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  • The main premise of the Across The Universe series. The main character is travelling in a spaceship to land on a new planet while cryogenically frozen, and she is woken up fifty years before the ship is set to land. She is trapped on a tiny ship filled with people who don't understand her and are extremely confused at how she looks (since everyone on the ship is monoethnic, and she's not).
  • Older Than Radio: Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland. One of the earliest and most famous versions of this trope and a template for many later stories.
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  • Played with in The Balanced Sword, in which a group of teenagers are brought from Earth to the magical world of Zarathan by a mysterious wizard and tasked with restoring the long-lost connection between the two worlds — but they're not the protagonists, or even in the story much; they just cross paths occasionally with the actual protagonists, Kyri and Tobimar, who are natives of Zarathan busy with a quest of their own. They do play a role in the resolution of the trilogy, though: during Kyri's climactic battle with the Big Bad, there's a mystical aftershock portending that somewhere offstage the connection between the two worlds has been restored, and the distraction this causes the Big Bad helps Kyri to win the day. The author has said that he does intend to do a straight telling of the teenagers' story someday, but if he only got to tell one story about Zarathan he wanted it to be Kyri's.
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  • In BladeArc, Yuuto is summoned to the Magical Land of High World to save the world from Eternal Nidhogg, a world-eating ancient worm.
  • In Sergey Lukyanenko's The Boy and the Darkness, the protagonist is a teenager named Danny who travels to another world covered in perpetual darkness. His way home is almost immediately destroyed. The other two portals get destroyed later. At the end, Danny gets the chance to go home by wishing for one thing from a godlike being. He uses the wish to save a friend rather than return home.
  • Jack Chalker's Changewinds and Flux & Anchor series both deal with the themes of being stuck in worlds other than the main character's original one, though the details are complex, and (as is common with Chalker) very strange.
  • In Diana Wynne Jones's Charmed Life this is what happens to Janet and her eight analogues in the other worlds in Series Twelve — when Gwendolen escapes from World 12A, she pulls Janet in from World 12B, and so on all around the circuit. Janet is the only one who doesn't find the change to be an improvement, and when she realizes this, decides to stay in 12A for the sake of the others. Janet's parents don't notice the change.
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  • A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court, and every adaptation and remake that came after. With an 1889 publication date, this is the Trope Codifier.
  • Coraline by Neil Gaiman is arguably Deconstruction of this concept, as the other world literally is a Trap for her (and others) — and nothing more. Unlike most examples, the heroine is very glad to leave it behind.
  • In Critical Failures, four friends invite a random guy online to be their Cave Master for a Dungeons & Dragons Expy called Caverns & Creatures. The guy, Mordred, gets annoyed with them not taking the game seriously and insulting him, so he uses a set of magical dice to send them into the game as their characters. Then he does the same to a sister of one of the boys, who comes back unexpectedly, and her boyfriend. The trapped friends are forced to survive in a world that is suddenly real and deal with the consequences of their thoughtless actions from back when they thought it was just a game, such as lopping off the head of a guard for no good reason. They also have to abide by the rules of the game, and their skills are limited by whatever character stats they rolled before they started playing. For example, Cooper ends up being a half-orc with extremely low intelligence and charisma stats, so he constantly does something disgusting without meaning to and can't read, even though Cooper is normally literate. This doesn't apply to reading their character sheets, since those items aren't treated as of the game world. Also, Mordred keeps an eye on them through any person, creature, or object. He also reveals to them that they're not the first people he has sent into the game world.
  • In the first Crosstime Traffic book, Gunpowder Empire, siblings Jeremy and Amanda Solters get cut off from the home timeline after a terrorist attack in Romania (they don't find out until the end of the book), and trapped in a world where the Roman Empire never fell. They switch from accepting barter for their goods to only taking cash, and worry what will happen when the trade goods, and especially the antibiotics, run out.
  • In Stephen King's The Dark Tower, Roland draws his ka-tet from New York City at various points in time to his own world.
  • Barbara Hambly's Darwath series: Ingold could bring Gil and Rudy back to Earth any time, at the risk of the Dark learning how it's done and coming to eat Los Angeles. By the time the threat of the Dark goes away, so does our heroes' desire to go 'home'.
