17

I can only remember two things about the book is that

  1. It involved time or dimensional travel by the use of staring at one of those spinning tops one manually cranks.
  2. Everlasting light bulbs that the main character brings back from his travels.

I also remember it being a darn good read.

  • Welcome to Science Fiction & Fantasy! Take a look at this guide to help jog your memory and edit any more details. Specifically things like when you read it, or where? Also, take a look at our tour to get a better understanding of our site and earn your first badge! – Edlothiad May 18 '17 at 0:24
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    I agree with Valorum and KenM that is the book you want. IF you agree please remember to mark one of them as the answer. – Enigma Maitreya May 18 '17 at 2:10
26

This is Ring around the Sun by Clifford D. Simak.

There's a mention of an everlasting lightbulb (among other inventions)

It had been the blade at first, the razor blade that would not wear out. And after that the lighter that never failed to light, that required no flints and never needed filling. Then the light bulb that would burn forever if it met no accident. Now it was the Forever car and the synthetic carbohydrates.

The protagonist travels by way of a spinning top.

He wondered if anyone else had ever watched a spinning top and walked into fairyland. And he wondered, if they had, what had happened to them.

You can read the full story (legally) here

  • 3
    Daddy, what's a lighter? Though my CFLs and now LEDs haven't burned out yet, and my '88 Toyota is still going strong :-) – jamesqf May 18 '17 at 3:33
  • @jamesqf - I want me one of those 'always sharp' razors. – Valorum May 18 '17 at 7:07
  • @Valorum Ceramic razor blades last long and are only 20 USD on Amazon. – Cees Timmerman May 18 '17 at 12:18
  • @CeesTimmerman - I swear by the RazorPit for extending the live of my Mach3 blades but they're still not everlasting. – Valorum May 18 '17 at 12:54
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    Oh no, I was looking for that book for several years (I've read the beginning, there were razors and dresses). But the time travel part is definitely a spoiler =( – Serge Seredenko May 18 '17 at 19:46
25

I’m pretty sure this is Clifford Simak’s Ring Around the Sun. You have the everlasting products; lightbulbs, razors, cars. Corporations are worried that because of those products, society’s economic system will collapse. The spinning top that allows travel to parallel worlds. Available here via the Open Library.

The cover to “Ring Around the Sun”

  • 1
    Hilariously enough, we now have (effectively) everlasting lightbulbs, and society doesn't seem to have collapsed (yet). – Kevin May 18 '17 at 17:40
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    @Kevin If you look beyond the headline number we really don't. LED bulbs might have numbers on the box claiming decades; but that's at 1000hours /year usage rates (2.8 hours/day). Divide by 2-4 for lights that are on much of the day and 8.7 for any that are 24/7; and more frequently used light bulbs will still need to be periodically replaced. From the other direction, I've got a fixture that I use so infrequently (probably under an hour/month); that it's still got the same two incandescent bulbs that were in it when I moved in a dozen years ago. – Dan Neely May 18 '17 at 17:50
  • Maybe it's the Deep Corporate-Military-Industrial Complex State that's behind the failures of Skarp, the everlasting laser shaving razor. Or it just sucks. – Nick T May 18 '17 at 22:20

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