The Top 13 Alternate Universes In Pop Culture  

Autumn Spragg
36.4k views 13 items
Science fiction fans, start your engines. Thanks to seven plus years of data from the Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe, which measures the minute rays of energy left over from the Big Bang, we now have more evidence than ever to believe that alternate universes may coexist with our own. Compiled by cosmologists at University College London, these findings draw on a theory formally called "eternal inflation" – that such universes are popping into and out of existence while constantly colliding.
Whether evil, mustached versions of ourselves are housed within these bubbles of space and time has yet to be proven. But with any luck, any or all of them will contain some of the fantastic things found in this list. *Because the recent scientific development centers around multiverses forming and colliding, I have only considered fiction where characters have encountered other worlds that exist independently to our own. Excluded from the examples are any universes that were created via time travel, are drug-induced, mental delusions, or exist as magical realms within our own plane. Also, be forewarned, there be spoilers ahead.
back to page 1
The Legend of Zelda: A Link to... is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Top 13 Alternate Universes In Pop Culture
Photo: Metaweb (FB)/Fair use

"A Link to the Past" is a video game for the SNES, which follows our beloved protagonist Link as he transported into two alternate realities, a light world and a dark world version of his known Hyrule. One is a Sacred place used to house the powerful wish-granting Triforce, and the Dark World is a shady and twisted version of the first realm created when the Triforce grants the corrupted desires of Ganandorf.

Whomever enters this Dark World is transformed into shapes reflecting their personalities, turning most of it’s greedy and impure inhabitants into unspeakable monsters. Ganandorf himself becomes a giant manbearpig and shortens his name, while the universe mutates our virtuous hero into that of a pink bunny.

The Dark World is one that mirrors the Hyrule of previous games but with the evil additions of swamps and skeleton territories, making it a more sinister and threatening reality but engrossing and oddly refreshing at the same time. It serves as an interesting and revealing dichotomy not only in game play but also between Link and the rest of the corrupted environment.

A Link to the Past also has some of the best music ever presented in the Zeldaverse, making it a worthwhile reality for that fact alone.

More The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past

#18 of 539 on The Most Addictive Video Games of All Time #21 of 418 on The Greatest RPG Video Games Ever Made #6 of 1498 on The 100+ Best Video Games of All Time, Ranked by Fans #6 of 273 on The Best Classic Video Games

see more on The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past
Next Generation: Parallels
Ranker Video
Video: YouTube

While the Star Trek franchise is no stranger to alternate realities (the original series episode "Mirror, Mirror," is not only a staple to science fiction, but to science fiction spoofs everywhere), the Parallels episode of the Next Generation series arguably offers the broadest and most humbling glance into parallel realms.

In it, Lt. Worf is accosted by a surprise 30th birthday party, only to experience glaring signs of skipping realities, such as the cake changing from chocolate to yellow and a painting being hung on a different wall. After Worf’s experiences escalade into Picard randomly appearing and disappearing and his bat’leth trophies becoming blatantly inaccurate, the word "concussion" is tossed around a bit. The confused Klingon unknowingly endures many other realities, including several where Riker is Captaining the Enterprise and he is married to Deanna Troi, until it is ultimately determined that Worf is indeed being transported across universes caused by a fissure in the space/time continuum. When an attempt to right the problem is made, the fissure destabilizes, as fissures are want to do, and over 285,000 realities culminate into the same area of space, shockingly without a single collision.

After a scuffle with a Borg-overrun universe, Lt. Worf eventually does make it safely back to his own reality, armed with the knowledge that not only does he not have to endure another surprise party, but that Troi is not completely adverse to interspecies mating.
Ranker Video
Video: YouTube

While avoiding a lame birthday party for Honker and simultaneously getting dangerous, Drake Mallard, aka Darkwing Duck, plummets into the secret hideout of his arch nemesis, Negaduck, by way of the most awesome portal to another world ever utilized in science fiction, a stripper-sized giant birthday cake.

Unlike every other parallel universe mentioned in this compilation, the Negaverse is the only world where everything contained within it is completely opposite of the known reality. The pristine city of St. Canard becomes a wasteland, the Fearsome Five become the Friendly Four, and tomboyish Gosalyn even dons a pink dress and curls, for the love of all that is holy.

Like a cartoonish and bird centric version of It’s a Wonderful Life, the realm of the Negaverse also serves as a point of self reflection for Darkwing, who emerges from the giant pastry with a newfound appreciation for his friends and homeland once he escapes back into his own reality. Unfortunately, Darkwing’s reemergence meant the disappearance of the cake-portal, a recipe which scientists have spent years trying to reproduce without success. see more on Life, the Negaverse, and Everything
The Dark Tower VII: The Dark T... is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Top 13 Alternate Universes In Pop Culture
Photo: BoristheFrog/Flickr

Functioning within the pages of legendary horror novelist Steven King’s seven-part magnum opus are a bevy of realities that weave in and out of one another, creating one giant melting point of multiverses.

More fantasy than science in nature, these realms are nonetheless independent and intricate worlds from which characters in alternate realities, as well our own, travel primary through wooden doors without the security of walls or hinges. The In- and Mid-World environments where we follow the adventures of antihero Roland and his "Ka-tet" of gunslingers, somewhat resemble the Old West and medieval eras of our world, improved slightly with the inclusion of magic and mentally unstable machinery.

King spares not a word in his development of these worlds, and the alternate versions of some of our own places and times, I’d have to say, at least 97% of the nearly 50,000 pages is devoted to making it seem as real as possible. To this day, I can’t swear I haven’t been to the town of Mejis.

More The Dark Tower VII: The Dark Tower

#39 of 111 on Famous Novels With The Catchiest First Lines #26 of 78 on The All-Time Greatest Works of Stephen King #9 of 130 on The Best Fantasy Book Series #42 of 99 on NPR's Top 100 Science Fiction & Fantasy Books

see more on The Dark Tower VII: The Dark Tower