WHY THE SIDEWAYS MULTIVERSE SHOULD MATTER TO YOU
(A FAQ for Sideways)
WHAT IS SIDEWAYS?
Like it says on the homepage, Sideways is a comic strip anthology series where there are multiple outcomes for each story presented. The name Sideways comes from the notion that parallel universe travel can be defined as traveling sideways throught time.
WHY IS SIDEWAYS HERE?
To show that the world as we know it doesn't have to be the way it is. More to the point, some people (too few people) look at parallel universes as the ultimate representation of UNLIMITED FREEDOM OF CHOICE! Living in a single universe offers comparatively few choices (if any). Having the option of visting parallel universes does provide one with a titantic level of free choice. Since parallel universe travel is obviously not an option, a comic strip about parallel universes is obviously the next best thing. Besides, all works of fiction are jaunts into alternate realities anyway.
WHAT IS THE THEORY OF PARALLEL UNIVERSES?
In relatively recent times, the theory of parallel universes has been used to explain how quantum mechanics -- the study of the behavior of elementary particles -- works. In the late 1950s, physicist Hugh Everett III developed that theory. You see, physics at this point in time can only describe the movement and reactions of elemetary particles in terms of random events. As such, elemetary particles do not move in straight, easily definable paths but instead move randomly -- seeming to appear and disappear from different locations instantaneously. As the theory goes, parallel universes are the cause of this "quirky" behavior among elementary particles. That is, the universe we inhabit may actually be composed of an infinite number of parallel universes. Thus, an elementary particle can disappear and reappear instantaneously or even be in two places at once. In other words, one paricle may be from this universe while its duplicate may be from another. However, this "composite universe" effect can only be seen at the subatomic level. Nevertheless, this effect does have its counterpart in the macroscopic world whereby events that don't happen in one universe do happen in another. And since there are an infinite number of possible outcomes for any and all events, there exists (or should exist) an infinite number of parallel universes.
DO PARALLEL UNIVERSES EXIST?
At this point in time, their existence has yet to be determined. However, the skeptics will tell you with considerable confidence that parallel universes don't exist. (I suggest you ignore them until they can really prove their point.)
WHAT IS THE MULTIVERSE?
The multiverse (or as some call it the omniverse) is a name that refers to the infinite number of universes that (may) exist. And according to some interpretations, there are also an infinite number of multiverses.
WHY IS IT SAID THAT AN INFINITE NUMBER OF PARALLEL UNIVERSES EXIST?
Because there are literally an infinite number of points in the universe. Positions of everything from elemetary particles to massive clusters of galaxies can be unlimited because points have no length, width or height. As a consequence, there are an infinite number of identical universes, there are an infinite number of similar universes, there are an infinite number of very different universes and there are an infinite number of radically different universes. Another way to put it is to say that there are no previledged frames of reference. This of course means that no one universe is any better or any more real than any other universe. Needless to say, people can have opinions as to what universes are "good" or "bad." But in terms of the natural world (or mulitverse), all universes are "equal."
WHAT IS THE CONNECTION BETWEEN TIME TRAVEL AND PARALLEL UNIVERSES?
Time travel via parallel universes is considered the only possible way that time travel can happen. That is, if you travel backward through time, you will enter a parallel universe. When one "changes" history, one is merely interacting with the events of a parallel universe. Traveling to the past of the universe of one's origin is impossible because it would violate the law of cause and effect. Such causality violation is an effect that can't be achieved. Time travel via parallel universe travel does not violate causality because the time traveler's actual past is not involved. Thus, a time traveler can make a wade variety of "changes" to history without creating such risks as destroying him or her self or destroying the universe. Meanwhile, the history of the universe from which the time traveler originates remains unchanged.
WHY WOULD ALL WORKS OF FICTION BE CONSIDERED ALTERNATE REALITIES?
Because events that don't happen in this universe do happen in other universes. As long as these alternate events conform to the laws of physics, they can happen. For example, the Lenny Briscoe and Eddie Green of the television series Law & Order don't exist in this universe. But the laws of physics don't say that they (or at least people very similar to them) can't exist in some other universe.
WHY IS SIDEWAYS IMPORTANT?
Because, like I said before, Sideways represents unlimited freedom of choice. And in my view, there's nothing more important than freedom of choice. In addition to that, I think it's important for people to think beyond standard modes and consider infinite options. Such thinking has the potential to lead to solutions to many of the problems we face. Of course many of you probably don't agree with that particular view. But that's beside the point. In the multiverse of Sideways, what matters is infinite possiblities. Ti' estas viv'!
-- Yul Tolbert
GO HERE TO RETURN TO THE SIDEWAYS HOMEPAGE.