List of fiction employing parallel universes  

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The Map of Tendre (Carte du Tendre) is a French map of an imaginary country called Tendre. It shows a geography entirely based around the theme of love.
The Map of Tendre (Carte du Tendre) is a French map of an imaginary country called Tendre. It shows a geography entirely based around the theme of love.

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

The following is a list of fiction employing parallel universes or alternate realities



  • Margaret Cavendish, Duchess of Newcastle, wrote The Blazing World (1666), a book far ahead of its time, in which the heroine passes through a portal near the North Pole to a world with different stars in the sky and talking animals.
  • Edwin Abott Abbott, mathematician and theologian, wrote Flatland (1884), also known as Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions. It recounts the story of a two-dimensional world inhabited by living geometric figures: triangles, squares, circles, etc., and explores concepts of other dimensions (or universes) including Pointland, Lineland, and Spaceland. A feature film adaptation of this novella was made in 2007 called "Flatland" Flatland (2007 film)
  • Murray Leinster's story "Sidewise in Time" (1934), showing different parts of the Earth somehow occupied by different parallel universes, was influential in science fiction.
  • Piers Anthony wrote the "Of Man and Manta" series (Omnivore, Orn, and Ox) in which a group of three scientists explores worlds in parallel universes.
  • H. Beam Piper, the author of the Paratime series, wrote several stories dealing with alternate realities based on points of divergence far in the past. The stories are usually written from the perspective of a law-enforcement outfit from a parallel reality which is charged to protect the secret of temporal transposition.
  • Fredric Brown's What Mad Universe recounts the adventures of a science-fiction editor of the late 1940s who is thrown into a parallel universe that reflects the fantasies of his most annoying letter-to-the-editor writer (an adolescent male, naturally).
  • Isaac Asimov's novel The Gods Themselves depicts scientists in our universe who find a way to "import" small amounts of matter from a universe having different physical laws, with unforeseen consequences. "The End of Eternity," also by Asimov, likewise deals with the existence of and interactions between multiple timelines, though these multiple interacting universes are depicted as the result of meddling in a single timeline by outside entities (the "eternals"), and therefore do not exist simultaneously, as do those in "The Gods Themselves."
  • K. A. Applegate's series, Everworld (1999–2001): Several teenagers travel into a parallel world occupied by the mythological beings of Earth.
  • Brandon Mull's series, Beyonders (2011-2013): Depicts the multiverse as being divided into an enormous set of "normal" universes, including ours (the beyond), and one intelligently created universe set apart from all others (Lyrian). It's strongly implied in the novels that it's only possible to travel from the "beyond" to Lyrian, or from Lyrian to the beyond. The only thing connecting the individual universes of the beyond is the possibility of traveling to Lyrian. This would mean that the only possible place for things from different universes within the beyond to meet is Lyrian.
  • Robert A. Heinlein's novel The Number of the Beast is focused around a 'time machine' that also proves to be able to travel sideways and other directions in time, allowing for crossing into other realities, even ones previously considered fictional by the protagonists.
  • S. M. Stirling's novel Conquistador is based on travel between parallel universes, with a group of 20th century Americans having found a means to secretly colonize a world where civilization never advanced past the classical era.
  • The Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan series features not only one cyclic universe, but many. In one particular instance, Rand al'Thor's, the main protagonist's mind, is deluged by possibilities for his own life, and in all of these possibilities he dies before defeating the Dark One and is taunted by him a moment before death. Also in the Wheel of Time universe, Tel'aran'rhiod, the world of dreams, is said to touch this world and also many other worlds. Dreamers, those who walk the dream and can control the world of dreams to some extent, can go to a place where they see a vast darkness filled with countless pinpricks of light. These pinpricks of light are said to represent not only the dreams of those sleeping in this world but also the dreams of sleepers from other parallel worlds. Some of these parallel worlds are called Mirror Worlds, and represent what could have been had various events in history happened in different ways. Mirror Worlds can be physically visited through the use of a device called a Portal Stone, but the less likely the existence of the Mirror World was the less substantial and real it felt to the visitor.