  • In Daughter of the Falcon, Jessie, a girl from our world is trapped in Mysteria, a Magical Land. This is then Deconstructed as she needs insulin injections and there is nothing comparable in Mysteria, so unless she can return home, she will die when her supply runs out.
  • Dave Duncan's The Great Game explains why characters in this situation tend to become heroes — anyone who's in a different dimension than the one they were born in can absorb Mana. At low levels, this just makes them really, really charismatic. If they convince other people to make sacrifices to them (usually of blood), they can become Physical Gods. All "godly" beings are actually humans from other worlds, many "gods" of Vales are actually from our world. There are hazards to this, however...
  • In Dirge for Prester John, getting into or out of Pentexore is impossible most of the year, effectively trapping anyone who isn't keeping a strict eye on the Rimal.
  • The Divide: Within the first five pages, Felix passes out above the eponymous Divide and finds himself stuck in a world where humans and science are mythical but magic and elves are real. Unusually, for most of it getting home is only his secondary objective; his primary is finding some kind of treatment for his terminal heart condition. Crossing the boundary gets a lot easier as the series goes on. At the end of the series, the Divide is closed and leaves copies of Felix and his elfin friend Betony on each side, meaning that you've got one Felix trapped in the fantasy world and one Betony trapped in the human one.
  • Stephen R. Donaldson is fond of this one. It's the premise of:
  • The main characters in Eden Green and sequel New Night spend at least part of their adventures stuck in an alternate dimension later named Fortuna, from which alien needle monsters have been invading Earth. The portals that allow travel between the dimensions are fickle, impossible to control until late into the second book, and even then, behave in unpredictable ways.
  • In Everworld, the main characters David, Christopher, Jalil and April get sucked into the titular world when Loki breaches the space between worlds to abduct Senna. (Senna specifically planned this.) Everworld is populated with various mythological gods who came there from our world ("the Old World") centuries ago, along with their mortal followers. There are also weird alien creatures who came from completely different worlds, along with their gods, one of whom is an Eldritch Abomination seeking to eat all the others. Senna could bring them home, but unlike most MacGuffin Super Persons, she has her own agenda, and it's not pretty.
  • Guy Gavriel Kay's The Fionavar Tapestry. The five main characters are transported to Fionavar at the beginning of the first book, The Summer Tree, and return to their own world at the end of it; then they go back near the beginning of the second book, The Wandering Fire, and stay there through to the end of the third, The Longest Road, when their various fates are resolved. At the end of the trilogy the score stands with two going back to our world, one choosing to stay in Fionavar, one dead in a Heroic Sacrifice, and one sailing off to eternity with Lancelot and King Arthur as she is, in fact, Guinevere. The books are somewhat eclectic.
  • Grand Central Arena: The experimental starship Holy Grail and its crew find themselves stuck in The Arena, a vast extrauniversal construct, and can't get back home unless they learn how the rules of The Arena work. Unlike most of the other examples, this one is SF, not fantasy, although there is Sufficiently Advanced tech involved.
  • In Greystone Valley, the 12-year-old Sarah finds herself transported into the titular valley.
  • Joel Rosenberg's Guardians of the Flame series depicts a small group of college students who start a fantasy game (GMed by their professor), only to get magically transported into the bodies of their characters. Most of them end up deciding to stay, and use their modern knowledge to found a democratic nation that busts slave rings with firearms. Additionally, this trope is inverted for their professor, who came from the fantasy world with the specific intent of finding The Chosen One — the child that the main character and his girlfriend have once they're in the fantasy world.
  • The titular Id finds himself trapped in a world he has absolutely no knowledge about and has no idea how he got there — but where he comes from is another mystery.
  • In The Inverted World by Christopher Priest (novelist), a city has somehow become transported to a bizarre alternate world, one where they must constantly move forwards in order to survive.
  • The John Carter of Mars series and the unrelated 'Pellucidar'' series, by Edgar Rice Burroughs.
  • Land of Oblivion has its Kid Hero protagonists transported to a place where dead children have their afterlife. The place is not all rosy, though, and they have to save the girl's brother from becoming Deader Than Dead.
  • C. S. Lewis's The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe; a slight twist here is that the characters age significantly during their stay in Narnia, then are returned to their original ages when they leave. The other Narnia books tend to follow this pattern as well, except for The Horse and His Boy.
