pocket universe n.

a universe or reality completely separate from ours which is much smaller, may have different natural laws, and may be artificially created

SF Encyclopedia


  • 1946 ‘M. Leinster’ Pocket Universes in Thrilling Wonder Stories Fall 80/1 page image Murray Leinster bibliography

    He'd evidently put aside the small contrivance I'd last seen him working on, and he'd made a gadget—a diamagnet or whatever it ought to be called—a thing that closed space around itself in a pocket universe when it was turned on—that was extendible.

  • 1946 ‘M. Leinster’ Pocket Universes in Thrilling Wonder Stories Fall 82/2 page image Murray Leinster bibliography

    You used that extensible contrivance, and made a pocket universe that reached from the inside of his baggage to where you were. You absorbed the space between. And you looted his luggage from the inside, took the proceeds and put them in a fund to be used for the progress of Hondagua.

  • 1947 Letter in Thrilling Wonder Stories Feb. 100/2

    How about having Leinster write a sequel concerning life on the inside of a pocket universe.

  • 1947 Letter in Thrilling Wonder Stories Feb. 100/2

    Just where was the universe-generator, the small one, with Santos in the large pocket universe, or in the laboratory?

  • 1966 A. Budrys Galaxy Bookshelf in Galaxy Magazine Aug. 190/2 Algis Budrys

    The writer is not allowed to bring in moral judgments, what ‘everyone knows’ about the condition of the world or dogma of any sort. His characters may of course believe in these things, or they would not seem like people; but no individual who sets out to create a pocket universe is allowed the luxury of evading his responsibilities behind a bunch of mere words, no matter how skillfully spoken or how comforting their message.

  • 1966 P. J. Farmer Gates of Creation (1975) 9 Philip José Farmer

    Then he would have to find the gate that would give entrance to the pocket universe.

  • 1970 P. J. Farmer Behind Walls of Terra 4 Philip José Farmer

    Kickaha had been transmitted into an artificial universe, a pocket universe, created by a Lord named Jadawin.

  • 1980 S. Robinson Have You Heard One About.. in Analog Science Fiction/Science Fact June 76/1 Spider Robinson bibliography

    No, compadres, it is not a hole-o-graph. It is a hyperpocket, a dimensional bridge to a…ahem…pocket universe. Regardez!

  • 1983 G. Gygax Deities & Demigods of World of Greyhawk in Dragon Magazine Jan. 27/1 Gary Gygax

    No one knows where (or when) Istus makes her abode. Some savants postulate that there is a nexus linking the other planes of existence to a pocket universe which only she, and her webs of fate, can enter or exit.

  • 1984 I. Asimov et al. Isaac Asimov Presents Best Science Fiction Firsts 95

    Heinlein cleverly arranged for the crew to be ignorant of the ship’s original purpose, going so far as to create a ‘pocket universe’ in which the people involved did not even know they were on a ship.

  • 1990 Extrapolation Summer 187

    Freelance writer Max P. Belin raises the scope of the investigation by several orders of magnitude with his discussion of ‘pocket universes’, the literary convention which allows an author to create worlds where any conditions may prevail, thus avoiding the ‘transportation’ problem inherent in our own universe.

  • 1996 W. Gibson Idoru xxiii. 163 William Gibson

    It was, the Belgian said, as though the city, in its convulsion and grief, had spontaneously and necessarily generated this hidden pocket universe of the soul, its few unbroken windows painted over with black rubber aquarium paint.

  • 2011 J. Sanford Her Scientifiction, Far Future, Medieval Fantasy in Interzone (#234) May–June 26/1 page image Jason Sanford bibliography

    Kris couldn’t mention any of that in this damn pocket universe, built solely to glorify the heroic past.

Research requirements

antedating 1946

Earliest cite

'M. Leinster' 'Pocket Universes'

Research History
Jeff Prucher submitted a 1990 cite from a book review by Thomas Dunn in "Extrapolation".
Enoch Forrester submitted a 1983 cite from an article by Gary Gygax in Dragon Magazine.
Fred Galvin submitted a 1970 cite from Philip Jose Farmer's "Behind the Walls of Terra".
Fred Galvin submitted a 1947 cite from a letter to Thrilling Wonder Stories that references "Pocket Universes" by Murray Leinster; Alistair Durie submitted cites from the Fall 1946 publication of this story.
Fred Galvin also found a cite in a later reprint of Leinster's "The End", from Dec.1946 Thrilling Wonder Stories. We would like to see cites from this story's original publication.
Douglas Winston submitted a cite from William Gibson's "Idoru", which Mike Christie verified in the 1996 first printing.
Douglas Winston submitted a cite from a 1981 reprint of Spider Robinson's "Time Travelers Strictly Cash".

Last modified 2021-01-05 19:32:48
In the compilation of some entries, HDSF has drawn extensively on corresponding entries in OED.