Exploring Parallel Timelines: A Sci-Fi Mystery of Dreams and Alternate Realities

  • #1
Sayestu
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I'm working on a story wherein, it seems to the protagonist, he suffered a traumatic event and forgot three years of his life in response to the psychological trauma. Because of physical trauma, doctors medically induced a coma. The forgotten three years include a breakup with his college sweetheart and a marriage to another woman. During the coma, he has a "dream"(?) as if those events had never transpired, and he visits that "life"(?) while he sleeps each night.

I understand that in at least one multiverse theory, every wave function collapse leads to a universe for each possibility in superposition, where that possibility was collapsed into. So, in the plot's reality, I want to involve two parallel timelines/universes. In his "dreams" each night, Protag is experiencing one besides his own. In those "dreams," I want him to figure out what's happening through a mystery that arises from his subconscious's interpretation of communication from his alternate self... or something.

I don't consume much sci-fi. I would hesitate even to call this a sci-fi book. How do people handle branching universes/timelines in fiction? What causes the split? It can be pretty soft sci-fi, but I want at least to be able to say, "Oh, it's dark matter" or something. (Just a buzzword example.)
 
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  • #2
You don't need to have an explanation. Unless you want it to be sci-fi-esque, might be better if you don't. Many contemporary fantasy* stories (indeed, many time travel stories) do this. It is just taken for granted.

* Fantasy doesn't mean 'faeries and sorcery' it just means 'things happen that aren't explainable and don't really have to be'.

Tom Hanks in 'Big' was a fantasy. The mechanism was a clockwork fortune-telling machine.

Gilbert and Sullivan wrote a number of plays where fantastical things happened. All the explanation they provided was "a magic potion".

It doesn't matter how or why X happened - just that X happened.
All you need do is concentrate on the characters, and what they experience. Because they do not experience 'dark matter' or 'alternate universes'. They often never know why or how X happened. Those kinds of explanations are for omniscient, narrative story-telling.
 
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  • #3
DaveC426913 said:
You don't need to have an explanation. Unless you want it to be sci-fi-esque, might be better if you don't. Many contemporary fantasy* stories (indeed, many time travel stories) do this. It is just taken for granted.

* Fantasy doesn't mean 'faeries and sorcery' it just means 'things happen that aren't explainable and don't really have to be'.

Tom Hanks in 'Big' was a fantasy. The mechanism was a clockwork fortune-telling machine.

Gilbert and Sullivan wrote a number of plays where fantastical things happened. All the explanation they provided was "a magic potion".

It doesn't matter how or why X happened - just that X happened.
All you need do is concentrate on the characters, and what they experience. Because they do not experience 'dark matter' or 'alternate universes'. They often never know why or how X happened. Those kinds of explanations are for omniscient, narrative story-telling.
Makes sense. I gues maybe I thought I wouldn't be taken seriously if I BSed. Thanks.
 
  • #4
Taken seriously by whom? Who is your audience?
It wouldn't be taken seriously as sci-fi, but that's not a concern for you.

Outlander is a fabulously popular time travel story and, unless I am mistaken, it's time travel is fantastical. Because it's actually a love story, which is what carries it.

The questions you should ask yourself are: does the mechanism that drives your story necessarily have to be scientifically plausible for the story to work? Do your target readers need it to be scientificaĺly plausible? Or even comprehensible?
 
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  • #5
Sayestu said:
I gues maybe I thought I wouldn't be taken seriously if I BSed.
It's called technobabble in Sci-Fi, and doing it right is actually an art in itself.

But if you don't have the expertise then it's better to just have the setup and stick to the characters.

Good characters (and good writing) can make a good novel even with a stupid less sophisticated setup: but whatever good setup can't make up for poor characters and poor writing.
 
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