Tweet of the Day: A Head for Heights
How big is your story, setting-wise? Does it cover a street, a neighborhood, maybe a city, state or province? Not big enough, how about an entire planet, or even a solar system or two? Still too small, how about a couple of galaxies or all of creation?
Still not enough, eh?
Well then, you have no choice but to explore the doors to The Multiverse!
The Multiverse is a panoply of multiple times, realities and settings at the author(s) fingertips. Want a modern day hero to interact with his evil twin from a medieval setting? Push him into a magic mirror. Want your gallant space explorers to end in a world stranger than anyone they ever visited? Have their FTL drive have a hiccup. Want to bring a caveman into a modern metropolis? Have him surf the reality stream in a hallucinogenic fever dream. The endless possibilities of taking to or bringing together multiple character types as well as setting are enticing to many a writer and not a few readers. It allows for the mixing of styles, settings, character types and more importantly breaking of established rules because the new realities simply don’t care about your rules, man.
But there is another reason for employing this trope, Canon Welding, the process of bringing multiple stories within one continuity. Authors like Michael Moorcock and Stephen King brought decades of stories under the one meta-setting umbrella of the Multiverse, where also meta-plots abound. It is even more common in comic books, where dozens of writers of multiple generations have created thousands of heroes and re-imagined most of them along the way.
Of course this free wielding meshing of settings and characters tends to create one gigantic clusterf—-! As more and more characters, settings, and plots are brought together, the rules for any of them simply dissolve. Take all the world building headaches that come with such tropes as instantaneous travel and time travel and take them to a stage whose size simply boggles the mind and well you can figure out the rest. It one reason why comic book lines (the other is an attempt to gin up sales) are rebooted frequently. Editors seek to clean up the mess from past editors left on their desks.
But the allure of all those possibilities is just so strong that by the time the current editor leaves their desk to their replacement well….