A long long time ago, about fifty years I read a book or novella in the UK.

I can't recall much of the plot, some guy leaves Earth and is out in the big bad universe and meeting/interacting with various alien races and cultures.

He starts getting almost killed by some hunter thing, he gets informed that everything has a natural predator but, until now, there's never been one out there for humans (and him in particular)

I think (but not certain) that the story of him meeting aliens and travelling around continues but he's now constantly wary and has to keep one move ahead of his doom.


1 Answer 1


Dimension of Miracles, a 1968 novel by Robert Sheckley, which was also my (unaccepted) answer to this old question. Maybe you will recognize one of these covers. Dimension of Miracles can be borrowed (for free but registration required) from the Internet Archive.

Plot summary from Wikipedia:

Thanks to a computer error, Tom Carmody, an unlucky civil servant, wins the main prize of the Galactic Lottery. Being a human from the Earth, he doesn't possess galactic status and shouldn't even be eligible. However, he obtains the Prize before the mistake is found out and is allowed to keep it. That's when his adventure begins, since, not being a space-traveling creature, he has no homing instinct that can guide him back to Earth, and so the galactic lottery organizers cannot transport him home. At the same time, his removal from his home environment has caused, by the 'universal law of predation', a predatory entity to spring into existence that perpetually pursues and aims to destroy him. So Carmody is forced to be on the run, and with the help of his Prize meets several well-meaning (but usually not very competent) aliens that attempt to find where, when and which Earth he belongs on. He ends up transporting from Earth to Earth: different phases and realities of his planet, which of course, is not in the time or condition he expects it to be.


"Your predator was born out of a personification and solidification of universal law. This predator can feed exclusively and solely on you. The creature is shaped as a respondent and complement to your characteristics. Even without seeing it, we can know that its jaws are shaped to bite Carmodys, its limbs are articulated to seize and grasp Carmodys, its stomach has the peculiar and unique ability to digest Carmodys, and its personality is designed to take advantage of the Carmodic personality."

  • 1
    That's it thanks! I was looking at hitchhiker's guide recently and I got a faint memory nudge when the various aliens were basically calling Arthur Dent a monkey and seemed very callous to his fate - it got me thinking about the similarities to the way the aliens acted towards humans in the forgotten book I once read.
    – Danny Mc G
    Feb 10 at 13:52
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    From the Wikipedia page for Dimension of Miracles: Dimension of Miracles (1968) has been cited as similar to Douglas Adams's The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (1978). In an interview for Neil Gaiman's book Don't Panic: The Official Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Companion, Adams said he had not read anything by Sheckley until after writing the Guide (the first volume in the series) and having seen it printed, and later found some of the parallels between the two works to be eerie, but after all a coincidence. Gaiman, in an interview two decades later,
    – user14111
    Feb 10 at 23:29
  • and five years after Adams' death, paraphrased Adams' comments saying that some of the resemblances had been "disturbingly close."
    – user14111
    Feb 10 at 23:30

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