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It Could Be Anything

Keith Laumer

Book Overview: 

A science fiction story by the great Keith Laumer - what more needs to be said? - But I will say more nevertheless. A young man sets out from his rural town to see the world for himself. What is really over the next hill? What does a big city look like? Is there really an ocean? After all, we only have the testimony of others that tell us about these things. Full confidence and belief in himself, he boards the local train, falls asleep and then ..... finds himself alone, the three cars abandoned .... the engine is gone and the tracks; well, the tracks just end in the middle of a grain field. What is going on? What kind of reality is this? Or is what we 'know' just illusions and in fact, It Could Be Anything!!!

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .He had been following the wall for a long time, searching for an opening. It curved away from him, rising vertically from the level earth. Its surface was porous, unadorned, too smooth to climb. It was, Brett estimated, twenty feet high. If there were anything to make a ladder from—

Ahead he saw a wide gate, flanked by grey columns. He came up to it, put the suitcase down, and wiped at his forehead with his handkerchief. Through the opening in the wall a paved street was visible, and the facades of buildings. Those on the street before him were low, not more than one or two stories, but behind them taller towers reared up. There were no people in sight; no sounds stirred the hot noon-time air. Brett picked up his bag and passed through the gate.

For the next hour he walked empty pavements, listening to the echoes of his footsteps against brownstone fronts, empty shop windows, curtained glass doors, and here and there a vacant lot,. . . Read More

Community Reviews

When you leave what is familiar do you really no what you are going to encounter? It could be anything. This was weird but very good.

When you're a child you often believe that everything not in your path is fake or not real. To find out that it's all true and you are the only real thing in the world is scary. Would you fight back or just accept that reality is just a fake?

An interesting story that forced me to dig deeper then hi

This book reads like the first few chapters of what was meant to be a longer book but was never finished. It brings up several intriguing realities. I liked the idea. The character development is slender though, and maybe would have fleshed out in a longer book. I didn't actually read this as a kind

This book feels like it should have been a horror story, but the suspense and stuff just isn't there.
As science fiction I found it uninteresting, it's a neat concept, but the author doesn't do anything with it. The philosophy doesn't go very deep or far, I found the book pretty dull in general.
I fee

Fast-paced and really interesting

I found this book to be more than science fiction,but a philosophical maze of wanderlust.
Well worth reading,I would recommend it.

having your male protagonists undress the female robots (only the females) to make *sure* they're robots seems unnecessarily skeezy.

For some reason, this book reminded me of The Wizard of Oz. What is real? It's all about our perceptions.

I read this during a day of traveling and airport layovers. For a travel novella where you are jumping in and out of reading, it was suitable and I enjoyed it.

This is a dystopic, reality-challenging novella. I suspect that it was originally published as a series of short stories, as it certainly re