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I'm trying to find a book about a city built on the side of an infinite wall - infinitely tall as well as infinitely long. There was a picture of it on the cover. The city is built on platforms jutting out, and if you fell off, you'd be gone forever. Unfortunately, I can't remember the title, the author, the publisher or anything else but the setting, but I think the plot might have been a detective story.

  • If there were an infinitely tall and infinitely long wall, gravity would be perpendicular to it, not parallel. – Ward May 16 '12 at 4:20
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    Okay, so I may have been imprecise saying it was an "infinite" wall. I just mean that the wall's scale, relative to its occupants, is so vast that they could never find the top, base or ends. – John May 16 '12 at 5:52
  • @John Actually, infinite is the correct word in this situation. Like many English words, infinite has more than one meaning and immeasurably large is one of them. – Donald.McLean Aug 14 '12 at 13:57
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This sounds like On by Adam Roberts. The protagonist, Tighe, grows up in a village perched on a series of rocks/platforms sticking out from the infinite wall. At one point he falls off, luckily landing on the top of a hot-air ballon several miles below, where he joins a city.

At the end, we discover:

that this is the future of our world, but overuse of some sort of technology made gravity turn sideways, so that the "wall" is actually the ground of the planet and the platforms are hills and remnants of buildings from our time.

One cover shows Tighe climbing the wall.

ON - Book Cover - 2001

  • So gravity runs parallel to the ground? Does this mean if the protagonist had kept falling he would have eventually arrived back at his start point? – DJClayworth May 16 '12 at 13:08
  • Presumably, yes, although various funky things do happen at the poles. – Daniel Roseman May 16 '12 at 13:27
  • I think we have a winner, though the cover doesn't look like I remembered. I'm pretty sure that's it, though. Thanks! – John May 16 '12 at 22:18
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    Wouldn't wind be a problem? And what happened to the oceans? And does the globe spin faster and faster? And... oh, never mind. – Beta May 22 '12 at 16:29
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    @Beta They call Roberts "the king of high concept SF", not "the king of SF that actually makes sense in any physically coherent way". – Daniel Roseman May 22 '12 at 16:33
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In the clockwork novel "Escapement" by Jay Lake there is a world-girding impassable wall. The protagonist comes from a village strung up the wall but fishes in the river at the base. The cover has a picture of the wall, the river and a dirigible.

  • That's not quite it. I should clarify that, as far as anyone in this village/city knows, there is no base to this wall, nor any top or ends. – John May 16 '12 at 5:50
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I think this is Stone and Sky by Graham Edwards.

Stone & Sky - Book Cover

The book, as well as its sequels, follows the adventures of British historian and naturalist Jonah Lightfoot, who is caught in the eruption of Krakatoa in 1883. The blast transports him and American runaway Annie West into a vertical world consisting of a seemingly infinite wall populated by crumbling civilisations, weird creatures, and sentient dragons. No one knows where the wall begins or ends, and no one dares to climb to its top or fall to its base.

This world is called Amara, and it is a place deeply entwined with our own world. Throughout the books Jonah and his companions traverse the world and uncover its many mysteries. The true nature of Amara is fully revealed in the second book of the trilogy, Stone and Sea.

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"Farewell Horizontal" by K W Jeter? Though as I recall that was a tower not a wall.

  • Also in Farewell - weren't the cities inside the tower? And only small populations of renegades on the outside? – Strangeland May 18 '12 at 16:38
  • Can't remember to be honest - it's over a decade since I last read it and I've lost my copy in the mean time. I remember enjoying it immensely though. – John Rennie May 18 '12 at 17:00

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