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Worldbuilding For Multiple Alternate Universes Part 1 - Star Trek Fan Fiction

Worldbuilding For Multiple Alternate Universes
Part 1
Star Trek Fan Fiction 

In August 2020, the creator of the Sahaj Series of Star Trek fan novels asked if she could have a scene where Sahaj tours across universes, comes to the Kraith alternate universe, and wants to Affirm the Continuity with his father, Spock, but the Kraith Spock.

I said, YES!

The Affirmation of the Continuity is a ceremony I invented for my Kraith Vulcans while writing my Kraith Star Trek fanfic series.

In the early 1970's I wrote STAR TREK LIVES!

at the same time I was writing Kraith stories (and managing the gaggle of Kraith Creators who wanted to write in my alternate-Star Trek Universe),

 and on alternating days I was also writing my Sime~Gen Universe novels.

I sold my first story, the first Sime~Gen story professionally published, in 1968 for the January 1969 issue of Worlds of If Magazine (edited by Fred Pohl, who later bought STAR TREK LIVES! when he became editor at Bantam Books).

That is OPERATION HIGH TIME - set at the threshold of the Sime~Gen Space Age.  You can find the issue here:

The Kraith Universe and the Sime~Gen Universe have both attracted writers who contributed their own ideas to the Universe that I built, but both have also inspired writers to create ALTERNATE universes to mine, just as Star Trek inspired people to create alternate universes to aired-Trek's universe.

Sime~Gen is my own, original creation, but Kraith is built from aired-Star Trek and Kraith is an alternate Star Trek universe that has spawned alternate universes.

Later, I also contributed stories to other established novel-universes by famous authors I grew up being inspired by, Andre Norton and Marion Zimmer Bradley when they did anthologies of other writers creating in their universes, just as we are now doing anthologies of Sime~Gen stories by many other writers.

Writing in other people's universes, is complicated and all-absorbing. Writing in their Universe with the intention of adhering entirely to canon as defined by that original author is just like Worldbuilding From Reality -- there are things you have to learn and then account for if you violate them.

Here's the index to Worldbuilding From Reality:

Your job, as a writer of fiction, is to create a whole "Reality" where it seems inevitable, and self-evident, that "LOVE CONQUERS ALL" and the HEA are inevitable, real, tangible, unavoidable -- but there are obstacles to overcome.

That is a "meme" floating around in various versions of conspiracy theory commentary, which I found on Facebook having been posted by Donald Brinegar ( ) who apparently searched for the earliest form of this image.

As I see it, the point isn't what image you see among the dots on the final panel, but rather the point is that the human brain FILLS IN LINES that are not there.

Presumably, imagination is a survival trait.

If imagination is a survival trait, imbibing fiction in whatever medium is handy (from Shaman tales to  Streaming TV) is the way to train the imagination to see the underlying patterns behind the data-dots.

You imagine correctly, you survive longer than if you imagine incorrectly. 

OTH erring on the side of "here be monster" is likely a survival edge. 

We all imagine. Train your imagination - train your kids' imagination - and get closer to surviving real threats. It doesn't take a "conspiracy" to survive.  It only takes individuals with well trained, honed, imagination, and the ability to know WHEN imagination is engaged, and when it's just data, information, and maybe knowledge.

The panel labeled "Data" is a good representation of the "reality" your reader lives in.

This is the reality you share with your reader, and it is the bedrock of all the alternate universes (or imagined Time-Travel settings, such as ancient Scotland) you create for your Characters to visit.

Readers who've grown up on fanfic, online or in 'zines, will have trained their imagination to take their perception of the aired-TV (or novel) Universe as "Data" -- and ride with you as you re-transform all their data into "Information."

Maybe after a few Seasons, or novels, you show them "knowledge" about their favorite Characters that they never guessed existed.