  • H. Beam Piper's Lord Kalvan of Otherwhen was once a Pennsylvania state policeman named Calvin Morrison, who was accidentally dropped off in a parallel universe where the Aryans went east instead of west, and conquered North America. As it happens, he lands in a small kingdom that's about to be wiped out by the Corrupt Church that holds a monopoly on the secret of gunpowder manufacture...and he knows how to make gunpowder.
  • The Merchant Princes Series, by Charles Stross features "worldwalkers" who regularly do this to others.
  • In Teresa Frohock's Miserere: An Autumn Tale, going through the Veil to the Woerld means you can never return to Earth.
  • L.E. Modesitt Jr.:
    • In the Spellsong Cycle, the main character is summoned because of her skills as a singer.
    • In the Saga of Recluce series this trope combined with Lost Colony is used in two books.
  • Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman. Richard Mayhew manages to pierce the Perception Filter that normally clings to muggles like himself, and notices a girl who is in dire need of medical attention. He pays dearly for this, as the girl is from London Below, where all the magic and forgoten history of London ends up, and he finds himself forgotten by his peers and unable to interact with them. His only hope to return to the life he knows is to delver further into London Below and its strange denizens.
  • In "The New Gate", deals double cases of this. Firstly trapped-in-Deadly-VR-games a la Sword Art Online above then protagonist is transported to dimension similar to video game but 500 hundred years later a la Overlord and Log Horizon when he, alone, killed last boss and completed the game. The story tells his reunions with old friends, meeting new friends, saving the day on frequent basis and finding the way home. Later, it is revealed that there are 6 other players whom are trapped twice like Shin for reason yet unexplained even if the systems recognize that they are already logged out.
  • Rob of An Outcast in Another World really wants to go back to Earth. Elatra is extremely hostile and not a nice place to live, especially for a Human. As of now, he hasn’t made any progress, and none of his allies are aware of a way to send him back, as his appearance in Elatra is unprecedented.
  • Once you have entered Palimpsest once, you will go there whenever you have sex, whether you want to or not.
  • Iinverted with The Princess 99, where an alien biker chick from the future finds herself stuck in the human world in the 1920s.
  • The Rifter: John, Laurie, and Bill have (without intending to) passed through the Great Gates from Earth to Basawar, a strange, brutal land; the gates are shut (maybe destroyed). Getting home will not be easy at all.
  • This trope is very common in contemporary Russian fiction, having coined the neologism "попаданец" (literally "one who unwittingly arrived").
  • Schooled in Magic: Emily, a lonely, depressed modern girl, is abruptly transported to a parallel world by an evil sorcerer who believes she's the chosen one meant to defeat him. She's rescued by another sorcerer and sent to a wizard school because it's revealed she can do magic. Emily really never even wonders if she can go back, in spite of having a lot to adjust living in a very medieval world, as her only relatives were a negligent mother and an abusive step-father. As a result, she has no incentive to even try.
  • Technically, The Science of Discworld III: Darwin's Watch is a portal fantasy in which Charles Darwin enters a fantasy world. However, it's an unusual case, as the world in question is assumed to be familiar to the reader, and so rather than being about him exploring it, the book is more from the perspective of the wizards trying to figure out how to send him back. SoD IV: Judgement Day has a sensible librarian fall out of Roundworld, and does spend more time with her learning about the Disc.
  • Literally the entire premise of the trilogy The Secret Country by Pamela Dean, except with a slight twist as the main characters seemed to have created the world themselves and then somehow fallen into it.
  • Jo Clayton's Skeens Leap has an interstellar treasure hunter named Skeen discover a portal to a Standard Fantasy Setting while evading pursuit on a remote planet. It doesn't seem to make much difference in her life; she goes from being chased by aliens to being chased by werewolves without much intermission.
  • In Alan Dean Foster's Spellsinger series, the main character is summoned by a powerful wizard looking for another powerful wizard. Apparently, an engineer would be the closest thing to the alternate world's wizards. Unfortunately, the summoning spell latched on to the main character's job title... ‘'sanitation'’ engineer. Fortunately, he does turn out to have magical abilities in that world.
  • In Summer in Orcus, a girl named Summer is transported to the world of Orcus, which is under threat from the warlord Zultan Houndbreaker and the mysterious Queen in Chains.
