Phil Conference Part 2: The Appeal of Parallel Universes

“Percival, would you bring over the chalkboard?” I asked, walking to the center of the room. Once the thing was in place, I stood in front of it, chalk and funny little pointer thingy in hand, and began.

“In fantasy, one of the most fun concepts to read about and consider is that of a parallel universe. Based on the parallel universes I’ve seen from stories like The Last Dragon Chronicles and Fringe (which I only watch enough to understand the basics of the show), I’ve formulated my opinion of alternate realities, which I shall air here.”

I wrote the following on the chalkboard:

Parallel universe: a theory that there is a mirror universe and when one makes a decision in this universe, an alternate ‘you’ in the other universe makes the opposite decision. (Definition from

“This definition basically states that there are two realities in which there are two of every person; when you make a decision, your copy makes one opposite that decision. That isn’t what we see in those examples listed above; there we see worlds that have copies, yes, but copies that make decisions parallel to your own, like a… parallel universe! My, my. Well, moving on.

“The consistency I’ve found between all parallel realities I’ve seen is that there are two worlds–” I drew two circles on the board– “which are connected by, not the worlds themselves– the worlds are often massively different– but between the individuals occupying the worlds. Thus, the worlds are only parallel in regard to their characters, if you will. Thus, if we are all in one of a set of parallel universes right now, on the ‘other side’, as they say in Fringe, there is another person like me, probably with a name close to, but not exactly, mine; like Leon, or Leo. Percival, you might have a copy named… well, it’s hard to know, but possibly Percy, or even Percival like yourself.

“But no matter how similar the characters, the world itself will be different, as I said; in Fringe, they have an orange Statue of Liberty that shows when you’re viewing the ‘other side’ as opposed to the regular world we all know; in The Last Dragon Chronicles, there is a remarkably different world called Co:pern:ica, parallel to our own only in characters– the world itself is governed by different laws and societies than our own, the only constant being the characters and the dragons. Fun, eh?

“But what is the appeal for parallel universes and alternate realities? I think I know the answer: we like to think of ourselves doing something similar in another reality, or something exactly opposite. In other words, we’re so conceited as a human race that we think the world(s) need two of us.

“You might not know this, but I recently introduced an alternate reality into your story, Isaac, Feiron and Phoenix. Phoenix, however, is the only person with a double; named Phoebe. The rules of that parallel universe are different than what I’ve seen in the past: there is one world parallel to our own, which is different than ours, yet the same; people over there make different choices than we do (for example, the USA is actually three monarchies and an empire), so the whole of our history is different than theirs. Because of this different environment, the characters there make different choices and become different people– they are still very much alike, but they acquire different personalities over time and sometimes even different looks. The only time that two characters are completely parallel is at their birth. It’s like twins separated at birth; after thirty years, you won’t expect them to look exactly the same, make the same decisions, or even have the same tastes– they’ve led different lifestyles which have molded their lives. The big changes in their lives, however, are mimicked on the other side; things like dying, stuff like that– when one leaves the world, the other must follow. But in this world of mine there are other ways of leaving your world than dying; you can travel out to one of the ‘neutral zones’, like Feiron’s world or Isaac’s. That is why there is no parallel person for either of them; they are immune to the alternate-ness. Also, even though two doubles are in the same world, they no longer affect each other; if one dies, the other won’t necessarily follow, though if he/she tries to return to his/her own world after the double’s death, he/she will die as well, since she doesn’t exist for the other world. It’s complicated, yes, but absolutely necessary. Also, if the doubles touch each other, it will be like two minus two: zero. Additionally, there cannot be two of a person in a parallel world at a time; one will be redirected to his/her own world automatically. Thus, Phoebe cannot show Phoenix around her world, or vice versa.

“Parallel universes are extremely complicated, and should not be tackled without due preparation. Scratch that, you can do what you like.

“So, to sum up: most parallel universes are two worlds connected by their characters. Fantasy writers are conceited. Class dismissed.”

The Phils began leaving, one by one. I picked up Sam and Steve since Quirk had left in a huff, as usual. I really need to hold an election biased towards Percival… The dragon was trying to get his head out the loading door with minimal damage to the wall. His horns sweeping back from above his eyes made it hard. Finally he just growled and ripped free, taking down half the warehouse. I heard his wingbeats, once described by Percival as “a huge pounding sort of noise mixed with a whooshing noise. It sounded like someone very large was recovering from having run up multiple sets of very steep stairs and had suddenly acquired bronchitis, plus taken to stomping heavily on the ground, keeping his breathing and stomping at the same rates. The noise was shaking me harder than my last landlord had waking me up when he heard that I was going to be executed in his room. No actual sound had shaken me so much since I had been in that heavy-metal band as a sound man.”

So ended the second part of the latest Phil conference.

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  1. Interesting thoughts. I haven’t played with parallel universes yet. I might later.

  2. Interesting, especially as the novel I’m posting on my blog is based on parallel universes! Posted Chapter 2 today which explains how mine work. I definitely agree with the “Scratch that, you can do what you like” method!

    And you’re right, they’re lots of fun!


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