I read a book in the 80s or 90s that I had thought was "The Talisman". I've just finished reading "The Talisman" and found that it wasn't the book I had read back then, though there are many similarities.

Here are some of the elements of the story that I'm trying to identify:

  • The main character was a young boy
  • The boy was dealing with two worlds/realities and I think flipped back and forth
  • The boy had to make a trek across a fair distance of America on his quest
  • There were creatures from either the alternate world or beyond that were working for the bad guy and trying to find the boy in our world ("The Talisman" doesn't really have anything like this)
  • The creatures were some kind of black goblins/demons, and camouflaged themselves as scraps of tire rubber on the sides of roads (This always stuck with me and is the major component that I remember that was missing from "The Talisman")
  • I had thought that the author was a Horror author doing a Modern Fantasy book, but maybe that was just because I had it mixed up with "The Talisman"

Now, I've enjoyed reading "The Talisman", but I'd really like to reread whatever book it is that I'm remembering, since I've plainly forgotten a lot about it despite having really enjoyed it.

  • 1
    Is that the same book that this sci-fi.se question was asking about?
    – user14111
    Aug 25, 2017 at 9:13
  • @user14111 - If that is the book, then I'm misremembering large parts of it (mixing two books together?). The monsters seem right though. It's nice to know that I'm not the only one being driven crazy trying to remember where those monsters came from. =) Aug 25, 2017 at 10:55

1 Answer 1


Well, it turns out that the book I was thinking of was Into the Out Of by Alan Dean Foster. The part about a kid being the main character was me mixing up The Talisman and Into the Out Of.

  • The main character of The Talisman is a young boy (Jack), the main characters of Into the Out Of are an off-duty undercover FBI agent (Joshua) and a vacationing third-shift Eddie Bauer phone sales agent (Mary) as well as the Maasai elder (Olkeloki) who came to find them
  • Jack is dealing with two worlds (our technological world and "The Territories", a world of magic) and flips back and forth between them. Joshua and Mary have to travel with Olkeloki to a weak spot between worlds (our world and the "Out Of", the place everything in our world came out of and where mostly things too messed up to exist here seem to have stayed) to close it before monsters from the Out Of can flood through and ravage the Earth
  • Jack is making a trek from New Hampshire to California to find the Talisman so that he can return to New Hampshire and use it to heal his mother of cancer. Olkeloki travels from Tanzania to Washington DC to find two "Ilmeet" (non-Maasai people raised in modern culture. Outsiders.) that are needed to help close the weak spot. He finds Joshua and Mary, and they travel back to Tanzania to complete their quest.
  • Jack isn't actively hunted on his journey, but has to deal with enemies he meets on his path. Josua, Mary, and Olkeloki have to deal with the Shetani, creatures from the Out Of that can travel though shadows, disguise themselves as anything black (such as tire rubber on the roadside), and warp space (for instance turning an airplane bathroom into a space that could not fit inside the plane while trying to take Mary before the trio reached Africa)
  • Good job finding this! But please could you edit your answer to expand (ideally with quotes or links to online reviews/summaries) on how this book matches all the details you described in the question? We'd like Q&A to be useful to more people than just the asker, and while this shows that you've solved your problem, it's less help to other people looking for a similar book. See also Guidelines for good story-ID answers.
    – Rand al'Thor
    Aug 30, 2017 at 22:42
  • 1
    Awesome edit, thank you :-)
    – Rand al'Thor
    Aug 31, 2017 at 22:59

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.