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    Terminology: Multiverse versus Omniverse

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    Terminology: Multiverse versus Omniverse

    Postby Shaitan » 19 Nov 2010 04:28

    I'm trying to get through one of the most difficult parts of fleshing out an extremely detailed Universe -- indeed, Universes -- for the series that I've been going on about since I started posting here (and many people who know me from elsewhere will attest, this is far from the only place I babble about my plans for it).....specifically, naming things. Starting with the series itself!

    I've had placeholder names for it over the years but in order to get to the point where I'm ready to start finalizing the pilot and the various outlines, I need to decide on something. For one thing, I have to be sure that trademarks and domain availability don't get in the way of what I pick....I already have a couple of domains reg'd for the current version of my series name but I'm not quite satisfied with it enough to take it public yet.

    The big question that is nagging at me is this: which do you think sounds better and better expresses the underlying concept: Multiverse, or Omniverse? Or perhaps some other term?

    I go back and forth. Figured y'all might be the perfect sounding board.
    Last edited by Shaitan on 22 Nov 2010 04:49, edited 1 time in total.
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    Re: Terminology: Multiverse versus Omniverse

    Postby Lundse » 19 Nov 2010 05:49

    Shaitan wrote:The big question that is nagging at me is this: which do you think sounds better and better expresses the underlying concept: Multiverse, or Omniverse? Or perhaps some other term?


    Well, here goes:

    Universe (or cosmos) makes sense as a word - it means everything that exists. If we discover a billion parallel worlds, they would also be part of the universe, in so far as they actually exist.

    So right from the start, multiverse, omniverse and all the rest really do not make much sense. Except we can, for instance, decide to use universe in some limited sense - the current, theoretically reachable space/time continuum, say. Which leaves all sorts of problems for if we manage to cross the borders between worlds, but I sure some physicists could come up with a working definition along those lines.

    Which really goes no way towards answering your question, I realize... :-)
    I'd say that multiverse sounds like you have pretty hard "borders" between the worlds, and that there is no hierarchy among them, and the worlds are widely different. It also sounds like a (meta)physical postulate, that real-life physicists might work with (but where they probably mean some else than you do in a work of fiction, maybe something like "all possible worlds").
    Omniverse sounds more like one world with more world in it, to my ears. Like there is some overarching system, god or hierarchy. It does not sound like something a scientist or philosopher would use, except in a world were we are travelling to or communicating with other worlds.
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    Re: Terminology: Multiverse versus Omniverse

    Postby inhuien » 19 Nov 2010 11:18

    What's wrong with the term you used in the 1st line of your opening post: "Universes". Or is it not fancy or evocative enough.
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    Re: Terminology: Multiverse versus Omniverse

    Postby A Thing of Eternity » 19 Nov 2010 14:17

    I'm not sure how other media work, but I'm pretty sure with printed fiction titles simply cannot be copywritten. I could be wrong of course, I'm no lawyer, but I think I could publish a book call Dune tomorrow if I wanted.

    Omniverse is better in my opinion, though personally I would go for a more subtle name that doesn't give away some of the story!
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    Re: Terminology: Multiverse versus Omniverse

    Postby Freakzilla » 19 Nov 2010 14:50

    I believe you could publish a book called Dune, it just couldn't be a science fiction book about a desert planet.
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    Re: Terminology: Multiverse versus Omniverse

    Postby A Thing of Eternity » 19 Nov 2010 15:12

    Freakzilla wrote:I believe you could publish a book called Dune, it just couldn't be a science fiction book about a desert planet.


    But it could be SF about an ice planet? :wink:
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    Re: Terminology: Multiverse versus Omniverse

    Postby Freakzilla » 19 Nov 2010 15:17

    A Thing of Eternity wrote:
    Freakzilla wrote:I believe you could publish a book called Dune, it just couldn't be a science fiction book about a desert planet.


    But it could be SF about an ice planet? :wink:


    An ice planet could still be considered desert.

    des·ert
    –noun
    1. a region so arid because of little rainfall that it supports only sparse and widely spaced vegetation or no vegetation at all: The Sahara is a vast sandy desert.
    2. any area in which few forms of life can exist because of lack of water, permanent frost, or absence of soil.
    3. an area of the ocean in which it is believed no marine life exists.
    4. (formerly) any unsettled area between the Mississippi and the Rocky Mountains thought to be unsuitable for human habitation.
    5. any place lacking in something: The town was a cultural desert.
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    Re: Terminology: Multiverse versus Omniverse

    Postby A Thing of Eternity » 19 Nov 2010 15:31

    Freakzilla wrote:
    A Thing of Eternity wrote:
    Freakzilla wrote:I believe you could publish a book called Dune, it just couldn't be a science fiction book about a desert planet.


