DRH8, hexwood, DS - multiverse vs multiple worlds

Philip.Belben at powertech.co.uk Philip.Belben at powertech.co.uk
Wed Aug 8 13:13:28 EDT 2001

>>> DRH8 is a multiverse? whatever gives you that idea? i never got that
>>I don't know, apart from what I said - about worlds being referred to as
>>analogues of each other - but I've always thought of it that way, since
>>first encountering it in Warlock at the Wheel & other stories.
> analogues? in DRH8? i don't remember any reference to analogues, and i've
> read it plenty of times. if you could pull out a line that made you think
> ofit as a multiverse, i would be more ready to proceed, since i never got
> that impression. =)

Well, I have to concede some ground here, because the word was "parallel" not
"analogue".  But I still claim the context is multiversal rather than

The passage is when they're in the van, on the way to town, just before the
Slavers arrive:

"Renick, still making conversation, said he was surprised to find the hills so
old and worn down.  'I thought Eight was a close parallel with Seven!' he said.

[paragraph omitted]

"'Oh, the mountains are much higher and greener there,' Renick said.  'I was
posted to Camberia for years.  Lovely spot.'"

The idea of worlds being close parallels to me implies a multiverse.  The idea
that worlds are such close parallels that one might be surprised to find
corresponding locations looking different _strongly_ implies a multiverse.  Here
she seems to be working on the idea of worlds in a series being similar

>>for example - but they don't give me at all the same feeling of
> well, what do you mean? i think that the world in DRH8 never shows up in
> hexwood, but that doesn't mean it can't be in the same world system.

No, of course I didn't mean that.  I meant the feeling I got about the way the
whole setting (world/universe/multiverse) works and hangs together was quite

> oh, so you are saying that you thought "home 8" is like a numbered world in
> a series. i never got that impression, and i don't agree. i think it's just
> a naming system stuck to worlds in a star system by the government or what
> have you.

Could be, but I don't think so.  The use of the term "manifold" to me means
something geometrical and possibly multi-dimensional, rather than merely a name
for a star system.

>>Now if you'd said DRH8 and Deep Secret, it would be another matter.
>>Quite a neat little chunk of the Deep Secret multiverse, just a little
>>naywards of Earth (not too far naywards, or the heg phenomenon wouldn't
> i don't think deep secret is a multiverse either, just a series of different
> planets. rupert just uses magic to traverse the distances between. right?

I hope you didn't mean that seriously, Ferris, but if you did, next time you
read Deep Secret, do try and get through the first two sentences of Rupert's
account before your brain starts to drop words :-)

Time for another quote, perhaps.  This is right at the beginning of the book:

"I may as well start with some of our deep secrets because this account will not
be easy to understand without them.

"All over the multiverse, the sign for Infinity or Eternity is a figure eight
laid on its side....

"You may take your pick, depending on whether you are comfortable with worlds
infinitely multiplying, or prefer to think the number stable...."

(I would add that Koryfos' own comment about the origin of Andrew Connick,
mentioning that the world divided, and about 20 parts of him ended up in various
places, tends to suggest that an interplanetary setting doesn't work)


A related issue, which tends to confuse things, is the use of the preposition
"on".  I think DWJ uses "on" a world consistently in DRH8, which could well give
the impression of an interplanetary setting rather than a multiversal one.  I'm
not so sure about SWM or DS, but I did notice something similar in Dark Lord.
In particular the earth mines were shipping the stuff "offworld"

Personally I prefer to restrict "on" and "off" worlds to interplanetary
concepts, and use "in" and "out of" a world for travelling around the
multiverse.  But the trend seems to be going the other way.

To take a quite different example, the Christian liturgy (apologies to the
non-Christians on this list).  Probably the best known Christian prayer is the
Lord's Prayer (Paternoster / Our Father / Vater Unser).  The traditional English
translation contains the line:

"Thy will be done in Earth as it is in Heaven".

At some point in the 20th Century, this seems to have changed to:

"Thy will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven";

modern translations tend towards:

"...Your will be done: on Earth as in Heaven".

Now I think that the modern use of "on" implies either a restriction to this
planet (so if you go and live in a man-made environment on the Moon, you're
outside God's Kingdom?) or a return to the mythical three-decker universe, in
which "Heaven" and "Hell" were identified with physical locations in the sky and
underground.  I think it ironic that the terminology should have moved back
towards this at a time when demythologisation of Christian doctrines was finally
prevailing  (And also when it finally looked likely that human beings might live
in our world but not on our planet)...

Anyway, the Christian aspect is probably rather off toptic.  What I'm trying to
say is that this is a modern trend in the use of "on" to mean in a world as well
as meaning on a planet, and that DWJ's adoption of this could lead one to think
of her multiverse stories as interplanetary, if one isn't careful.


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