  • Diana Wynne Jones' Chrestomanci series revolves around the duty of the Chrestomanci to regulate magic in the twelve related worlds. These worlds have alternate histories, in which some people may exist only in a few worlds. It is necessary that the Chrestomanci must exist in only one, because this gives him the nine lives needed for his role. Other works of Jones' that include parallel universes: The Magid series; Deep Secret and The Merlin Conspiracy in which the multiverse is shaped like an infinity sign and contains Ayewards and Naywards. The Derkholm series: Dark Lord of Derkholm and its sequel Year of the Griffin in which Pilgrims come from a parallel world for Mr. Chesney's offworld tours. In Howl's Moving Castle, though it does not play a major part in the plot, the wizard Howl is actually from our world. In A Tale of Time City, the main character, Vivian, is kidnapped and taken to Time City, a city out of time and space. Along with her new friends and past kidnappers Jonathan and Sam, she hunts through time and space for the polarites that are gradually being stolen. In A Sudden Wild Magic a group of benevolent witches set out to stop the magicians of Arth who steal ideas, technology, and innovations from Earth. In Hexwood, the machine Bannus sucks potential Reigners from all over the universe into the Wood. In The Homeward Bounders Jamie is made into a Homeward Bounder by "Them" which means he must constantly travel from world to world until he finds his home again.
  • Stephen R. Donaldson's Mordant's Need series, which includes The Mirror of Her Dreams and A Man Rides Through, follows a heroine who can pass into another world through mirrors.
  • In The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant series, also by Stephen R. Donaldson, main character Thomas Covenant is transported to another world called The Land. Each time he travels to The Land corresponds to an injury in the real world that leaves him unconscious. While in The Land, time passes at a different rate from that on Earth: where a year may be spent in The Land, mere minutes will have passed on Earth. In The Land there is great power and magic wielded by the Lords of Revelstone, the rulers of The Land, who fight against The Land's ancient enemy, Lord Foul. Lord Foul was imprisoned in the Land by the Creator after corrupting the Land during its creation. He constantly seeks to use Covanent's Wild Magic in order to break the Arch of Time and gain his freedom. In the First Chronicles, Covenant finds another man, Hile Troy, from his world who has entered the Land. Troy worked for the Defense Department for the United States, and employed his knowledge in leading the armies of the Land against Foul. In the Second and Last Chronicles, he is accidentally accompanied to the Land by a doctor, Linden Avery. Linden is forced to accept what Covenant tells her about the Land, as she has never been there before.
  • H. G. Wells wrote what is apparently the first explicit paratime novel, Men Like Gods (1923), complete with a multiverse theory and a paratime machine.
  • Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials series (1995–2000) deals with two children who wander through multiple worlds, opening and closing windows between them. The final book elaborates the same idea (as C.S. Lewis') that all the worlds share a common heaven, and in this case, underworld.
  • Jasper Fforde's Thursday Next series is set in a parallel universe which is very similar to ours but has (amusingly) different history. For example Britain and Russia are still fighting the Crimean War in 1985. As the story develops, the world of fiction also emerges as another parallel universe and the characters learn how to move between them.
  • The German series Perry Rhodan sometimes deals with parallel universes and "pararealities." Each universe has a "strangeness" value that indicates to what extent its physical laws differ from those of our universe. Travel to another universe results in a "strangeness shock" that can disable electronics and leave intelligent beings unconscious for some time.
  • In James P. Hogan's Paths to Otherwhere (1996), scientists at the Los Alamos Laboratory create a machine QUADAR which allow them to swap conscious with people in parallel universes. They explore various parallel universes.
  • In Kia Asamiya's manga novel Space Battleship Nadesico, written alongside the series Martian Successor Nadesico but altering severely as the course of the story runs, the Jupiterians that are attacking Earth come from a parallel universe, the portal of which is in the red storm visible on Jupiter as a red spot. In their world, Japan won World War II, and because of their strong religious Shinto beliefs, their Gods did not die out, and they were able to use this magic to help strengthen their technology. However, their sun died out prematurely, and so they have come to our world to steal the energy from our sun to save their world.
  • Neil Gaiman's novella Coraline deals with a parallel universe called the "Other World" in which Coraline's surroundings are the same but the people who are supposed to be her parents are actually evil impostors. The novella spawned a film of the same name that deals with the same plot and use of parallel universes.
  • Sergey Lukyanenko's novel Rough Draft (2005) takes place across the multiverse of at least 22 worlds (it was implied that there were actually more worlds that haven't been discovered yet) linked together by a series of tower-like transfer points.
  • I, Q is a 2000 Star Trek novel by Peter David and John de Lancie in which God attempts to destroy the multiverse in a large multi-universe maelstrom which the protagonists attempt to stop from within a newly created universe caused by the maelstrom.
