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Fletcher Pratt and L. Sprague de Camp took the protagonist of the Harold Shea series through the worlds of Norse myth, Edmund Spenser 's The Faerie Queene , Ludovico Ariosto 's Orlando Furioso , and the Kalevala [4] — without ever quite settling whether writers created these parallel worlds by writing these works, or received impressions from the worlds and wrote them down. In an interlude set in " Xanadu ", a character claims that the universe is dangerous because the poem went unfinished, but whether this was his misapprehension or not is not established.

Some fictional approaches definitively establish the independence of the parallel world, sometimes by having the world differ from the book's account; other approaches have works of fiction create and affect the parallel world: L. Sprague de Camp 's Solomon's Stone , taking place on an astral plane, is populated by the daydreams of mundane people, and in Rebecca Lickiss 's Eccentric Circles , an elf is grateful to Tolkien for transforming elves from dainty little creatures.

These stories often place the author, or authors in general, in the same position as Zelazny's characters in Amber. Questioning, in a literal fashion, if writing is an act of creating a new world, or an act of discovery of a pre-existing world.

Michio Kaku: Escape to a Parallel Universe

Occasionally, this approach becomes self-referential, treating the literary universe of the work itself as explicitly parallel to the universe where the work was created. Stephen King 's seven-volume Dark Tower series hinges upon the existence of multiple parallel worlds, many of which are King's own literary creations. Ultimately the characters become aware that they are only "real" in King's literary universe this can be debated as an example of breaking the fourth wall , and even travel to a world — twice — in which again, within the novel they meet Stephen King and alter events in the real Stephen King's world outside of the books.

An early instance of this was in works by Gardner Fox for DC Comics in the s, in which characters from the Golden Age which was supposed to be a series of comic books within the DC Comics universe would cross over into the main DC Comics universe. One comic book did provide an explanation for a fictional universe existing as a parallel universe.

The parallel world does "exist" and it resonates into the "real world".

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Some people in the "real world" pick up on this resonance, gaining information about the parallel world which they then use to write stories. Robert Heinlein , in The Number of the Beast , quantizes the many parallel fictional universes - in terms of fictons. A number of fictional universes are accessible along one of the three axes of time which Dr. Jacob Burroughs' "time twister" can access. Each quantum level change - a ficton - along this time axis corresponds to a different universe from one of several bodies of fiction known to all four travellers in the inter-universal, time travelling vehicle Gay Deceiver.

Heinlein also " breaks the fourth wall " by having "both Heinleins" Robert and his wife Virginia visit an inter-universal science-fiction and fantasy convention in the book's last chapter. The convention was convened on Heinlein character Lazarus Long 's estate on the planet "Tertius" to attract the evil "Black Hats" who pursued the main characters of The Number of the Beast through space and time in order to destroy Dr.


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Burroughs and his invention. Heinlein continues this literary conceit in The Cat Who Walks Through Walls and To Sail Beyond the Sunset , using characters from throughout his science-fictional career, hauled forth from their own "fictons" to unite in the war against the "Black Hats". Heinlein also wrote a stand-alone novel, Job: A Comedy of Justice , whose two protagonists fall from alternative universe into alternative universe often naked , and after a number of such adventures die and enter a stereotypically Fundamentalist Christian Heaven with many of its internal contradictions explored in the novel.

The Unreality of Time

Their harrowing adventures through the universes are then revealed to have been "destruction testing" of their souls by Loki , sanctioned by the Creator person of the Christian God Yahweh. The Devil appears as the most sympathetic of the gods in the story, who expresses contempt for the other gods' cavalier treatment of the story's main characters. Thus, Job: A Comedy of Justice rings in the theological dimension if only for the purpose of satirizing evangelical Christianity of parallel universes, that their existence can be used by God or a number of gods, Loki seems to have made himself available to do Yahweh's dirty work in this novel.

Elfland , or Faerie, the otherworldly home not only of elves and fairies but goblins , trolls , and other folkloric creatures, has an ambiguous appearance in folklore.

Could Parallel Universes Be Physically Real?

On one hand, the land often appears to be contiguous with 'ordinary' land. Thomas the Rhymer might, on being taken by the Queen of Faerie, be taken on a road like one leading to Heaven or Hell. This is not exclusive to English or French folklore. In the sagas, it said that the people of this petty kingdom were more beautiful than other people, as they were related to the elves , showing that not only the territory was associated with elves, but also the race of its people.

While sometimes folklore seems to show fairy intrusion into human lands — " Tam Lin " does not show any otherworldly aspects about the land in which the confrontation takes place — at other times the otherworldly aspects are clear. Fantasy writers have taken up the ambiguity. Some writers depict the land of the elves as a full-blown parallel universe, with portals the only entry — as in Josepha Sherman 's Prince of the Sidhe series or Esther Friesner 's Elf Defense — and others have depicted it as the next land over, possibly difficult to reach for magical reasons — Hope Mirrlees 's Lud-in-the-Mist , or Lord Dunsany 's The King of Elfland's Daughter.

