Jag kan sammanfatta två separata korta science fiction-historier här, så var vänlig bära med mig. Jag läste definitivt detta för mer än 10 år sedan och det är troligt att det är äldre än det (60-talet, 70-talet?)
En man vaknar en dag för att upptäcka att världen är subtilt annorlunda. Hans fru verkar konstigt och det finns en konstig "groundhog day" -vibe.
Han upptäcker att hans hus faktiskt helt och hållet består av målat metall, inklusive saker som bör vara trä (en båt som han gjort till hands för till exempel).
Han påpekar att i den verkliga världen är det faktum att saker inte fungerar ordentligt som visar att du lever i verkligheten (en wobbly dörrhandlare kan ha nämnts? )
Han är ständigt besatt av reklam; märken av tvättpulver, politiska budskap etc. och människor fortsätter att fråga honom vad han tyckte om dem.
Vid en tidpunkt börjar annonsörerna bli väldigt aggressiva, invaderar bokstavligen hans hus för att smita på sina kläder och köra runt med megafoner för att skrika slurrar om sina politiska konkurrenter.
Han bryter äntligen ut ur staden (med hjälp av sin sekreterare?) och de upptäcker att de är ...
...actually robots living in a simulated town used by advertisers to test slogans, etc.
Den sista vridningen är den ...
...the town fits onto a desktop and is encased in glass. Even if he could escape, he could never live in the real world since he's very tiny.
The car took a position in the middle of the block and stood silent for a few minutes. Then there was a crackle from the speaker, and a giant voice chanted:
"Feckle Freezers! Feckle Freezers! Gotta have a Feckle Freezer! Feckle, Feckle, Feckle, Feckle, Feckle, Feckle—"
It went on and on. Every house on the block had faces staring out of windows by then. The voice was not merely loud; it was nearly deafening.
Och här är en del om att upptäcka att hans hus var gjord av metall:
Where the old trunk had been, the cellar floor gleamed oddly bright. He inspected it in the flashlight beam. It was metal!
"Son of a gun," said Guy Burckhardt. He shook his head unbelievingly. He peered closer, rubbed the edges of the metallic patch with his thumb and acquired an annoying cut—the edges were sharp.
The stained cement floor of the cellar was a thin shell. He found a hammer and cracked it off in a dozen spots—everywhere was metal.
The whole cellar was a copper box. Even the cement-brick walls were false fronts over a metal sheath!
Och hans båt:
The biggest surprise was the upside-down boat hull that blocked the rear half of the cellar, relic of a brief home workshop period that Burckhardt had gone through a couple of years before. From above, it looked perfectly normal. Inside, though, where there should have been thwarts and seats and lockers, there was a mere tangle of braces, rough and unfinished.
Den uppenbarelse du nämnde om karaktärens natur:
He said: "Oh. The explosion in my dream." "It was no dream. You are right—the explosion. That was real and this plant was the cause of it. The storage tanks let go and what the blast didn't get, the fumes killed a little later. But almost everyone died in the blast, twenty-one thousand persons. You died with them and that was Dorchin's chance." "The damned ghoul!" said Burckhardt. The twisted shoulders shrugged with an odd grace. "Why? You were gone. And you and all the others were what Dorchin wanted—a whole town, a perfect slice of America. It's as easy to transfer a pattern from a dead brain as a living one. Easier—the dead can't say no. Oh, it took work and money—the town was a wreck—but it was possible to rebuild it entirely, especially because it wasn't necessary to have all the details exact.
Och här upptäcker han den sista twist du nämner:
Burckhardt stood paralyzed. One of the moving mountains in the blinding glare came toward him. It towered hundreds of feet over his head; he stared up at its top, squinting helplessly into the light. It looked like— Impossible! The voice in the loudspeaker at the door said, "Burckhardt?" But he was unable to answer. A heavy rumbling sigh. "I see," said the voice. "You finally understand. There's no place to go. You know it now. I could have told you, but you might not have believed me, so it was better for you to see it yourself. And after all, Burckhardt, why would I reconstruct a city just the way it was before? I'm a businessman; I count costs. If a thing has to be full-scale, I build it that way. But there wasn't any need to in this case." From the mountain before him, Burckhardt helplessly saw a lesser cliff descend carefully toward him. It was long and dark, and at the end of it was whiteness, five-fingered whiteness.... "Poor little Burckhardt," crooned the loudspeaker, while the echoes rumbled through the enormous chasm that was only a workshop. "It must have been quite a shock for you to find out you were living in a town built on a table top."