A short SF story about ideal alternate universes and spit bubbles?
April 17, 2017 9:00 PM   Subscribe

Please help me identify a short SF story about an agency that matched clients with an alternate universe that perfectly matched their abilities and talents. The man wanting to be matched was great at making spit bubbles.

I read this story sometime in the past 35 years, on paper, prior to the internet existing. Definitely a short story, probably read in F&SF magazine, but possibly somewhere else.

The details I can remember are vague, but I believe there was an agency that would help match a person to, and place in, their ideal alternate universe, one that suited the persons talents and abilities. The story was centered on one fairly unremarkable young man whose biggest talent was the ability to roll spit bubbles off his tongue. When matched with the spit bubble universe, he became a superstar, but was still unhappy.

The agency had to try several different universes for this particular man, and I don't remember how it ends. It was a lighter story, funny rather than dark or scary (that probably goes without saying).

Ring a bell for anyone? I've been googling this off and on all day, and I'm having no luck.
posted by Brody's chum to Media & Arts (4 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
If no one comes up with an answer here, you may want to try /r/printsf.
posted by WCityMike at 12:48 PM on April 18

A potential answer was posted over on /r/tipofmytongue, although I can't verify it: "Go On, Pick a Universe" by Bob Shaw.
posted by teraflop at 7:15 AM on April 19

Yes, it's "Go On, Pick a Universe". I remember the story you describe very clearly, and definitely had the collection it's published in, Dark Night in Toyland, as a youth. The potted description here confirms that it's the same.
posted by daisyk at 7:02 AM on April 20

If you don't feel guilty downloading a copy of a book you've owned in the past, this forum post has links to ePUB/MOBI versions of the anthology the story appears in.
posted by Rhaomi at 6:01 PM on April 24 [1 favorite]

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