What Mad Universe

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What Mad Universe was a SF novel by Fredric Brown published in hardback by E. P. Dutton in 1949. It was originally published in the September, 1948, issue of Startling Stories.

The novel is a satire on SF in which the protagonist finds himself on an alternate Earth in which some aspects of SF pulp literature are real. The protagonist is a science fiction editor from our world who has been trapped in the sort of universe that only an especially annoying SF fan would dream up.

The fan, Joe Doppleburg, is the hero Dopelle in this pulpish world. Who Doppleburg was modeled on is an open question. Some have suggested that Walt Dunkleberger was one of the prototypes. New York fan Joe Schaumberger has also been suggested. (There was apparently a discussion of this in the letter column of a 1949 issue of Startling Stories.

Publication Reasonator 1949
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