There is a scene in the book that is very different from everything else in the book.

There is a ramshackle shed, which is being drawn (or maybe pushed?) like a carriage towards the end of the universe or into the future or something. Possibly by horses, but maybe some other animal and possibly a robotic version of the animal. But that's not really what anything is, it's just a human perception of something that is not completely conceivable to a human brain.

I think there is an old lady or man there and the protagonist of the book comes to this weird place and talks to them and does something important and then leaves? Drinking tea may have been involved.

But I only have a vague memory of it. My father described this scene to me and asked me what the book was and said I gave it to him! I vaguely remember this scene, but not the book it fits into and it's driving me nuts. He seemed to think it was from a series, and from a Sci-Fi book, although it is possible it it neither of those things...

Feels a bit like something that could happen in Nick Harkaway's The Gone-Away World or something Murakami, but I am certain my father hasn't read any Murakami and there was lots of craziness in The Gone-Away World, but not this particular craziness. The scene felt sort of felt Discworldy God like, sorta how you might chat with a God, but the rest of the book did not. It was also a very quiet and unrushed feeling scene, but with the idea that something very dangerous and fast was happening outside of this weird place and that something inside it could help.

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    This sounds like a weird one! Anyway, while this is good info already, please make sure to take a look at the story-ID guidelines, see if they trigger any more memories you could edit in. Anything helps! :)
    – Jenayah
    Commented Feb 18, 2019 at 1:04
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    There's a ramshackle shed in one of the "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" books, where Arthur, Trish, and Ford meet the real ruler of the galaxy. It isn't a really important point in the books, though. And the shed isn't going anywhere.
    – JRE
    Commented Feb 18, 2019 at 6:20
  • This feels a bit like a scene from a Robert Rankin or Tom Holt book. They tend to involve garden sheds in their plots, and drinking a nice cup of tea crops up a lot as well. Commented Feb 18, 2019 at 12:26
  • @JRE Both my father and I know and love those books well, so that's not it. But thanks for trying!
    – Stacy
    Commented Feb 22, 2019 at 4:50
  • @JohnRennie Hmm, I don't know either of those authors and I looked at their book titles and am fairly certain I haven't read anything by them, but I'll ask my dad and see if it rings a bell with him.
    – Stacy
    Commented Feb 22, 2019 at 4:51

1 Answer 1


Could this conceivably be a scene from The Inverted World by Christopher Priest? I've only read part of that novel; I think it was serialized in Worlds of If back in the 70s. But it sure sounds familiar...

I read a fragment from the middle of Inverted World in the 1970s and was unable to conjure up any details last January. Since then, I've actually gone out and finished it. They are indeed hauling a building across the landscape. Time, space, and gravity become distorted ahead and behind them. They pursue an "optimum" of illusive normality. The building is qute large, more than a shack. They call it a city. They tear up tracks behind them and lay them ahead. Fall too far behind and years will pass in the city in one of your days. Don't know if this is what you read.

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    Hi, welcome to SF&F. It would be great if you could add some more details explaining how this matches the question.
    – DavidW
    Commented Jan 27, 2020 at 2:50
  • I read a fragment out of the middle of Inverted World when it was serialized in—I think—Worlds of If, in the 1970s. So when I initially came across this question last January I wasn't able to conjure up any details; it just sounded vaguely familiar. Commented Aug 4, 2020 at 4:41

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