    But it could be SF about an ice planet? :wink:


    An ice planet could still be considered desert.

    des·ert
    –noun
    1. a region so arid because of little rainfall that it supports only sparse and widely spaced vegetation or no vegetation at all: The Sahara is a vast sandy desert.
    2. any area in which few forms of life can exist because of lack of water, permanent frost, or absence of soil.
    3. an area of the ocean in which it is believed no marine life exists.
    4. (formerly) any unsettled area between the Mississippi and the Rocky Mountains thought to be unsuitable for human habitation.
    5. any place lacking in something: The town was a cultural desert.


    Darn, alright then, a nice temperate planet!
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    Re: Terminology: Multiverse versus Omniverse

    Postby Freakzilla » 19 Nov 2010 15:35

    A Thing of Eternity wrote:
    Freakzilla wrote:
    A Thing of Eternity wrote:
    Freakzilla wrote:I believe you could publish a book called Dune, it just couldn't be a science fiction book about a desert planet.


    But it could be SF about an ice planet? :wink:


    An ice planet could still be considered desert.

    des·ert
    –noun
    1. a region so arid because of little rainfall that it supports only sparse and widely spaced vegetation or no vegetation at all: The Sahara is a vast sandy desert.
    2. any area in which few forms of life can exist because of lack of water, permanent frost, or absence of soil.
    3. an area of the ocean in which it is believed no marine life exists.
    4. (formerly) any unsettled area between the Mississippi and the Rocky Mountains thought to be unsuitable for human habitation.
    5. any place lacking in something: The town was a cultural desert.


    Darn, alright then, a nice temperate planet!


    Where oil was scarce? :P
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    Re: Terminology: Multiverse versus Omniverse

    Postby A Thing of Eternity » 19 Nov 2010 15:42

    Anyways, back on topic! I'm fond of titles that grab a lesser element from the story, like a phrase a character says, or something like Dune, which seems like a really weird meaningless title, until you read the book.

    Obviously very much just my personal taste, but if it were mine I would maybe name it after the mechanism/device that allows travel between the universes, or something else from the stories.

    The Jesus Incident is a great example, by FH. It's plucked from just one relatively minor part of the story, but it has meanings piled upon it by the rest of the tale.
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    Re: Terminology: Multiverse versus Omniverse

    Postby Shaitan » 19 Nov 2010 20:30

    I guess I'll just come out with it: my working title for a while now has been "End of the Multiverse" or "The End of the Multiverse."

    Universe or Universes don't quite fit because the underlying premise of the story is a war spanning most (though not all, since there is always room in infinity for exceptions) of what we often call the Multiverse, the larger 11-dimensional structure within which our plane of 4-dimensional existence is just a tiny slice. This derives from many things but first and foremost from my life-long interest in "big picture" cosmology. In fact I've obsessed over the science of this concept so much that I've drastically revised fundamental plot elements to keep pace with refinements in quantum physics, cosmology, Brane Theory, et cetera. My latest quandary has been the recent debate between M/Brane Theory purists and those who think that each universe may be created, and connected, by black holes in a "branching" structure. I'd have to start a whole 'nother thread to get into all that, but suffice to say some of the new evidence makes a certain amount of sense; we already knew that gravity was the only force which seems to be able to penetrate from one universe/Brane to another.

    I'd be quite content to come up with something better and entirely different, but until such a better idea occurs (or is suggested) to me, that's where I'm stuck for now. Although some variations, such as The End of Everything, have a nicer ring, they aren't quite accurate; not to give away spoilers, but *something* does remain after "The End." part of the point of the title is to keep the reader/viewer guessing as to exactly what "The End" is/means.

    If this is crap, by all means slap me upside the head with a reality check. That's why I'm posting this: I'm hoping for feedback, the more blunt and honest the better.
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    Re: Terminology: Multiverse versus Omniverse

    Postby Freakzilla » 19 Nov 2010 21:25

    I like The End. How about just End?
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    Re: Terminology: Multiverse versus Omniverse

    Postby Ampoliros » 20 Nov 2010 00:08

    Freakzilla wrote:I like The End. How about just End?

