1st Edition

The Multiverse as Theory in Postmodern Speculative Fictional Narratives

    216 Pages 4 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    The Multiverse as Theory in Postmodern Speculative Fictional Narratives considers the concept of the multiverse beyond the immediacy of being merely an excuse or scenario for the development of stories, instead positioning the multiverse as a theoretical method in which speculative fiction narratives can explore diverse issues to bridge ideas across cultural, social, and philosophical analysis.

    Taking a cross-cultural approach, the book centres around the critical engagements that literary and media texts have with the representations of the multiverse, beyond considering this subject as a mere rhetorical flourish or a passing fad. A diverse and international team of authors engage with the multiverse from the point of view of “other worlds”, understanding it not as the appearance of another independent world, but as the collision of two or more different worlds into one of them. From this key finding, the multiverse encourages us to pay attention to the influence that fiction exerts on narratives and world-building, providing possible frameworks to rethink critical aspects of temporality, space, self, society, and culture in contemporary times.

    This pioneering work will interest students and scholars working in the areas of media and cultural studies, comparative literature, popular culture studies, speculative fiction, and transmedia studies.

    1. Introduction

    The Multiverse as Fictional Formation

    Angélica Cabrera Torrecilla and Francisco Sáez de Adana

    2. Towards the Multiverse as a Theory for Speculative Fictions, a Proposal

    Angélica Cabrera Torrecilla

    PART I The Multiverse as Theoretical Method for Written-Visual Fictions

    3 The Quest for Reality as Lost Paradise: Philip K. Dick’s “False Worlds” Series

    Alejo Steimberg

    4 “Traveling through a Dimension Other than Space:” Multidimensional Consciousness in Molly Cochran’s The Third Magic

    Radhia Flah Gaiech

    5 The Multiverse as Ontological Catalyst in Sheri S. Tepper’s The Margarets 

    Stephanie Studzinski

    6 Parallel Universes in Superhero Comics

    Francisco Sáez de Adana

    7 Thursday Next Series: Transmedia Fiction as a “Multi-Media” Multiverse

    Carmen Hidalgo-Varo

    8 Fighting across Reality: Otherworlds, Parallel Dimensions, and the Multiverse in Martial Arts Fiction

    Eduardo González de la Fuente

    PART II The Multiverse as Theoretical Method for Audio-Visual Fictions

    9 From Representation to Simulation: Narrative Inconsistencies in Cyberspatial Otherworlds

    Anna Batori

    10 Bridging Multiverse and Media/Video Game Studies: Nobunaga’s Ambition as a Multiverse

    Yasuhito Abe

    11 The Invisible Affects the Visible: A Socio-Cultural Perspective on the Portrayal of the Spirit and the Physical Worlds in Nigerian and Cameroonian Video Films

    Floribert Patrick C. Endong

    12 “Okay, Which World do You Think is Real?” – Complex Shared Dream-within-a-Dream Worlds in Doctor Who: “Amy’s Choice” (2010) and “Last Christmas” (2014)

    Kathrin Neis

    13 Black Mirror: Flat-line Multiverses and Mutations of the Possible

    Iván Pintor Iranzo


    Angélica Cabrera Torrecilla is a research scholar and member of the National System of Researchers of Mexico specialising in the cultural studies of space and time, focusing mainly on the multiverse and techno-digital contexts in fiction and popular culture. She is the author of What if a Multiverse? Literatura y ciencia en la obra de Grant Morrison (2019), and more than twenty published articles and book chapters. She has research experience in Mexico, UK, Japan, Germany, and Spain.

    Francisco Sáez de Adana is Professor of Computer Science at the Universidad de Alcalá (Spain) and a member of the Franklin Institute of American Studies at the same university. He currently works mainly as a comics scholar, focusing on American comics, and has published ten book chapters and fifteen articles in international journals, including Studies in Comics, Journal of Graphic Novels and Comics, and Journal of Popular Culture.


    "This groundbreaking collection of scholarship marks the first systematic, comprehensive volume on the multiverse as theory, heralding the birth of a new interdisciplinary field. Studies address speculative texts and narrative across media from a rich variety of methodological perspectives to apprehend nothing less than the most expansive and ambitious construct of the human imagination—"other worlds.” The global perspective renders insight into the multiverse as treated in texts from North and Latin America to Europe, Japan, and Africa. This book is essential reading for academic specialists, students, and fans alike, who can gain deeper appreciation for the complexity and social implications of this influential cultural form."

    David O. Dowling, Ph.D. School of Journalism and Mass Communication, The University of Iowa. Author of Podcast Journalism: The Promise and Perils of Audio Reporting (2024).


    "This excellent collection on theories of the multiverse explores fundamental questions about our world through the imaginative possibilities of alternatives to it. The focus is admirably broad: taking in science fiction, graphic novels, video games and television to examine digital space, consciousness, parallel and other worlds, and the nature of reality in both its physical and spiritual manifestations. Equally diverse are the authors brought together in conversation – revealing new voices from North and Latin America, Europe, Africa and Asia. Carefully curated by its editors The Multiverse as Theory offers the first studies of the contemporary influence of multiverse thinking and its epistemic limits."

    Martin Willis, Professor. School of English, Communication and Philosophy, Cardiff University.


    "This book, edited by Cabrera-Torrecilla and Sáez de Adana, brings together a series of fundamental contributions to understand the key role that the concept of multiverse plays in modern and postmodern fictional narratives."

    Gerardo Blumenkratz. Chair, Media & Communication Arts Dept., City College of New York/CUNY.