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This is a novel that I think I remember reading somewhere in the 1990s courtesy of my brother (who does not remember the book). Only a few details are coming to mind at the moment. It's a male protagonist. Something was not quite right with his legs, which led to him being nicknamed Frog or Leapfrog due to his usual method of locomotion, which consisted of pushing off from his legs to his hands and vice versa. Something happens and he winds up moving between a number of worlds (I want to say that he fell into a well or a hole in a field). There was a part which stuck with me where he's in a bottomless hole and finds he keeps falling faster and faster without end with the rushing wind becoming actively painful (I don't remember if he actually reaches a terminal velocity or if some aspect of the world prevented it while still allowing the rushing air to affect him physically).

Unfortunately, that's all I can remember. I don't remember whether he eventually gains companions on the voyage or how it ended. The most vivid memory is that of the nonstop falling.

5
+500

I believe the story may be The World and Thorinn by Damon Knight.

Book cover

Summary from the KirkusBooks review:

Damon Knight’s tale of a teenager forced on a journey downward through a well into underground worlds that are both dangerous and exotic makes for an entertaining read. Blending science fiction and fantasy with boy scout level survivalism, it gradually unfolds a story much bigger than Thorinn’s personal adventures.

....

Thorinn, which means “flea,” is young human living on the surface of his world in a giant basin with a huge cylindrical formation that reaches to the top of the sky. Having been raised by an adoptive father, the lame orphan hops around on his one good leg – hence his name. Life is quiet and pastoral until one day when the well runs dry.

  • I'll check that out. But can you post your reasoning for why you think it's the book? – FuzzyBoots Sep 7 '16 at 18:04
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    That's the one, I'm pretty sure! – FuzzyBoots Sep 7 '16 at 18:46
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    Hi Fuzzy - My reasoning is this. 1. He can't walk correctly, same as you said. 2. He has a weird name due to the way that he walks, same as you said (only it is Flea). 3. He moves between a number of worlds, as he goes deeper and deeper underground. 4. The story starts with him thrown into a well. I don't remember the falling portion, but I remember he goes deeper and deeper underground, on a sort of quest to escape back to the surface. – Clint the Cool Guy Sep 8 '16 at 20:04
  • ^_^ I edited in some details from the review. – FuzzyBoots Sep 8 '16 at 20:09
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I found this Edgar Allan Poe story: Hop-Frog. The main character fits your protagonist's description, but the plot is very different...

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    Very different. No alternate worlds. No falling forever. The only resemblance is the presence of a clubfoot. :) – FuzzyBoots Dec 2 '14 at 12:30
  • Any chance you're getting Hop-frog mixed up with another character? – miltonaut Dec 3 '14 at 13:19
  • Don't think so. I remember the crippled leg as being something that came up repeatedly in the plot. Because he can't move very quickly, he has to think his way out of situations. It also sets up why he wound up in the well, I think, although details are fuzzy in my head. – FuzzyBoots Dec 3 '14 at 13:21
  • Yes, I remember in this story the main character is not physically strong, but he is clever and thinks his way out of tough situations. – Clint the Cool Guy Sep 8 '16 at 20:08

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