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Dimension of Miracles (Dimension of Miracles #1)
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Dimension of Miracles (Dimension of Miracles #1)

3.91 of 5 stars 3.91  ·  rating details  ·  939 ratings  ·  137 reviews
"The funniest science fiction novel ever written... it ranks among the half-dozen best novels the field has produced."
- Mike Resnick in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction
Paperback, 214 pages
Published May 1st 1979 by Ace (first published 1968)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,817)
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Becky
I am a big fan of both The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and Neil Gaiman, so when I saw that this was one of Neil's recommended/produced audiobooks, and that it was very similar to HHGTTG (though it came first), I decided to give it a listen.

And it was... interesting. It was quirky and different, and some parts of it had me giggling, but I didn't like it nearly as much as I'd hoped to. I thought about this book for a full day before writing this review, trying to figure out what I thought ab
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Manny
This book is similar to the Hitchhiker's Guide series in construction, and nearly as good, but hardly anyone has heard of it. If you're an HHTG fan who's still in withdrawal following Douglas Adams's untimely departure, consider reading some Sheckley. Mindswap and the short story collections are equally brilliant.

Dimension of Miracles contains a brilliant and haunting idea which I often think about. (view spoiler)
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Colin
A bemused innocent, cast adrift in a vast and unnecessarily bureaucratic universe, struggling to find his way home. A man who builds planets. So many of the elements Douglas Adams took and made something special out of. So why isn't Dimension of Miracles better known?

It might be the writing. Adams may have written science fiction, but he was steeped in an English tradition that included his hero P G Wodehouse. Adams learnt how to turn a phrase: find all the bits of the Hitch-hikers series that h
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Mike
I picked this up from Audible when I had some cash on my account that was about to expire. It caught my attention, because it was one of the Neil Gaiman Presents selections. I really like Gaiman's work and I figured I would probably also like a book that he recommends. I was right.

Dimension of Miracles was amusing, witty, and well-written. In many ways, it was like Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, only it came first. It begins when Tom Carmody is whisked away from his New York apartment upon ac
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Andy
I had never heard of this (seemingly not alone there), yet have read and enjoyed Hitchhiker's with which there are many similarities (though they are quite different in execution). I came to it through Neil Gaiman and Audible and in that sense, Neil's idea to bring books he loves to a wider audience is working.

The Book:
I enjoyed the story, the absurdity and scenarios and frequently found a wry smile on my face. Rarely a laugh though; maybe a chuckle once in a while. It's enjoyable and brief.

I th
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Jamie Bradway
Dimension of Miracles is a bit fun, often very absurd, but not particularly engaging. For all the similarities, it is surprising that Douglas Adams never read this prior to writing the Hitchhiker's Guide. It even has one of the problems of Adams' series - that the main character is almost entirely acted upon, an unwitting bystander in his own story, rarely the actor. Adams overcame this by making Arthur Dent funnier and surrounding him with outlandish characters and situations. Sheckley provides ...more
Gil
This was a book I really wanted to enjoy. I mean, a comic science-fiction romp through the galaxy that kept getting uniformly compared to Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy for its absurd humor? I dove right in.

First things first: this book is really not too much like Hitchhiker's. Its plot has a few parallels here and there, and it has the same kind of absurd spirit to its humor. But Dimension of Miracles takes itself extremely seriously. Whereas Hitchhiker's might sprinkle a bit of playful philo
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Tara
I listened to the audiobook narrated by John Hodgman and it was wonderful. It was part of a series curated by Neil Gaiman, and he gave a little introduction and did a discussion with Hodgman afterwards. I wish every audiobook had that!

The book itself was delightful... incredibly prescient (especially if you love the Hitchhiker books) and somehow manages to be completely timeless--unlike many older sci-fi books, there is very little that plays as dated or old-fashioned.

Highly recommended for fan
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Ryan
I don't have time to list all the things that were bad about both this novel and this performance of it. But please -- for the love of all that is good -- don't believe *anyone* who claims that this book *remotely* resembles, foreshadows, or is otherwise anything at all like Douglas Adams' _Hitchhiker's_ series, even the horrid and insulting 5th book in the "trilogy".