    Beat me to it, dag nabbit.
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    Re: Terminology: Multiverse versus Omniverse

    Postby A Thing of Eternity » 20 Nov 2010 01:28

    You need something with a better ring to it for sure, the end of the multiverse/omniverse just doesn't have it, it flows like rock flows. There's your honesty!
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    Re: Terminology: Multiverse versus Omniverse

    Postby Shaitan » 20 Nov 2010 12:11

    That would be exactly why I'm hung up on this. You're absolutely right that it doesn't flow off of the tongue smoothly at all. Naming -- characters, ships, planets/star systems, the series itself -- has been by far the most difficult part of trying to nail down final details of this story that I've had stuck in my head since I was a kid.

    Most of the best-sounding names I come up with are either taken (trademark issues or lack thereof aside) or not particularly evocative of the story's core themes (ergo, they don't give you any clue what the series is about)....and those which fit those criteria don't come out sounding good to me.

    Titles like The End or The Last War seem too 'generic' to me, insufficiently evocative of what (I hope) makes the series unique.

    Oh well, back to the drawing board I guess....of course the issue of what term my characters use for collectively referring to all planes of existence...Universe, Multiverse, Omniverse, or something else entirely (Reynolds calls it "the Bulk" in Absolution Gap, a term I found rather annoying). It's an important detail because the central conflict arises from outside of our own plane.
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    Re: Terminology: Multiverse versus Omniverse

    Postby DuneFishUK » 20 Nov 2010 13:09

    Try explaining it in layman's terms, or as one of your main characters would explain it. See if you come across anything worthwhile that way. "Planes of Existence" is probably the best thing you've said so far (although it does sound a bit supernatural)

    There's an interview with Brian Herbert somewhere where he describes telling FH his idea for a story-without-a-title and Frank just stops him and says "Race for God - there's your title!" I hope I never have to read that book, but I do like the title. :)
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    Re: Terminology: Multiverse versus Omniverse

    Postby merkin muffley » 20 Nov 2010 14:56

    From your description, it sounds like the story is about a war that threatens the existence of everything, including things beyond the four dimensions, and that the title would refer to whatever it is that the "end" turns out to mean. Is "The End of All Things" slightly better than "The End of Everything"? I don't feel like I can really say without knowing what the "end" is in the story.
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    Re: Terminology: Multiverse versus Omniverse

    Postby A Thing of Eternity » 20 Nov 2010 16:57

    Even rearranging the words might help, the "The Multiverse Ends" or some such.
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    Re: Terminology: Multiverse versus Omniverse

    Postby Shaitan » 20 Nov 2010 18:21

    Well, that's close....I spent a lot of nights staring up at the sky, wondering to myself "what's happening out there, right now?" and tried to envision the largest-scale conflict that I could while at least trying to preserve a certain element of "hard" sci-fi (obviously difficult when I start playing with things like "powers" and godlike entities -- though I've spent a lot of time trying to come up with a semi-plausible explanation even for those) in that I try to stick as close as I can to consistency with known science and with plot elements that don't require an abundance of suspension of disbelief. More than absolutely necessary, anyhow.

    The short version of the story is that there are 'transcendent' civilization-entities which have ascended beyond 4-dimensional existence and essentially live as gods able to exert godlike influence over any number of things within individual....let's just call them membranes for the sake of this discussion since I hesitate to call them Universes when--as has been pointed out--that term refers to *everything* that exists, not just the individual 4-dimensional construct we *thought* was the Universe until recently.

    Because they arise from nearly all membranes, these entities act in a somewhat democratic fashion....usually. Being so mature and "enlightened" as to have reached the endpoint of individual-membrane existence, they normally adhere to the collective will and rule set which is to allow all membranes not artificially created to evolve on their own, naturally and without (undue) Transcendent interference.

    However, a conflict develops between the majority of these entities and a small faction that wants to exert more control over the natural membranes. There's a long story behind exactly how that happens and why, but the point is that there is an essential conflict between the forces that want nature and its end product--the newly Transcendent, whose rise dilutes the power of those already there--protected and those who want to wipe it out in favor of a fully controlled, artificial order.

    The infinite nature of the larger structure of the Multi/Omni/Whatever-verse means that it is essentially impossible to destroy everything natural and replace it with tightly controlled artifice, but that won't stop these classical Satan-figures from trying. So, as the conflict between the "gods" plays out, the forces of the anti-natural entities march across countless membranes scouring all natural order away and replacing it with what is essentially technological machinery.

