(Found) parallel universes with different laws of physics; original concept for extraterrestrials


New Member
Sep 25, 2021
Hi everyone,

I have been looking for this book for a while, i hope you can help me. Here is what I remember :

it's a science fiction story, around maybe 2 or 3 hundred pages.
I read it more than 5 years ago, wanted to read something random and was really positively impressed. I didn't know anything about the author, I suppose it is not a really famous book or author, it's probably not going to be one of the "big names" Asimov, Clarke, or such.
(I'm quite sure it is just my brain screwing with me because i looked into it, but i keep making the association with Alfred Bester, probably because i read it at the same time)

lots of spoilers for this beautifull book incoming :

it starts on a planet that is most likely earth, the technological state is close future, with some people living on the moon and limited space travel possibilities
some person finds out that a lump of led is radioactive even though it shouldn't be, they puzzle around that for a while and find out that it comes from a parallel universe where the laws of physics are different.
They proceed to exchange led with aliens in this parallel universe (there is no communication except the led transfers) and produce energy from it.

Then at some point we are from the point of view of the aliens. They are really original and a lot is left to the imagination, i'll try to describe them.
there are 2 stages in their existence (i just remember that in the second stage they might be called "solids") . in the first stage, they seem to be in a not completely solid state, among other things they have this interaction where 3 of them (different "genders" at least gender is the closest word i can find. ) becomes a solid for a while and then re-separate (we learn only later in the book that when they have this interaction, they actually become stage 2, they themselves are not aware of it at first).
Due to the laws of physics, there are also way less stars in their sky (7 if i remember correctly, what i'm sure of is that it's a really small number, max 2 digits)

Anyways, then stuff happens, exchanging led becomes dangerous because it screws the laws of physics locally, add the problematics of not being able to tell the buisness parters on the other universe about it...
and then they find a solution, they find other universes where the physics are the opposite of the first one they discovered, they can exchange with both and the physics cancels out, and they basically get infinite energy without any bad side.

I think one character wanted to take the moon away from earth oriit to use it as a generational spaceship, but got convinced to use actual space ship(s) instead.

I think this is pretty much the whole plot summerised.

So, This is pretty much everything I remrmber, i'm looking for the title and Author.
it was a really nice read, i loved the originalyty and style, i would love to read it again !

Hope someone can help me.


Well-Known Member
Sep 21, 2005
I'm not personally familiar with the book, but it sounds like Isaac Asimov's The Gods Themselves (1972). From the Wikipedia plot summary:

The first part takes place on Earth, almost a century after the "Great Crisis", where ecological and economic collapse reduced the world's population from six billion to two billion. Radiochemist Frederick Hallam discovers that a container's contents have been altered. He finds out that the sample, originally tungsten, has been transformed into plutonium 186—an isotope that cannot occur naturally in our universe. As this is investigated, Hallam gets the credit for suggesting that the matter has been exchanged by beings in a parallel universe; this leads to the development of a cheap, clean, and apparently endless source of energy: the "Pump", which transfers matter between our universe (where plutonium 186 decays into tungsten 186) and a parallel one governed by different physical laws (where tungsten 186 turns into plutonium 186), yielding a nuclear reaction in the process...

Physicist Peter Lamont, while writing a history of the Pump about 30 years later, comes to believe that the impetus of the Pump was the effort of the extraterrestrial "para-men". Lamont enlists the help of Myron "Mike" Bronowski, an archeologist and linguist known for translating ancient writings in the Etruscan language, to prove his claim by communicating with the parallel world. They inscribe symbols on strips of tungsten to establish a common written language as the strips are exchanged for ones made of plutonium-186. As Bronowski works, Lamont discovers that the Pump increases the strong nuclear force inside the sun, and thus threatens both universes by the explosion of Earth's Sun and the cooling of that in the parallel universe...

The second part is set in the parallel universe where, because the nuclear force is stronger, stars are smaller and burn out faster than in our universe... The inhabitants are divided into dominant "hard ones" and subject "soft ones"...

Denison continues his work, tapping into a third parallel universe that is in a pre-Big Bang state (called "cosmic egg" or "cosmeg"), where physical laws are totally opposite to those of Dua's universe. Matter from the cosmeg starts with very weak nuclear force, and then spontaneously fuses as our universe's physical laws take over. The exchange with the second parallel universe both produces more energy at little or no cost, and balances the changes from the Electron Pump, resulting in a return to equilibrium.

The Judge

Truth. Order. Moderation.
Staff member
Nov 10, 2008
nearly the New Forest
Damn. Just beaten to it. It's definitely The Gods Themselves, and the split of the book into 3 connected stories is exactly right -- the first part on Earth with the Electron Pump involving the exchange of matter with a para-universe which gives cheap energy but which one scientist is convinced will destroy the world; the second part showing the aliens who effectively feed off light who invented the system to save their world, one of a triad of soft ones, the immature stage of development before they become hard, realises the danger it brings to Earth and tries to warn the scientists, but is unable to stop the process; and the third part set on the moon where someone can prove the transfer is dangerous but comes up with a way of solving the problem so that the aliens are saved, too. Cracking reads for the first two parts, but for me let down by the third and a couple of needless subplots which added little to the main story.


New Member
Sep 25, 2021
Damn, it was Asimov ! Thanks a lot !
And I still have the book, just didn't look right under my nose. That'll teach me to rely on my assumptions too much ^^
Edit : i didn't find where to mark the thread as "found"