A scifi book about kids who traveled to an alternative universe?
October 20, 2012 2:39 PM   Subscribe

I'm looking for a sci-fi book about young people who traveled to an alternative universe on multiple occasions. There was something about a power station and the story may also have mentioned a triangular symbol. It turns out that their switching between universes was limited for some reason.

The book would have been written at least 25 yrs ago. There weren't a lot of travelers and I think in the end, they had to make a decision about which world they'd stay in for good. Also, I think the power station was located near a beach or at least a body of water.

This is definitely not anything by Madeline L'Engle but it was written around that period, I think.
posted by who squared to Grab Bag (13 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
This sounds like the "His Dark Materials" series by Philip Pullman, although it doesn't meet your "25 years ago" criteria. The later books include the elements you discuss, although I don't recall a power station being prominent. Do you recall if the child characters had magical "pets" of a sort (trying to be spoiler free here)? If so, it's almost certainly this series.
posted by riotnrrd at 2:47 PM on October 20, 2012

Long shot, but my best guess: Are you talking about Diadem?
posted by deathpanels at 2:55 PM on October 20, 2012

Longshot: possibly The Homeward Bounders?
posted by Narrative Priorities at 3:21 PM on October 20, 2012

Nthing his dark materials/golden compass. Everything but the power station is spot on, to the point where if this isn't the series you're taking about, it sounds like a copycat/plagarism
posted by Patbon at 4:41 PM on October 20, 2012

Could it be The Talisman? I don't think there's a power station, but there is switching between worlds and the beginning/ending takes place at the beach.
posted by ausdemfenster at 5:03 PM on October 20, 2012

Was it definitely alternative universes, or possibly just portals to and from Earth?
posted by skywhite at 5:50 PM on October 20, 2012

Patbon: where does the triangle come into His Dark Materials? It's a while since I read it but I don't recall any significant triangles. And the question appears to concern a single alternative universe, rather than the multifarious universes of HDM. And if the date's correct, HDM and plagiarism thereof are impossible, by a 15ish-year margin.

Unfortunately I don't have any good suggestions as to what the mystery book actually could be...
posted by pont at 5:58 PM on October 20, 2012 [1 favorite]

How about Alan Mendelsohn, the Boy From Mars? The kids meet a Venusian motorcyclist at the Bermuda Triangle Chili Parlor and learn how to travel to alternate dimensions. They don't travel from a power plant, though, they travel from Hergeschleimer's Oriental Gardens.
posted by feets at 9:26 PM on October 20, 2012 [3 favorites]

The power station bit makes me think of Hard Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World by Haruki Murakami. The story doesn't exactly fit your other criteria, though there are sort of 2 "worlds" and the protagonist does, ultimately have to choose one.
posted by signsofrain at 10:22 PM on October 20, 2012 [1 favorite]

Sounds a bit like Alan Garner's "Elidor," although in that novel it's a ruined church rather than a power station that's the portal between worlds.
posted by Sonny Jim at 2:58 AM on October 21, 2012

Could you perhaps be remembering two Diana Wynne Jones books? Archer's Goon has a power station, but only minimal universe switching (it's mostly time manipulation), but Homeward Bounders has the universe picking down. They were both published in the early '80's.
posted by Margalo Epps at 7:19 AM on October 21, 2012

Not Diana Wynne Jones or Philip Pullman or any of the other suggestions. If you're familiar with the TV show, Otherworld, it was something very similar.
posted by who squared at 7:34 AM on October 21, 2012

skywhite, it was definitely a different time and place for the protagonists but on Earth and no aliens that I recall.
posted by who squared at 7:36 AM on October 21, 2012

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