Are multiple universes real? Some scientists say yes

The good news – they believe they may be real. The bad news – we may never be able to access them, or even want to.

How cool would it be to visit an alternate version of yourself, say, a world where you married your college girlfriend instead of breaking up? Or visit the version of yourself who is the ninja badass you always imagined yourself to be?


Scientists have long theorized that multiple universes exist, and now they may have proof.

I won’t delve into the science behind all this — it’s over my head. But I’ll get to the heart of it: a recent discovery on the inflation of the universe, as explained in this Scientific American article, supports a hypothesis that multiple universes exist in this humongous thing called space.

How would it work? Imagine a glass of soda. In the soda there are tons of bubbles. Each bubble would be its own universe. Simple enough.

But there’s a catch. Actually, a few.

First, it is theorized that these alternate universes would follow different physical laws. Scientists have no reason to believe that the basic properties of matter hold true. It just seems to be the way our universe is constructed, by nature, by God, take your pick. Let your mind go crazy with how these other universes might be constructed. The possibilities are infinite. But we would stand no chance of surviving.

Second, how would we access these alternate universes, even if we wanted to? We can’t even get very far across our own universe, which is too large for us to rationally fathom.

Third, and this gets to my problem with science, this is all basically theory. Science and religion love bashing each other, but what they don’t realize is that they’re more alike than they’d care to admit. Both are tightly constructed belief systems with high priests who disseminate knowledge. Science relies on the observable world, and religion tends toward philosophy, but both frequently get it wrong. (For the record, I’m a fan of aspects of both.)

So, in the end, I think we’re stuck with multiple universes existing solely in our imaginations, which is good. I loved when the TV show Fringe, a great underrated sci-fi series, used alternate universes to enhance the show’s mythology. The old TV show Sliders, where the cast of characters went from alternate world to alternate world, was great fun. Doctor Who used parallel universes briefly and effectively. And I’m writing a story now that is centered on parallel worlds – and alternate versions of the main character.

While the science is exciting, I’ll stick with the fictional side of multiple universes. For now.

Read this book: The Demonologist

Andrew Pyper proves that horror can live alongside literary fiction.

In one sense, The Demonologist is a highbrow book. Its touchstone is John Milton’s Paradise Lost.

the demonologistParadise Lost, published way back in 1667, is a classic (long, long) epic poem that chronicles the fall of Adam and Eve, Lucifer and a whole bunch of demons. It is the definition of literature. I read it in high school. It wasn’t fun. I haven’t read it since.

Now along comes Andrew Pyper, who valiantly tries to make Paradise Lost interesting. He pulls it off.

In The Demonologist, our hero David Ullman is a Columbia University professor who specializes in Milton’s Paradise Lost. He is visited by a creepy woman who offers him a huge sum of money to fly to Venice and consult with her mysterious employer on the topic of demons. His marriage in shambles, he agrees, and takes along his old-soul 12-year-old daughter Tess. In Venice, he sees something that make him believe demons may in fact be real, and then witnesses his daughter plunge from the hotel roof and disappear.

The rest of the novel follows David as he searches against reason for his supposedly dead daughter, encounters demonic forces and dodges church henchmen.

In The Demonologist, Pyper pulls a brilliant switch — what the demonic forces want from David is really simple, so simple that I can’t believe it hasn’t been explored before (maybe it has). I won’t spoil it, but it’s a great play on Pyper’s part. He’s a strong writer. His descriptions of evil are fully sensual and always unsettling. He touches on themes of mental illness and the complicated relationships between parents and children without being overbearing. And, most importantly, he is willing to make the reader feel acutely uncomfortable. He kills innocents in service to the story. That is horror.

Pyper does one more thing in The Demonologist that I like: he uses the reluctant hero. Thriller stories tend to rely on the valiant/flawed hero. Think the suave yet emotionally remote James Bond, or FBI agent with a scarred childhood Olivia Dunham from TV’s Fringe. These heroes are fun to follow, but as a reader and writer, the reluctant hero is the one I identify with. In my book The Last Conquistador, the hero Randy Velasquez only wants to find his girlfriend. He doesn’t care much about the demon chasing him, except that it’s standing in his way. Similarly, in The Demonologist, David doesn’t even believe in demons – he’s an atheist. He only wanted a big fat check. Now he just wants his daughter back. If it wasn’t for that, he would have probably returned home with Tess and rationalized the whole Venice episode away.

But then we wouldn’t have had such a thrilling and surprising story.