  • In D. J. MacHale's The Pendragon Adventure series there are ten different parallel universes (including our own), called territories, that are part of Halla, which is described as being every time and place that ever existed. Certain people, called Travelers, are able to go between the territories through portals known as Flumes. It is claimed that by traveling through a Flume, Travelers land on their destination territory exactly when they need to be there, suggesting time travel.
  • In Robert J Sawyer's Neanderthal Parallax series (2003) a parallel historical universe exists in which it was Neanderthals not Homo sapiens who survived to become the dominant species. In a quantum physics experiment gone wrong a Neanderthal scientist is accidentally transported into the universe of Homo sapiens. Eventually a portal between the two universes is established and travelling to an alternate universe becomes a controlled event.
  • Michael Lawrence's The Aldous Lexicon (2005–2007), comprising A Crack in the Line, Small Eternities and The Underwood See, concerns comings and goings between initially two, later many parallel realities.
  • In Mirror Dreams (2002) and Mirror Wakes (2003) by Catherine Webb, there are mirror universes, one a magical universe where technology barely works, the other a scientific universe where magic barely works. The inhabitants can physically visit each other's worlds in dreams.
  • In the Alastair Reynolds novel Absolution Gap, (2003) a race called the "Shadows" drives the action. They claim to be from a parallel universe which has been overrun by a rogue terraforming system that has destroyed their entire universe. They have sent instructions to our world on how to build machinery to let them across. The characters eventually decide not to do so as a race which tried previously was wiped out by alien races aimed at stopping the Shadows. It is implied at the end that the Shadows are in fact from a future version of our own universe.
  • In The Divide trilogy by Elizabeth Kay (2002–2006), Felix Sanders crosses into a parallel universe where magic and magical beings exist while science and human beings are considered mythical.
  • Andrew Crumey's novel Mobius Dick (2004) features a parallel world in which Nazi Germany invaded Britain and Erwin Schrödinger failed to find the quantum theory equation that bears his name. The parallel worlds become connected due to experiments with quantum computers. The same alternate world (in which post-war Britain falls under Communist rule) also appears in his novels Music, in a Foreign Language (1994) and Sputnik Caledonia (2008).
  • In Darren Shan's Demonata series (2005–) a boy can open windows to parallel worlds with his hands. A part of the story also plays in one of these parallel worlds, the Demonata.
  • Harry Turtledove's Crosstime Traffic series of books (2003–2008) by Harry Turtledove centers on an Earth that has discovered access to alternate universes where history went differently. "Crosstime Traffic" is the name of the company with a global monopoly on the technology.
  • Pet Force, a series of children's books by Jim Davis and a spinoff of Garfield, one of his comic strips. The series contains five novels and takes place in a parallel universe and features alternate versions of the comic strip's main characters.
  • Michael Crichton's Timeline (1999) tells the story of historians who travel to the Middle Ages to save a friend of theirs who already traveled back in time before them. The book follows in Crichton's long history of combining technical details and action in his books, addressing quantum physics and time travel. The time travel mechanism incorporates the concept of the multiverse.
  • Brad Fear's novel A Macabre Myth of a Moth-Man (2008) features a definition of "The Butterfly effect" just after the prologue, stating that the events of the book take place in an alternate version of the year 2001. It further explains that the 'defining moment' which caused this parallel universe was a polish scientist being stung by a bee in 1944. A new timeline stemmed from this event.
  • Mark Ian Kendrick" in the novel "The Rylerran Gateway" (2008) tells a story in which the protagonists go through a mysterious gateway to another Universe where, among other things, Spain defeated England under Philip II and became the higher power on Earth and in the Galaxy.
  • In Diana Tavares's Sacred Maiden novel, the characters fight a war that occurs between our world, the Scientific World, and the Mystical World, where all creatures of myth exist and live with magic, instead of technology.
  • Tonke Dragt's novel "The Towers of February" (De torens van februari) is a coming-of-age novel in diary form for young adults, about a boy who slowly discovers that his memory loss is due to having passed into a parallel universe. The reader slowly discovers that the book is not set in our world. The difficulty to travel between both worlds can be seen as symbolic for reaching adulthood and can be taken literal at the same time.
  • Greg Egan's Diaspora (novel) is a novel about sentient software intelligences living inside computer "polises" who undertake expeditions throughout the multiverse.
  • Alan Dean Foster's Spellsinger series concerns a 20th-century college student who finds himself transported to a world populated by sentient animals and featuring magic, which he learns how to perform himself through a guitar-like instrument.
  • Alan Dean Foster's Parallelities is a novel about a tabloid reporter whose interview subject inadvertently infects him with a condition making him shift between alternate versions of Los Angeles seemingly at random.