From watching and analyzing the Source Material (Reality, a TV show, a Novel Series), your readers have a set of lines connecting their colored-in Information-dots that is entirely their own.  Finding a writer who fills in the connecting lines the same way is a thrill.

Some readers, especially fans of science fiction, will be even more thrilled to find a writer who connects the dots in a different way than they do - they're open to a good alternate universe.

Using the tricks of the writing trade, you can lure them into a story and convince them of the solid, plausible reality of the universe with which your Characters must cope.

If you "plant" a foreshadowing dot in the first Episode, or novel, in your series, then you color in the texture of each dot in subsequent episodes, then you connect the dots with lines just the way they would, (show don't tell is the craft skill for doing lines), then you can trigger "INSIGHT" -- the connections among apparently unconnected data-dots.

Somewhere between book 20 and maybe 25, the bits of insight, the resonances, become "WISDOM " -- the understanding of your complex bundle of universes.

The reader lives in one universe, you live in another, but they have patterns in common.  Show don't tell, illustrate, use symbols.

And use unique vocabulary, to hint at resonances among your Characters' universes.  Show how the vastly different settings and cultures construct imaginary lattice works of lines between the data-dots - but we all live among the same data-dots.

Fanfic uses a fictional-reality (TV, film, books) as if it were "reality" while your original Science Fiction Romance uses the reader's reality.

To create your Aliens - you use the same data-dots as your reader but color and connect them differently to make information.

Show the reader that even with all the additional decorative color and lines, the Alien civilization, culture, and peoples have something in common with humans.  Science fiction writers generally rely on physics and math -- assuming Aliens have to cope with the same laws of physics that we do.

That might not be entirely true in some of your Alternate Universes or historical realities.  The physics might be the same (or a bit altered with a different speed-of-light, for example), but the interpretation might be different, and there might be concrete evidence to support your Aliens' interpretation.  Humans who ignore the Aliens' "Wisdom" about their world will not survive long.

So square the human and Alien off against each other, and watch them argue about what "THEORY" picture is "real" when all the dots are connected.

Flip your characters between Universes, where the rules differ, then flip them into a Universe neither knows.  See if they team up to survive, or fight to the death and create a Legend for that unknown universe.

What is true? What is real?  What "all" might Love not conquer?  Would the lovers have to reincarnate and have another go at it if they failed to summon the power of Love?

As writers, we think about point of view.

Do you need knowledge before you can have insight or wisdom?  Or can you start with Wisdom and back-figure to knowledge?

Can an Alien brain avoid imagining a recognizable image superimposed on data-dots like the Unicorn here?

Do different people have to draw different parts of the Unicorn, and argue over where the lines go?  Argue over each others' imaginary lines?

Or does each person sketch their own reality out of the scattered bits of data that they perceive around them?  And not everyone sees all the data that's there.  How much of what's there do you let the reader see?  How much do you demand the reader just imagine on their own?

There are numerous neurological studies showing how the human brain fills in the gaps in personal reality with imaginary "lines" that, after a while, become solid truth, an inescapable reality, common knowledge.  This tendency is so well known, it is used when comparing "Eye Witness Accounts" of an Event.  No two people will report it the same way.

Today the popular example is phone videos of people doing (or not-doing) things -- and the added complexity of what is termed "deep fakes" (videos cleverly altered to make it seem some celebrity said something they actually never said).  It isn't just editing with cut-and-paste tools, but actual altering of the digital recording.

Your reader's "Reality" has become malleable and a matter of opinion.

Given the familiarity of imposing imaginary order on natural chaos as the human brain is hardwired to do, how difficult can it be for you to convince a reader that your bundle of alternate universes are plausible?

Maybe your Aliens have a more accurate interpretation of our reality than we do?  Or maybe they can change it at will?  How can Love conquer that?

Jacqueline Lichtenberg

This post first appeared on Alien Romances, please read the originial post: here

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Worldbuilding For Multiple Alternate Universes Part 1 - Star Trek Fan Fiction


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