Two school boys are about to get the cane from the schoolmaster when they suddenly find themselves in a different place. It appears to be the past but I think it's the future where the circle, and hence wheel, are banned so all technology is gone.

They meet a carpenter who makes a toy for his boy with wheels and he gets arrested. People are punished to death by being tied to a big wheel and rolled down a hill into the lake.

Ring any bells anyone!?

1 Answer 1


This is most likely The Future Took Us by David Severn.

From Goodreads:

David Severn wrote quite a bit of children’s fiction, and this is one of his more memorable efforts.

Two schoolboys (age unstated but from internal evidence probably about 17 – a popular age for boy heroes in this kind of story) narrowly escape a caning from their headmaster when they are unceremoniously whisked away without visible human agency and deposited in a totally unfamiliar country.

At first it appears to be empty and desolate, but they eventually encounter people, whose language they cannot at first understand and whose society seems to be about that of Dark Age Anglo-Saxons – except for the complete absence of the wheel, which is apparently a sensitive subject with them. They take exception even to a drawing of one.

The boys begin to see features of the landscape which look vaguely familiar, and to suspect that they may have moved in time rather than space, a suspicion reinforced when they spot familiar words in their hosts’ language and realise it is a variant of English. But the real shocker – perhaps the most memorable part of the whole book – is when they find an old girder embedded in the trunk of an oak tree - which has clearly grown round it over the course of centuries.

Possible already answered here: YA novel about boys travelling to post-apocalypse future Story about a young time traveller who travels to a post-apocalyptic Britain

  • 1
    You legend!! I did try searching but couldn't find it. Thank you very much!
    – Matt
    Commented May 8, 2021 at 9:51

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