  • Richard Bach's One (2001) is a novel where Bach and his wife Leslie are catapulted into an alternate world, one in which they exist simultaneously in many different incarnations.
  • Michael Coney Charisma 1975 A murder mystery which involves the main character John Maine traveling to different parallel worlds, but the only worlds he can travel to are the ones in which his 'other self' is dead.
  • The protagonist of Roger Zelazny's Chronicles of Amber belongs to a royal family of magician-types whose principal distinguishing characteristic (aside from their fratricidal tendencies) is their ability to manipulate the stuff of Shadow. They acquire this ability by virtue of successfully negotiating an inscribed labyrinth called the Pattern, and are thereafter able to alter details of the world around them at will. These alterations are known as "walking in Shadow" and must be performed while in motion – i.e. while walking. The farther the desired Shadow-world lies from one's present reality, the more details need to be changed and the longer the walk. While there is only one true world – Amber, the royal family's seat, of which all other worlds are but reflections – there are an infinite number of Shadow worlds: As many worlds as it is possible to imagine. Thus, rather than a set of parallel universes separated by quantum events, Shadows actually constitute a multiverse of alternate realities centered on Amber. Zelazny reveals that events in these realities are sometimes able to affect each other; the borders in the circle of worlds closest to Amber are especially porous.
  • The conceit of Charles Stross's Merchant Princes series is that the ability to travel between worlds is a recessive trait possessed by a clan of narcotics runners (at least, that's the source of their wealth in the USA) who shuffle between their late-medieval world of origin and our own (the point of divergence seems to be in the early centuries B.C.E. – early enough that Christianity never took hold but Rome still fell and the northeast coast of North America has been settled by Norsemen who still swear by the Sky Father). The mechanism which facilitates the travel is a knotwork pattern – frequently engraved in lockets and tattooed on forearms for easy access, but the source is irrelevant; visual contact with the pattern itself causes the world-walker to translate to the other dimension (along with whatever they can carry on their backs, including other humans). The process of world-walking induces a splitting headache, is hazardous for pregnant women, and cannot be attempted more than perhaps twice or three times a day without risk of permanent injury or death. The Clan are the titular merchant princes whose monopoly on this ability has enabled them to rise to prominence in both of the worlds they inhabit. The Clan consists of Inner Family members, who possess two copies of the allele so can world-walk, and Outer Family members, who possess one copy of the relevant allele so cannot world-walk – but their children might. That's why the Clan keeps them around. The Clan is, of course, necessarily inbred to a much greater extent than populations in either the United States or the Gruinmarkt generally are. Up until recently it has been believed that the United States and the Gruinmarkt are the only two worlds there are – that is, the only two national entities to occupy the northeast chunk of the North American continent – but it has been discovered that this is not the case. This particular knotwork pattern allows the bearer to travel between the world of the Gruinmarkt and the USA. However, the slightest variation in the design will produce a different destination (it is implied that the greater the variation between designs, the greater the variation in endpoints – not all potential worlds have developed human civilization! or human beings). Moreover, the knots describe a vector relationship between worlds rather than a linear movement. This means that where a specific knot takes you depends not only on the design of the knot, but on your starting point. The same knot which, when starting in World A deposits you in World B, will NOT deposit you in World B if you are starting in World C. Instead, it will take you somewhere else, call it World D.
  • Olaf Stapledon's Star Maker describes God (called the Star Maker) evolving by creating many cosmoses, each more complex than the previous.
  • Jonas Samuelle’s Ghosts of a Tired Universe depicts an alternate earth that has been created and destroyed many times by two immortal men. The book’s protagonist travels into a parallel, metaphorical universe in order to find the power to save his world from yet another annihilation.
  • Den 4. parallel (2009-2011) (The 4th Parallel), a series of four novels by Norwegian writer Kjetil Johnsen. A parallel world where the infrastructure has collapsed and where America is struggling with war, each side of the war has built their own technology to come in contact with alternative timelines; one by sending a scanned version of a soldier to another reality where the original person will find itself in a new body, and another by establishing mental connection between the minds of different versions of the same person, allowing the numerous version to cooperate between the different worlds. Both sides has the same mission; to find and capture a 17 year old girl named Emma, who has been given the ability to jump between parallel worlds without any other tools than her own mind.

