10 Books That Explore the Multiverse
If you’ve ever wondered if we’re currently living in the darkest timeline, then you’ve wondered about the multiverse. If you’ve ever thought about what your life might be like if you had made different choices, then you’ve wondered about the multiverse. Now it’s time to take your wondering to the next level and explore all of the wonders of the multiverse in these ten books. With adult fiction, young adult fiction, middle grade fiction, and nonfiction books all exploring the topic, there’s a multiverse book out there for everyone who wonders.
A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray
A Thousand Pieces of You is the first book in Claudia Gray’s Firebird series. The novel follows Marguerite Caine, whose physicist parents are well-known for their groundbreaking achievements. They’re most famous for the Firebird, an invention that allows people to jump into other universes. Then Marguerite’s father is murdered and his killer uses the Firebird to escape into another dimension. While law enforcement can’t catch the killer when he’s not even in the same universe anymore, Marguerite refuses to let her father’s murderer go without a fight. And so begins her adventure chasing the killer through multiple universes. And the closer she gets to catching the killer, the more complicated the details of her father’s death become.
Dark Matter by Blake Crouch
This fast-paced sci-fi thriller starts with a kidnapping. Jason Dessen is knocked unconscious, and when he awakes, the world he is in is not the one he recognizes. His wife is not his wife, his son was never born, and rather than just being a physics professor, he’s a celebrated scientist who has discovered something groundbreaking. Now Jason is struggling to understand if this reality or the one he left behind is a dream. And if the life he left behind is real, how can he return to it?
Unholy Land by Lavie Tidhar
Unholy Land is set in an alternate universe where a Jewish homeland called “Palestina” has been established in East Africa. Lior Tirosh is a pulp fiction writer with a not-so-impressive publishing record. Tirosh returns home to Palestina from Europe in a time when unrest in Ararat City is growing. Suddenly he finds himself one of the prime suspects in a string of murder cases. And the only way to get himself out of this mess? Without spoiling anything, just know it’s going to involve traveling to alternate universes.
This is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone
If you like your multiverses with a healthy dose of romance, This is How You Lose the Time War might just be the book for you. This book follows the story of Red and Blue, two women who are rival agents. They write to one another from opposite ends of the time war. And, yes, you guessed it, they eventually fall in love. This is an oversimplification of what happens in the novel, but this is one that’s best enjoyed if you just let the story wash over you.
All Our Wrong Todays by Elan Mastai
You know how back when The Jetsons was on TV, people imagined a future where we’d be living in space and driving flying cars by now? Well, in Elan Mastai’s All Our Wrong Todays, that future happened. And Tom Barren is from that future. Then in a time traveling mishap, he somehow ended up in the dystopian world we live in today. In this world, Tom discovers different versions of his family, his career, and the woman he loves. And you know what? Despite how terrible the rest of the world is, Tom realizes this version of reality might just be better for him personally. So now he has a decision to make. Does he try to make life work here in our dystopian world? Or does he return to his utopian reality?
Pivot Point by Kasie West
Pivot Point is another book that’s the first in a series. Addison Coleman is a Searcher, which means whenever she’s faced with a decision, she can look into the future and see both outcomes. When her father and mother decide to get divorced, Addie is faced with a difficult decision. Does she stay with her mother and continue to live the life she’s always known? Or does she go with her father to live life outside of the paranormal compound as a “Norm”? Because she’s happy with her life the way it is, Addie thinks she’ll choose to live with her mother. As she looks into both possible futures, she sees outcomes that are positive and negative on both sides. It all comes down to what she’s willing to live through and who she’s willing to live without.
Sal & Gabi Break the Universe by Carlos Hernandez
The Sal & Gabi series are middle grade books that explore the multiverse. In the first book, Sal & Gabi Break the Universe, Sal and Gabi meet in the principal’s office after Sal played a trick on Gabi’s friend Yasmany by putting a raw chicken in her locker. Sal insists that he did it using magic, but Gabi is determined to prove that Sal planted the chicken there when no one was looking. But then Gabi learns Sal’s real trick: he can pull things from other universes. Things much bigger than raw chickens.
The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman
While the other books in the His Dark Materials series explore multiverses a lot more than the first novel, The Golden Compass starts the multiverse conversation. And if you like multiverses that are more fantasy than science fiction, The Golden Compass is a must-read. This story is very popular (for good reason), so you probably already know what this one is about. But in case you’ve somehow missed it, this book follows the adventures of Lyra Belacqua as she journeys North to rescue her friend Roger from the Gobblers. In the North, she’ll also be reunited with her uncle Lord Asriel who is trying to build a bridge to a parallel world. How are these two things connected and why is everyone up North? And what’s with that adorable polar bear on the cover? You’ll have to read it to find out. Seriously, it’s so good.
Chosen Ones by Veronica Roth
This new duology from Veronica Roth is an adult story looking at what happens to the Chosen Ones after they’ve beaten the bad guy and have to come to terms with living out their adult lives. A decade ago near Chicago, five seemingly normal teenagers—Sloane, Matt, Ines, Albie, and Esther—defeated the Dark One, who brought widespread destruction and death to their world. Now ten years have passed, and while many people seem to have forgotten that dark period in their history, Sloane remembers, and she’s having a hard time moving on. It might be a little bit of a spoiler to explain how this book explores multiverses, so I will leave that part out. I wouldn’t want to spoil the fun with this one.
Parallel Worlds by Michio Kaku
If you’re looking for a nonfiction dive into the possibilities of parallel worlds, Michio Kaku’s Parallel Worlds is the book to read. Dr. Kaku is a theoretical physicist, and in his book, he examines black holes, time machines, multidimensional space, and (what you all came here for) the possibility that there are parallel universes happening right alongside our own. This book introduces M-Theory, which posits that our world is just one of many in an endless multiverse.
Looking for more about the Multiverse? Read Your Way Across the Multiverse with these four indie titles about the multiverse (and more).