Thursday, January 16, 2014

Waiting... for a trope

There's not much to say today, mostly because I've decided not to do any serious updates to this blog. Because I've decided to go with the changes I want to make, I felt adding anymore to my other pages would simply increase the amount of mess I have to work with.

You can expect me to update my Writing Tips section this Saturday after I make all of the changes and updates to my blog that I need to.

If you have any questions, comments, or concerns, please address them here.

And now for your trope!

Alternate Universe

The criminal and the ape-thing, OK. But awoman?! That's just silly.

"Penny, while I subscribe to the many worlds theory which posits the existence of an infinite number of Sheldons in an infinite number of universes, I assure you in none of them am I dancing."
— Sheldon CooperThe Big Bang Theory

A story in which the characters we know are seen in a reality that's somehow different, often disturbingly so. If they can access multiple alternative universes at the same time, that's The Multiverse.
Sometimes everyone has an Evil Twin. Other times, everyone has a twin that's just a little different. Allows the goodies to be baddies for an episode, or for half of the cast to be killed - but not really. Sometimes it's just part of Side Story Bonus Art.
Given a long enough run, any series based on SuperHerocomic books will run into these.
If the writers want to depict an Alternate Universe, but the show's genre would not usually allow an Alternate Universeper se, the depiction may be accomplished via an extended Dream Sequence.
Not to be confused with Alternate ContinuityAlternate Reality EpisodeAlternate Universe Fic or a Constructed World.
May be meta-caused by aforementioned Alternate Continuity; as well as by any of the three varieties of Discontinuity (Canon DiscontinuityFanon Discontinuity, or Negative Continuity).
Specific variations:
  • Alternate History — Some major event changed, like Germany wins WWII.
  • Another Dimension — Different worlds don't have to resemble each other, Alternate Universe is a subtrope of this.
  • Bizarro Universe — A lot of things in that world are reversed from the usual context, good is evil or vice versa, etc.
  • For Want of a Nail — One small change caused a huge difference between the universes.
    • In Spite of a Nail — Tiny changes have made the world almost the same but the differences are critical (or wildly different, but the characters are still the same and still together.)
  • Mirror Universe — Often a subset of Bizarro Universe, Good and Evil are reversed, but otherwise most of the things are the same.
  • The Multiverse — The people involved have the capacity to cross over to more than one additional universe.
  • Elseworld — Famous characters are placed into a situation which is potentially wildly different from the norm.
  • Wonderful Life — You get to see how the world would have turned out if you were never born/existed.
  • Alternate Tooniverse — An animated counterpart to reality.

Another type of Alternate Universe is that which doesn't take any of the characters, but instead takes concepts, or machines. Such Alternate Universes are uncommon, but exist. Gundam is the perfect example, with no less thanseven separate universes, all of them rehashing essentially the same plots and concepts — in particular, the conflict between those living in space and those living on Earth. With giant robots.
Compare with Masquerade, where a world might look the same, but something hidden makes it different.