Looking for the name of a sci-fi book.
February 7, 2008 8:45 AM   Subscribe

Looking for the name of a sci-fi book. Man is injected with a serum that causes him to shrink forever, eventually discovering there are universes smaller than atoms.

Back in high school ('80s) a friend of mine was reading a sci-fi book that I cannot recall the name of. The basic premise was some scientists came up with some sort of chemical that, when injected into a human, made them shrink. One scientist injects the other in a fight and with way too much, so he starts to shrink, smaller than an atom until eventually he finds there's another universe inside the atom. There, he's a giant, but he still shrinks. Eventually he's told that he will shrink to the point of returning to his home universe. Anyway, that's how I recall it being explained to me. Any help appreciated.
posted by Gudlyf to Media & Arts (9 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
Are you sure this was a book? This is the premise for the Marvel character Ant-Man/YellowJacket/Giant Man. He would regularly travel into the Microverse.
posted by damn dirty ape at 8:58 AM on February 7, 2008

Best answer: Could be "He Who Shrank" by Henry Hasse (published 1934, but it's been in several more recent anthologies - I read it in the 80s in Asimov's "Before the Golden Age").
posted by gds at 9:00 AM on February 7, 2008

Pretty sure its "He Who Shrank" by Henry Hesse. On preview, what gds said.
posted by elendil71 at 9:02 AM on February 7, 2008

Response by poster: Yes, it's "He Who Shrank". Upon further search I recognize the cover of Asimov's 'Giants' anthology book from back then. Thank you! Sounds like it's not all that great, though.
posted by Gudlyf at 9:06 AM on February 7, 2008

It's been a very long time since I read it - and actually it occurs to me now that I never have. It was read to the class in 5th grade by a really remarkable teacher I had. I believe it was a short story though, or novella, not a novel. As for its "value", I dunno, I think a lot of those "Golden Age" sci fi tales are really more important for their vision rather than their wordsmithing at the time. Read it again and give it a chance.
posted by elendil71 at 9:24 AM on February 7, 2008

Sounds like it's not all that great, though.

Well, it's good if you can deal with the creaky style. Most pulp-era writers were not all that strong on actual writing ability. Another related book would be The Girl in the Golden Atom (Project Gutenberg freebie) by Ray Cummings. And of course, The Incredible Shrinking Man, a wonderful film.
posted by Guy_Inamonkeysuit at 9:26 AM on February 7, 2008

Richard Mathesons The Shrinking Man, on which The Incredible Shrinking Man is based, is pretty much the king of the people getting small genre. It doesn't sound like it's the precise one you want, but it contains many of the same elements, including being small enough to comprehend cosmic mysteries (I think - i may be getting the book and the film mixed up here). The writing style probably stands up pretty well as well.
posted by Artw at 9:39 AM on February 7, 2008 [1 favorite]

I read Matheson's Shrinking Man recently and it does hold up well, as does the movie.

And don't forget the very special two part episode of Mork and Mindy, "Mork in Wonderland".
posted by beowulf573 at 11:06 AM on February 7, 2008

Speaking of Ray Cummings you might also like his Beyond the Stars as well as the EC comic "Lost in the Microcosm" from Weird Science. Beyond the Stars tells the story of a band of adventurers who journey in the opposite direction, in a vehicle which expands.
posted by Rash at 4:09 PM on February 7, 2008

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