This story is unusual in that it involves a group of humans exploring a space/location where the laws of Physics break down. They were mainly scientists, possibly with protection from an armed security team.

As the story progresses and they explore they are killed off singly and in groups. They gain access to a shelter and even there they have to be wary of the dangerous local conditions.

One of the concepts involved non-linear distances between points. Another may have involved a shifting of wavelenths of light and sound causing strong visual and auditory confusion.

I have read two stories separated by many years both of which explored this theme, so I may be conflating the two. It would be great if both were found by this request.

The reality may have been malleable, being altered by the observer.

There may have been another species, or human team, in the distance altering their portion of reality. This may have lead to conflict between the groups.

I apologise for the lack of well defined detail in this request, I read this/these sometime between the mid 1970's and the early 1990's. I got the impression that it/they were writen in the 1960's to 1970's.

I was reminded of this by a conversation about avant-guarde SF, mainly recalling the existance of stories from the really-alien point of view, where the author takes on the full alien persona and describes events mapped against the truely alien motivations and expectations of the protagonist.

Update: The Jack Vance book may be a lesser part of this, I do recall the book cover. This next is probably true but I am not certain: I recall that the area being investigated consisted of mathematical curves and planes. I have the impression of a lack of colour. The 'Shelter' they found was approximately a rectangular structure but they could not work out at first how to enter it.

  • could this be "inverted world" by Christopher Priest? A of details are different, but the idea of nonlinear distance and distortions are quite prominent.
    – user108131
    Sep 22 at 18:44
  • 1
    One of the stories you read might be Vance's "The men return", which features a total breakdown of physics pretty much including the things you listed (not in these words), and a group of travelers that is killed off one by one by reality-altering antagonists (not scientists, though, everybody was reduced to a state of savagery, and location was an altered earth). It's discussed here: scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/8918/… Sep 22 at 18:47
  • It sounds very like Jeff Vandermeer's recent book Annihilation. I have a vague memory of a book like this from the 1960s, but too vague for me to pin down. Sep 23 at 5:52


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