I read this story in the 1990s or early 2000s, I believe.

It was about a world with three layers or zones, and in order to travel from one zone to the next, travellers could only do so naked, otherwise a force field in the tunnel would prevent their passage.

The second layer had many voice-activated "magic" devices, such as flying chairs, and put an emphasis on the number 6.

The third layer had demons, and placed an emphasis on the number 5.

The end of the story is that the system was devised to trap demons in the third layer, and the technology and numerology of the second layer was supposed to make it inhospitable and/or its population unsusceptible to the demons.

  • 2
    Does this answer your question? Three worlds - blasted, hi-tech, magic
    – Otis
    Dec 1, 2020 at 4:52
  • @Otis Your linked question would appear to be asking to identify the same book, but includes details that I didn't recall, so I would say that it is not a duplicate question, but a different question with the same answer as my question.
    – Monty Wild
    Dec 3, 2020 at 4:04
  • @MontyWild Duplicate policy on [story-identification] questions is to close them as duplicates of each other when both have a confirmed answer to be the same work. It doesn't matter if the details that were remembered are differently or not, all that matters is what the confirmed work is.
    – TheLethalCarrot
    Dec 3, 2020 at 9:16
  • @TheLethalCarrot I'm not sure that it should be policy... but that's a question for Meta. At the least, since my question was the newer, it should have been closed, not the older question.
    – Monty Wild
    Dec 3, 2020 at 9:19
  • @MontyWild Age shouldn't really matter, we focus on having the dupe target being the one with the better quality. In this case the difference between both Q/As is minimal but clearly the close voter thought this one was of better quality.
    – TheLethalCarrot
    Dec 3, 2020 at 9:32

1 Answer 1


This looks like Triplet by Timothy Zahn. As described, there are three worlds (versions of the planet), ours, another level centered around hexes (the theory, towards the end, was that 6 was important only in that it wasn't 5 - demon avoidance) and the demon world.

People could travel between worlds, but no material items which prevented tech transfer from the second world (which had access to more advanced tech than the 'base' world) and, more importantly, no transfer from the demon world.

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    Damn! I recognized it right off, but had to go look for my copy to put in supporting details... :) Nov 30, 2020 at 11:39
  • More info for confirmation: The world that's in "our" universe is a blasted planet called Threshhold; the next layer in is called Shamsheer, and the third layer in is called Karyx. The protagonist, Danae Panya, is ostensibly studying the Hidden Worlds (Shamsheer and Karyx), but is in reality studying Ravagin, the Courier that is assigned as her escort. (Definitely a good read.) Nov 30, 2020 at 11:46

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