to your original and John Wyndham was known for writing short stories with general fiction themes (e.g. coming of age / love / gender related) in a Sci Fi context. As such he was one of the first to include this everyday context - previously the majority of the genre was focused on masculine, boys own, ray guns, epic adventure, comic book type stories (JW did begin with these but rapidly moved on).

Hope this helps

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