Friday, 25 November 2016
Moving Between Universes
Is it conceivable that fictional universes created by Anderson and others coexist in a single megamultiverse?
Could there be a narrative in which a single character moves between all these universes?
Are any characters in existing literature potential candidates for such a role?
The prospects suggested so far are Wells' Silent Man and man in grey, the Phantom Stranger and a young man in Mark's Gospel. Sean Brooks has referred to another mysterious Biblical passage: John 21. 20-23. Might the beloved disciple still be around? Also Moses and Elijah? If so, then where have they been and what have they been doing all this time?
In Anderson's own works, Holger Danske moves between universes and the narrator of the Old Phoenix short stories might take a wrong turn coming out of the Inn? This can happen to travelers who have stayed in that other free house owing allegiance to no realm, Neil Gaiman's Inn of the Worlds' End.
Here are some other characters who appear, influence events, then disappear:
the mendicant who inspired the Buddha;
the Good Samaritan (I know that it is a parable but let us suppose otherwise);
the man on the road to Emmaus - he was not recognized as Jesus and slipped away when he realized that the disciples were latching onto his scriptural interpretations but he played a pivotal role in making them believe that Jesus was risen and Messiah.
There is another mystery about the multiverse. In the Old Phoenix:
"The Taverners are as merciful as their charter, or whatever it is that was once granted them by some power unknown, allows them to be."
-Poul Anderson, "Losers' Night" IN Anderson, All One Universe (New York, 1997), pp. 105-123 AT p. 108.
"...there are some powers that no one, not even the Endless, seeks to inquire into too deeply."
-Neil Gaiman, The Sandman: The Wake (New York, 1997), p. 17.
The Endless, seven anthropomorphic personifications of aspects of consciousness, include Destiny and Death yet there are unknown powers beyond them.