I have memories of what I think was a full novel, but might have been a short-story or novella.

A scientist has discovered either a new sub-atomic particle, or a way to isolate a known particle, and a way to inject these particles directly into the brain, whereupon for some sort of technobabble reason, wishes become reality. It comes in three colors, and each color can only be used once.

The first time they use the machine/particles, everyone on earth gets their wish fulfilled. There are scenes where a character is walking home after this first wish, and he gets to a train station that has been turned into crystal, because the guy who works there thought that would look beautiful. There are people who wasted their wish on cash, or gold, which is now worthless, because so many other people wished for the same thing.

I think the second wish is used by a “bad” guy(s), and the final wish, there is only enough of the last color of magic particle that only one person gets to make a wish and resets the world to pre-wishes state.

  • When did you read it? Was it in English? Any memories of the cover? – phantom42 Feb 7 '13 at 17:53
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    I read it somewhere around 1985? Maybe early 1990's at the latest. It was in English, I have no memories of the cover. – Don Simon Feb 7 '13 at 17:55

I was able to receive an answer from the Seattle Public Library's Ask A Librarian service,

the book in question is "The Master of Space and Time" by Rudy Rucker.

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    Worth mentioning that you have things slightly backwards. The first two wishes were just the one person wishing. The last wish, which had to be done in a second's time or so, changed some fundamental distance of physics which led to everyone in the world having their wish granted including some really weird ones that make you wonder (like the guy who turned into a giant breast). – FuzzyBoots Aug 4 '14 at 18:53

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