parallel universe n.

a universe conceived of as existing alongside our own, having many similarities to it but usually differing from it in some significant way (as having a different history or different physical laws)

SF Encyclopedia


  • 1923 H. G. Wells Men Like Gods v. 51 H. G. Wells bibliography

    We accept your main proposition unreservedly; namely, that we conceive ourselves to be living in a parallel universe to yours, on a planet the very brother of your own, indeed quite amazingly like yours, having regard to all the possible contrasts we might have found here.

  • 1949 ‘M. Leinster’ Black Galaxy in Startling Stories Mar. 20/1 page image Murray Leinster bibliography

    The ship is drawn to the one spot the tractor-beam is focussed on, although it moves in a parallel universe and isn’t in our cosmos at all.

  • 1950 P. S. Miller Book Reviews in Astounding Science-Fiction Dec. 98/1 page image P. Schuyler Miller

    [Reviewing Fredric Brown’s What Mad Universe:] The editor of a 1954 science-fiction pulp is kicked into a parallel universe where his magazine is a straight adventure book.

  • 1958 P. E. High Shift Case in Nebula Science Fiction Mar. 26 page image Philip E. High bibliography

    I could be getting the answer to a million guesses. I could say it’s the future, a parallel universe, another dimension, even something from another life form in another universe.

  • 1968 K. Laumer Assignment in Nowhere 51 Keith Laumer bibliography

    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.

  • 1982 R. Goulart Blockbuster in Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction June 148/1 page image Ron Goulart bibliography

    ‘Is that where Lulu is going to be tonight?’ ‘Possibly. Or she may have decided to hop over to a parallel universe.’

  • 1992 P. David Imzadi iii. 25 Peter David bibliography

    It’s something that has been considered…that parallel universes are, in fact, alternative time tracks.

  • 1994 M. Brown Women on the Brink of a Cataclysm in Interzone Jan. 10/2 page image Molly Brown bibliography

    Don’t tell me you don’t get it! Look, I'm an alternate you from a parallel universe, capeche?

  • 2001 Sci Fi June 36/1

    Imagine that there were countless parallel universes, one after the other, with no end. Imagine that in a different universe than the one you inhabit, a different you devised a plan to murder each universe’s version of yourself.

  • 2013 R. Silverberg Rereading Simak in Asimov’s Science Fiction Aug. 5/2 page image Robert Silverberg bibliography

    The ostensible setting of his fiction might be the eightieth century, or a parallel universe, or a strange world of some other galaxy.

Research requirements

antedating 1923

Earliest cite

H.G Wells, Men Like Gods

Research History
Brian Ameringen submitted a cite from 1960.
Ralf Brown located and Fred Galvin submitted a cite from an undated reprint of H.G. Wells' "Men Like Gods"; Tim Boyer verified the cite in an American edition from January 1923, probably the first US printing.

Last modified 2022-09-07 00:58:57
In the compilation of some entries, HDSF has drawn extensively on corresponding entries in OED.