one of many possible universes, which may have different physical laws or a different history than our own
I am visiting the alternate worlds in search of one that has learned how to do away with the horrid scourge of war, in order to bring back the precious knowledge to my erring co-timers.
Beyond Earth’s Gates, by Lewis Padgett and C.L. Moore (Ace, 35¢) is a highly agreeable bit of alternate-world foolishness, in which a sympathetically unheroic hero finds himself drowning in the clichés (from the sinister highpriest [sic] to the fair princess) of the world of Malesco.
From that beginning grew the Imperium—the government claiming sovereignty over the entire Net of alternate worlds. Your world—which is known to us as Blight Insular Three—is but one of the uncountable parallel universes, each differing only infinitesimally from its neighbor.
Science fiction writers, from H. G. Wells through Murray Leinster and Clifford Simak to Ward Moore and Philip K. Dick, have considered the possibility that there may exist, side by side with our Earth, separated from it by time or dimension, alternate worlds split off by moments of great (or small) historic actions or decisions, and that upon occasion, by traveling in time or chancing upon some gateway or crossroads, we can pass from one world to another.
An alternate world is an image of Earth as it might be, consequent upon some hypothetical alteration of history. Many sf stories use the notion of parallel worlds as a frame in which alternate worlds can be held simultaneously and may even interact with one another.
Is this an alternate world, maybe? The next universe over?
This book, then, draws on heavily on my academic background. It’s set in the early fourteenth century of an alternate world where Muhammad, instead of founding Islam, converted to Christianity on a trading mission up into Syria.
The title story is an alternate-world fantasy too broken up by the verisimilitude of its savage premise—the nightmare world into which the protagonist falls is ours—to provide much in the way of theodicy balm, and so fails to soothe in the way we've come to expect our alternate-world tales to.
Each intro chronicles another stage in his…life (while providing glimpses of ‘alternate worlds’ where things might have gone otherwise).
I thought it would be naive and something like racism in reverse to suggest that if we got rid of Europe the world would have happily put itself together. There are all kinds of double binds in writing an alternative history. Do you make the alternate world better or worse?
Fritz Leiber, 'Business of Killing'
Last modified 2020-12-16 04:08:47
In the compilation of some entries, HDSF has drawn extensively on corresponding entries in OED.