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I was told of this book by an old timer who remembers reading it after finding it in an abandoned cabin he came across in the backwoods when he was backpacking across the country in his youth, approximately the 70's. I would love to find it for him AND MYSELF so I can read it.

I am looking for a book about a man who falls asleep on a hillside and finds his consciousness projected out into the universe at incredible speed, eventually after some time he learns he can control his movements and stops himself but not knowing which was is back home he decides to see what he can find eventually discovering other civilizations. Over time he learns he can "hitch hike" in the minds of some of the creatures he finds and does so, sometimes for years on end, sometimes revealing himself to the creatures before he leaves. Some of these creatures decide to go with him on his adventure.

Eventually millennia passes and the man finds himself a giant consciousness of all these minds, stars are dying out and the universe is becoming darker and darker. He finds the last civilization still alive, which has managed to create a false star to survive but it is running out of fuel. Near the end of the star's life he decides to take the entire civilization into his consciousness and travel the emptiness of now void dark space.

Millennia pass, the giant consciousness that is now the man finds itself sitting in complete darkness in a universe devoid of stars. One day he has a thought:

Let there be light.

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  • Hi, welcome to the site. In roughly which year were you told about this book, and do you have any sense of how old it might be? Commented Jun 8, 2022 at 17:14
  • 1
    um he said he was young, he is 70 now so i would guess the 70's
    – Joe Toledo
    Commented Jun 8, 2022 at 18:13

3 Answers 3

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This could be the classic Star Maker by Olaf Stapledon.

From the summary by Wikipedia:

A human narrator from England is transported out of his body via unexplained means. He realizes he is able to explore space and other planets. After exploring a civilization on another planet in our galaxy at a level of development similar to our own that existed millions of years ago thousands of light years from Earth (the "Other Earth") in some detail, his mind merges with that of one of its inhabitants, and as they travel together, they are joined by still more minds or group-minds. This snowballing process is paralleled by the expansion of the book's scale, describing more and more planets in less and less detail.

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  • I was thinking Stapledon. And also Jack London had a novel called Star Rover which I think is similar.
    – releseabe
    Commented Jun 8, 2022 at 17:23
  • thank you very much its along the same lines so i will explore that
    – Joe Toledo
    Commented Jun 8, 2022 at 18:14
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    @user14111 - that link is to Last and First Men, also by Olaf Stapledon. But Star Maker is here: gutenberg.net.au/ebooks06/0601841.txt. It does have the fellow on the hill, and projects his consciousness, and the "hitch hiking" on the minds of other creatures, etc. The run-down universe devoid of stars, and "let there be light", however, is not part of this story.
    – Basya
    Commented Jun 9, 2022 at 8:46
  • @Basya Damn, I posted the wrong link! Thanks for the correction. "Let there be light" is quoted in Star Maker though the context is different from the Asimov story.
    – user14111
    Commented Jun 9, 2022 at 9:30
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    Then the Star Maker said, "Let there be light." And there was light. From all the coincident and punctual centers of power, light leapt and blazed. The cosmos exploded, actualizing its potentiality of space and time. The centers of power, like fragments of a bursting bomb, were hurled apart. But each one retained in itself, as a memory and a longing, the single spirit of the whole; and each mirrored in itself aspects of all others throughout all the cosmical space and time.
    – user14111
    Commented Jun 9, 2022 at 9:31
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I think you're conflating two different stories.

The first part, the man falling asleep on a hillside, I don't recognise. [edit - Star Maker, suggested by another user, sounds like a match]

The second part is Asimov's The Last Question.

It has:

  • Mankind expands to fill the Universe
  • billions of years pass
  • eventually the stars all burn out
  • mankind pulls the last remaining star material together, but this eventually burns out as well
  • mankind joins together into a single collective mind.
  • The mind considers how to restart the Universe
  • The solution is "let there be light"

You can read it here

This is one of the two most FAQ, the other being the one where it rains all the time.

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This might be 'House on the Borderland' by William Hope Hodgeson. Being from 1908 originally, it seems plausible that an 'old timer' could have found a copy in a cabin and read it.

Two men on a two-week fishing vacation in remote western Ireland are surprised to discover a strange abyss. On a rock spur above this pit they find ruins and buried in them a journal, which they read. ... The journal starts again, with the passage of time increasing in speed. Days and nights pass more and more quickly, the sun and moon become flickers and years blur... The House falls, the world fades, time slowly grinds to a halt and the solar system ends with his perception of an immense green star, celestial globes... He is again in his own study, with time running normally.

There are a number of other details in the novel which are not in your description, like strange swine-creatures who come through a cave beneath the narrator's house, but those may be details that didn't quite stick with your friend, or they may be conflating more than one story.

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    Hi, welcome to SF&F! Given that there is already an answer that seems a very good match, you should try harder to match this story to the details of the question. Does the protagonist absorb other minds into his as he travels? Does he journey to the end (heat death) of the universe?
    – DavidW
    Commented Jun 9, 2022 at 13:12

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