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I don't remember much about this one, not even whether it was a short story or a novel, but it had a satirical tone. The protagonist kept getting shunted forward in time, probably by suspended animation rather than time travel, a few years to decades at a time. At each stop, the world had become more overpopulated, more fractious, and more balkanized, so that toward the end there were separate nations in different floors of a building in Mexico City, with the threat of war between floors. The protagonist keeps hoping that people at the next stop will make better sense, but so far...

Considering my reading habits, this was most likely written in the 1960s to 70s and may have been published as an English-language novel or in an anthology. I've been trying to think of more details, but so far, nothing.

  • It sounds like Kornbluth, but I don't think it actually is. – Buzz Oct 17 '19 at 4:25
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This also sounds like chapter 17 of Ron Goulart's "When The Waker Sleeps," but only vaguely.

My apologies for not expanding on this yesterday morning, but I work second shift and it was already getting late. Otherwise, I would have kept on reading to chapter 21:

"Hurray for the President!" shouted nearly a hundred voices. "Which President is this?" The girl replied, "Should be the President of the fourth floor. Each floor has its own."

The President then makes a speech and bangs on a ceremonial piñata, which explodes, clay shrapnel knocking him down. Instead of another floor being blamed for the bomb, suspicions fall on our hapless "waker," suspected of being a member of the USAUSA (United States of America Underground Secret Army, sort of an ultra-CIA). While he's in custody he succumbs to the need for a "nap," and the next chapter is sort of an epilogue that closes the book. Chapter 17 is the one that begins that particular timetrack. It takes place in a similarly manic "Brasil2".

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  • 1
    I have an old paperback of 'When the Waker sleeps' and it matches the OP key points – DannyMcG Jan 14 at 5:51
  • 1
    Thank you! I can't recommend the book, which seems not to have been reprinted since its initial publication in 1975. I couldn't even be sure of the cover art, which usually gives me an accurate "fix." Filling another gap in my memory... – Invisible Trihedron Jan 15 at 14:23

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