In some cases, the boundary between Elfland and more ordinary lands is not fixed. Not only the inhabitants but Faerie itself can pour into more mundane regions. Terry Pratchett 's Discworld series proposes that the world of the Elves is a "parasite" universe, that drifts between and latches onto others such as Discworld and our own world referred to as "Roundworld" in the novels. In the young teenage book Mist by Kathryn James , the Elven world lies through a patch of mist in the woods.

It was constructed when the Elven were thrown out of our world. Travel to and fro is possible by those in the know, but can have lethal consequences. Isekai , is a subgenre of Japanese fantasy light novels, manga, anime, and video games revolving around a normal person being transported to or trapped in a parallel universe.


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Often, this universe already exists in the protagonist's world as a fictional universe, but it may also be unbeknownst to them. The most famous treatment of the alternative universe concept in film could be considered The Wizard of Oz , which portrays a parallel world, famously separating the magical realm of the Land of Oz from the mundane world by filming it in Technicolor while filming the scenes set in Kansas in sepia.

At times, alternative universes have been featured in small scale independent productions such as Kevin Brownlow and Andrew Mollo's It Happened Here , featuring an alternative United Kingdom which had undergone Operation Sea Lion in and had been defeated and occupied by Nazi Germany. It focused on moral questions related to the professional ethics of Pauline, a nurse forced into Nazi collaboration.

Another common use of the theme is as a prison for villains or demons. The idea is used in the first two Superman movies starring Christopher Reeve where Kryptonian villains were sentenced to the Phantom Zone from where they eventually escaped.

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An almost exactly parallel use of the idea is presented in the campy cult film The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension , where the "8th dimension" is essentially a "phantom zone" used to imprison the villainous Red Lectroids. Uses in horror films include the film From Beyond based on the H. Lovecraft story of the same name where a scientific experiment induces the experimenters to perceive aliens from a parallel universe, with bad results. The John Carpenter film Prince of Darkness is based on the premise that the essence of a being described as Satan , trapped in a glass canister and found in an abandoned church in Los Angeles , is actually an alien being that is the 'son' of something even more evil and powerful, trapped in another universe.

The protagonists accidentally free the creature, who then attempts to release his "father" by reaching in through a mirror. Some films present parallel realities that are actually different contrasting versions of the narrative itself. Commonly this motif is presented as different points of view revolving around a central but sometimes unknowable "truth", the seminal example being Akira Kurosawa 's Rashomon.

Conversely, often in film noir and crime dramas , the alternative narrative is a fiction created by a central character, intentionally — as in The Usual Suspects — or unintentionally — as in Angel Heart. Less often, the alternative narratives are given equal weight in the story, making them truly alternative universes, such as in the German film Run Lola Run , the short-lived British West End musical Our House and the British film Sliding Doors.

More recent films that have explicitly explored parallel universes are: the film The Family Man , the cult movie Donnie Darko , which deals with what it terms a "tangent universe" that erupts from our own universe; Super Mario Bros. The current Star Trek films are set in an alternative universe created by the first film's villain traveling back in time, thus allowing the franchise to be rebooted without affecting the continuity of any other Star Trek film or show.

The science-fiction thriller Source Code employs the concepts of quantum reality and parallel universes.

The characters in The Cloverfield Paradox , the third installment of the franchise , accidentally create a ripple in the time-space continuum and travel into an alternative universe, where the monster and the events in the first film transpired. The idea of parallel universes have received treatment in a number of television series, usually as a single story or episode in a more general science fiction or fantasy storyline.

The s TV series Sliders depicts a group of adventurers visiting assorted parallel universes, as they attempt to find their "home" universe. Included in the 1st season is a universe where the world is stuck in the ice age, with no life anywhere. One of the earliest television plots to feature parallel time was a storyline on the soap opera Dark Shadows.

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Vampire Barnabas Collins found a room in Collinwood which served as a portal to parallel time, and he entered the room in an attempt to escape from his current problems. A year later, the show again traveled to parallel time, the setting this time being A well known and often imitated example is the original Star Trek episode entitled " Mirror, Mirror ".

The episode introduced an alternative version of the Star Trek universe where the main characters were barbaric and cruel to the point of being evil. When the parallel universe concept is parodied , the allusion is often to this Star Trek episode. A previous episode for the Trek series first hinted at the potential of differing reality planes and their occupants , titled " The Alternative Factor ".

A mad scientist from "our" universe, named Lazarus B.