Feature films


  • The Twilight Zone 1963 episode "The Parallel", was one of the earliest examples of parallel universe as a key plot element on American television.
  • Dark Shadows, the 1960s fantasy/horror soap opera, introduced the concept of "parallel time" when the main character, Barnabas, witnesses unexplainable changes in a closed off part of his family's house. During one of these changes, he becomes trapped for a time in a parallel world.
  • Star Trek featured the recurring mirror universe, a dark reflection of the normal universe in which the regular characters are twisted, self-serving and more than willing to resort to torture and murder to achieve their goals. The mirror universe was introduced in the original Star Trek, and it also appeared in Enterprise, but was featured most often in Deep Space Nine. Other Star Trek episodes featuring parallel universes outside the Mirror Universe include "Parallels" and "The Alternative Factor".
  • Doctor Who occasionally featured parallel worlds. Examples include "Inferno" (1970), where Great Britain has been a republic since at least 1943 (the Royal Family having been executed after a military coup) and is ruled by a totalitarian regime led by a figure reminiscent of Oswald Mosley who uses the title of "the Leader". The 1980–1981 "E-space" trilogy of episodes ("Full Circle", "State of Decay", and "Warriors' Gate"). The second series of the 2005 revival of the show made frequent use of the concept beginning with "Rise of the Cybermen" and "The Age of Steel", postulating a parallel world with yet another Republic of Great Britain, Zeppelins filling the sky, and an alternate race of Cybermen are created. Since the Time War, travel between parallel universes is supposedly near-impossible, but a breach between the universes makes frequent visits easy in the second series finale "Army of Ghosts"/"Doomsday". These visits cause increasing damage to the universes and the breach is permanently sealed.
  • Sliders dealt with a group of mostly-unwilling travellers who ended up "sliding" between various parallel Earths in an attempt to find their way back to their own universe. Plots included an Earth in which the population is controlled through a lottery, an Earth where most of the males were killed by germ warfare, an Earth where dinosaurs are still alive, and an Earth in which the population have been turned into flesh-eating zombies. According to a main character Quinn, there were an infinite number of universes where different single decisions were different and even a world where the Earth formed differently and rotated around the Sun slower, slowing down that timeline.
  • Futurama has included some parallel universe episodes like "I Dated a Robot" which features a universe where everyone's a cowboy/girl and "The Farnsworth Parabox" features boxes which hold a variety of universes inside them.
  • Spellbinder series is about a group of teenagers who discover a gateway to a parallel universe, in which one of them becomes trapped. Its sequel "Spellbinder: Land of the Dragon Lord" features some of the same characters, who now have a trans dimensional "boat" with they use to travel between worlds.
  • Parallax Parallax is about a boy named Ben, who discovers a portal to multiple universes, and explores them with his friends: Francis, Melinda, Una, Due, Tiffany and Mundi as well as newfound sister, Katherine.
  • Stargate television franchise (Stargate SG-1, Stargate Atlantis and Stargate Universe) have had several episodes dealing with parallel universes. The first had Daniel Jackson finding a mirror looking device, known as the Quantum Mirror, where by touching the "mirror" he was taken to a parallel universe in which things hadn't gone so well compared to his reality. Another episode has a Samantha Carter and a character killed off in the second episode of the show come through the mirror to request help from the show's normal reality. With the end of that show the Quantum Mirror was destroyed. The next episode, "Ripple Effect", dealing with alternate realities has a lot of different SG1 teams coming through the same Gate. The latest episode, "The Road Not Taken", had Samantha Carter travel to an alternate reality where martial law was in effect.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel have featured both parallel universes, such as Pylea, and alternate realities, such as one where most of the regular cast were either dead or vampires. Also mentioned, but never seen, is the hypothetical World Without Shrimp and the confirmed-real World With Nothing But Shrimp. Episodes of this type include "Doppelgangland" and "The Wish."
  • Charmed, there exists an alternate dimension where all the evil are good and all the good are evil. The reason for this given that there has to be balance in the universe, so there can never be an area where everything is all good and one where it is all bad as this would affect the grand design of life. So for every good thing that the Charmed Ones do for good in this world, it is done for evil in another to keep things balanced. Mostly, everything occurs exactly the same way, mirroring the real world. Some differences are that all Whitelighters are Darklighters and vice versa, and that The Underworld is a Garden of Eden-like paradise. The Demon of Fear is the Demon of Hope, and Wyatt Halliwell faces a future in which he turns good one day as opposed to one where he turns evil. Some figures, such as the morally ambiguous Gideon, remain largely similar.
  • In Smallville episode "Reckoning", Lana Lang is killed in a car crash while being chased by Lex Luthor. Clark Kent journeys to his Fortress of Solitude where he uses a Kryptonian crystal to go back in time and save Lana (creating an alternate timeline to the original events); however the universe 'finds a balance' and Clark's father Johnathan Kent dies instead. More recently, the season 10 episode "Luthor" explores a world where Clark was discovered by Lionel Luthor rather than Johnathan and Martha Kent.
  • Charlie Jade describes three parallel universes: Alphaverse, Betaverse, and Gammaverse.
  • Red Dwarf offers several humorous takes on the concept that don't involve an evil twin joke, including one episode where women are the dominant gender (Nellie Armstrong was the first person on the moon, and Wilma Shakespeare wrote great plays such as Rachel III and The Taming of the Shrimp), and another where Arnold Rimmer becomes the far more dashing and debonair Ace Rimmer.
  • Kamen Rider Decade, the Japanese tokusatsu show, features ten parallel worlds, nine of which feature alternate versions of Kamen Riders from 2000–2008.
  • In The O.C. episode "The Chrismukkah-huh?", Taylor Townsend and Ryan Atwood venture into a parallel universe in which they never existed, in order to set things straight to get back to their own world.
  • Fringe has a recurring subplot in its first season about a terrorist group called ZFT who seek to prepare 'warriors' for a coming conflict between parallel universes. The final two episodes of the season deal with recurring villain David Robert Jones attempting to travel into a parallel universe in order to kill the mysterious William Bell. Series protagonist Olivia Dunham experiences visions of this other world before traveling there and meeting Bell in the South Tower of the World Trade Center. Background details show that in this universe, the White House was destroyed in the 9/11 attacks rather than the Twin Towers. In season 2 the main plot is manage to stop warriors from the other side, the shape-shifters. At the end of the season, the three main characters cross to this parallel universe. A character from the other side attempt to create a machine to destroy our universe, in order to save his own world. The main character, Olivia, remains trap in the parallel universe by the end. In season 3, in odd-numbered episodes the episode takes place with Olivia, in the parallel world, while the other characters are in even-numbered episodes. In episode 8, the two story arcs collide, resulting with the end of the appearance of the parallel universe, but the upcoming war remains.
  • Once Upon a Time uses a premise in which characters from various fairy tales are transported to a present-day small town called Storybrooke, Maine, where they look like normal people and have no memories of who they were, thanks to a powerful curse that was put on them by the Evil Queen from Snow White. Their pasts will play an important part in the series, as the only characters who know their true identities are a bail bondsman and her son, who carries a book of fairy tales to aid them in their attempt to return them back to their fantasy worlds.
  • The miniseries The 10th Kingdom concerns a parallel world in which the fairy tales of Grimm are historical events.


