The Time Bender by Keith Laumer
Time BenderLafayette O’Leary is a young draftsman who is unsatisfied with his life. He has read all the books in the library about hypnotism or mesmerism except one. So he borrows the final, huge, almost unfathomable tome by Professor Hans Joseph Schimmerkopf. The professor maintained that anyone could hypnotize himself if he concentrated properly.
Although he figures it is almost impossible to concentrate in his tiny, dingy rooms, he tries anyway. To his amazement, he finds himself in the land of Artesia. Artesia is a kingdom that seems midevil yet has basic electricity and mechanical transportation. It’s an odd combination that works. He lands in a pub, but soon is at the castle. He is accepted as a champion who will challenge the horrible giant Lod and Lod’s dragon.When he spies Princess Adoranne, he knows that this place may be a dream, but he’ll do it anyway.
O’Leary is able to reshape Artesia’s reality, which can make his life easier and safer or put him in much more danger than he expects. For example, when he wanted a bath, he walked into the bathroom to discover a wonderful tub with a charming, naked chambermaid in it. He didn’t create things – he moved them from somewhere else. This reality bending only worked in a place he hadn’t seen yet. Once he has seen it, he knows what it is supposed to be.
The Time Bender was published in 1966. My original copy cost 50 cents and is brittle, brown and in poor shape.
The Time Bender is cute and fun, not challenging or deep. It’s not time travel despite the title. It’s an alternate reality novel where O’Leary moves between his reality, Artesia, and at least one other world. It’s a good representation of the pulp science fiction of the 60’s.