He had never felt this outside of the Zone, and even in the Zone it had only happened two or three times. Suddenly, he seemed to be in another world. A million smells assaulted him at once—smells that were sharp, sweet, metallic; dangerous, caressing, disturbing; as immense as houses, as tiny as dust particles, as rough as cobblestones, and as delicate and intricate as watch gears. The air turned hard, it appeared to have surfaces, corners, edges, as if space had been filled with huge coarse spheres, polished pyramids, and gigantic prickly crystals, and he was forced to make his way through all this, as if in a dream, pushing through a dark antique shop full of ancient misshapen furniture … This only lasted a moment. He opened his eyes, and everything disappeared. This wasn’t another world—it was his same old world turning an unfamiliar side toward him, revealing it for an instant, then immediately sealing it off, before he even had the chance to investigate.

Roadside Picnic – Arkady and Boris Strugatsky

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