This book is so steeped in the smug, clueless dark narcissism of '60s scifi that it beggars the imagination how a brilliant writer
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Jenna
Okay, so, the only reason I read this book was because I heard somewhere that this book references my hometown of Maplewood, New Jersey. The author, Carmody (the main character of this novel), and I all graduated from the same high school! Sweet! Our alma mater is even name-checked in the book. And, indeed, one of the final chapters of this book takes place entirely in the center of the town where I spent my youth. The geography is spot on and was fun to read.

But that was pretty much all of the
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rick.
It is impossible to separate the experience of reading Dimension of Miracles from it's thematic twin The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Robert Sheckley's novel precedes Douglas Adams' novel by eleven years, but they share the same absurdist humor, twinged with wry wit and social commentary. Specific scenes and plot points converge as well which makes it difficult view Adam's work as entirely original. It is unfair to both to review through this lens because where Sheckley is clever, Adams is ...more
Nilsy007
Dont think i can judge this book fairly in that i read the HitchHikers guide first. Once the only reason your reading a book is that its reputedly similar to another book you thought was great its hard to be objective.

This being said its a fast paced shot from the hip oldstyle comedy scifi.
Its one thing it has that set it apart is the undercurrents of critic of todays society it has running as a undercurrent through the medium of high science fiction and the hints are funny and not so obvious
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Nils Rasmussen
From cover to cover, this was an absolutely amazing novel.

Many people have compared Dimension of Miracles to Douglas Addams' Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy as far as the plot and writing style goes. People have proclaimed Dimension of Miracles to be the AMERICAN incantation of Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy.

- Here's the interesting thing - Sheckley's book was written BEFORE Addams' novel was ever published. Despite their striking similarities, in retrospect, this was all completely a coincid
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Ddb61
I read this book after reading an interview with Neil Gaiman. Neil's contact at a publisher was Sheckley's daughter - something Neil didn't know at the time.

It is had to believe that Douglas Adams wasn't exposed to this book before writing "Hitchhiker's Guide," but that's his story, and both writers seem okay with it. Maybe they found some amusement from living in a universe where two such similar books could be written independently.
I love this book. It was written in an era when "science ficti
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Rick Caster
Carmody has a visitor appear and award him a prize.... The Galactic Prize, that is. Things get stranger with every turn of the page. My favorite science-fiction writer from my youth and this is my favorite of his books. I think he was the inspiration for Vonnegut's Kilgore Trout and Douglas Adam's acknowledged this short novel as the blueprint for the Hitchhikers Guide books.
Jon Wesley Huff
Wandering, rambling and wordy, I can see how this book might not be for everyone. The cover on Goodreads is wonderfully old-school. Like many recent reviews, I came to this as part of Neil Gaiman's series of audiobooks. I found myself both enchanted and frustrated by the book. John Hodgman's reading is very good overall, and it compliments the smart and often witty writing. It was a lot of fun to listen to, and I'm glad I did. But, as a story, the book does suffer some. It's more of a loose stru ...more
Daniel
'Where have you been all my life, Dimension of Miracles?'

'Sitting unread on a shelf since May 4, 1990. You paid 40 cents for me at that bookstall at Adelaide's Central Market, at a time when your wealth consisted of a grand total of $4.47. During the succeeding years you'd sometimes move me back and forth on the shelf as you squeezed more books in. Once you put me in a box and moved me to another house. But you never read me. And I'm so short!'

'That was very remiss of me. I regret it.'

