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Sometime in the mid- to late-2000s, I remember reading a book that was about an organization of extradimensional beings who control the minutiae of the universe. I remember very little about it, but this is what I do recall:

  • It's a young adult novel
  • Main character is a human recruited by said extradimensional beings
  • They control basically every aspect of physics, like making sure to fill up the rainclouds with the appropriate amount of water and lightning
  • Seconds (as in the unit of time) exist as a physical object, there are also firsts and thirds
  • There may have been some pun between splitting the atom and the phrase "split second"?
  • The world these beings inhabit is the place where all mysteriously lost objects end up, I think. There's a "barrier" between the worlds that's only visible from their side.
  • The general tone of the novel is absurdism, but I'm pretty sure it has its serious points.

Does anyone have any idea what book or series this might be?

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    Sounds like it could be one of Tom Holt's books, such as 'Here comes the Sun' – Martin Goldsack Jun 2 at 11:26
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This might be The Seems, a series by John Hulme.

I found a snippet in a Google books search that has a team of (Jamaican expy) time miners, who normally mine Firsts, Seconds and Thirds of time from the three Time Zones, but who have now been recruited to build a trap for the Split Second.

It's a children's/young adult series featuring a youth from Earth. From the summary on Goodreads:

Twelve-year-old Becker Drane has definitely got the coolest job of any seventh grader in Highland Park, New Jersey. He works as a Fixer for The Seems. From the Department of Weather to the Department of Sleep, The Seems is a secret organization that makes sure our world keeps running--and more importantly, sticks to The Plan that's been made for it.

You almost definitely read the second book The Split Second (2008); it involves a Time Bomb which sounds like it might be powered by some kind of Time chain reaction analogous to an atomic bomb.

You may also have read the first book The Glitch in Sleep (2007), which is more concerned with how The Seems works, and Becker's recruitment.

Both books fit your time frame.

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  • Yes! This is exactly what I was thinking of, thank you. – Hearth Jun 2 at 12:25
  • Now that I think about it though I'm not sure that the bit about being the place where lost objects end up, and the barrier only visible from one side, is part of this series. Hmm. – Hearth Jun 2 at 12:28
  • @Hearth That bit sounds like an old Ren & Stimpy cartoon. "This is where all the lost left socks in the universe go!" Also a theme in Thor: Ragnarok, but I'm sure you'd know if it were something that recent. – Darrel Hoffman Jun 2 at 14:25
  • @DarrelHoffman I'm quite certain it was a YA novel. – Hearth Jun 2 at 14:27
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    Ah, just to link it here, I did find out what that book about the lost things was, it was indeed a different book and I asked about it here. – Hearth Jun 2 at 19:27

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