First, the cover has a purple alien riding a motorbike down a road at night. As I recall it's sort of squid like, and wearing biker clothes.

The two stories are:

  1. Three friends discover a device that lets them go to alternate universes, in the lab of a recently deceased parent. The three friends, two guys and a girl, get separated, and during the separation one of them is trained in a world were he learns to control his fear and do many things he thought impossible. Basically normal fat guy becomes bad ass and eventually saves the girl whom he secretly likes.

  2. A guy on a dark road gets a flat tire and tries to wave down an approaching motorbike. This leads to an alien encounter when the rider is a girl working for a space law enforcement agency. While pursuing the bad guy the girl and the guy switch bodies and this affects their thinking. Girl starts to get horny, jealous, protective, the boy is less horny, more clear headed, and trying to solve the problems. It ends back on the same road at night.

I'm pretty sure I read this between 2000 and 2010.

I'd love to find the book again, or get the stories.

1 Answer 1


Keith Laumer, The Lighter Side, an anthology published in 2002 by Baen Books, includes two novels and a seven-fingered handful of short stories.

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Your #1 story is the second included novel, "The Great Time Machine Hoax", where our hero, Chester W. Chester IV, owner a dilapidated circus inherits his great-grandpa's invention, the self-aware computer GNE (Generalized Nonlinear Extrapolator), and a million dollar tax bill. He and his friend Case decide to use the computer's VR capabilities to simulate a time machine, while the computer simulates a beautiful girl (Genie, of course.)

It turns out the VR is a little too good, and Chester becomes temporarily trapped in an alternate future where he is trained physically and mentally.

Your #2 is the other included novel, "The Time Trap", and begins when Roger Tyson tries to flag down a speeding motorcycle in a storm:

"Stop!" He leaped aside at the last instant as a low-slung motorcycle leaped out of the gloom, a slim, girlish figure crouched behind the windshield. He caught just a glimpse of her shocked expression as she swerved to miss him. The speeding bike went into a skid, slid sideways forty feet, and plunged off the road. There was a prolonged crashing and snapping of wood and metal, a final resounding crunch, and silence.

As the rider is dying, she passes on her message, "Beware of the Rhox!" and an earpiece that contains her personality.

The next motorcycle that comes by is the one depicted on the cover.

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