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Dimension of Miracles

(Dimension of Miracles #1)

3.93  ·  Rating details ·  1,980 ratings  ·  263 reviews
It had to be somewhere, Carmody knew that much. It was waiting for him, just as he had left it. But where? He only knew he was in the center of a galaxy in a universe of galaxies. Within them lay endless varieties of the planet Earth. And there was only one way to find his Earth again: he would have to visit each one. And he would have to hurry--because his search for home ...more
Paperback, 214 pages
Published May 1st 1979 by Ace (first published 1968)
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Average rating 3.93  · 
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 ·  1,980 ratings  ·  263 reviews

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Nov 29, 2008 rated it really liked it
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)
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
Vit Babenco
May 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“The right to be wrong is fundamental throughout the cosmos.”
If there is a mess on earth, the cosmic mess is much messier… And Robert Sheckley was the one to open our eyes:
“You provincials are all alike, filled with impossible dreams of order and perfection, which are mere idealized projections of your own incompletion. You should know by now that life is a sloppy affair, that power tends to break things up rather than put things together, and that the greater the intelligence, the higher the de
Manuel Antão
Aug 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2000
If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review.

Homo Ludens: “Dimension of Miracles” by Robert Sheckley

Viva la dialecticacacaca! Anyway, on the unitary consciousness and death, here is a very nice excerpt from Robert Sheckley's “Dimension of Miracles”, in which the hero (Carmody) has a chat with a God (Melichrone):

"I abolished them," Melichrone said. "I did away with all life on my
planet, living and otherwise, and I also deleted the Hereafter.
Frankly, I needed time to think."

Aug 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
How is this not more well known? This is like the granddaddy of absurd intergalactic misadventure tales, published over ten years before Douglas Adams' The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy!

The story follows an unlucky schlemiel trying to return home to Earth (and the correct one among an infinity of alternate universe Earths) after unsuspectingly winning the galactic sweepstakes. During the journey he gets a behind the scenes look at the absurd inner workings of the cosmos, the nature of god, re
Order is merely a primitive and arbitrary relational grouping of objects in the chaos of the Universe.

Absurd in a Hitchhikeresque way, published a decade before The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Absurd and sometimes hilariously funny, sometimes convolutedly philosophical.

Carmody was a quiet man, of a predominantly melancholic humour, with a face that neatly matched the elegiac contours of his disposition. He was somewhat above the average in height and self-deprecation. His posture was bad,
Jan 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Dimension of Miracles by Robert Sheckly is the original Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy. I mean it is the definitive comedy space opera novel. It follows the interstellar adventures of typical American businessman Tom Carmody after he very surprisingly wins the Intergalactic Sweepstakes. A messenger takes Carmody to the Galactic Center to claim his Prize, but Carmody has no clue how to get back home; the where, when and which of his Earth is required information he lacks. So together with his P ...more
Oct 20, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Comic science fiction isn't a genre that appeals to me that much, but this was as charmingly dated as a Bradbury story and as fresh and current as an episode of Rick and Morty. I listened to the audiobook, terrifically read by John Hodgman; if anyone would like it, holler at me and I'll Dropbox it to you.
☘Misericordia☘ ⚡ϟ⚡⛈⚡☁ ❇️❤❣
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. (c)
Waco Glennon
Oct 12, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What a spectacular book. I have read Sheckley before, but not this novel. I was in for a real treat. Due to an error, Tom Carmody has won an intergalactic lottery. Please disregard the fact that Carmody had no clue there was any life outside of Earth, let alone they had contests and he was someone an entrant. Carmody takes this news with poise and he collects his Prize after a challenge from another contestant. Oh yeah, the sentient.

From here, Carmody goes on an adventure to find thr
Jan 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
Before Douglas Adams, there was Robert Sheckley. Before "Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy," there was "Dimension of Miracles."

This is a very strange book to read. Strange not only because the plot is so twisted and weird it's pretty much impossible to tell with a straight face--it involves a lottery ticket that was never purchased, a prize that rivals the Major Award in "Christmas Story," and lots of other things--but the writing...oh my goodness The Writing!

To compare the writing to Douglas
Love of Hopeless Causes
Sheckley's finest. The writing equivalent of stepping in sun-baked gum on hot summer asphalt. The kind of plot even the editorial team of Superman Family would reject. But hey, talking dinosaurs with day jobs and interstellar bureaucracy. Sheckley: wanted by the consistency police for plots against humanity. ...more
Jul 22, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Absolutely brilliant. Tour de force of masterful absurdity, the treasury of paradoxes, the bliss of irony and humor. I first read Dimension of Miracles some 30 years ago as a teenager and enjoyed it back then, but now I am totally infatuated with it's sheer brilliance. It was written before The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, and Douglas Adams claimed he read it only after he wrote the Guide, but the similarity of tone and mood is amazing. This may be a dangerous thing to say, but I think that ...more
Ben De Bono
Most reviews of Dimension of Miracles seem to stress the novel's relation to Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. While there are similarities, I'm not sure that comparison holds up. Where Hitchhiker's is laugh out loud funny, the humor here is more internally amusing. Where Douglas Adams is scattershot, Robert Sheckley gives a pretty straightforward plot. Adams' pessimism comes across as increasingly angry and cynical as the series goes on. Sheckley's is more sad and resigned.

The two works do com
Jan 18, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook, 2015
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
Dec 18, 2016 rated it really liked it
Before Terry Pratchett and Douglas Adams, there was Robert Sheckley. As I read “Dimension of Miracles,” I kept thinking that Carmody really needed his bath towel and a little of Rincewind’s creative cowardice. Sheckley was well known in science fiction circles, but he never had the high culture profile of Pratchett or Adams. His wit has more bite than theirs though his style is not as polished. He is well worth a read, and “Dimension” is a good place to start.
Feb 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2000-2019
This audiobook is part of Neil Gaiman presents, a series of books selected by Neil Gaiman for Audible for which Gaiman selects the narrator.

I can't believe I never discovered Robert Sheckley during the 70's when science fiction was the only genre I ever read. This book has all the elements I most enjoyed about science fiction of that time in which the possibility for out-of-this-world adventure provided the perfect environment for introspection and critically appraising our lives.
Rick Caster
Oct 29, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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. ...more
Sep 14, 2007 rated it really liked it
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. ...more
Feb 10, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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". ...more
Oct 11, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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.
Aug 06, 2011 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. ...more
Angus McKeogh
Billed as the unknown precursor to Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, this book was set to be one of the funniest things I’d ever read. And while it was good, smart, occasionally funny, and in the same vein, I didn’t find it to be better. Perhaps I’d indulged in too much hype before reading. Better than average but not among the best books I’ve ever read.
Jul 30, 2013 rated it it was ok
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
May 09, 2014 rated it did not like it
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
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
May 05, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Wonderful science fiction. If you like the genre please read this.
Nov 13, 2011 marked it as to-read-4-would-like-to
70's era book which was an inspiration for HHGTG... ...more
Dec 26, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audiobooks
Abstract scifi humour at its greatest heights. If you love The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy then you probably going to love also this book. ...more
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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

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18 likes · 4 comments
“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. ” 16 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.” 9 likes
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