Nice to Meet Me: Our Fascination with Parallel Worlds and Selves

January 28, 2015 Author Feature, Giveaway 27

by Sharon Lynn Fisher

Sharon Lynn Fisher is the fabulous and fun author behind the science fiction romance books GHOST PLANET and THE OPHELIA PROPHECY. Both are books that scratched an itch for me that I didn’t even know I had. I’m not normally a big romance reader but when coupled with science fiction, unique words and alien species you can bet I was all on board. She’s joining us today because she has a new book coming out – ECHO 8!

Echo 8

Tabitha’s review of ECHO 8 Coming Soon!

Ghost PlanetThe Ophelia Prophecy

Tabitha’s Reviews of GHOST PLANET and THE OPHELIA PROPHECY

Now lets hear from the author – today she’s talking to us about Our Fascination with Parallel Worlds and Selves!

Be sure to enter the giveaway below!

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I love visiting Not Yet Read, because Tabitha invites me to geek out. I really enjoy the opportunity to talk about the science behind my stories. My latest release, ECHO 8, incorporates scientific theories very much in the mainstream.

Right around the time I started writing this book in 2008, Fox launched a successful little sci-fi series you may have heard of. Fringe delved into both parallel universes and alternate selves (the sci-fi version of folkloric doppelgangers).

Fringe_NYR

It wasn’t even close to the first time parallel universes appeared in TV/film (Star Trek, Doctor Who, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Sliders), but the show’s popularity — and some similar paranormal subject matter — caused my adorably naïve author self to squee over being on the cutting edge of a developing trend. Little did I know it would likely be years before ECHO 8 was published (if it ever was)!

AnotherEarth_NYRBut in the intervening years, interest in these concepts has in no way flagged. My two recent favorite cultural examples are Another Earth (2011 film) and the popular BBC American series Orphan Black. Technically Orphan Black is about clones, but the way they’re portrayed makes them a close matchup for doppelgangers/alternate selves.

So why are we fascinated by these ideas? Why are they popping up more and more in speculative stories? Here’s my theory: Because they’re ideas that feel supernatural (something we seem to find almost innately compelling) — and yet they’re probably true.

Do a little Googling. You’ll quickly find prominent scientists talking about the likelihood of parallel worlds. Without getting too technical, here’s a description from Space.com about why:

Scientists can’t be sure what the shape of space-time is, but most likely, it’s flat (as opposed to spherical or even donut-shape) and stretches out infinitely. But if space-time goes on forever, then it must start repeating at some point, because there are a finite number of ways particles can be arranged in space and time.

So if you look far enough, you would encounter another version of you — in fact, infinite versions of you. Some of these twins will be doing exactly what you’re doing right now, while others will have worn a different sweater this morning, and still others will have made vastly different career and life choices.

Let me emphasize that last point with a sort of creepy and yet geektastic example from string theory physicist Brian Greene: If all this is true — and there is lots of math that says it very well could be — at this very moment on some parallel Earth, another you is reading this same blog post. Even has the same chill bumps creeping along the back of her neck. To stretch the example in a totally realistic way, on yet another parallel Earth, you actually wrote this blog post and I’m reading it. If that doesn’t make you go whoa, I did a super crappy job of explaining it.

ECHO 8 explores two similar Earths that are different in key ways — the most important being that one suffered a catastrophic asteroid impact a few months before the story opens. The impact event creates a connection between the two worlds that allows visitors to pass through, but there are some dangerous consequences. The heroine, Tess Caufield (a parapsychologist who’s studied quantum physics), and FBI field agent Ross McGinnis work together to understand these visitors — what makes them so dangerous, and how best to stop them.

This was the perfect setup for a writer to have a lot of fun with exploring how small differences in experience can lead to vastly different personalities in people with virtually identical DNA. (That’s the best I can do without spoilers!)

So tell me, if you met an alternate you, what’s the first question you’d ask?

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Echo 8 blog tour button

Be Sure to enter the giveaway for a copy of ECHO 8 courtesy of the publisher Tor Books! – open to US/CA residents only
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Sharon Lynn Fisher Author Photo

RWA RITA-finalist author Sharon Lynn Fisher writes stories for the geeky at heart — meaty mash-ups of sci-fi, suspense, and romance, with no apology for the latter. She lives where it rains nine months of the year, and she has a strange obsession with gingers (down to her freaky orange cat).

Sharon writes sci-fi romance for Tor Books: Ghost Planet (2012), The Ophelia Prophecy (2014), and Echo 8 (coming Feb. 3, 2015).

She is also the author of the Fantasies in Color series of erotic novelettes. And she loves to play on Wattpad, where she’s currently writing an exclusive novella (RED: Love in the Time of Flesh-eaters).

In addition, Sharon is editorial director for (and partner in)SilkWords LLC, an interactive romance and erotica publisher.

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Tabitha (Pabkins)

When I'm in the zone I can flip book pages faster than the eye can see - screaming "More Input!" I'm a book, yarn, & art supply hoarding goblin who loves to draw, make toys and craft all sorts of creepy cute things. My current habit is to listen to audio books while I'm arting it up!
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27 Responses to “Nice to Meet Me: Our Fascination with Parallel Worlds and Selves”

  1. Ramona

    I believe in parallel worlds, of course I do! There isn’t one single show quoted in this article that I haven’t inhaled (and enforced it upon my family too!) If I met an alternate me, I’d ask “Have you quit smoking yet?” LOL… Great post, Tabitha.
    Ramona recently posted…Should I Hire A Freelance Editor?My Profile

    • Sharon

      It is pretty hard to imagine, isn’t it? It seems like the first thought would be, “That’s it, I’ve gone crazy.” Thanks for dropping by, Lexxie!

  2. Mary @ BookSwarm

    I mean, we don’t even know really where the edges of the universe are, except that it continues to expand. Science like this absolutely fascinates me. Why not parallel worlds? Just like I’m sure some of those “Goldilocks” planets *do* support life. We can’t possibly be the only ones out there.
    Mary @ BookSwarm recently posted…Mini-Swarm Reviews: It’s a mystery!My Profile

  3. Valerie

    I really, really like the idea of alternate selves and parallel worlds. THEY’RE SO COOL. And Echo 8 sounds really awesome. I’m also going to have to put Fringe on my to be watched list. 🙂
    Valerie recently posted…Stacking the Shelves #20My Profile

    • Sharon

      My editor is a huge fan of the show. But I have to confess I’ve only watched the first few episodes! So much good TV, so little time …