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I remember reading a story about some guy who makes a phone call and is connected to someone he doesn't know. They agree to meet, but can't find each other at the agreed meeting place. When they speak on the phone again, it turns out they are living in different time lines, one in which there has been a war, and another where there hasn't. If memory serves in the end they are reluctant to hang up for fear of never getting to speak to each other again.

  • That's some good info already but could you please take a look at these guielines, see if they trigger any more memories you could edit in? For instance, when did you read that? Was that in a magazine, an anthology? Any recollection of the cover? etc, etc :) – Jenayah Jan 27 at 13:51
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    There's a short story where a man calls a wrong number and gets connected to a woman; he does so repeatedly as it turns into a flirtatious relationship. Only after they try to meet - and fail - do we realize that she's from an alternate reality where the Japanese won World War II and she's a (Japanese) office worker in post-war New York. Her name may be Janet or Janice. Phone #s are old-style ("RIVerside-4519"). They are in fact reluctant to hang up once they realize what's going on, as they might lose each other forever... for the life of me I can't find the title, author, or anthology. – gowenfawr Jan 27 at 17:00
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The story is "Out of this World" by Alfred Bester.

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This is the collection I read it in originally.

Your plot summary is spot on.

Summary from Science Fiction Runinations:

Man fantasizes about women who call in with the wrong number. A particular women piques his interest enough to call her back. They set up a meeting. But, both miss each other. The phone line is due to be repaired. They try to meet again — and again, miss each other. Oh, crossed phone lines leads to a call to an alternate world… Silly.

  • Out of this world, that's it! Thank you! – tula Jan 28 at 0:56
  • Glad I could help. Bester's always been an "early days" favorite of mine. – Emsley Wyatt Jan 28 at 3:02

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