  • The Summoning series by fantasy/romance author Robin D. Owens focuses on a group of Colorado women who are called, one by one, to be champions of the world of Amee. Unique in that any Earth-native brought to Amee will eventually face the Snap... a point where Earth tries to call the person back, and will unless she has made a stronger commitment to Amee.
  • Tales of the Magic Land starts off much the same as Baum (especially since the first book was a loose but recognizable translation of Baum); but Ellie and whatever relatives she takes along with her to the Emerald City always return home, and by the last book Ellie is studying in America and her cousin Fred is working on a factory, both having no intention to move to the Magic Land. It's stated that Scarecrow wanted to invite Ellie to the Emerald City as a teacher, but it's left unknown whether he did and whether she agreed.
  • In Trash of the Count's Family, the in-series novel The Birth of a Hero features this with its protagonist Choi Han. Protagonist Kim Rok Soo is transported into the world of the novel, which could be considered either this trope or reincarnating into another world because it's not clear of he actually died or not before being transported (not that he has any interest in returning either way).
  • The Twelve Kingdoms: Youko Nakajima and her friends Ikuya Asano and Yuuka Sugimoto get dropped in the middle of a mostly hostile fantasy world by a 'Mysterious Protector. Though, this is apparently common enough for the locals to coin terms ("Kaikyaku" for Japanese people, "sankyaku" for Chinese) and for the government to have a regular policy in dealing with them. For example, The Kingdom of En has a standard naturalization/citizenship process while Kou just tries to round them up and kill them.
    • And before they came in, a farm girl named Suzu was spirited away from the Meiji era and thrown in the same world. Only to go through much heartbreak.
    • Shoryu, the king of En, also was from Japan. In fact, he was a daimyo or feudal lord whose clan was wiped away in the feudal wars. Having become a Fallen Prince, he accepted to become the King of En.
  • In Unicorns of Balinor, the heroine was actually born and raised in the other world, but due to plot-related amnesia thinks she's always been on Earth. As is typical for the trope, she initially fears the more magical aspects of her life, but eventually realizes that they feel more her than any of the (well-intentioned) lies her caretakers fed her to keep her safe. And as they guessed she would, she runs off to risk her life fighting the Big Bad who killed her family the moment her memories return.
  • Un Lun Dun by China Miéville — Zanna and Deeba are drawn into the titular world, a nonsensical mirror version of London, inhabited by various creatures and animated items that have been discarded by London's inhabitants.
  • In The Wandering Inn, Erin Solstice, Ryoka Griffin, and dozens of others find themselves suddenly in a completely different world. Some appear in monster-infested places, resulting in many deaths.
  • In Warrior Cats, Jayfeather is stuck in the past until he can turn the Ancients into the Tribe of Rushing Water by teaching them tribe customs.
  • In The Way Series, Patricia gets trapped on a parallel world, and remains there until she dies of old age.
  • Wayward Children is a Deconstruction, with the entire first book, Every Heart a Doorway, being about kids who went to other worlds on portal fantasy adventures dealing with the trauma of coming back — to parents who can't understand them or their experiences, to bodies that they outgrew (Kade gets a double whammy on that one, because not only does he end up in a younger body, it means that he needs to go through the wrong puberty twice), to a world that just doesn't follow the rules they've gotten used to, and/or to a world without the people they've come to love. For a lot of them, after being trapped in another world, now they feel trapped in this one.
  • L. Frank Baum's The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Most of the first six-odd "Oz" books fell under this trope, with Dorothy finding her way back to Oz only to get back to Kansas by the last page, though eventually Baum just had Dorothy (along with Uncle Henry, Aunt Em, and Toto) move to Oz full-time and continue her adventures there. Whenever another human came to Oz from the outside world after that point, they generally ended up staying (Oz after the wicked witches died and Ozma took the throne being a much more utopian place to live, occasional monsters and baddies notwithstanding). It's implied even pre-Ozma that Oz was a much better place to live than Kansas; and Dorothy only kept going back home because she didn't want to ditch her family. That certainly is her only reason after meeting Ozma, whom she has a very close relationship with. This trope is downplayed as Oz isn't in another universe, but actually another country. It's just separated from the rest of the world by a huge desert.


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