My dad recalled reading a story of a man that had the job of pressing a button when the end of the world happened due to war (I think). Just as he presses the button he gets an overwhelming feeling of déjà vu "I have done this before... MANY times!"

It may be a short story in an anthology.

  • He read it in the late 20's early 30's at the Phoenix, AZ Public Library or the AZ State Library. Sorry I cannot ask him as he has passed away.I recall him talking about it in the 60's - 70's. I'd tell him about a book or story I had read he would talk about how the plot reminded him of a story or book he had read as a youngster. He was of the opinion that all plot-lines had been used and all new stories were just an old plot line with a few new twists. It did not stop him from reading everything he could. He was between 8 and 10 when he read it. – Peg Sep 11 '18 at 7:01
  • It most likely was in the Adult area as Science Fiction was NOT considered suitable for children. He told tales of sneaking past the librarians to get into the Adult area. He had to read quickly as he would get thrown out as soon as he was found there. It could have well been in a magazine. As a 8 to 10 year old – Peg Sep 13 '18 at 2:50
  • It would have been in English. It may well have been in a magazine. – Peg Sep 13 '18 at 3:05
  • I remember being directed back to the Children's area in the fifties. I'd love to dig this up as it's a frequent theme in many of the things I've read. – NothingToSeeHere Sep 14 '18 at 11:12

This puts me in mind of Jack Chalker's Well World series:

The Well World series is a series of science fiction novels by Jack L. Chalker. It involves a planet-sized supercomputer known as the Well of Souls that builds our reality on top of an underlying one of greater complexity but smaller size. The computer was built by a now-extinct race, the Markovians, who developed the Well of Souls with the goal of creating a new species that would transcend their own.

The Well World is the planet that houses the Well of Souls, and it exists within the original Markovian reality. Its surface was used as an experimental site where the Markovians tested their species designs before sending the successful ones into the new universe to populate planets. Humans are one of many such designed species who now live in the "real" world. During the time period of the novels, the Well World has been abandoned and left on its own for an unknown length of time.

The books mainly follow a mysterious character known as Nathan Brazil, who has an (initially) unknown connection to the Well World. The books are adventures that follow Brazil and a changing cast of secondary characters through a series of visits to the Well World over a period of hundreds (and millions) of years.

The All The Tropes Wikia page for Reset Button has this to say on the series:

Jack Chalker's Well World series has a universal (as in, resets the entire universe) reset button in the vast computer known as the Well of Souls. Only one problem: You have to destroy the entire existing universe, effectively killing everyone in it in the process. No wonder the sole remaining guardian tends to wipe his own memory and has to be dragged kicking and screaming back to the Well World to do his job.

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  • @user14111 which is probably because Peg's father was 20 or 30, not that the story is from the 20's or 30's ;-) – NothingToSeeHere Sep 10 '18 at 16:09
  • Sorry,the story was from the 20s or 30s he read it as a child or 10 or less. – Peg Sep 11 '18 at 6:52
  • No worries. Something will turn up. Was the original book in English or a translation? – NothingToSeeHere Sep 11 '18 at 11:10
  • He would have read it in English. Suppose it would be possible to have been a translation. Could have been a story in a magazine perhaps. Hope that helps. – Peg Sep 13 '18 at 3:09

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