I'm looking for a book that I read when I was young (~1985). My guess is that it was published in the 70s or 80s.

In this story, a scientist (or more) created some sort of portal. Only organic tissue could pass through it. Metal (for example dental filling) just dropped on the floor. I remembered a passage where someone was exclaiming that it would be perfect to do medical examination.

After some tests with animals that could go inside and back safely from the portal, someone stuck its head inside, only to find blackness - some sort of cave. They could not touch the bottom, or anything.

They tried to do a human chain to reach the bottom without success (and in fact some people were lost).

A team decided to jump and see what was on the other side. I could not remember what happened next, except that they survived and build a society.

I really tried to identify the book without success. And I would love to re-read it was it is one of these book that I think about regularly.

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    I read that one! I think I may even own the book still. I'm trying to get you the name.
    – jv42
    Commented Jan 6, 2012 at 16:32
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    I found the book in which it was, an old anthology, trying to get to the story name.
    – jv42
    Commented Jan 6, 2012 at 16:48
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    This is soooo frustrating. I remember some more bits than the OP: after the discovery of the portal, the authorities stage a big TV-transmitted expedition using a team of firemen linked by a big rope to look inside. This ends very badly when one of them slips and the whole company falls inside.
    – jv42
    Commented Jan 6, 2012 at 17:28
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    searching for book and fireman together turns up Fahrenheit 451 >.<
    – Xantec
    Commented Jan 6, 2012 at 18:22
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    @jv42 It's the same book! I wasn't sure it was firemen when I wrote my question, but you confirmed it. Commented Jan 6, 2012 at 19:21

2 Answers 2


I think you may be referring to a book by Jerry Sohl called

Costigan’s Needle

The original copyright is 1953. My particular copy has a publication date of August 1968.

There's a Kindle edition on Amazon for $8.99 and they also have some used paperbacks starting at about $16.

  • Thanks!!! I'm 99% certain that this is the correct book! :) Commented Jul 10, 2012 at 14:55
  • Just a further note that there seems to be cheaper copies of the book on Amazon then I originally thought (just search the title for details).
    – Gary Nunes
    Commented Jul 10, 2012 at 21:32

It was a Stephen King short story called "The Jaunt." It was published in a collection called Skeleton Crew in 1985. I still have it.

  • I have read the description from Wikipedia nad it does not seem to be what I'm looking for. But thanks anyway :) Commented Jul 9, 2012 at 13:38
  • I thought of "The Jaunt" as well, but they were using it for teleportation purposes, and couldn't be away to pass through. And it was a convict that made the first human trip, and died afterwards after seeing 'eternity'.
    – Jersey
    Commented May 29, 2013 at 17:29

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