A physicist, Colin Trafford, stages a demonstration of a particle accelerator to a number of people, including Sir Henry Larnstein and Trafford's long-time friend Tom Lewis. The demonstration goes wrong and Trafford, with his same memories, finds himself in a parallel universe with significant differences from our own: John F. Kennedy is Secretary General of a still-existent League of Nations, Leslie Howard did not die in the Second World War because it never happened, and no one ever succeeded in climbing to the peak of Mount Everest. Trafford also discovers that he is a famous author, an alcoholic, and a womaniser with a beautiful wife, Ottilie. Trafford instantly falls in love with Ottilie, whereas his parallel self was constantly unfaithful to her and she is on the brink of divorcing him.
With the help of Sir Henry and the physical evidence of the absence of a childhood scar, Ottilie accepts that this 'new' Trafford is not the same man she had originally fallen in love with and married. The couple fall in love once again, but Trafford then discovers that Ottilie has a terminal heart condition that is incurable in that world. Very soon she dies in Trafford's arms. At that instant he regains consciousness in a hospital bed in his original reality, where he has been for three weeks since the accident. He determines to track down Ottilie's alter ego and finds her just in time to get her to hospital for treatment of her ailment. As she recovers, Trafford goes to visit her with a bunch of her favourite flowers and introduces himself.
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