    The war in a membrane very similar to our own reaches Earth, and we're lucky enough that a refugee from a far more advanced civilization, closer to the oncoming wave of destruction, manages to find his way here first. The reasons for his coming here instead of somewhere else are, again, a long story that I've spent a lot of time thinking about. Suffice to say he's a Yoda figure and gives us the opportunity to fight back in ways his own civilization was too "mature" to (before it was too late, anyhow)....partly because I arrange things at the beginning of the series so that most of humanity still hasn't begun genetically engineering itself yet, and some of the things that our Yoda figure does to empower us to be able to resist in ways his civilization couldn't involve needing a fully natural sentient life form as a starting point.

    The essential theme, as you can probably tell if you've managed to read this far through my babble, is the natural against the unnatural. The first waves of nature-destroying machines are relatively crude, a very deliberate move on the part of their creators (another long story, but honestly it's one of my many mechanisms to let the story have an arc and not burn out too quickly by breaking out all the coolest toys and bad guys before the pilot's even over, ala The Matrix), but eventually both sides will be throwing the most powerful and dangerous weapons in existence at each other. By the end of the series, our hero (heroine, actually....male main characters with godlike powers are soooo 1999) has to not only resolve the conflict on our own membrane but find a way to end the conflict in the Transcend or the fight will never really be over.

    It gets pretty psychedelic; in fact, to use her powers to anywhere near her full ability, our hero has to master a hyper-awareness that makes LSD or even DMT look like a walk in the park. But those are details, and I don't want to drown you in them particularly if this kind of over-the-top thing isn't your cup of tea.

    I hope to write/produce more subtle stories, in the mixed-media format I'm working on for the series and in more traditional ones, perhaps even a few books, someday but since I'm sick enough (and with an unpredictable enough disease) that I have no idea whether I'll live for another couple of years or another couple of centuries....I feel a lot of pressure to stop psyching myself out as I have for decades and get on with this.

    As I've said, names and titles seem to be my biggest hang-up at the moment; they have been for about the past year or so since I've been trying to nail down final details for outlines and a pilot script. I wasn't happy with The End of the Multiverse which is why I started this thread, and it's good to be reminded that I'm right to be unsatisfied with it. I'm certainly not asking anyone to do my work for me, but feedback is always a good thing when you care this (pathetically) much about the quality of your creative work and if we can manage to agree on the right term for that larger 11-dimensional structure....or even the notion that I might have to come up with my own term for it because none of the existing ones are very good...then I'd consider this a win.

    BTW, "Transcend" isn't really referring to the 11-dimensional Universe itself, it's sort of like the skin of the onion. If all the infinite number of membranes are assigned a numeral, think of it as zero. Of course these sorts of terms don't really describe something like that properly, but I'm trying to explain that the larger structure itself wouldn't be called the Transcend. The term is something that was also used for the realm of godlike entities in Vernor Vinge's "Zones of Thought" series but I've granted myself a rare exception in borrowing it because I really haven't come up with a better word yet.
    Last edited by Shaitan on 20 Nov 2010 19:02, edited 1 time in total.
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    Re: Terminology: Multiverse versus Omniverse

    Postby Shaitan » 20 Nov 2010 19:02

    A Thing of Eternity wrote:Even rearranging the words might help, the "The Multiverse Ends" or some such.


    Well, see, part of the appeal of the original phrasing was that it was deliberately ambiguous as to whether it references an "end" as in a location or "end" as in the ceasing of its existence or both....and yet isn't quite as pretentious as, say, The Event (don't even get me started!).

    The phrasing you're suggesting removes that ambiguity. Then again, I'm pretty much resolved to dropping that approach to the title at this point and trying another tack; problem is, I've already been at this for so long that I'm nervous it will take me a while to come up with something better. Alas, I'd rather wait than suck so I'm trying to remind myself that patience is a virtue....
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    Re: Terminology: Multiverse versus Omniverse

    Postby Serkanner » 20 Nov 2010 19:25

    The multiverse ends.

    Just add a ? ...
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    Re: Terminology: Multiverse versus Omniverse

    Postby SandChigger » 20 Nov 2010 20:35

    "Branes!" the zombie moaned. "I want to eat your branes!"
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    Re: Terminology: Multiverse versus Omniverse

    Postby Sandwurm88 » 20 Nov 2010 20:53

    It's definitely multiverse. End of discussion.
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    Re: Terminology: Multiverse versus Omniverse

    Postby Freakzilla » 20 Nov 2010 20:56

    Sandwurm88 wrote:End of discussion.


    Thank you for the self-righteous indignation. :clap:
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    Re: Terminology: Multiverse versus Omniverse

    Postby Sandwurm88 » 20 Nov 2010 21:10

    Welcome. It's what I do best. Well, actually, I do everything best. Humph!
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