The idea of a parallel universe has long been pondered upon, in fiction as well as in reality. I, too, have had my share of contemplation and theories about parallel universes. To get into the simplest of definitions: Parallel Universes other universes that are deemed to exist separate from ours. These are known as multi universe. There is also a theory that suggests that there is a particular universe where all the choices we make in our lives play out in an alternate universe, this is one of the facets of the astronomical theory of the multiverse. Unfortunately, because they are ‘parallel’ universe, there is no chance of them merging. So you might never meet your evil counterpart that looks and acts like you.
There have been some interesting books written on the concept of a parallel universe, fiction as well as non-fiction. Since I have one foot in fiction at all times; I am going to extensively talk about one series in particular which I absolutely love.
His Dark Materials series by Philip Pullman is a trilogy consisting of Northern Lights (or The Golden Compass), The subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass. It is essentially a Bildungsroman focusing on two children, Lyra Belaqua and Will Parry, who wander through the parallel universes. Although this series usually comes under Children’s or Young Adult Fiction, the author did not intend a particular target audience for the series. These books are dark and painful with morally ambiguous characters that reflect far greater of the present world and its harsh realities.
The series has garnered some frowns from the Christian community with Cynthia Grenier mentioning that, in the book, the god is represented as a merciless tyrant and the church is painted as an instrument of oppression. William A. Donohue also called for a boycott of the trilogy because these books, in his opinion, were guide to “atheism for kids”. Pullman has expressed that such scrutinity is laughable, and we should have more faith in our readers. Personally, a religious body asking for boycott of fictional books, just acts as a self-fulfilling prophecy that the real-world-nitwits wreck on themselves by self-representing what was only mentioned in fiction.
However, to be fair, other Christians, especially Rowan Williams (former Archbishop of Canterbury) has defended Pullman’s books because the story focuses and criticises dogmatism and the use of religion as a tool for oppression, and not the religion itself.
The Golden Compass became a film adaptation in 2007, however, it was not as popular and loved as the books themselves (Obviously!). This was mainly because the filmmakers , amidst the controversies of the books, tried to obscure the religious connotations to avoid offending the masses. I loved the film anyhow, especially Dakota Blue Richards as Lyra. *sad noises*
In October 2019, His Dark Materials was released as a TV series with very talented actors and actresses and frankly, it could not have been better than this! The season 2 of the series is set to premiere in November 2020, and I simply cannot wait!