I'm trying to find a story from the '50's about a man who travels to another dimension by staring at a spinning top. In this dimension, at a certain age, people get put into a room with a TV and never come out.

  • Welcome to SFF:SE. We recommend having a read-through of the tour, which also includes hints for story identification questions which may jog your memory for more details.
    – Politank-Z
    Commented Aug 26, 2017 at 5:54
  • same as scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/159724/… (both this and that have confirmation comments but no accepted answer)
    – Otis
    Commented Aug 27, 2017 at 7:06

1 Answer 1


This novel is called Ring around the Sun, and its author is Clifford D. Simak.
There some humans (called "mutants") could travel to a number of parallel worlds, exactly as you describe.

"You remember the top, Crawford?" asked Vickers. "The one that was in my room that night?"
"I remember it."
"You spun it and it vanished," said Vickers.
"And it came back again."
"Crawford, why did you spin that top?"
Crawford licked his lips nervously. "Why, I don't really know. It might have been an attempt to rescue boyhood, an urge to be a boy again."
"You asked me what the top was for."
"You told me it was for going into fairyland and I told you that a week before I would have said that we were crazy - you for saying a thing like that and I for listening to you."


Crawford shook his head. "I can't understand it, Vickers. It doesn't make any sense, but I went into that fairyland once myself. Just like you, when I was a kid. I remembered it after I talked to you. Maybe because I talked to you. I remembered once I had sat on the floor and watched the top go round and wondered where the stripes were going - you know how they come up and disappear and then another one comes up and disappears. I wondered where they went and I got so interested that I must have followed them, for all at once I was in fairyland and there were a lot of flowers and I picked a flower and when I got back again I still had the flower and that's the way I knew I'd really been in fairyland. You see, it was winter and there were no flowers and when I showed the flower to mother..."

  • Can you provide any more details, such as a plot summary or other details? "Spoilers" are highly encouraged as they're looking for a book they've already read.
    – Edlothiad
    Commented Aug 26, 2017 at 13:29
  • Thanks for editing! Where did you actually find the text? With those d**ned copyright issues and so on... I'm just new here (StackOverflow is far more familiar to me :)), so I've tried to answer just because I wanted to help the OP to find the lost book. Commented Aug 26, 2017 at 14:13
  • They're one of the resident experts in story-identifications and probably knows every trick and rule to getting copies of works. As for your answer. You've done perfectly and now with the extra details it looks even better! Welcome and we hope you stick around!
    – Edlothiad
    Commented Aug 26, 2017 at 14:57
  • Thank you so much, Andre. This is fantastic!! When I was a kid, I read every sci-if book in our library. I've been haunted about this story for a long time, but couldn't find anyone who knew it. Need to get the book. Thank you again. Commented Aug 26, 2017 at 17:53
  • Thank you, FuzzyBoots for the edit. Yes, this is exactly the story I was looking for. You nailed it! Commented Aug 26, 2017 at 17:56

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