  • Black Rock Shooter while each piece of media takes place in its own universe, they each focus around Black Rock Shooter, a mysterious black haired girl who possesses a burning blue eye and a powerful cannon that can shoot rocks at high speed. Other characters also appear in more than one form of media. The OVA focuses on a girl named Mato Kuroi, who befriends another girl, Yomi Takanashi, upon entering school. As the two start to drift apart, with Yomi becoming jealous of Mato's friendship with Yuu Kotari, Yomi suddenly disappears. As Mato searches for her, she is taken to a strange world where she meets the mysterious Black Rock Shooter, who merges with her and helps her search for Yomi, fighting off the evil Dead Master who possessed her. The television series uses the same characters from the OVA in a similar but slightly different storyline. As Mato enters middle school and becomes friends with Yomi, she soon faces personal troubles and the influence caused by another world where Black Rock Shooter fights other girls.
  • Buraku Burondo also uses multiple dimensions (parallel universes) as part of its storyline. Most main characters all come from other universes, but end up in the same.
  • Amagami SS follows protagonist Junichi as every few episodes moves to an alternate timeline in which Junichi makes different decisions resulting in ending up with a different girlfriend.
  • Digimon features an alternative perceived reality called the Digital World. The Digital World is created as a result of the Earth's electronic network, with everything being made up of data instead of matter. Also, certain seasons, games, and manga are set in a different parallel Earth, with its own version of a Digital World. In the second season of the series a third world was introduced near the series finale; this world was a place where the wishes and desires of the Digidestined came true, only for their ideal realities to be shattered after coming to the realization they're not real.
  • Dragonball Z, there exists an alternate future timeline where the protagonist, Goku, dies of a heart disease, and without Goku to defend it, the Earth falls victim to a pair of androids who attack the Earth six months later and kill all other warriors who come to its defense. The character Trunks, who lives in the terrible destruction of Earth in this timeline, travels back in time to warn Goku about his disease and to warn him about the androids. As a result of this, in the "standard" timeline, Goku never dies of the disease, and the warriors never die in battle with the androids. Also resulting from this is that there are two versions of the character Trunks – the one from the alternate future, and the one from the standard, or altered, timeline.
  • Dual! Parallel Trouble Adventure is based on two parallel universes that formed from a critical choice made in the past (each came from the assumption of one of two possible choices) and revolves around a protagonist able to see and later travel from one universe to the other.
  • Rockman EXE Beast involves another dimension parallel to Earth named Beyondard, in which there are parallel versions of the characters in the world, where a war between the antagonists Falzer and Greiga are fighting over control, as well as the Synchronizer, Trill. Many Navis from Earth are in this world serving as the lower antagonists for the series, preferring to be called 'Zoanaroids' (strangely, many of the Zoanaroids were already deleted on Earth—a concept used by Fullmetal Alchemist: Conqueror of Shamballa), then their real name. These Navis had special forms that gave them increased strength and an altered appearance. In this world, a Navi could be materialized within Beyondard without the need of a dimensional area, due to its strange environment caused by an accident. The environment would also cause those using Cross Fusion pain while merged.
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion, the final episode of the series presents the main character Shinji Ikari with an alternate universe, wherein the cataclysmic event Second Impact had not occurred and all the main characters live peaceful lives. This universe went on to be the basis for numerous spin-off series, including Neon Genesis Evangelion: Angelic Days. It is also stated in the episode that this universe was just one of many possible alternate universes.
  • Noein is a story comprising both parallel universes and temporal juxtapositions; space and time are distorted (and the perception of such becomes vague), and past and future versions of characters (from different realities) co-exist in the same dimension.
  • Clannad: After Story, during the final episode where protagonist Tomoya is sent to an alternate universe where his wife Nagisa, and daughter Ushio have not died.
  • Outbreak Company mainly is about a shut-in otaku from Japan being sent to a magical alternate universe newly discovered by the Japanese government, in means to spread Japanese culture across the lands of the new world.
  • Tsubasa: RESERVoir CHRoNiCLE centers on a group of characters traveling through a multitude of alternate realities—essentially parallel universes—on a quest to restore someone's memories.
  • The Familiar of Zero focuses on a human boy on Earth being accidentally sent to a magical world, by a spell. It is mentioned several times that others have traveled between the two universes through a portal from an annual solar eclipse.
  • Inuyasha is a manga and anime about a young girl that travels back in time to a world full of demons and monsters by falling into a well. There, she meets a half-demon called Inuyasha.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist: Conqueror of Shamballa depicts two worlds: our world, which is well on its way to WWII, and the world of alchemy where a majority of the series' events take place.
  • Fairy Tail is a manga and anime that is a world of magic, with a parallel world (Edolas) that loses it's magic in the Edolas story arc.


