Connecting Universe?

2 months ago | TheAdamBo (Member)

I've been thinking for a while now that it'd be cool if I could connect all my stories in a Cosmere/Dark Tower way, and I think I've come up with an interesting storyline. I plan to use it, I've even dropped some hints in my latest book, but I don't know how much of it will actually be made known to the reader and how much I'll keep to myself. Anyway, what do you guys think?

The idea is that billions of years ago, a planet sent a self-piloted spaceship up into space with the goal of finding the edge of the universe. Millions of years later it finally reports back that it's found something, and they beam people to it to check it out. What it's found is a gigantic mirror that stretches for eternity in all directions. They call it The Mirror at the Edge of the Universe. The astronauts, of course, break a hole in the mirror to find out what's on the other side, and they release Ohm, the Disease Beyond Eternity. It's a sentient disease that is so powerful it can infect reality itself, and its only goal is to infect the entire universe and in doing so essentially make ITSELF the new reality. The mirror was put there by another ancient celestial entity to quarantine Ohn from the rest of the universe.

So, Ohn gets busy infecting everything it can touch. People try to fight it, and while they can slow it down they still can't stop it. Eventually the king of the galaxy (still working out the details) works out a deal with it: he will freely give it 2500 planets if it will leave the rest of the universe alone. Ohn accepts. Neither of them plan to keep their promises, the king is simply buying time to figure out a way to stop it and Ohn wants to consume planets in peace before it has to start fighting for them again. Haroz, the world in my upcoming story The Gray Ranger is unknowingly the last of these planets. Basically, every bad thing that happens in my high fantasy stories can be traced back to Ohm in one way or another. I want Juryokine to be in on it too, but I haven't thought of a good way to do it yet.

I've found out how to include my other stories as well. The Slayer and the Sphinx and Amber Silverblood already take place on the same world, but they're in a different literary universe. My idea is that in Ohn's universe, there are waystones that can transport you to alternate universes. They've all been hidden away, and one in particular was hidden on a planet that only exists in the dream world. As in, you can only get there by going to sleep and dreaming your way onto it. The celestial entity thought that would keep Ohm from getting to it, but it managed to infect that world anyway by essentially turning it from a dream world to a nightmare. That resulted in the planet being ruled by a living, thinking emotion (fear), which then found the waystone, was taken to another universe, and given physical form there. That resulted in Uthas Drall the Fear Feeder, a Lovecraftian monster that used to rule the world in The Slayer and the Sphinx. Some people from Ohm's universe follow it and beat it, one of them being the man that was historically recorded as being the first Slayer.

That's all I have right now. What do you guys think?

My Fiction is Fantastic, Fabulous, Freaky, and FREE! Check it out on BolanderBooks: http://www.bolanderbooks.com

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Responses

  1. TanaNari (Member)

    Posted 2 months ago

    Well, there's no nice way to put this, so let's tear off the bandage.

    Sounds kinda silly, to be honest. The whole thing comes across as a truly terrible Star Trek TOS fanfic. Or Warhammer 40k, without the advantage of that whole setting being intentionally stupid.

    To start- why's Ohm unable to breach the barrier, if mere human(oid)s can?

    Second- how's such a thing even *communicate* with lesser lifeforms?

    Third- all bad things traced back to one entity? This thing's responsible for all war, disease, every death in history? The inhabitants of the universe carry absolutely no responsibility for their own negative actions?

    Fourth- We have a cosmic force fighting this thing? That... why doesn't *that* kill it? Or at least prevent humans from drilling a hole through the barrier?

    Fifth- Humans can fight this thing? At all. How are we *valid* in this battle at all? Come on, if you're going to reference Lovecraft, remember what he did *right* and make us meaningless. We aren't even important enough to count as nuisances at the scale Ohm and this Cosmic Being.

    Author of Price.
  2. Dary (Member)

    Posted 2 months ago

    2,500 planets out of an entire universe? I think you're massively underestimatimg how vast the universe is! We've already detected more exoplanets than that...

  3. TheAdamBo (Member)

    Posted 2 months ago

    @TanaNari:

    1. Not sure yet. Like I said, still developing the whole thing.

    2. It's a godlike being. If it wants to talk, it can.

    3. Not literally everything. Just the big world threatening things that make up the conflict in the stories I write in those worlds.

