parallel world n.

a world that exists alongside or in addition to the known world; = parallel universe n.

SF Encyclopedia


  • 1931 B. Herbert World Within in Wonder Stories Aug. 313/1 page image Benson Herbert bibliography

    The disconcerting change of direction of gravity, catching him unawares while passing along the fourth dimension from that tri-dimensional parallel world so near to ours, together with the sudden enormous increase of his weight, proved too much for his weakened condition.

  • 1932 J. Williamson in Strange Tales Mystery & Terror Jan. 347/2 Jack Williamson

    My father had studied the evidence upon the existence of such worlds invisible to us, more deeply than any other man, had published his findings, with complete mathematical proof, in his startling work, ‘Interlocking Universes.’ If those parallel worlds were to be discovered, he was the logical man to make the discovery.

  • 1952 R. A. Heinlein Letter 16 July in R. A. Heinlein & V. Heinlein Grumbles from Grave (1990) 224 Robert A. Heinlein

    I do have about three cops-and-robbers jobs which I can do, one a parallel-worlds yarn and the other two conventional space opera.

  • 1964 R. A. Heinlein in If July 48/2 Robert A. Heinlein

    You've heard of parallel worlds? A million worlds side by side, almost alike but not quite? Worlds where Elizabeth married Essex and Mark Anthony hated redheads?

  • 1971 S. J. Lundwall Science Fiction 127

    Next step is the big-brother of the time machine, the machine that enables one to go from one parallel world to another. It might seem like just a variation on the old journey-to-other-worlds story, but it is not. There is a whole brand-new set of paradoxes in the parallel-world theme.

  • 1990 Thrust Winter 7/3

    However, Card’s tornado of magic is a far cry from…Unicorn Mountain, where unicorns suffer from swamp fever and TV programs originate from a parallel world.

  • 1992 L. Tuttle Lost Futures 92 Lisa Tuttle

    To call them ‘parallel worlds’ isn’t really accurate; it makes more sense to visualize these universes as splitting off at right angles.

  • 1994 Interzone June 44/3

    I think I have solved this problem in Timeswitch… the new novel about parallel worlds. Timeswitch is really not set in our reality. It is set on Earth, in the 20th century, but it is not our 20th century.

  • 2005 M. Kaku Parallel Worlds vi. 148 page image Michio Kaku bibliography

    The world of The Man in the High Castle and our world are separated by only the tiniest of accidents, a single assassin’s bullet. However, it is also possible that a parallel world may be separated from ours by the smallest possible event: a single quantum event, a cosmic ray impact.

Research requirements

antedating 1931

Earliest cite

Benson Herbert, The World Within

Research History
Mike Christie submitted a 1964 cite from Robert Heinlein's "Farnham's Freehold".
James A. Landau submitted a 1955 cite (probably by John W. Campbell) from a synopsis prefacing a serialized version of H. Beam Piper's "Time Crime".
Rick Hauptmann submitted a 1932 cite from Jack Williamson's "The Wolves of Darkness".
Rick Hauptmann submitted a 1931 cite from Benson Herbert's "The World Within".
Jeff Prucher submitted a 1971 cite from Sam Lundwall's "Science Fiction: What It's All About".

Earliest cite in the OED: 1968.

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