I'm looking for some help please; I'm trying to find out the title(s?) of a book(s?) I read over 20 years ago. I can't remember much about them — may have been a series (I think there was more than one) — but the main character was a man, may have lost a wife / lover (not sure on that point). I think he was contacted by a police-type force working across parallel universes (quite sure on that point). The passage that stands out in my memory vividly is from (I think) the first book, where he has an overwhelming sense of somebody being in the passageway outside his bedroom, but there's no-one there (very certain) but then somebody does pop in from a parallel universe (fairly certain on that point) - I think he's taken to the police force's base (but not certain and may be getting confused with Moorcock) - something in my memory says the series may have been written by an American author (but not sure). thanks in advance for any help anybody can give. :)

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    Can you recall anything else about the book or books? Right now the question is a little thin on identifiable details, since many of the things mentioned are common to quite a few works in the sub-genre (parallel universes, inter-universal police force, lost a significant other, and so forth).
    – Adamant
    Oct 25, 2016 at 7:59
  • Thanks for your response, appreciate you taking the time. I'm really sorry, not much - I think they were written in the 80's or earlier, something tells me 60's or 70's - I think I borrowed them from a local library or even a school library in the late 80's early-mid 90's, and I seem to remember the books feeling like they'd been printed before then (I appreciate how vague all of this is!) - I think the male protagonist was in his 30's, poss 40's?
    – Paul
    Nov 6, 2016 at 21:05
  • P.S. Sorry for delayed reply, somehow set 2 accounts up & thought question hadn't posted - only just resolved so just seen your reply, thanks again!
    – Paul
    Nov 6, 2016 at 21:11

3 Answers 3


Possibly the first of the World of Tiers books, The Maker of Universes. The book begins as an old man and his wife are looking over a house. The man goes into the basement and gets a funny feeling and hears a strange horn call. Out of nowhere a portal opens and he sees a red haired man (Kikaha) surrounded by strange ape-like men trying to attack him. Kikaha says something like "there you are!" And throws a horn through the portal to the old man, whereupon the portal closes. The old man is mystified and goes home but the whole thing keeps going through his head. At last he heads back to the house in the middle of the night, blows the horn, the portal opens, and he steps through.

  • Thanks for your reply, appreciate you taking the time! Had a look, don't think it was that series - I'd done some further research since posting, thought it may have been H. Beam Piper's Paratime series but then found them on Project Guternberg and really didn't seem like it! Thanks again :) P.S. Sorry for the delay in replying - I'd somehow set 2 accounts up, and thought my question hadn't posted - only just resolved so just seen your reply, thanks again!
    – Paul
    Nov 6, 2016 at 21:06

John Barnes, The Timeline Wars

The series consists of three novels:

  1. Patton's Spaceship (1997)
  2. Washington's Dirigible (1997)
  3. Caesar's Bicycle (1997)

    *Patton's Spaceship* *Washington's Dirigible* *Caesar's Bicycle*

In Patton's Spaceship, Mark Strang is an art historian whose family (including his pregnant wife) dies in a terrorist attack. Shortly before the attack, Mark's father, a professor who has been investigating the terrorists, tells Mark of a threatening office visit from a man who seemed to materialize and vanish from just out of view in the hallway.

An interdimensional police force called ATN(1), derived from a culture that diverged from our timeline in ancient Greece, recruits Mark to be a dimension-hopping secret agent to oppose the Closers, the descendants of an alternate-timeline Carthage. An agents' role in the temporal arms race is to create new timelines by modifying historical events, such as by introducing the anachronistic technologies of the books' titles.

The novels have been gathered into one book, The Timeline Wars (1997):

  *The Timeline Wars*

A short story, "Upon Their Backs, to Bite 'Em" (in Drakas!, 2000), is a crossover with S. M. Stirling's Draka universe.

(1) ATN: "Allied Timelines for Nondeterminism"

  • Thanks so much for the suggestion, I think these books would have come out after when I remember reading the book I was after, but shall check them out as my memory might be playing tricks! Really appreciate you taking the time to respond :)
    – Paul
    Dec 18, 2018 at 23:10

Parts of it sound close to the lensman series by E. E. "Doc" Smith, as there are some parallels, kimball kinnison is a member of a inter-galactic police force that opposes the invasion from creatures of another dimension. in the last book he is launched into some interdimensional plane and sensed by his wife from multiple dimensions away.

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    The Patrol did not act as a police force over parallel universes. In the course of the series, the hyperspatial tube is used to reach other universes, but no jurisdiction is ever established, nor is any intelligent life ever seen. The incident where Kinnison was sent through parallel universes is a one-time trip, and the device that caused that did not survive the final battle. Dec 17, 2018 at 18:26
  • Thanks so much for taking the time to respond, I shall check these books out, really appreciate it!
    – Paul
    Dec 18, 2018 at 23:13

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