I read a short story about a year and a half ago. Its about a guy going over to his scientist friend's house. I can't remember if he was an intern for the scientist or a friend but I believe the main character was an athlete and I'm pretty sure he had his girlfriend with him.

They go to the scientist's house and the scientist is not there but I believe there is a machine there with a note on how to use it. I can't remember entirely. They go to another dimension and see flying monsters and I'm pretty sure they kill one. They find the scientist friend, then get captured by these monsters. I think towards the end of the story the monsters or entities from the other dimension want to sacrifice the humans.

Does any of this sound familiar to anyone? I'm pretty sure it wasn't an HP Lovecraft story. It's definitely not From Beyond.

  • How long ago did you read it? Jun 5, 2015 at 17:08
  • This is dimly ringing bells if it's really old like 1930s or 1940s. Murray Leinster-ish. I'll see what I can turn up. Jun 5, 2015 at 17:58
  • This sounds a lot like "Prisoners of the Lost Universe" :-)
    – Valorum
    Jun 5, 2015 at 18:06
  • This sounds very familiar. I read it about 2 years ago and wanted to read it again. Ill check it out. Thanks!
    – RegularG
    Jun 9, 2015 at 20:28
  • 1
    To accept the answer, click on the check mark on the left.
    – user14111
    Jun 9, 2015 at 23:33

1 Answer 1


I'm guessing that this is Murray Leinster's "The Fifth Dimension Catapult," originally published in 1931.

The main protagonist is mathematician Tommy Reames, who responds to a telegraph summoning them to the home of Professor Edward Denham. There he meets a man named Von Holtz who informs him that Denham has been trapped for several days in another dimension (sort of) but is still visible via a special viewing scope.

Description of the scope:

The one totally unidentifiable piece of apparatus in the place was one queer contrivance at one side. It looked partly like a machine gun because of a long brass barrel projecting from it. But the brass tube came out of a bulging casing of cast aluminum, and there was no opening through which shells could be fed.

Upon looking through the "dimensoscope":

He was gazing upon a landscape such as should not -- such as could not -- exist upon the earth. There were monstrous, feathery tree-ferns waving languid fronds in a breeze that came from beyond them. The telescope seemed to be pointing at a gentle slope, ... and halfway up the incline there rested a huge steel globe.

The globe was a kind of capsule built by Denham in which he and his daughter Evelyn had been thrown out of our normal space into a new set of parallel dimensional coordinates. The "fifth dimension" is inhabited by creatures which are named "Ragged Men", as well as the higher-tech inhabitants of a "Golden City" (who have flying machines), and many strange creatures.

Tommy works to figure out how Denham built his catapult (which requires a new material called metallic ammonium), then to save them. There's a subplot involving mobsters who had backed Denham's work.

I should mention that Tommy Reames is described more than once as being atypically athletic for an academic. Also, while the Ragged Men don't seem to be planning to kill Denham, at the climax of the story they are preparing to torture and kill a person from the Golden City in a scene remniscent of a sacrifice. Both Denham and Evelyn are caught while trying to stop this. Reames rescues them by firing a machine gun across dimensions into the mob.

While I don't know for sure, I'm guessing this is the same story mentioned by Organic Marble -- the book in which I read it immediately came to mind when I read your description. However, I'm not sure this is the one you're after. Hopefully, the details I provided will either confirm or definitely disqualify it.

  • Good job, that is what I was trying to remember! I couldn't find it, although I even looked in "Science Fiction of the 30s", which it is in :( Jun 6, 2015 at 15:12
  • Im pretty sure this is it! Thank you.
    – RegularG
    Jun 9, 2015 at 20:28
  • 1
    @RegularG - Terrific! Please formally accept the answer if you think it is correct; as the original poster, you're the only one that can do so.
    – Otis
    Jun 9, 2015 at 23:20

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.