'So, what
...more
Will

This book was hilarious! Sort of Hitchhiker's Guide a la 1970's. Good read. I recomend that you don't eat or drink while reading this book; if you did, you would have an excellent chance of choking. Yes. You'll laugh that much.
Chip
I've read most of Sheckley's books and short story collections and I believe that the highest density of Sheckley style humor lies between these covers. Maybe onmy rivaled by the his great parable "Journey Beyond Tomorrow".
DoctorM
I read this long before I ever heard of Douglas Adams, and I find Sheckley to be funnier--- less self-conscious or precious, a bit edgier. This must be long out of print, but it's worth finding. Utterly hilarious.
Christine
Found this one thanks to the Neil Gaiman Presents audiobook series. Think Hitchhiker's Guide, but American and written in '68. Also, the audio version is narrated by the deranged millionaire John Hodgman. :)
Ian
Frequently cited as one of the inspirations behind Douglas Adams' HITCHHIKER series, it pales a bit in comparison, but is nonetheless one of the funniest SF novels ever written.
Mark
Computers are infallible. When they make a mistake, it is in fact correct, as the design included the probability of the error, and it performed as designed. Perfect.
Alan
Aug 06, 2011 Alan added it
I still remember the opening, when he receives "Greetings". Travel across the universe with no guarantee you will ever get back. Hilarious stuff.
Adam
May 29, 2014 Adam rated it 2 of 5 stars
Shelves: sf
An easy, but dated read, with lots of rhetorical logic-hopping. My favorite parts were about New Jersey, if that tells you anything.
Vladimir Toss
Oct 18, 2008 Vladimir Toss rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: everyone
Shelves: sci-fi
Sheckley is so deeply wise and ironic that sometimes I think that he is the only one human-being among popular sci-fi writers
Larry
Wonderful science fiction. If you like the genre please read this.
Bryan
Nov 13, 2011 Bryan marked it as to-read-4-would-like-to
70's era book which was an inspiration for HHGTG...
Chris
Tom Carmody’s only exceptional trait was that he’s exceptionally unlucky, as an alien arrives to inform him he’s won the Galactic Lottery. Shrugging, he accepts and is brought to galactic center to obtain his Prize. But with no natural homing instinct to guide him back to Earth, and not knowing the Where, When, and Which coordinates of his planet, the lotto organizers are unable to transport him home. The shapechanging Prize proves to be of questionable utility. Worse yet, he’s pursued by a dang ...more
Garrett Zecker
Dimension of Miracles is a hilarious and fascinating science fiction novel that was the first in a series that was very similar to (and predated) Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. I first read Hitchhikers Guide when I was in high school, and at the time I was a huge fan of Dave Barry. I loved Adams’ work, and then engorged myself with his entire series relatively quickly after having read the first.

Almost twenty years later, I got a copy of this book by Sheckley on my kindle on a day it was on
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8489
One of science fiction's great humorists, Sheckley was a prolific short story writer beginning in 1952 with titles including "Specialist", "Pilgrimage to Earth", "Warm", "The Prize of Peril", and "Seventh Victim", collected in volumes from Untouched by Human Hands (1954) to Is That What People Do? (1984) and a five-volume set of Collected Stories (1991). His first novel, Immortality, Inc. (1958), ...more
More about Robert Sheckley...
Immortality, Inc. The Status Civilization Mindswap Untouched By Human Hands Store of the Worlds: The Stories of Robert Sheckley

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“Wherever you go in the galaxy, you can find a food business, a house-building business, a war business, a peace business, a governing business, and so forth. And, of course, a God business, which is called 'religion,' and which is a particularly reprehensible line of endeavor. ” 12 likes
“It's the deep, fundamental bedrock of hypocrisy upon which religion is founded. Consider: no creature can be said to worship if it does not possess free will. Free will, however, is FREE. And just by virtue of being free, is intractable and incalculable, a truly Godlike gift, the faculty that makes a state of freedom possible. To exist in a state of freedom is a wild, strange thing, and was clearly intended as such. But what to the religions do with this? They say, "Very well, you possess free will; but now you must use your free will to enslave yourself to God and to us." The effrontery of it! God, who would not coerce a fly, is painted as a supreme slavemaster! In the fact of this, any creature with spirit must rebel, must serve God entirely of his own will and volition, or must not serve him at all, thus remaining true to himself and to the faculties God has given him.” 3 likes
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