alternative universe n.

= alternate world n.

SF Criticism


  • 1944 P. S. Miller As Never Was in Astounding Science Fiction Jan. 34/1 page image P. Schuyler Miller bibliography

    As any schoolchild learns, the time shuttler who goes into the past introduces an alien variable into the spacio-temporal matrix at the instant when he emerges. The time stream forks, an alternative universe is born in which his visit is given its proper place, and when he returns it will be to a future level in the new world which he has created. His own universe is forever barred to him.

  • 1952 M. Reynolds Alternate Universe in Other Worlds Nov. 75/2

    ‘Wait a minute,’ I said. ‘Explain this alternative universes deal again.’ ‘I was about to. There are, he proved, an infinite number of universes coexisting, an infinite number of space-time continuums. Given this, it is easy to comprehend that somewhere, in all these infinite universes, everything has happened, will happen and is happening. Everything. ’ ‘Now let me get this,’ I said desperately. ‘You mean that somewhere there is an earth in which George Washington lost the Revolutionary War and the British still own America?’ ‘That’s right,’ he nodded. ‘And somewhere, Napoleon won at Waterloo, somewhere Hitler won the second World War. And so on and so on. I repeat, everything has happened, will happen and is happening.’

  • 1953 G. Heard Science Fiction, Morals, and Religion in Modern Science Fiction 256

    The aim of science today is then to discover that super self-control whereby man learns to master, shift and expand the focal length of consciousness and so apprehends further alternative universes, as in the nineteenth century the rise of alternative geometries opened the way to new cosmogonies.

  • 1966 A. B. Chandler Edge of Night in Worlds of If Science Fiction Oct. 127/1 A. Bertram Chandler

    And that was when this alternative universe, this continuum in which Grimes and his people were invaders, had run off the historical rails.

  • 1969 A. B. Chandler Catch the Star Winds xvii. 164 A. Bertram Chandler

    ‘Not in this continuum,’ he corrected me. ‘But what happened in the alternative Universes has a certain bearing upon our present predicament. Thanks to your otherwise unpardonable outburst, we can remember now—’

  • 1969 A. B. Chandler Catch the Star Winds xiv. 119 A. Bertram Chandler

    ‘So in this alternative Universe of yours,’ I said tolerantly, ‘the Rim Worlds never got colonized.’

  • 1973 J. Dann in R. Elwood Showcase Introd. p. ix

    Science fiction thrives on content, and content has become its natural resource. Not restricted to the here and now, it extrapolates, makes up, dreams, and invents. Alternative universes, space-time continuums, clones, faster than light travel, extraterrestrials, genetic surgery, cyborgs, fusion power, mass minds, all bits of the science fiction terrain, all fodder for stories.

  • 1993 Dragon Magazine Mar. 86/2

    Best of the bunch are ‘Return of the King’, featuring an alternative universe where an Elvis Presley revival threatens the existence of rap music, and ‘Imprisoned’, where the PCs struggle to escape a 1950s suburban nightmare right out of ‘Leave It to Beaver’.

  • 2001 L. N. Smith Amer. Zone ii. 24

    Apparently unaware of what universe I came from—the first historically alternative universe to be discovered by Confederate scientists—Gable blamed it all on immigrants to the Confederacy.

Research requirements

antedating 1944

Earliest cite

P. Schuyler Miller, 'As Never Was'

Research History
Sue Surova found a citation in James Wolcott's The Catsitters, 2001. Enoch Forrester submitted a 1993 cite from reviews by Rick Swan in Dragon Magazine. Douglas Winston submitted a 1969 cite from A. Bertram Chandler's "Catch the Star Winds". Jeff Prucher submitted a 1973 cite from Jack Dann's introduction to "Showcase". Douglas Winston submitted a 2001 cite from L. Neil Smith's "The American Zone". Douglas Winston submitted a 2002 cite from Terry Pratchett's "Night Watch". Fred Galvin submitted a 1952 cite from Mack Reynolds' "Alternate Universe". Fred Galvin submitted a cite from a 1957 reprint of P. Schuyler Miller's "As Never Was"; Mike Christie verified it in its original publication in the Jan. 1944 Astounding.

Last modified 2020-12-16 04:08:47
In the compilation of some entries, HDSF has drawn extensively on corresponding entries in OED.