    4. Again, not sure. As I imagine it now, it TRIED to kill it, but they were too evenly matched. In the end it settled for trapping it, and then ended up dying from the wounds it'd gotten during the fight.

    5. They can't fight Ohm itself, but they can fight its effects. Like on Haroz, it keeps sending Calamities to destroy the world, but the four moons that protect the planet have been able to neutralize those threats. Ohm is a disease, which means it can't just attack anything. It has to infect stuff, and then let the stuff it infects do the dirt work. As for Uthas Drall, he was just a VERY SMALL FRAGMENT of Ohm's power given a physical form and a will of its own. Still powerful enough to conquer earth, but also mortal and, as it turns out, perfectly killable.

    @Dary
    Well, obviously the king isn't going to give it every planet in the universe. The smaller portion, the better. And this has been going on for thousands, if not millions, of years, so its not as if 2500 planets was a fun size candy bar for Ohm. It bought them plenty of time.

    My Fiction is Fantastic, Fabulous, Freaky, and FREE! Check it out on BolanderBooks: http://www.bolanderbooks.com
  4. Jim Zoetewey (Moderator)

    Posted 2 months ago

    Personally, I've had different thoughts about connecting story universes at different points in my life. In high school and much of college, I generally thought it was a pretty cool idea. Isaac Asimov did it with all his major books. Robert Heinlein did it too. Both of them were interesting in the way they did it, so it can work--though I always thought some of the connections seemed a bit forced.

    Right now, I don't feel much of a need to do it. I find that I'm content with letting things be their own thing. It's hard enough keeping universes consistent with themselves, much less keeping them consistent with each other.

    I'm sure it would feel tempting though, especially if you write in genres that are easy to connect.

  5. Sharkerbob (Member)

    Posted 2 months ago

    And I thought my interconnected erotica multiverse was convoluted! :P

    Nah, butt seriously, I dig those poetic epic titles. Ohm, The Disease Beyond Eternity! That's got a ring to it!

    Feel free to ignore the rest, this is more a reflection of my own philosophy on such lore-building than it is a direct commentary on your idea. Having not read much of your work (sorry), it could be this new back story makes a lot more sense and feels more thematically cohesive than at first glance. It could also be that these sorts of concepts are yet another literary device that I have become somewhat fatigued with, and I shouldn’t even be adding my two cents. Oh, well.

    I think concepts like these can be a fun thought experiment, I’ve done plenty such things myself, but personally, I don’t like taking the idea too seriously. As TanaNari said, linking the major catastrophes and mythologies of various worlds to one force of evil has a way of undercutting the dramatic impact and gravitas of those individual issues. Suddenly, I care less about those villains who are now just pawns in Ohm’s machinations, and various catastrophes lose their sense of awe when you find out it’s all just pit stops on one guy’s itinerary. As well, the fact that you have to come up with new plot devices to make the logic work, makes it feel overly complicated, and a little cartoony. Yeah, there’s people who really like complex lore, but when you’re building strange bridges to link worlds that otherwise would have nothing to do with one another, then the mythology feels more tacked on than enriched.

    I mean, sometimes this works out. I’m sure Stephen King didn’t originally intend his bibliography to all be linked via the Dark Tower mythology, but he still came up with that idea early into his career, and crafted his universe around the concept from there. Just looking at the explanation, though, this seems like you’ve already got several separate established worlds that were just fine being their own thing, and now you want to duct tape them together just for the sake of having a bigger, cooler universe.

    This is the sort of thing that eventually leads to confusing knots of retcons in comics, or when you have prequels that explain things about a series that never needed elaboration and thus end up weakening the original stories by proxy. I’m sure this won’t have that bad of impact on your work, but in my own experience, once the excitement of this sort of project wears off, and you find yourself wanting to expand on your concepts even farther in different directions, this sort of set up can sometimes hamstring you. Now, future big time disasters in these worlds have to in some way be linked to Ohm, which ultimately gets tedious. Or you end up wanting to do something new, but you end up having to escalate the new threat beyond the level of Ohm to make them interesting enough to feel like a threat to the people who were able to defeat Ohm. Or, you end up having to do a reboot, which means retreading much of the stories you’ve already told with altered details.

