In Search Of The Multiverse Chaos Cover – There’s a reason we don’t call it megaverse, pluriverse, or superspace… because Michael Moorcock’s multiverse.
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In Search Of The Multiverse Chaos Cover
If you’ve written an article or made a documentary about the 1967 album Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, you’ve almost certainly mentioned the Beatles at some point, probably more than once. Similarly, if you submit a book proposal or draft podcast script about the Theory of Relativity and Albert Einstein is not mentioned, you may be asked to do a rewrite.
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So why do countless articles, documentaries, podcasts and books continue to appear about ‘The Multiverse’ without mentioning Michael Moorcock, the writer who created the concept and named it?
Moorcock was not the first to use the word “multiverse”, as he himself clarified, but he initiated the meaning of the word as it is used today in physics and popular fiction. The word itself is generally said to have been coined by the psychologist and philosopher William James in 1895, although, as I establish in Appendix 2 below, it is likely much earlier. James and others use the term multiverse to describe our own world or universe, a single, self-contained entity, but visible from multiple points of view with minds that can understand it, and therefore not subject to any single or authoritative interpretation. . “The multiverse” is often considered an atheistic idea and contrasted with the “universe” governed by a divine plan. This usage has not completely disappeared with the development of the 20th century, but it remains ambiguous.
In 1963, Moorcock reinvented the word multiverse or emerged from a forgotten corner of his memory, when he used it to name a new concept in his science fiction story The Blood Red Game. or
Recognizes Moorcock’s novel idea, and gives a new meaning to the word. The dictionary defines the newly imagined multiverse as “
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A hypothetical space or realm consisting of a series of universes, of which our own universe is only one.”
The OED also acknowledges that this meaning of the word has spread from Moorcock’s science fiction to the widespread understanding of science as grounded in reality, or “truth”. I will return to this in more detail below.
Moorcock’s idea goes beyond the well-established science fiction idea of parallel worlds, to imagine the full range of all possible worlds, both as a “scientific” concept and as a device of literature. In a conversation on Facebook in July 2021, when the topic of previous similar stories in the world came up again (as always), Moorcock himself said this:
H. G. Wells was the first writer to discuss parallel worlds in fiction. I think he got it from Frazer. People used to go to fairyland or another lost continent for satirical and romantic purposes
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. The multiverse is linked to my books and not strictly the “parallel world” or “alternate history” idea, although that idea could fit into the multiverse. All parallel world stories (like Sprague de Camp) are a way of setting up a version of ‘fairyland’ (science fiction version) but I am writing about the multiverse itself and what it is worth, that the simple difference.
I thought of the multiverse in terms of a tangible physical entity and theorized about its composition with endlessly repeating characters, and found a logical construct when Mandelbrot published his theories.
I used the multiverse to write what I thought would be a great novel, with persistent characters carrying recurring themes and narratives, from different points of view and through different genres. or structure myself that I created for a specific purpose. It is on one level a device that connects all of my fiction, fantasy or otherwise, allowing me and the interested reader to explore many ideas in depth.
The multiverse for the first time, but it was also given a name. This is not a small detail.
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And now the multiverse is all around us. There is no escape. I do not mean that we are all trapped in a universe made up of an infinite number of sub-universes, although many scientists today suggest that we are.
Surely there was a time, not too long ago, when that was almost unheard of…? And now it’s everywhere.
A particular case; the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), currently the largest dollar grossing entertainment franchise on the planet, has been transformed into the Marvel Cinematic Multiverse.
[The usual online resources and a million others can be consulted as they trace what some might describe as the “evolution” or “development” of the Disney/Marvel Multiverse. Brief [updates] can be found below if they are needed. The latest is July 31, 2022.]
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[In July 2022, Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige announced at San Diego Comic Con that the nearly completed Phase 4 of the MCU and the upcoming Phases 5 and 6 will be collectively known as the Multiverse saga. (Episodes 1-3 are labeled ‘The Infinity Saga’). Feige also showed off this new logo :]
[It’s been a while.] Three weeks ago [while I was writing the original version of this post], at the San Diego Comic Con (SDCC) in July 2019, Feige [announced] the title of the next Doctor Who movie which Strange: Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, scheduled for 2021. [Released in May 2022 after a director change and extensive story reworking.]
The universe has been a multiverse for many years (and as I argue below, has actually been part of Michael Moorcock’s multiverse since 1972; see Appendix 5) Feige and his filmmaking team have long playing this thing. Perhaps, like other aspects of the Marvel Universe, including the core concept of the superhero, they felt the need to slowly ease the film’s path to the public. Maybe it’s more about putting your own unique MCU stamp on these ideas. Maybe both.
[I’ll add now, in 2022, that the sometimes fantastic, sometimes fun, often strangely clumsy emergence of the Marvel Cinematic Multiverse has been more than a little disappointing since 2019. There are signs of a lack of coordination overall. the modeling of how the particular multiverse concept “works”. The multiverse is also used as the new Big Threat in the MCU, a source of nothing but danger and grief, as Thanos and the Infinity Stones are in Phases 1 to 3. I expect a twist in one point, as the potential of the multiverse to also show praise and positivity.
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[As I update this post in August 2021, the Marvels Loki series has just finished streaming on Disney+, which seems to position the multiverse as an important part of the next phase of the entire MCU. And the launch of the new Disney + animated series by Marvel
Two more days. This is the name of a comic that was released in 1977 to explore alternative world concepts under titles such as
Film, an early example of the multiverse in the MCU, but Scott Derrickson’s original Doctor Strange in 2016 was the film that directly introduced the term “multiverse” to the MCU.
When he sends Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) on his first trip to another dimension of reality, Tilda Swinton’s Old Man asks him, “Who am I?
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, in this vast multiverse?” Later, he explained that magicians, when yawning, “use energy drawn from other dimensions of the multiverse.” After that, the word itself gives rest, even the main plot.
In 2019, parallel reality, a key element of the idea of multiple worlds, is slowly being introduced. Dr. Strange himself saw 14,000,605 alternate futures in 2018’s Avengers: Infinity War. At San Diego Comic Con that year, Feige also reminded us that “branch realities” were explained in Avengers: Endgame (2019) at the time in its time travel plot, and that heard the word “multiverse” again in its follow-up, at Sony. / Co-production Marvel Spider-Man: Far From Home. In Sony’s own (non-MCU) Spider-Man animated film Into the Spider-verse (2018), the alternate worlds are remarkably real; in MCU-canonical
The supervillain Mysterio lied about them. However, the apparent revelation prompted an excited exclamation from the teenage Peter ‘Spider-Man’ Parker; “There is one
?!” The next entry in this series, Spider-Man: No Way Home is currently scheduled for December 2021, and advanced publicity shows several multiverse plot threads, including as many Spider-Man as Spider-verses. [Toby Maguire’s Spider-Man from Sam Raimi’s 2002-2007 trilogy and Andrew Garfield’s 2012-2014 version actually featured the
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At that point in Peter Parker’s fictional world, like ours, it was a word that had power and was firmly embedded in the cultural landscape. I’m interested in how it got there.
The word multiverse may seem very new and “current” as we talk about it today, but it has a long and, appropriately enough, multifaceted history. In this post I look at that story in some detail, but focus on the often forgotten role of Michael Moorcock. It is incredibly popular