alternate universe n.

= alternate world n.

SF Criticism


  • 1950 ‘A. Boucher’ & J. F. McComas in Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction Dec. 104 page image Anthony Boucher J. Francis McComas

    At last the superlative magazine series by L. Sprague de Camp and Fletcher Pratt, recounting Harold Shea’s experiences with the mathematics of magic in alternate universes, is all in print in a completely revised and expanded form.

  • 1964 B. Trimble in Shangri-L'Affaires May–June 20

    Have you ever had the sneaking suspicion that, after all, there really is an alternate universe to the one we know?

  • 1971 U. K. Le Guin Lathe of Heaven (1973) iv. 50 Ursula K. Le Guin

    Dual time-tracks, alternate universes.

  • 1973 B. W. Aldiss Billion Year Spree 20 Brian W. Aldiss

    So with science fiction novels. They may locate themselves in distant futures on Earth, or on one of the planets of the solar system, or anywhere in our galaxy, or even in a distant galaxy; or they may occupy a different probability sphere or another time-track entirely (there are at least three brilliant alternate universe novels, Ward Moore’s Bring the Jubilee, in which the South won the American Civil War; Harry Harrison’s A Transatlantic Tunnel, Hurrah! in which George Washington was shot and the American Revolution never happened; and Philip K. Dick’s The Man in the High Castle, in which the Axis powers won World War II).

  • 1977 Obsc'zine Aug. 5/1

    I am not trying to attack a Kirk/Spock sexual relationship in general. It is just that when an author uses terms from a particular ‘alternate universe’, that author ought, in my opinion, be limited by the boundaries of the universe that the terms imply. I don’t believe that a homosexual relationship for Spock and Kirk is legitimate in the KRAITH universe, and I therefore object to certain aspects of ‘Aftermath’.

  • 1977 R. Scholes & E. S. Rabkin Science Fiction: History, Science, & Vision 178 Eric S. Rabkin Robert Scholes bibliography

    Science fiction has provided us not only with visions of time travel and hence of alternate time streams, but of whole alternate universes. The term ‘alternate universe’ may refer simply to the universe in which history follows an alternate time stream, but more strictly speaking, it refers to a universe somehow complete and yet coexistent with ours.

  • 1979 Variations on a Theme Aug. 1

    In Kraith Collected we met an alternate universe Spock where Kirk had died.

  • 1989 N. Spinrad On Books in Asimov’s Science Fiction Dec. 175/1 page image Norman Spinrad

    In Eon, an artificial worldlet called the Thistledown, which somehow arrives from the future, contains the machinery for generating ‘The Way’, a kind of tubular wormhole universe, fifty kilometers in diameter and more or less infinitely long, snaking, not only through space and time, but alternate universes too, capable of being colonized along its endless interior, but also serving as a kind of space-time Metro with gates leading into other worlds, other times, other alternate realities.

  • 1990 G. Dozois Playing the Game in Slow Dancing Through Time Afterword 159 Gardner Dozois

    This started off as a story by Jack called ‘The Alpha Tree’, about a boy who could see into alternate universes… I skewed Jack’s idea somewhat, building the story instead around a concept that had long fascinated me—an intuition of how easy it would be to become lost among the billions of probability-worlds that are born and die around us every second of every day.

  • 1994 Interzone Jan. 64/3

    To make it credible the ‘Western Barbarians’ can deploy witchfire at need, for this is more Sword-&-Sorcery than an alternate-universe story.

  • 2015 C. Gray Ten Thousand Skies Above You i. 5 page image Claudia Gray bibliography

    I encountered her in the very first alternate universe I ever visited: a futuristic London where she was the daughter of a duchess.

Research requirements

antedating 1950

Earliest cite

in Fantasy & Science Fiction

Research History
Matthew Hoyt submitted a cite from a 1975 reprint of Ferman and Malzberg's 1974 anthology "Final Stage".
Cory Panshin submitted a 1964 cite from Bjo Trimble from "Shangri-L'Affaires".
Cory Panshin submitted a 1950 cite from Boucher and McComas' reviews in F&SF.
Jeff Prucher submitted a 1977 cite from Scholes' and Rabkin's "Science Fiction: Science, History, Vision".
Jeff Prucher submitted a 1990 cite from Gardner Dozois' "Slow Dancing Through Time".
Jeff Prucher submitted a 1989 cite from Norman Spinrad's book review column in Asimov's.
Cory Panshin submitted a 1973 cite from Brian Aldiss' "Billion Year Spree".
Ben Ostrowsky submitted a 2015 cite from Claudia Gray.

Last modified 2021-02-25 15:14:01
In the compilation of some entries, HDSF has drawn extensively on corresponding entries in OED.