  • Fifth Dimension is a radio drama adaption of the short story, "The Plattner Story" by H. G. Wells. A chemistry teacher is accidentally thrust into a parallel world with alien inhabitants. The regular world continues to be visible, though translucent and intangible.
  • Undone is a radio comedy based on the idea of parallel versions of London, in particular "Undone". Undone is seen as a place where weirdness is normal, while mundaneness is normal in London, with some "Leakage" between the two. There is also a third version called "Donlon", a more mundane version of London in which everything is generic.


Alternate/parallel universes are often used as an explanation for crossovers between different comic companies' characters.

  • Bucky O'Hare, the science-fiction series is set in a parallel universe known as the Aniverse, where all inhabitants are anthropomorphic animals.
  • Caste of the Metabarons features two wars between our universe and alternate ones.
  • Homestuck is an online web-comic centered around four kids who play a game named Sburb that brings them to an alternate dimension known as the Incipisphere, where a war is fought between two planets, Derse and Prospit. Further events reveal another universe inhabited by trolls, who also play a similar game.
  • Jenny Everywhere is an open source webcomic character, being able to 'shift' between realities. Each universe has its own Jenny Everywhere, so she is literally everywhere (that implies other living persons being solely unique). In some stories Everywheres from different universes will meet each other.
  • Jinty (comics) published Worlds Apart in 1981. Six girls find their dream worlds becoming reality after being knocked out by a mysterious gas. Each world is ruled by the respective characteristic that sets each girl apart: greed, sports-mania, vanity, crime, intellectualism, and fear.
  • Misty (comics) published The Sentinels in 1978, whereby two apartment blocks called "The Sentinels" connect the mainstream universe with an alternate reality where the Nazis conquered Britain in 1940. The connection had people stumbling in from both universes, causing terror over mysterious disappearances and mix-ups over parallel world doubles. This culminated in the Gestapo unwittingly arresting a man from the mainstream universe and forces from both universes uniting for a rescue mission.
  • Skobek Universe, which houses Toadafrog from Green Frog Studios's comics, which is connected to the actual universe through a wormhole, which is how countries like Korea, Greenland, humans, and concepts such as rock music, classical music, baseball, and the cinema come from.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog comic, the Archie version features a multitude of parallel universes, the most prominent ones being the No Zone universe, where Zone cops monitor all activity within the other universes, and the Anti-Universe (AKA "Moebius"), home to Sonic's evil doppelganger Scourge the Hedgehog
  • Yu-Gi-Oh's English version, "Shadow Games" happen in an alternate reality known as the "Shadow Realm".
  • Zenith: Phase Three, superheroes from many parallel universes must band together to defend their worlds.
  • +Anima by Natsumi Mukai is about four anthropomorphic characters; outcasts who are searching for others of their kind. Despite its popularity, the manga ended on its tenth volume.


