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

    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.

  • 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

    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.

  • 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.

  • 1992 L. Tuttle Lost Futures 92 Lisa Tuttle

    You probably haven’t heard of the many-worlds theory in quantum mechanics, but a lot of people consider the idea of parallel universes.

  • 1994 Interzone June 44/2

    To some extent, I think all time-travel stories are parallel-universe stories whether they are acknowledged as such or not.

  • 1994 Interzone Jan. 10/2

    ‘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.

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 2021-01-17 16:02:27
In the compilation of some entries, HDSF has drawn extensively on corresponding entries in OED.