Guest Blog: The ‘Alternate Universe’ Excuse

James Harrington's Blog of Geek and Writing

In one form or another be it Marvel, Star Trek, Star Wars or even many book series out there, we see writers wanting to change things and thus creates an alternate universe where they can explore things if they’d happen differently. Some do it better than others… Let me explain.

I’ve seen two ways of doing this:
1. Making one or two minor changes in an established plot and showing how those minor changes altered the destinies of those affected by them, if not everyone in general.

2. Drastically altering the universe with very little explanation, rhyme or reason, using the excuse that it’s an alternate universe so they can do whatever they want.

Quite obviously (to me anyway) #1 is the better way of doing this.
Let’s take two examples of this; Marvel’s ‘What if’ series explores what would have happened if one of two things that could have…

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