I read a short story about a huge underground prison shaped like a ferris wheel. One goes down and comes up 50 or so years later.

It was in Alfred Hitchcock horror collection or similar-style scifi collection.

The cover was similar to this, though I believe it was not this (it may have been a competitor, but was this books shape and size):

enter image description here

Does anyone know this story?

  • 1
    There was a similar prison/trap in one of the John Carter books, not sure on which one though.
    – ivanivan
    Apr 18 '18 at 12:46
  • 1
    Also covered by James P. Hogan in "Endgame Enigma" (err, spoilers)
    – thrig
    Apr 18 '18 at 14:15

This could be "Manuscript found in a police state" by Brian W Aldiss - long time since I read it so the details are lost in my senior memory!


This strange story is about a man imprisoned in a jail that is a giant circular chain of prisons cells that makes a revolution around a central axis into the side of a great mountain. Each cellmate must spend time every day pulling on a chain to advance the entire wheel of cells slightly. It takes ten years for the completion of one's imprisonment-- the time it takes to make a revolution

The anthology was 'Nine Strange Stories' and here is the cover:

enter image description here

  • 3
    The prison is also part of the Helliconia Trilogy.
    – gnasher729
    Apr 18 '18 at 20:56
  • 1
    WOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! OMG How did you find it! You're 100% correct!
    – TheAsh
    Apr 18 '18 at 21:07
  • 4
    This is one of those short stories that you have to have read at some point to recognise from the description - it's no use trying to Google it because you'll just end up with John Carter or Helliconia (maybe this was the inspiration for the Helliconia version?)
    – Danny Mc G
    Apr 19 '18 at 1:57
  • 2
    @Danny3414 even the time period of revolution is the same as the Helliconian one. Surely Aldiss would have thought 'This is too good an idea not to reuse'...
    – AakashM
    Apr 19 '18 at 12:46

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