Dogs and cats! Living together! Mass hysteria!

Do you live in an alternate reality?

In a recent New York Times article radio astronomers reported they had seen the markers of the beginning of the Big Bang, The article reminded of one of physicist Dr. Guth’s other ideas: parallel universes.

Spock from the Mirror Universe

Spock from the Mirror Universe

I won’t go into the physics, which entails inflation theory. Needless to say, the implications are manifold.

From what I understand of the idea the physics must be consistent across the universes because the particles from which the universes began are all the same. Balls will not fall up and Hogwarts does not exist.

Or could it exist?

Hogwarts Castle--Under the Cover of the Universe?

Hogwarts Castle–Under the Cover of the Universe?

A different roll of the evolutionary dice and humans or human-like creatures could evolve to have the ability to manipulate matter, or maybe they develop cybernetic implant technology that gives them the ability to shape the world around them. No wands needed.

Maybe your mirror universe self has mastered the powers of creation?

Let’s say these alternate universes exist. Alan Guth was spot on about the cosmic background ripples after all. Let’s say the alternate realities are there under the blanket of the universe. How do we travel to these alternate realities?

Sliders

Sliders

Sliders delved into the idea of alternate earths (the first season was wicked awesome. After season two I couldn’t stand to watch it). They traveled to these alternate realities via a wormhole.

Maybe travel to an alternate reality or universe is possible through a simple change in your state of mind as was used by Christopher Reeve’s character to travel back in time in the movie, Somewhere in Time.

Somewhere in Time

Maybe Stephen Lawhead had the right idea? In The Song of Albion Trilogy Lewis Gillies, a student at Oxford, finds his way to the Celtic Otherworld of Albion. He travels there by circling a Celtic cairn at just the right time of day.

Maybe there is a village, like Wall in Neil Gaiman‘s Stardust, where on the other side lies the faerie realm?

Maybe my own Tir Alaind is real? Maybe Hogwarts is real? Maybe Patrick Rothfuss’s Four Corners of Civilization is real?

Maybe our minds aren’t imagining these alternate realities? Maybe our minds are simply peeking under the blanket of the universe and seeing what our eyes cannot see.

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Since I joined WordPress, Tumblr, Google+, Pinterest and Twitter…

I have found great authors I would never have come across. Before I decided to expand my social media presence I was in a lull with reading. I had a stable of authors from whom I would read. Big names like Neil Gaiman, Stephen King, Joe Hill, Joe Haldeman, Jack McDevitt, Robert Charles Wilson, and Terry Goodkind, to name a few, but I had reached the point where I had read all of their books. Random picks off Amazon didn’t go anywhere either.

 

Neil Gaiman, 2004

Neil Gaiman, 2004 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Then I joined WordPress, Google+, Tumblr, Pinterest and Twitter. I started following authors, such as Cassandra Clare, Jennifer Bresnick, Charles Yallowitz, Scott Southard and Jennifer Nielsen…just to name a few, and through them I have come across even more authors to read and have added them to my TBR list, a list that has grown so long that I doubt I will be able to read them all, but that’s OK. It just means that I will forever have something to read, and that’s a comforting thought.

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Plus, now that I am reading a plethora of other authors, my old standbys have started to come out with new ones. Stephen King has Joyland out now. Neil Gaiman has The Ocean at the End of the Lane. I just finished Joe Hill’s latest, NOS4A2. Robert Wilson has a new novel coming out soon, and I keep bugging Joe Haldeman to put out another one.

Speaking of Joe Haldeman, if you even remotely enjoy science fiction–or just a good story, you should read The Forever War. It’s short. Succinct. But a very good read.

 

Joe Haldeman at Finncon 2007 in Jyväskylä, Fin...

Joe Haldeman at Finncon 2007 in Jyväskylä, Finland – July 2007 – Cropped version (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

So, I say to all I have followed and who are following me, thank you for filling what was once an empty reading list with the promise of many great stories.

 

Would you go to another dimension, another reality, to help if asked?

The Worlds Within started with a simple musing on my part, probably influenced by Harry Potter and Neverwhere. What if someone from another dimension, a parallel universe, came to me and needed help? What if I could never return? Would I go? Would you go?

English: Map of Narnian world as described in ...

English: Map of Narnian world as described in The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For me it would depend on my situation. When I first conceived of The Nyre Lands my personal situation was far different, but now if Janus Riberin appeared in my room asking for aid I would politely turn him down, because I have a family. I am happy here in this reality. As you read The Worlds Within, I hope you come to understand and feel what Aedinn Finn goes through as he comes to realize, as his memory returns, the consequences of the choice he made.

You will notice in Harry Potter and Neverwhere that the protagonists are in similarly poor personal situations. Harry’s family is horrible to him. His cousin bullies him. Consequently, Harry has a low opinion of himself. Richard Mayhew in Neverwhere has a bossy girlfriend, whom he seems destined to marry, a miserable job and low self esteem–just like Harry. Would they have willingly gone to the other realities had their situations been different? In Harry’s case, yes, of course, but in Richard Mayhew’s case I daresay he might never have seen Door lying there on the sidewalk. His own personal unhappiness is what opened his eyes to Door while other people stepped past her.

Aedinn Finn might never have seen Janus Riberin sitting in that chair, or perhaps Janus Riberin would never have come to Aedinn had Aedinn’s situation been better, because Finn would not have been open to coming with Janus to The Nyre Lands.

Which brings me to my final point. The Worlds Within would not have entered the mind of the person I am today, because my subconscious would have politely turned down the offer. No thank you, I am happy.

Descents Into Madness and Character Turning Points

Recently the main character in The Worlds Within, Aedinn Finn, went through an ordeal that tested his handle on reality. As the author, I knew for a long time that the moment would come. Finn had lost his memory, had lost his true identity, and had woken up in a world unfamiliar to him, but since he didn’t remember a different world, his mind tried to make the one in which he had woken up his own.

But his mind forever fought his reality. His mind knew that The Nyre Lands were wrong, but gaps were missing in his memory. He knew of no other place. Either he tried to exist in The Nyre Lands, or nothing. There was nowhere else to go, as far as he could tell.

But the wrong reality gnawed at him. Ate at his sanity. He saw places. Had waking visions. Heard sounds that were not there. And then an ordeal in the town of Catchwood frays his mind to the point where he starts to see another reality. What he sees makes him doubt his own sanity.

I titled this post Descents Into Madness on purpose. Writing that part of the novel reminded me of two wonderful books, Neverwhere, by Neil Gaiman, and 1408 a story in Everything’s Eventual, a short story collection by Stephen King. If you have not read these stories, they are at or near the top of my list, especially Neverwhere. In each story the main character is tested. In each story the main character has their reality challenged. They come through either better or worse for wear. Often I re-read just those parts of the stories. To me the tests of character are that powerful.

My own character, Aedinn Finn, isn’t aware of how the challenge to his reality has changed him. I do hope that it is evident to the reader though.