    I could be completely wrong here. This might be a great new expansion to your work, and I don’t want to dash any enthusiasm over a cool new idea. And maybe I’m way off base here. It’s just this concept really reminds me of some of my own world-linking attempts that ultimately turned out kind of pointless in the end, the sort of thing I look back on and wonder why I made such a fuss about it originally.

    My meager offerings: http://sharkerbob.blogspot.com/
  6. TheAdamBo (Member)

    Posted 2 months ago

    Well, here's the thing: while I do want everything to be connected, I also want it to stand on its own. Like in The Gray Ranger-- nobody has any idea that all this is going on. They just know that 200 years ago their god figure locked an evil black moon in an alternate dimension, and now they're all dealing with the consequences. They're never going to find out who Ohm is, heck they're end goal isn't even to beat the evil moon. The most they get is a quick line from another bad guy (one of the older calamities) that he "came forth from the Disease Beyond Eternity." I guess you could say I want them to be indirectly connected. Like, each calamity that each of the planets are going through is interesting enough in its own way that it can hold the story together WITHOUT being connected to Ohm, and the journey that the characters go on is still personal and intriguing, but there's always that little thing that makes you go "Oh, there is is!".

    Take Brandon Sanderson's Cosmere for example: for all intents and purposes, each of his series are their own thing. But there's always Hoid, that one guy who makes a background appearance in every book because he's somehow travelling between all these worlds and having a direct, but easily overlooked, impact on the stories. You could read the whole story without knowing who he is, but for those who do know, spotting Hoid is always a fun bonus. That's the kind of thing I want to do here. Indirectly connect them, but still connect them.

    My Fiction is Fantastic, Fabulous, Freaky, and FREE! Check it out on BolanderBooks: http://www.bolanderbooks.com
  7. Sharkerbob (Member)

    Posted 2 months ago

    I think that's for the best, and what I've been doing with my recent work. Sorry if I misinterpreted it as more intrusive than it is.

    My meager offerings: http://sharkerbob.blogspot.com/
  8. Alexander.Hollins (Member)

    Posted 2 months ago

    im always down for subtly interconnecting things.

  9. mathtans (Member)

    Posted 2 months ago

    It feels like a bit much to me. The main trouble (in my mind) is that you've effectively created this larger evil overshadowing everything - even alternate universes! The implication being that everything's pieces in a final larger puzzle, so everyone will have to come together (or at least contribute) somehow to defeat/banish said evil in the end - sort of like what Marvel's doing setting up it's infinity stones - except that doesn't seem to be the case. The setup screams 'foreground' but really it's all in the background.

    To reach for an analogy, it's like there's some serial arsonist out there, and while everyone does their best to put out the fires in their own neighbourhood, they're kind of missing the big picture. And so their victory, while seeming grand at the time, is trivialized in the broader scope. Worse, once you know about the arsonist, it calls competence into question, like why no one in the bigger plot considered visiting these neighbourhoods to recruit or gather data. I guess it lacks some of the "subtle" of "subtly interconnecting"? Because it's a massive, cosmic scale, versus something small providing throughput. Like, I don't know, a guy who always appears in people's dreams when they're feeling lonely.

    Granted, the only narrative connection in this thread that I know about first hand is Asimov... and I feel he only kinda gets away with it because his cosmic stuff literally spans centuries and centuries, and time is the ultimate equalizer. So I may not be giving the most informed opinion here.

    Writing a Time Travel serial: http://mathtans.wordpress.com
    Writer of the personification of math serial: http://www.mathtans.ca
  10. AdamBolander (Member)

    Posted 2 months ago

    The thing is, though, that it HAS to be in the background because nobody in any of these stories knows what's going on. Like in Gray Ranger, all they know is that something is happening on THEIR world. They don't go journeying to other planets and they don't have communication with them, so how are they supposed to know this is a great big thing. I think a better example would be if an arsonist lit someone's house in California on fire, and then a month later his friend lit somebody else's house in Maine on fire. Yes they're connected, but there's literally no way for anyone to know that they had anything to do with each other. The person in California probably doesn't even know that the guy in Maine's house burned down.

    I'm considering writing a story that actually DOES involve space travel, and that would be the one where they deal with Ohm and all the stuff its infecting. But the people in Gray Ranger won't even be involved.

  11. unice5656 (Member)

    Posted 2 months ago

    If you're going to do it no matter what people say, I don't see the point to this thread. Just do it.

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