Video games

  • City of Heroes contains a set of levels that include many missions set in parallel universes, including one controlled by Nazis and another with evil versions of the games' well-known iconic heroes.
  • Chrono Cross (2001), the main character must travel between two dimensions, known as "Home World" (the world from which the main character originates) and "Another World". This was followed by the similar Chrono Trigger: Crimson Echoes.
  • Final Fantasy X, Tidus is transported from his hometown of Zanarkand into Spira, a land where everything is radically different to him. As the game progresses, he finds that Zanarkand was destroyed 1,000 years before the start of the game, and the Zanarkand he is from is a just a dream created by the Fayth, the souls of those who died when the city perished.
  • Final Fantasy XIII-2, in which the actions of the time-travelling protagonists to fix events in the original timeline cause parallel worlds to appear, in which events have change based on their intervention; players can then travel between the old and new timelines, existing in parallel.
  • Half-Life series features a number of parallel universes from which both hostile and friendly alien species originate. One inter-dimensional alien race, the Combine, conquers Earth and attempts to harvest and enslave humanity. Only in Half-Life and its expansion packs, however, does the player ever visit one of these parallel dimensions; the so-called 'border world', Xen.
  • League of Legends, in the canon, the video game primarily takes place in a continent named Valoran in a world named Runeterra. Normally the back-stories of a few champions state about beings coming from another realm whether summoned or invited by summoners (such as a character based on Anubis named Nasus being pulled from his home planet into Runeterra), or by beings crossing inter-dimensional rifts to arrive in Runeterra (such as void creatures crossing a space anomaly from a lost city named Icathia).
  • Lost Odyssey, four immortal protagonists, and one immortal antagonist, are sent from a parallel universe in danger of collapse to observe the game universe's residents and return after a millennium (one year in the parallel universe). The antagonist, wishing to retain his immortality, erases the others' memories and plots to destroy the link between the worlds.
  • Marathon Infinity, a seemingly unstoppable creature, The W'rkncacnter, is unleashed, and the player must transport himself to different parallel realities until he finds the one in which he may prevent the release of the creature. In certain levels the player will appear before the release of the creature, and can then attempt to stop it. Every few levels, usually at the end of a chapter, the player would find himself in a surreal "dream world", in which his surroundings had little to no relation to the W'rkncacnter or even his original reality at all. It is suspected that these levels are not universes at all, but in fact a dreaming interlude before the player reaches his actual destination (this is debatable however since the player can be killed in these levels like any other). After the player succeeds in trapping the W'rkncacnter in a gigantic gravitational field, he is "freed" from the control of the artificial intelligences that had previously governed nearly every one of his objectives, and subsequently teleports to another reality, at which point the game ends. It is unknown what reality the player goes to next, but it is assumed that he is using his new freedom to explore various universes at his own leisure.
  • Metroid Prime 2: Echoes features the planet Aether, which is struck by a meteor. The strange, energetic substance (called Phazon) within the meteor, along with the force of the impact, split the planet's reality into light and dark dimensions. Samus, the heroine, must travel between the two dimensions, transferring energy back to the light dimension before the two competing worlds destroy one another.
  • Myst, a people known as D'ni colonized Earth from another universe, and kept traveling to other universes (known as Ages) through Linking Books. According to their cosmology, each universe is a leaf of the Terokh Jeruth, the Tree of Possibilities. Myst also includes the use of Trap Books as empty universes for storing criminals, although they were later retconned to be complete universes of their own, called Prison Ages.
  • ParaWorld is set in a parallel dimension discovered by a group of scientists in the 19th century. This new world is periodically connected to ours via natural gateways. In order to cross into that world, one must predict the exact time and location of the opening rift. ParaWorld is a world where electricity does not and cannot exist, and the word "lightning" is foreign to the natives. As such, technology has not gone beyond steam engines. Most tribes, however, prefer to utilize other means of transportation and warfare – dinosaurs. As discovered by three modern-day scientists who are trapped in ParaWorld, dinosaurs never existed on our Earth, and all the bones found by archaeologists have somehow crossed over through the portals. In ParaWorld, however, they exist alongside human tribes, some of which are similar culturally to ours (e.g. Norsemen, Dustriders (Beduins), and Dragon Clans (East Asia)).
  • RuneScape has a mirror universe named ScapeRune which players can access through certain random events.
  • The Silent Hill survival horror video game series incorporates an alternate dimension that is related to characters' emotions, memories and other projections of their subconsciousness.
  • Star Ocean: Till the End of Time, the characters unknowingly live in a "video game" created by people in another universe called 4D Space. Eventually, the creators of the game see fit to reboot the game server, effectively destroying the universe in the process, however, once the process is complete, the characters find the universe as they know it intact, and all links to 4D space inaccessible. Suggesting that by destroying the universe, contact between the two planes of existence was severed, without resulting in the destruction of either plane.
  • Tales of Symphonia, the two world exist next to each other without knowing of the other's existence. The two worlds unconsciously battle for control of the energy the worlds share, something like Metroid Prime 2: Echoes, except in that game, the two sides of the war know of each other's existence and the energy they must share.
  • The Longest Journey features a story about two parallel universes, Stark and Arcadia. Stark is a futuristic universe with cyberpunk influences, while Arcadia is a fantastic medieval world.
  • Ultima Online used the parallel universe concept to rationalize the existence of multiple instances of the game world (called "shards"), so that players could be partitioned onto multiple servers for capacity reasons.

See also

Related lists

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "List of fiction employing parallel universes" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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