What's the name of this sci-fi novel?
January 24, 2008 3:52 PM   Subscribe

SciFi BookTitleFilter: Looking for the title of a juvenile sci-fi novel I once read, involving parallel dimensional travel.

My best Google skills couldn't help me on this one; please help!

I read this paperback in the late 80s, possibly early 90s, although it may have been written much earlier. The main character was a teenage boy who purchased a "mind training" device from a gag/joke/magic shop which, once mastered, would allow dimensional travel. The device would supposedly play a tune (possibly "It's A Small World"(?)) when the proper mind state was reached.

The boy and his friend passed the device back and forth and spent many hours of trying with no success. He finally realized he'd been scammed, and said, "I give up!", at which point the tune began to play and the boy began to experiment with his new dimension-shifting abilities. The key was getting the mind to "unfocus," at which point the current dimension would also unfocus.

posted by Perplexer to Writing & Language (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
"Alan Mendelsohn, the Boy from Mars" by Daniel Pinkwater? One of my favorites as a preteen.
posted by Electrius at 3:56 PM on January 24, 2008

Ditto Alan Mendelsohn. It's a fantastic book.
posted by redfoxtail at 4:05 PM on January 24, 2008

Yeah, that's definitely Alan Mendelsohn, the Boy from Mars.

(possibly "It's A Small World"(?))

Jingle Bells!
posted by lemuria at 4:07 PM on January 24, 2008

You all nailed it! Thank you very much!
posted by Perplexer at 4:11 PM on January 24, 2008

If you like this, try Lizard Music; Alan Mendelsohn is Pinkwater's Tender is the Night, and Lizard Music his Gatsby.
posted by escabeche at 7:27 PM on January 24, 2008

Awesome, awesome book.

I've made Green Death Chilli, based on the book. It was tasty. But very hot. (The wikipedia page mentions the chilli shop, but not the Green Death Chilli. But it was just about the most memorable bit of the book for me.)

Pinkwater also has this great novel called Young Adult Novel, about Dadaist nerds in highschool.
posted by jb at 9:44 PM on January 24, 2008

I've ordered 5 Novels: The Boy from Mars; Slaves of Spiegel; The Last Guru; Young Adult Novel; The Snarkout Boys and the Avocado of Death (Paperback) from Amazon, and am looking forward to picking up on the bits I may have missed on my first read as a teen. Lizard Music is on my soon-to-buy list. :)
posted by Perplexer at 1:46 PM on January 25, 2008

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