I read this short story long ago, about a man searching endlessly on a beach for a miniature galaxy he somehow lost.

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    Welcome to Science Fiction & Fantasy! This question is very (very) terse and would be improved by going through the checklists here; How to ask a good story-ID question?
    – Valorum
    Apr 28, 2019 at 21:37
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    HI there. I know you said that's all you can remember, but still, may you please take a look at these guidelines on story-ID, see if they trigger any more memories you could edit in? For instance, when did you read that, was it new at the time, was it in an anthology, a magazine?
    – Jenayah
    Apr 28, 2019 at 21:37
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    Also - did you mean pebble-sized? Online dictionary doesn't find a definition, the only "pepple" thing I can find so far is an Urban Dictionary one.
    – Jenayah
    Apr 28, 2019 at 21:40
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    This rings a bell. Does the story end with him finding the world and entering it? Apr 29, 2019 at 15:37
  • It must have ben 30 years ago or more --- so that would mean the old-time classic SF writers I reckon
    – Ian
    Apr 29, 2019 at 20:15

1 Answer 1


The story is Beachcomber (1952) by Damon Knight, available at the Internet Archive; publication history at ISFDB.

It is not the galaxy but the whole Universe, but I don't think there are many stories with a man endlessly searching on a beach for a miniature cosmic object he somehow lost.

The Beachcomber made an impatient gesture. "You don’t think we could bring it back into a space it already occupied, do you? It was in stasis, all but a fraction out of this time-line. Just a miniature left, so that it could be controlled. A model of the universe, so big." He spread his thumb and forefinger an inch apart — "Just a pebble."

Maxwell's jaw dropped open. He stared at the giant. "You don’t mean — you — "

"Oh, yes," said the Beachcomber, "I landed about twenty miles out from shore — five years ago." He stared out across the sea, while his fingers groped nervously among the pebbles at his feet.

"And when I hit the water," he said, "I dropped it."

  • Regarding Jenayah's question about pebble size, the story specifies: "There were no nice beaches; they were all covered with inch-thick pebbles instead of sand..." As 1 inch = 25.4 mm, this does fall within the pebble size range, at least as defined by geologists. Aug 31, 2019 at 21:42
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    @InvisibleTrihedron Jenayah's question was not about the meaning of "pebble-sized" but "pepple-sized" which was in the title of the question before it was edited.
    – user14111
    Aug 31, 2019 at 23:42
  • user14111: Light dawns. Sep 1, 2019 at 1:07

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