The World Shuffler by Keith Laumer

Sidgwick & Jackson, 1973, 185 p

The World Shuffler cover

I bought this book not long after the same author’s The Infinite Cage. This one was much less palatable.

Having previously performed services for Central, which co-ordinates travel between the different parallel worlds, Lafayette O’Leary is living out a sinecure existence in the royal court on the planet Artesia. This is suddenly disrupted when he finds Artesia disappearing around him and he ends up marooned on Melange, a world in which his ability to access the psychic energies is compromised. He is thrown into various escapades as the person whose appearance he has is wanted for crimes of various sorts on the new world. He manages to escape each predicament in a variety of unlikely ways while trying to search for the counterpart on Melange of his Artesian love Daphne.

Despite his knowledge of the different continua O’Leary is very slow on the uptake, failing for a long time to recognise that the look-alikes on Melange to his acquaintances on Artesia are not the same people and have different statuses.

This book has very little to recommend it except as a product of its time. I very much doubt it would be published today.

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  1. Denis Cullinan

    I used to enjoy Laumer’s Retief stories.

    Years ago I saw the only movie made of a Laumer story, “The Monitors” (1969). It was a snore, and nor is The New York Times review a non-snore:

    I couldn’t resist playing with the Briticism “and nor.” I’m pained to relate that this usage is a howling solecism.

  2. jackdeighton

    I remember the Retief stories fondly too, Denis. I was hoping these other Laumer stories would be at least OK. But this one wasn’t.
    The reviewer didn’t seem to like the film much did he?
    Is “and nor” a Briticism?
    Nor itself has just about vanished these days.

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